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Aug 092017
 

Faith is so important in our lives that Jesus Christ watches over it.

Dear brothers and sisters, faith is so important in our lives that Jesus Christ watches over it. If we abandon our faith, we will lose our reason for and our sense of following Christ.

The evangelist Luke tells us clearly how much Jesus Christ wants us to be filled with faith and adds to it the importance of our faith in our salvation journey.

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has called you to sift you as the wheat; But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; And you, in turn, confirm your brothers “(Luke 22, 31-32).

Jesus Christ does not forbid Satan to sift Simon Peter, but we know that Christ prays for Peter, so that his faith will not fail and that by his conversion Jesus be confirmed.

Peter was sifted by satan, but his faith was not hurt, it was guarded. Thus, on the day of Pentecost, Peter received the Holy Spirit and went ahead of the apostles.

It is necessary that all our steps, in the way of the Lord, be done with faith and with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let us ask: “Lord, I believe, but increase my faith!”

A big hug, 
Geraldo Garcia

Portuguese version

 Posted by at 01:01
Aug 062017
 

One reason people do not read the Bible is they claim that it was written so long ago that it is no longer relevant to us. That comes from a great misunderstanding of the Bible and its purpose. Today’s first reading is over 2500 years old and today’s Gospel is about 2000 years old. When this homily is over, you will see that everything in these readings is relevant to everyone today.

 

Another important point is that non-believers say that  when they see a sign they will believe in God. So they are looking for lightning strikes, or powerful earthquakes, etc. The problem is that there are signs and these people do not see them. What we are looking at today is one of those signs.

 

If you look at the first reading, you will see a word from the Prophet Daniel. This dream happened twenty-five hundred years ago. It comes from a time known as the Babylonian Exile, this is when the Jews, after being warned by the prophets that they had strayed from God, continued to disobey. God allowed, therefore, actually he promised, that they were going to be disciplined by being conquered by the Babylonian Empire who were every bit as vicious as ISIS is today. It was during the reign of King Belshazzar towards the end of that exile that this dream happened. King Belshazzar was the last King of the Babylonian Empire.

 

The Babylonians not only conquered Judah, they destroyed the temple and the dragged rich and powerful among the Jews into their native land which is now called Iraq.

 

Daniel’s dream leads him to see one like the Son of Man sitting on a throne judging all nations and all nations are looking to Him. The term Son of Man here is the exact reference Jesus makes when he calls Himself the Son of Man. He is essentially saying, I am the figure in Daniel’s dream. You can see that those words would be highly controversial to the leaders of the Jews in Jesus’ time.

 

But, the idea that this dream was significant during the Babylonian exile would be absurd. The thought that all the world would look at this figure in the dream and that they would focus on Jerusalem would be a ridiculous idea in the time of Daniel. First Jerusalem is destroyed, the Temple is in ruins and finally the rest of the world would consider preposterous the idea that Jerusalem would be the focus of the whole world. It is like today if we were to say that in the future the whole world will worship in Riga. I am sure some of you are saying: “where is Riga?” The point is Jerusalem was not a place of worldwide significance or for  that matter neither was the God of Jews considered such at the time of this dream. By the way, I am sure your Latvian friends will tell you that Riga is a beautiful city to visit.

 

However, today, we all look to Jerusalem. We all worship that God that Daniel talked about and according the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this dream is the prediction of the fact that at Jesus’ Ascension following His death and resurrection he fulfilled that part of the dream that makes him the King. (664)

 

Now let me explain something to you. Many people are saying we are living in the Post-Christian era. We are living in a time that people say God does not exist. A recent column in the New York Times says that the concept that there is purpose to life is an evolutionary invention produced for the survival of the race and no more.  Many people teach that there is no God, but look carefully, all that is happening today is further fulfillment of Daniel’s dream. This is exactly what Daniel said would happen. It is what happens next that is our focus. We are actually living what has been predicted. That is one of your signs that everything we believe and do is real.

 

But take that to mean that what we believe is true and all that has been predicted that can come true, has come true, but there is still more. That is one of your signs. In our worship, people from all over the world are focused on worshiping the Son of Man focused on Jerusalem. There is a line of demarcation happening where Kingdoms are rising up against the disciples of this Son of Man and now whole countries are doing the same.

This is also significant, Pope Leo XIII explained that just as a person who rejects Christ trusts in a false sense of wisdom and goes astray, the same consequences will affect nations that reject Christ. So, nations that turn from Christ are on the road to destruction just as much as people. The result will be a further rising up against the Son of Man and His disciples until such time as he returns and eliminates those who have rejected him, and embraces those who persevered in Him, also predicted by Daniel among others.

 

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration when Jesus is transfigured in front of Moses, Elijah and three Apostles, This is the beginning of his march to the throne of the Son of Man and the beginning of the fulfilment of that dream.

 

It is also the anniversary of the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima. This unleashed, as you know not only a terrible power but a terrifying era in human history. Today, we are in a war of tension between a country that long ago rejected Christ, that elevated its leader to deity and now threatens our shores literally with a missile. I am by the way not expecting him to actually carry out his threat, but I am concerned one of these days there will be miscalculation and he will accidentally bomb our shores or those of another country by accident. That will change everything.

