capa-blog copy
Apr 282017
 

By valyag (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

“I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15, 1-5).

Jesus is the Vine, the trunk and the Head of the Church; we are the branches and the members of His Body. That is the reality founded on Him and through Him to bring mankind back to God.

Besides being a community of faith, hope and love, Christ instituted the Church to be His “visible Body” on Earth and to guide the whole of mankind to God. It is a visible Assembly and a spiritual Community at the same time; one single reality, human and Divine at the same time. This mystery is comparable to the mystery of the Incarnate Word, as Vatican Council II states:

“As the assumed nature inseparably united to Him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ, who vivifies it, in the building up of the body” (Lumen Gentium 8).

Saint Paul teaches the same to the Ephesians:

“Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4, 15-16).

Jesus gave His community a structure that will endure until the Come of the Kingdom. Christ knew that, as in every human society, the Church could never survive without hierarchy. Families need a head, the husband; cities need a Mayor; states need a Governor and countries need a President. There is a famous saying: “two captains will sink the ship.” That also applies to the Church because of our human nature.

The Lord chose Twelve Disciples and assigned Peter as their leader: their visible Head.

“He appointed twelve [whom he also named apostles] that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority do drive out demons; [he appointed the twelve:] Simon, whom he named Peter…”(Mark 3, 14-16).

Jesus entrusted the Kingdom of God in first place to the Apostles:

“…and I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22, 29-30).

Prof Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Apr 212017
 

Saint Peter's Square from the dome

Prophets of all times since the Old Testament have mentioned the Shepherd Who would gather His flock.

“Here comes with power the Lord God, who rules by his strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care” (Isaiah 40, 10-11).

Ezekiel clearly tells us about the Shepherd and His Flock:

“For thus says the Lord God: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so I will tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. I will lead them from among the peoples and gather them from foreign lands; I will bring them back to their own country and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel … In good pastures will I pasture them, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing ground. There they shall lie down on good grazing ground, and in rich pastures shall they be pastured on the mountains of Israel. I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 34, 11-15).

Ezekiel devotes the whole Chapter 34 to show that the Lord Himself will guide His people, the Church.

“You, my sheep, you are the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 34, 31).

The Lord has such a great zeal for His Flock that He Himself will replace the bad shepherds.

“Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves! Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep? You have fed off their milk, worn their wool, and slaughtered the fatlings, but the sheep you have not pastured. You did not strengthen the weak not heal the sick nor bind up the injured. You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost, but you lorded it over them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered and wandered over all the mountains and high hills; my sheep were scattered over the whole earth, with no one to look after them or to search for them… my shepherds did not look after my sheep, but pastured themselves and did not pasture my sheep…I swear I am coming against these shepherds, I will claim my sheep from them and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep so that they may no longer pasture themselves. I will save my sheep, that they may no longer be food for their mouths. …I myself will look after and tend my sheep” (Ezekiel 34, 1-11).

This long prophecy by Ezekiel shows God’s Love and great care for His people, nowadays gathered in the Church. This great Love makes the Shepherd lay down His life for His sheep.

“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10, 11).

The Church is also represented in the Gospel as “God’s field”, or “God’s building”, as Saint Paul says:

“For, we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 3, 9).

Professor Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Apr 072017
 

Saint Peter's Square from the dome

By valyag (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Saint Joan of Arc, before her judges, summed up the Faith of the Doctors of the Church in these few words: “About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter” (CCC # 795).

We receive the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ in a sacramental way in the Eucharist, so that we can form Christ’s social body in the unity of all members.

Saint Paul asks: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 10, 16).

The Apostle himself answers: “Because the loaf of bread is one, we though many, are one body for we all partake of the one loaf”(The First Letter to the Corinthians 10, 17).

Eucharist forms the Church and the Church celebrates Eucharist. When we celebrate the communion with the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ we become “consanguineous” (N.T. Latin consanguineus, fr. Com- + sanguine-, sanguis blood: of the same blood or origin) and “co-corporal” with the Christ and a living part of His own Body. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (dead in 386 A.D.) said that Eucharist makes us “Christophorus”, which means “carriers of the Christ”; in the words of Saint Peter: “He has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature” (The Second Letter of Peter 1, 4).

The Head feeds the whole Body especially during Eucharist so that the members can receive the grace and the strength to live as real Christians, so that Christ can be “formed in” them (The Letter to the Galatians 4, 19) and so that they have strength to “follow in his footsteps” (The First Letter of Peter 2, 21).

We ask the Father during the Eucharistic Prayer: “…grant us that, being nourished by the Body and the Blood of Your Son, we can be filled with the Holy Spirit and become one Body and one spirit with the Christ”.

