Archive for November, 2010

God Has The Answer…

Posted: November 30, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

HANDY LITTLE CHART

GOD HAS THE ANSWER:

YOU SAY GOD SAYS BIBLE VERSES
You say: ‘It’s impossible’ God says:  All things are possible ( Luke 18:27)
You say: ‘I’m too tired’ God says: I will give you rest ( Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: ‘Nobody really loves me’ God says: I love you ( John 3:1  6 & John 3:34 )
You say: ‘I can’t go on’ God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
You say:  ‘I can’t figure things out’ God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-   6)
You say: ‘I can’t do it’ God says: You can do all things ( Philippians 4:13)
You say: ‘I’m not able’ God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)
You say: ‘It’s not worth it’ God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )
You say: ‘I can’t forgive myself’ God says: I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say: ‘I can’t manage’ God says: I will supply all your needs ( Philippians 4:19)
You say: ‘I’m afraid’ God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear ( II Timothy 1:7)
You say: ‘I’m always worried and frustrated’ God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)
You say: ‘I’m not smart enough’ God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)
You say: ‘I feel all alone’ God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

From a Sermon by Saint Augustine, Bishop

Posted: November 29, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

A truly beautiful sermon that needs to be shared with all….(Catholic Jules)

Let us sing alleluia to the good God who delivers us from evil

Let us sing alleluia here on earth, while we still live in anxiety, so that we may sing it one day in heaven in full security. Why do we now live in anxiety? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when I read: Is not man’s life on earth a time of trial? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when the words still ring in my ears: Watch and pray that you will not be put to the test? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when there are so many temptations here below that prayer itself reminds us of them, when we say: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us? Every day we make out petitions, every day we sin. Do you want me to feel secure when I am daily asking pardon for my sins, and requesting help in time of trial? Because of my past sins I pray: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and then, because of the perils still before me, I immediately go on to add: Lead us not into temptation. How can all be well with people who are crying out with me: Deliver us from evil? And yet, brothers, while we are still in the midst of this evil, let us sing alleluia to the good God who delivers us from evil.

Even here amidst trials and temptations let us, let all men, sing alleluia.God is faithful, says holy Scripture, and he will not allow you to be tried beyond your strength. So let us sing alleluia, even here on earth. Man is still a debtor, but God is faithful. Scripture does not say that he will not allow you to be tried, but that he will not allow you to be tried beyond your strength. Whatever the trial, he will see your through it safely, and so enable you to endure. You have entered upon a time of trial but you will come to no harm – God’s help will bring you through it safely. You are like a piece of pottery, shaped by instruction, fired by tribulation. When you are put into the oven therefore, keep your thoughts on the time when you will be taken out again; for God is faithful, and he will guard both your going in and your coming out.

But in the next life, when this body of ours has become immortal and incorruptible, then all trials will be over. Your body is indeed dead, and why? Because of sin. Nevertheless, your spirit lives, because you have been justified. Are we to leave our dead bodies behind then? By no means. Listen to the words of holy Scripture: If the Spirit of him who raised Christ from the dead dwells within you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your own mortal bodies. At present your body receives its life from the soul, but then it will receive it from the Spirit.

O the happiness of the heavenly alleluia, sung in security, in fear of no adversity! We shall have no enemies in heaven, we shall never lose a friend. God’s praises are sung both there and here, but here they are sung by those destined to die, there, by those destined to live for ever; here they are sung in hope, there, in hope’s fulfillment; here they are sung by wayfarers, there, by those living in their own country.

So, then, my brothers, let us sing now, not in order to enjoy a life of leisure, but in order to lighten our labors. You should sing as wayfarers do – sing, but continue your journey. Do not be lazy, but sing to make your journey more enjoyable. Sing, but keep going. What do I mean by keep going? Keep on making progress. This progress, however, must be in virtue; for there are some, the Apostle warns, whose only progress is in vice. If you make progress, you will be continuing your journey, but be sure that your progress is in virtue, true faith and right living. Sing then, but keep going.