 

Today’s readings lead us to ask the question, whom do you seek? The wisdom of the world represented by Babylon that relies on the false gods of our own day,  just as King Belshazzar did in his day, or the wisdom of Christ which is being fulfilled daily just as Daniel predicted in his dream twenty-five hundred years ago.

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 01:01
Aug 042017
 

Lesson 31

SCHISMS

 

The Church had to experience some unfortunate schisms in Her first centuries of existence due to the heresies.

The Nestorian Schism happened in 431 A.D.: the followers of Nestor, Bishop of Constantinople, did not accept the decisions of Ephesus Council and broke up with the Roman Church.

The Monophysicism Schism took place in 451 A.D.: this group did not accept the decisions of Calcedonia Council concerning the two distinct natures of Jesus Christ.

Then the great schism of Michael Cerularius and the Eastern Orthodox group followed in 1054; in 1517, Martin Luther’s schism and the Protestantism; in 1534, Henry VIII, King of England, also broke with the Roman Church and created the Anglicanism. Brazil also witnessed a schism in 06/07/1945, which gave birth to the Brazilian Catholic Churches.

Schisms are not necessarily caused by heresies. Heresies are doctrines that go against the truth revealed by God and proposed by the Church. Heretic people are those who do not accept being corrected by the Church and stubbornly cling to their misconceptions.

It is worth quoting Saint Augustine: “Do not think that heresy is an outcome of obtuse minds. Only bright minds could beget heresy. The brighter a mind, the bigger its aberrations.”

“Formal” heretic people are those who have personally committed the sin of heresy and schism and have thus excluded themselves from the communion with the Church, even though they may keep their baptismal character. “Material” heretic and schismatic people are those who were born inside heretic and schismatic communities although they are not the authors of the heresy or schism. They belong to the imperfect communion with the One and Only Church of Jesus Christ.

People often ask about the salvation of adults who die without being baptized or die with a Baptism received outside the perfect communion with the Catholic Church.

The Sacrament of the Baptism is God’s Will and the normal pathway to mankind salvation (see Matthew 16, 16). Though the Church has acknowledged different means of salvation since Her primordial times, like martyrdom and the “explicit wish” for Baptism. The Church has also acknowledged the “implicit wish for Baptism” since the XVI Century: in other words, pagans who obey God and lead a righteous life according to non-catholic beliefs can be saved, for if they knew about the necessity of Baptism they would have asked for it. They are people of good will.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms that:

 “ For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament” (CCC # 1259).

 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.”62 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity” (CCC # 1260).

Vatican Council II also confirms this doctrine. According to Lumen Gentium:

“Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God. In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.); But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things, and as Saviour wills that all men be saved. Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”, the Church fosters the missions with care and attention” (Lumen Gentium # 16).

 

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
Aug 032017
 

In homily, Archbishop João Inácio Müller explained how the date was established, which grants plenary indulgence to the Catholic faithful

Jéssica Marçal

Bishop João Inácio Müller, bishop of the diocese of Lorena, during the homily / Photo: Reproduction TV Canção Nova

On Wednesday 8;2, the Catholic Church celebrated the Day of Forgiveness of Assisi, which is a day instituted from St. Francis of Assisi in which plenary indulgence of sins is granted to the faithful Catholics. The date was remembered today by the bishop of the diocese of Lorena (SP), Dom João Inácio Müller, ofm, who presided the Holy Mass in the Shrine of the Father of the Misericórdias, in Cachoeira Paulista (SP), at the Canção Nova Community Headquarters.

From the Gospel of the day, in which Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of Heaven as a hidden treasure that brings great joy to those who find it, Bishop João highlighted the example of St. Francis of Assisi. A courageous and determined man, the saint had a change of life after he understood the depth of the Word of God. “When you meet God it’s like finding a treasure, you bet everything. How much we have changed in our lives because of our faith and our faith makes us bet everything, “said the bishop.

And in speaking of the example of Saint Francis, Bishop João recalled that it was from him that the day of the Forgiveness of Assisi was instituted. At a time when people were extremely afraid to go to hell, the saint had a vision of Christ and Mary surrounded by angels while praying in the church of the Porntiuncola near Assisi. “He felt within himself a very strong voice, realized as never before that in fact it is God’s desire that all be saved. St Francis could not imagine that anyone would not be saved, “said Bishop Joao.

It was then that the saint asked God that all who visited that church could be saved. God granted the prayer of St. Francis as long as he presented this request for indulgence to the Pope, which he granted. Since then, every day of August 2, this grace of indulgence is celebrated.

Bishop João left the invitation so that, today, who can, it is directed to a Franciscan church. If you do not have one, you can go to the parish headquarters, a cathedral or a basilica, confess (eight days before or after), participate in the Mass, pray the Creed, the Our Father and the intentions of the Holy Father.

“It’s a very beautiful grace. We see how St. Francis lived with intensity this real desire of God that He wants to save us all, He does not want to lose anyone “, concluded Bishop João.

