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Jun 252017
 

Many times when people think of God, they think of sin and redemption. So they learn to avoid sin so that they may go into Heaven. Yes that is part of our Christian life.

 

There are a multitude of teachings on the need to avoid sin and seek to do good. All of which is true, but there is something else that Jesus warned was powerful at leading you away from God that almost no one teaches. I would ask you to find the strongest fire and brimstone preacher and ask him how many times he taught on what Jesus warned would lead us away from Him and I would bet he would rarely preach on it.

 

We find it in today’s Gospel. It is fear and its companion vice anxiety. These are not sins in themselves. No one needs to confess the sin of fear, it is a powerful emotion as is anxiety, but, they can so paralyze us that they can lead us to despair of God’s love for us, paralyze us in our inability to live the faith and so many other things. In fact, the Bible warns us 365 times not to fear.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus has just chosen the twelve disciples and now he is giving them instructions on how to live as his Apostles. Notice his first sentence. “Fear no one.”

 

One of the most powerful times Jesus scolds the apostles about being afraid is when he is sleeping in the boat, while the apostles are fishing and a great storm comes upon  them. They in panic wake Him and Jesus gets up and literally shuts off the storm. Immediately, his first words to them are “Why were you afraid?”

 

It is fear that leaves the Apostles to abandon Jesus completely and hide as He is being crucified. It is fear that leads Peter to deny Him and it is fear that leads the Jewish leaders to turn Him over to Pilate to be executed. They were afraid that the Romans would see Jesus as a troublemaker and come in and destroy the whole Jewish state.

 

In fact, the devil’s greatest tool is not temptation it is fear, because fear can paralyze is, leave us to abandon Christ or even just shut us right down.

 

 

What is it that you may fear? In a recent study by Chapman University published in October of 2016, the list of fears basically demonstrated that people fear what they cannot control. It is that factor that could change one’s life immediately that leads people to be in fear of  their government, world and personal lives.

 

The fears are legitimate, but what do we do about them.

 

Remember, Jesus can take the worst that happens to you and change it into a powerful miracle. Ask me about a friend who was diagnosed with cancer or about when my car was stolen, both are powerful stories that do not involve miracles per se, but take a disaster and turn it around.

 

 

If you cannot control it, there is no reason to worry about it happening.

 

It may happen, it may not, but there is nothing you can do to change it.

 

So what can you do about your fears. Go back to Jesus’ words. Trust in Him.

 

The Apostles are being sent by Jesus, they are actually going out as revolutionaries to change the society. They are non-violent revolutionaries who will change the whole world. They will challenge the status quo and they will suffer for it. Jesus does  not warn them against what may happen, but what will happen. He says, nevertheless. Do not be afraid.

 

The same can be said to you. We have a call to challenge our culture by doing nothing more than living our faith, will we challenge people? Yes. Will some reject us?  Perhaps. Our only response is to stay faithful to God and trust in his providence and mercy.

 

But that includes also the daily events of life of which we have no control. Job loss, disease, family problems, we have little control over these, but we do have God’s providence through them. Remember, Jesus teaches us that it is easy to live when nothing is going wrong, but only those who put their faith in Christ and trust in his providence will stand when all goes wrong.

 

St. Pio de Pietraclina, also known as Padre Pio taught: pray hope and never worry. This must always  be our role. No matter what happens we must trust in God  because it is fear that can drive us away from him. But if you trust in him even in the most difficult of circumstances your fears will lead you closer to Him for he will show you his presence in the most stark of circumstances.

 

Never, never fear, it is a command from Jesus. It is his first command once he has appointed his disciples, why? Because fear is the one thing that can stop them, but trust in his providence can help even overcome the most painful and difficult of realities until they enter the kingdom of God and all that it promises.

Fr. Carr is member of the Segundo Elo  of the Canção Nova Community. He is the parochial vicar of St. Michael’s Parish in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA and is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google plus as+FrRobertCarr, his website is Carrbooks.com. Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook

 Posted by at 13:34
Jun 232017
 

Saint Peter's Square from the dome“If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others” (The Letter to the Philippians 2, 1-4).

Saint Paul’s words in his Letter to the Philippians show very clearly the practices that wound unity: competition and vainglory. He also prescribes the medicine: humility.

The Apostle exhorts the Corinthians:

“I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 1, 10).

He also insists with the Romans:

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (The Letter to the Romans 15, 5).

How can we possibly glorify God as one heart and with one voice if there is strife among us?

Wounds in the Unity of the Church have always been and shall always be the most painful and harmful wounds in the life of the Church. Separatist groups and new denominations have happened because of human sinful nature. In the words of Origen (184-254):

“Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers” (Origen, Hom. in Ezech. 9,1:PG 13,732 – see CCC# 817).