Therefore we cannot separate Christ from His Church. That would be equivalent to behead a person in the hope he or she could stay alive: this is absurd. We cannot behead Christ’s Body, in other words, we cannot separate Him from the Church. That was Martin Luther’s big unfortunate mistake in 1517, when he said Yes to Christ and No to the Church; he did not realize that he was mutilating Christ’s Body, trying to behead this Body. Departing from that, many subdivisions took place in an irreversible unstoppable way all over the world. That is the greatest scandal Christianity gave to the world.

Prof Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Mar 312017
 

Saint Peter's Square from the dome

By valyag (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Everybody has the same importance before God’s eyes and for His Church, because everybody is a member of His Family, united in Jesus Christ. As Saint Paul said:

“God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 24-25).

God teaches us to live in mutual love and charity: He disposes things in such a way that each one of us needs the other to build His Family and His Kingdom on Earth. This should eliminate arrogant self-sufficiency and haughty presumption in each member: God made us in such a way that we need one another. There should never be strife, rivalry and jealousy among members because – as Saint Paul said – “God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as He intended” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 18).

Therefore each one of us who were baptized should be proud of being considered worth of belonging to that Sacred Body: we should willingly accept our place in this Body and collaborate in the growth of that Body as a faithful member, a member that obeys the Head and serves the other members.

“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 26).

The beauty of the Church lies in the diversity of Her members, each one with its particular functions, co-operating with the Head for the sake of everybody.

“If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 19-20).

The Holy Spirit grants different kinds of charisma to different members of the Body of Christ; no member is left without a special kind of charisma and the special charisma of one member is a blessing to everybody:

“To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 7).

“But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 11).

Finally, Saint Paul condenses his whole teaching by saying:

“Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 17).

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (The Letter to the Galatians 3, 27-28).

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 6, 15).

Prof Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Mar 242017
 

Saint Peter's Square from the dome

By valyag (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

In His Prayer during the Last Supper and before suffering His Passion, Jesus asked His Father: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are” (John 17, 11)… “so that they may all be  one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us” (John 17, 21)… “And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one…”(John 17, 22-23).

Nothing can be worse to Christ’s Body than the breaking of that Unity; it is and shall always be the worst scandal in the Church.

It is easy to imagine the misery someone would live in if the members of his or her body fought one another and did not obey the command of the brains. Just imagine what would happen if hands denied feeding the mouth and putting clothes on the body; just imagine what would happen if legs felt jealous or envious of the other members and denied carrying them: how miserable would the body feel…? Just imagine if the heart fought the brains and decided not to beat anymore…

We could give wings to imagination and multiply these examples, though this unfortunate person would in the end suffer a terrible death as a final consequence of this war. The same can happen to the Church if there is no unit and harmony among Her members. Unfortunately there are so many divisions inside the Church, caused by the sins of Her children, that the fact that the Church still exists and survived all kinds of crises is in itself the greatest evidence that She is divine and supported by the Lord Himself.

“So I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16, 18).

Inside this most beautiful Body of the Christ, united and vivified by the Holy Spirit, all the members are like cells: each one performs essential tasks to keep the Body alive.

“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of the Spirit” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 12-13).

The Apostle is really inspired when he compares the Church to a body:

“Now the body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say: ‘Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,’ it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, ‘because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body,’ it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I do not need you’”(The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 14-21).

At the end of his reasoning, the Apostle concludes: “Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 12, 22).

 

Prof Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
Mar 032017
 

Saint Peter's Square from the dome

By valyag (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons


Since the beginning of His Mission, Jesus incorporated His Disciples (His Church) to His life.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (Mark 1,17); and for three years, He unveiled the Mystery of the Kingdom of God to them.

He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted” (Matthew 13,11).

He wanted His Disciples to share His Mission of rescuing mankind and also share His joys and pains.

The seventy[-two] returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name” (Luke 10, 17).

“It is you who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22, 28-30).

Jesus wanted to be joined in intimate communion with those who followed Him:

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (John 6, 56).

That real and mysterious union has awesome effects:

“Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me”(John 6, 57). “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (John 6,51).

He maintains and supports His Church; the Catechism tells us that: “The Church is communion with Jesus” (CCC # 787).

We enter into communion with the Christ through Eucharist:

“Because the loaf of bread is one, we, through many, are one body, for we partake of the one loaf” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 10, 17).

Pope Paul VI once said that “those who do not love the Church, do not love Jesus Christ” for they are one single reality.

Professor Felipe Aquino

Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino

 Posted by at 01:01
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