 Posted by at 01:01
Jul 302017
 

Last week locally there was  a Catholic weekend where the youth celebrated their Christian faith. Much of what happens in these events is an Americanized version of what the Latino Community from Mexico to Argentina has been doing for decades. There is, in the American version, Christian rock music, a celebration of the Eucharist in adoration and powerful talks about the faith.

 

This is a great way to invite people into a deeper relationship with faith. However, our faith is not about super parties in the name of Jesus. These events succeed when they open the door to a deeper faith in Christ; they fail if these people abandon their faith when the party is over.

 

Long after we have established or practiced our faith, after we have developed a prayer life, after we have chosen to live our Catholic faith. We may even encounter difficult times, painful times and even radical evil. That is the time that the rubber meets the road. That is the time when we know the fruit of living the faith. It is not in Jesus parties or when every thing is going well. It is when we don’t abandon our faith but  we embrace Christ more deeply during those times when everything is going wrong.

 

There is a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes, but their are plenty of atheists out there who have given up on their Catholic faith. Do we have to let them experience a foxhole to know that Christ lives? No But what we have to do is understand that people abandon their faith when it does not match their expectations.

 

“If God existed my grandmother would not have died, therefore, He does not exist.” “If God existed there would be no war.” “If God existed Kim Jong Um and the rest of that family would be nice people and evil would never happen.”

 

Catholic radio in Boston has a slogan Try God. But the Boston cartoonist mocked it by writing “Try, God” again from that atheistic perspective that if God exists then the world would not contain evil.

 

Your grandmother may have died, there is war, North Korea is run by an evil monster and evil exists and at least one cartoonist  mocks God saying couldn’t you have done better?

Under those circumstances, how can we  believe that God exists?

 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that not only did God create the world, the world is still in the throes of creation. However, regardless of what happens when all goes wrong, St. Paul reminds us in the second reading that all things work for the good for those who love God. Evil exists because it is part of the pain of creation still in progress, but for those who encounter it and love God, they know that even the worst of all they could endure will lead them to the greatest of all places which is eternal life in Heaven. It is during those times that one discovers more powerfully the love of Christ. It is those times when at the end of the day, one not only realizes that he or she survives but is thankful to God for the strength to survive regardless of what difficulties, struggles and even evil itself he or she may be suffering at the hands of this world in the throes of creation. They do not abandon the faith, they embrace it. They do not reject the mass, the attend more attentively. They do not give up on prayer, they discover God’s comfort in prayer. St. Peter reminds us to cast our cares and anxieties before the Lord as he cares for us.

 

Let me remind you I am not only speaking from experience from past histories of struggles and pain, but also from learning from others who struggled through their difficulties in faith. There is a passage in Sirach 2 which I invite everyone to commit to memory. My son, when you come to serve the Lord prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart, undisturbed in this time of mercy, for thus will your future be great. For it is fire that gold is tested and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation.

 

Your biggest struggles are how God makes you more brilliant as Christians. You know the word brilliant comes from the root word to shine. It is not through evil that we grow as Christians, it is coming to Christ when  we encounter pains, anxieties and even evil and bringing it to Him that He strengthens our relationship with Him and our ability to be strong in Him. Those horrible and maybe even horrifying struggles are what recreate us completely in Christ, even when we feel we have been abandoned by Him.

 

This week, I had a conversation with a friend of mine of deep faith. Several years ago he had a stroke and today has recovered. But take yourself to that time. The future would be completely unknown, and even one’s very being is affected by a stroke. Panic can spread and even make the situation worse.

 

In our conversation we were sharing how much knowing that we are loved by God is more important than anything else in our lives. Literally, nothing else matters than that one fact. You come to that point, not through a party celebrating Jesus, but through one disaster or another in which all you have is your relationship with Jesus and holding on to that simple truth is what helps you survive. When that painful time is over you recognize that your faith has been so strengthened that you have been changed in a way that you could never imagine. Why, because you recognize that one simple fact, all things work for the good of those who love God.

 

Believe in that, live in that prayer, bring your troubles to Christ when all goes wrong and know that every syllable of that statement is true. All things work for the good of those who love God, but only those who encounter the worst of all things can ever fully appreciate it.  

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 06:47
Jul 242017
 

Let us seek the Lord in a more active way, and let us not become accustomed to His presence

If there is one thing I do not like about people is the accommodation in which people stand in their comfort zone. These days, I experienced a situation in my work, which led me to reflect on this: where am I accommodated in my relationship with God? Where did I park because I thought I was ok?Where did I stop growing because I simply gave in to my own self-indulgence?

My brothers and sisters, just as in our professional life, we must always be refreshing ourselves in our spiritual life as well. We must always ask God for the grace of newness, to grow, to fight, not to accommodate ourselves. We need to take steps! Making a parallel with the human body, if we do not walk, our body becomes tired; In the same way, if we do not walk on the road with God, we are getting discouraged and tired.

Let us return today to seek the Lord more actively, and not to become used to His presence.God is always a novelty!

Your His brother,

Wellington Garden (Eto)
Co-founder of the Canção Nova Community and administrator of the FJPII

Portuguese version

 Posted by at 01:01
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