Saint Ciprian (died 258 AD), Bishop of Cartage wrote one of the best texts about the unity in the Church. He shows how the evil one strives to divide the Church in these words:

 “The enemy was unveiled and defeated by the Coming of the Christ, (and) he schemes new ambushes to deceive naïve people, (hiding) under the Christian name itself. He creates heresies and schisms to subvert faith, corrupt truth and break unity… He steals men from the Church and plunge them into  unconscious darkness, enticing them into misleading thought that they are walking towards the light and getting distance from the secular night. They go on affirming they are Christians but they do not keep Christ’s Good News, His precepts and His laws! They think they have light though they walk in darkness! The seductive and lying enemy, in the words of the Apostle, transforms himself into an angel of light and introduce his ministers as ministers of justice; he announces night as day, eternal loss as salvation, …(and announces) the Antichrist under the Name of Christ; (the evil one) darkens and frustrates truth with subtlety and affirms that true things are illusions. That happens, dearest brothers, because nobody goes back to the origin of truth, nobody goes to its source nor guards the doctrine of heavenly teaching” (excerpt from the text “On the Unity of the Church”).

 

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

Jun 222017
 

Acampamento RVJ 2015 - Módulo RadicalWe are passing through this world, and our path is similar to that of Jesus: the way of the cross, because the disciple is not greater than the Master. But we need to be alert to a reality: many of our sufferings are fruits of misuse of our freedom.

We do everything that we want, but we don’t think of the consequences that our attitude will bring to us. God gives us the freedom of choice, because He loves us; So allows us freedom. We are the lord of our own freedom, but we don’t always know how to make right choices, because we are  limited.That’s where we need to be aware that alone we cannot lead our lives. We put our lives in the hands of God. Let Him point us which way we should go.

With God, we don’t run the risk losing ourselves amidst the disappointment and adversity of our day, entering the abyss of indifference and disbelief. We pray with the psalmist: “do not remember our sins of the past, but hurry about us with your kindness, for we are humiliated in extreme” (Psalm 79).

Jesus, I trust in you!

Lucia Santiago
Co-founder of the community Canção Nova

Portuguese version

 Posted by at 01:01
Jun 212017
 

Photo: Yamin/primaveraby

The meek of spirit are confident, deliver their own concerns to God

“Happy the meek of spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Psalm 48). My brothers, this is the first beatitude. The poor in spirit are the opposite of the proud and arrogant, because they are humble and penetrate the reality of the Kingdom of God.

We perceive, brethren, how much we need change, transformation. John himself, who was the beloved disciple, was at heart a “wealth” of spirit, arriving to make a little group with the other Apostles, as if they were “the beloved” of Jesus. But he was changing, about to become the disciple of love. John became love in his own words, in his gestures, in what was and did. If John did all this change, imagine how much we also need! As our heart needs to be changed, possessed by the first beatitude!

When Jesus speaks in Kingdom of heaven, He does not refer to the realm after death, but right now. If we have a humble heart, we need to live in the Kingdom of God by the way, we need to say: “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our heart similar to yours”.

The Lord has patience with us, because he knows we do not change in an hour. The good is in us, but it needs to be diced and taken in “pieces”, it’s going to hurt. To change, the Lord allows humiliating situations to happen for us. At the bottom, we need our own effort and also that Christs let us be humiliated, so that we have a new heart, humble as he is.

The word of God is telling us that we are dependent on him for all,  even for a living; and our dependence is total. Therefore, if we are dependent on the Lord, we must put our trust in him.

St. Peter says: “Cast on him all your concerns, because he cares for you” (1Pt 5.7). The meek of spirit are confident, they cast their problems to God and can have peace. This is only possible, because they trust in the Lord.

Your brother,

Monsignor Jonas Abib
Founder of the community Canção Nova

Portuguese Version

Jun 202017
 

Oração da Manhã com Salete Ferreira

Suffering is a school of Holiness

“The blood of Christ, while it reveals the greatness of the love of the father, also expresses how man is precious in the eyes of God and how priceless is the value of your life.” (John Paul II)

Let us pause to reflect on how many were the moments of pain in our life, in which we thought: “I can’t stand it anymore”, “I do not deserve this suffering”, “why do I have to go through this?”, “what have I done wrong?”, “does this look like a punishment!”.

Brothers, we can’t get swallowed by the new world mentality, which is based on the practical materialism, in pursuit of pleasure, and individualism.

The contradictions, the tribulations and the constraints by which we spent our life are assumed fully by Jesus: “Being rich, made himself poor for you, in order to enrich poverty” (2 Corinthians 8.9). In suffering, Jesus leads us to fully realize the meaning of our existence.

No one as He took over for you all our pains, saving us to eternal life. To find out the mystery of suffering, to open us to a greater good: the gift to go to the other, overcome our prejudices, we love and cherish life. Our suffering is a school of Holiness. Our pain makes us experience the mercy of God, the dignity and the saving force that are his own. Blessed be our evidence.

Jesus, I trust in you!

Luzia Santiago
Co-founder of the community Canção Nova

Portuguese version

 

 

Jun 192017
 

Pregação com Padre Roger Luis

There are things that happen naturally to teach us how to live, because we are people of flesh and blood

The flow of water is so natural, that only some eyes see without seeing anything wrong.

Many times in our life, there are things that happen naturally to teach us how to live the beauty of human nature, because we are people of flesh and blood, we are human and not angels.

To realize this great truth, seeing in ourselves our miseries and weakness, let us abandon ourselves to God with the confidence so that we can live in this land more calmly and in a more healthy way.

God bless you in your humanity!

A hug from your brother,
Shahir Rahemane

Portuguese version

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