Crisis: Persecuted Christians

Few know the following about the number of Christians killed just for believing in Jesus.  During the last hundred years, the number exceeds the total of Christians killed in all the previous centuries combined--including the period of the Roman Empire.  

     Today a Christian is martyred for the faith every eleven minutes somewhere in the world.  

     A shocking 80% of Christians today live where they suffer some form of persecution--that is, not just being looked at funny or mocked, but jailed, denied employment or schooling, beaten, home burned, or outright killed--just for naming the name of Jesus.

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     Take India, for example.  Last month Kande Munda, a bricklayer, and his wife Bindu began to receive death threats.  Bindu's mother, not a Christian or part of the same community, came to visit.  Villagers raped her to to threaten Bindu into rejecting the Lord.  

     Kanda and Bindu discussed fleeing their village.  But on June 7 a mob unexpectedly arrived …

Independence and Dependence Day

Independence Day is the day that, in a sense, the United States was born.  The 4th of July commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, declaring to all the world the fact of, and the reasons for, the colonies' struggle for independence from England.  Today in 2020 we celebrate with the awareness that not all is right in our land.  We are a nation more divided than we have been since our Civil War of about 150 years ago. 

     Yet this is a time when we have reason for confidence!  Why?  Not only because of what we are independent of, but more importantly what we are dependent on.

     We fought to free ourselves from a government in England that did not have our people's interests at heart.  But also--so many of the original records show--many of us were declaring, not only our independence, but our dependence, not on a king but on the King of kings, not on a royal lord but on the Lord of lords.

     In both the early Catholic settlements in Florida and the Prote…

Fathers' Day: An Important Celebration

The research is crystal-clear about that it does to kids who don't have a dad who is both present and engaged.  Kids with an involved dad (not perfect, but involved) tend to do much better in life.  They finish high school, go to college, have higher self-esteem, succeed better at tests, are less likely to be depressed, have less anxiety, and the list goes on.

     Dr. Meg Meeker, M.D., a well-known and respected psychologist in the field of healthy families, tells us that dads need to see themselves through their kids eyes.  "Our kids are saying, consciously or not, 'Dad, you are critical for my development.  You are key to my future and my hope.  I need you'."  Most dads don't know that, and don't feel that. 

     Due in part to negative cultural attitudes, 45% of white and Latino homes in the U.S. have no dad at home, and 70% of African-American homes have none.

     Studies show that the vast majority of dads devalue their importance to their childr…

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi

From a Work by St. Thomas Aquinas (Opusculum 57, in festo Corporis Christi, lect. 1-4)

     It was the will of God's only-begotten Son that people should share in his divinity.  So he assumed our human nature.  He did so in order that, by becoming human, he might make us gods.  
     In addition, when he took our flesh, he dedicated all of its substance to our salvation.  He offered his human body to God the Father on the altar of the cross.  It was a sacrifice for our reconciliation [with the Father].  He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage, and cleansed from all sin. 
     To ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us forever, he left his body as food and his blood as drink, for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine.
     Oh precious and wonderful banquet, that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness!  Could anything be of more intrinsic value?  Under the old law it w…
The Holy Trinity

Ever since Jesus, we Christians have taught, held to, and even died for the truth that God is three persons in one God.  He's both a unity and a Trinity.

What's so important about it?

Because it's central to the love that we're called to.  Consider this:

We know that God is love, and true love isn't basically for oneself, but for another person. 

We also know that before God created the universe, he had existed for all eternity.  So if God were only a unity, he would have existed for an infinity without anyone to love.

But he is love and couldn't not love.

So there must have eternally been more than one person before anything was created.  But only one God existed.

God has revealed to us that, in fact, there have eternally been three persons in the one God.   

And since God is love, and created us to love him back and love each other.

So I suggest that, in honor of the Most Holy Trinity, that we:

 Do  One Kindness 

Such as Thank your grocery worker Buy th…
The Sending of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Excerpts from Against Heresies by St. Irenaeus

When the Lord told his disciples to "go and teach all nations" and to "baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit", he conferred on them the power of giving people new life in God.
He had promised through the prophets that in these last days he would pour out his Spirit on his servants and handmaids, and that they would prophesy.  The Spirit accomplished the Father's will in people, who had grown old in sin, and gave them new life in Christ.
Luke says that the Spirit came down upon the disciples at Pentecost with power to open the gates of life to all nations and to make known to them the New Covenant.  So it was that people of every language joined in singing one song of praise to God.  Scattered tribes, restored to unity by the Spirit, were offered to the Father as the firstfruits of all the nations.
This was why the Lord had promised to sen…
The Fifth Sunday of Easter
From a Sermon by St. Maximus of Turin, Bishop

     Christ is risen!  He has burst open the gates of hell, and let the dead go free.  He has renewed the earth through the members of his Church now born again in baptism.  He has made it blossom afresh with men brought back to life.  His Holy Spirit has unlocked the doors of heaven, which stand wide open to receive those who rise up from the earth.  Because of Christ's resurrection the thief ascends to paradise, the bodies of the blessed enter the holy city, and the dead are restored to the company of the living.  There is an upward movement in the whole of creation, each element raising itself to something higher.  We see hell restoring its victims to the upper regions, earth sending its buried dead to heaven, and heaven presenting the new arrivals to the Lord.  In one and the same movement, our Savior's passion raises men from the depths, lifts them up from the earth, and sets them in the heights.

O Holy St. Joseph

O Holy Joseph,

     Today on your glorious Feast, I honor you as worker, spouse and father.  I kneel before you in awe of your exceptional tasks, that of Virgin-Father of our Savior, Chaste Spouse of our Blessed Mother, and Protector and Provider for both.  
     Your abundance of grace surpasses that of all angelic hosts.  You are enflamed with love that blazes more brightly and powerfully than that of other human beings, with the exception of Mary.

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     Your heart suffered with the hearts of Jesus and Mary.  Yours was a silent suffering, for it was your God-given vocation to shield, as long as God willed, the Mother and Son from the malice and hatred of men.
     Your most painful sorrow was to know beforehand their Passion, while knowing that you would not be there to console them.  Their future suffering was ever-present to you, and became your daily cross.
     In this way, through compassion for the sufferings of Jesus and Mary, you cooperated in the salvation …
Longing for a Joy That Is Complete
“Although I have much to write to you, I do not intend to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and to speak face to face so that our joy may be complete.” (2 John 12) The church has faced pandemics throughout the centuries.  But we’ve never had the ability to move certain aspects of corporate worship online.  Mater Dei is streaming Masses on TV, Facebook, YouTube, and its own website. When I watch, it’s always bittersweet.
I THANK YOU, LORD We can be grateful for the church's opportunity to use today’s technology.  After all, why should the Enemy’s voice be the only one on TV or online?  Pope St. John Paul II explained that technology can help us reach more people.  It is being used by the Lord in ways that we are still only beginning to understand.  Lives are being changed forever as a result of Christian blog posts.  Many sheep are being delivered from the deceitfulness of our culture’s worldview and values.  Millions more are being buil…
Hope Because of God's Mercy!

When we Christians talk about the hope inspired by God's mercy, we're not talking about something we have to create or invent.  We're talking about something that's a sure thing.
The Apostle John tells us something important:

See what love the Father has bestowed on us, that we may be called the children of  
     God.  Yet so we are.  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  
     Beloved, we are God's children now.  What we will be has not yet been revealed.  We 
     know that when it is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.  Everyone 
     who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.  (1John 3:1-3)

"See what love the Father has bestowed on us"!  God's love, the love that led him to send his Son for us, is so great that John can't even describe it.  All he can say is "See what love!"  And the result of God's love is that we are children…
The Savior of the World: from an Ancient Discourse  by St. Anastasius

Christ has shown by his words and actions that he was truly God and Lord of the universe.  He said to his disciples, as he was about to go up to Jerusalem, 
          We are going up to Jerusalem now, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the              Gentiles and the chief priests and scribes, to be scourged and mocked and crucified.
These words bore out the predictions of the prophets.  They had foretold the death he was to die in Jerusalem.  From the beginning, holy Scripture had foretold Christ's death, the sufferings that would precede it, and what would happen to his body afterward.  Scripture also affirmed that these things were going to happen to one who was immortal and incapable of suffering, because he was God.
Only by reflecting on the meaning of the incarnation can we see how it is possible to say with perfect truth both that Christ suffered and that he was incapable of suffering, and why the Word …
By Hook and by Crook An Easter Homily by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Sunday morning came, and it was one of calm, like the sleep of innocents, and the clear, benign air seemed almost as if it had been stirred by angels’ wings.Mary walked in the garden and someone near her spoke a word, and pronounced it longingly, wistfully, in that touching and unforgettable voice which had called her so many times: “Mary.”And to this one and only word, she made an answer, a word and only one: “Rabboni.”And as she fell at His knees in the dewy grass and clasped in her hands those bare feet, she saw two scars, two red-lined marks of nails—for Christ was now walking in the glory of His new Easter morn.
That was the first Easter Day.Centuries have whirled away since, and on this new Easter Day as I turn from that garden to the altar, I behold placed over the tabernacle, on this Resurrection Day, the image, not of a Risen Savior, but the image of a dying one, to teach me that Christ lives over again in His C…