Emmanuel Praise & Worship Session

Posted: November 28, 2010 by CatholicJules in Upcoming Events

In preparation for the coming of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, Emmanuel will be conducting 4 sessions during Advent on Wednesdays at 8.00 p.m. beginning on 1st Dec ‘10.

We invite you to join us in our desire in making this a spirituallymeaningful season.

Venue

Church of St Anthony
25 Woodlands Avenue 1
Singapore 739064
Thomas Aquinas Room

For Directions Click Here

November 28, 2010 – First Sunday in Advent

Posted: November 27, 2010 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

In a Dark Hour

Readings
Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122:1-9
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:37-44 “The Gospel of Fulfillment”
)

 

Jesus exaggerates in today’s Gospel when He claims not to know the day or the hour when He will come again.

He occasionally makes such overstatements to drive home a point we might otherwise miss (see Matthew 5:34; 23:9; Luke 14:26).

His point here is that the exact “hour” is not important. What is crucial is that we not postpone our repentance, that we be ready for Him – spiritually and morally – when He comes. For He will surely come, He tells us – like a thief in the night, like the flood in the time of Noah.

In today’s Epistle, Paul too compares the present age to a time of advancing darkness and night.

Though we sit in the darkness, overshadowed by death, we have seen arise the great light of our Lord who has come into our midst (see Matthew 4:16; John 1:9; 8:12). He is the true light, the life of the world. And His light continues to shine in His Church, the new Jerusalem promised by Isaiah in today’s First Reading.

In the Church, all nations stream to the God of Jacob, to worship and seek wisdom in the House of David. From the Church goes forth His word of instruction, the light of the Lord – that all might walk in His paths toward that eternal day when night will be no more (see Revelation 22:5).

By our Baptism we have been made children of the light and day (see Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-7). It is time we start living like it – throwing off the fruitless works of darkness, the desires of the flesh, and walking by the light of His grace.

The hour is late as we begin a new Advent. Let us begin again in this Eucharist.

As we sing in today’s Psalm, let us go rejoicing to the House of the Lord. Let us give thanks to His name, keeping watch for His coming, knowing that our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

The Gospel of ‘Fulfillment’

With the First Sunday in Advent we begin a new “cycle” (Cycle A) of the Church’s Liturgical Year. Sunday by Sunday for the next year we’ll be reading the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew’s Gospel is a prime example of what St. Augustine was talking about when he said: the New Testament is concealed in the Old and the Old Testament is revealed in the New.

You can’t read Matthew without having your ear tuned to the Old Testament. He quotes or alludes to the Old Testament an average of four or five times per chapter – or more than 100 times in his Gospel.

Matthew writes this way because he wants his fellow Israelites to see that their Old Covenant with God has been “fulfilled” in Jesus. Get used to words like “fulfill” and “fulfillment” – you’re going to hear them repeatedly in Matthew’s gospel.

On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, for instance, Matthew explains how Mary is found with child: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Behold the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel” (see Matthew 1:22-23).

Again, on Palm Sunday, when He is arrested in the garden, Jesus says: “All this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled” (see Matthew 26:54,56).

The numerous “fulfillments” Matthew tells us about are intended to signal one thing – that in Jesus, God is finally delivering on the promises He made throughout salvation history.


Judgement & scenes from the Day Of Wrath

Posted: November 26, 2010 by CatholicJules in Holy Pictures

By Aldo Locatelli, Found in the Church Of San Pellegrino

“My flesh is real food; My blood is true drink,”

Posted: November 25, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

“My Flesh Is Real Food”
Here’s a brief, step by step way to explain the Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

By Tim Staples

Scenario:

You’re at the annual family reunion barbecue. In the midst of the fun you overhear your cousin Mark (who left the Church in college and now attends a Fundamentalist Baptist church) arguing heatedly about religion with several of your Catholic relatives. He’s got his Bible out and is vigorously explaining why the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist is “unbiblical.” “You don’t really believe that you eat Jesus when you receive Communion, do you?” he rolls his eyes, shaking his head at the very thought. “It’s obvious from Scripture that Jesus was speaking symbolically when He talked about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. He didn’t mean that literally.” Your relatives are no match for Mark’s energy and confidence. And besides, they don’t have Bibles with them, so he’s pretty much in charge of the conversation, that is, until you walk over and with a big smile you ask, “Mark, if I can show you from the Bible that your argument is wrong and that Christ did teach that He is really present in the Eucharist, will you come back to the Catholic Church?” Mark’s sermon stops in mid syllable. He grins and shakes his head. “There is no way you can prove that from the Bible. And besides, you’re a Catholic. Your doctrines don’t come from the Bible, anyway.”

Your response:

“Well, we’ll see about that. But please answer my question. If I can show you from the Bible that the Catholic teaching is true, will you come back to the Church?” “Heck yeah,” he snorts, confident your proposition is one he can’t lose. “Go ahead and try. But first, answer me this: In John 10:1, Jesus said He is a ‘door.’ Do you believe He has hinges and a doorknob on His body? In John 15:1, Jesus said He is a ‘vine.’ Do you take Him literally there? If not, why do you take His words literally in John 6 where He talked about His flesh and blood being like food and drink? You Catholics are inconsistent.”

Step One:

Explain that if Jesus was not speaking literally in John 6 (“My flesh is real food; My blood is true drink,” etc.), He would have been a poor teacher. After all, everyone listening to Him speak those words understood that He meant them literally. They responded, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” In the cases of Jesus saying He is a “door” or a “vine,” we find no one asking, “How can this man be a door made out of wood?” or, “How can this man claim to be a plant?” It was clear from the context and the Lord’s choice of words in those passages that He was speaking metaphorically. But in John 6 He was speaking literally. In John 6:41, the Jews “murmured” about Christ’s teaching precisely because it was so literal. Christ certainly knew they were having difficulty imagining that He was speaking literally, but rather than explain His meaning as simply a metaphor, He emphasized His teaching, saying, “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). Why would Christ reinforce the literal sense in the minds of His listeners if He meant His words figuratively? Now point out how the Lord dealt with other situations where His listeners misunderstood the meaning of His words. In each case, He cleared up the misunderstanding. For example, the disciples were confused about His statement, “I have meat to eat that you know not of” (John 4:32). They thought he was speaking about physical food, real meat. But He quickly cleared up the misunderstanding with the clarification, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, that I may perfect his work” (Matt. 4:34; cf. 16:5-12). Back to John 6. Notice that the Jews argued among themselves about the meaning of Christ’s words. He reiterated the literal meaning again: “Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you” (verses 53-54). In verse 61 we see that no longer was it just the wider audience but “the disciples” themselves who were having difficulty with this radical statement. Surely, if Christ were speaking purely symbolically, it’s reasonable to expect that He would clear up the difficulty even if just among His disciples. But He doesn’t. He stands firm and asks, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?” (Verse 62-63). Did Christ “symbolically” ascend into heaven after the Resurrection? No. As we see in Acts 1:9-10, His ascension was literal. This is the one and only place in the New Testament where people abandon Christ over one of His teachings. Rather than try to correct any mistaken understanding of His words, the Lord asks His Apostles, “Do you also want to leave?” (verse 67). His Apostles knew He was speaking literally. St. Paul emphasizes the truth of the Real Presence: “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord . . . .Whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Cor. 11:27-29). If the Eucharist is merely a symbol of the Lord’s body and blood, then St. Paul’s words here make no sense. For how can one be “guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” if it’s merely a symbol? This Greek phrase for being “guilty of someone’s body and blood” (enokos estai tou somatos kai tou haimatos tou kuriou) is a technical way of saying “guilty of murder.” If the Eucharist is merely a symbol of Christ, not Christ Himself, this warning would be drastically, absurdly overblown.

Step Two:

Next point out the fact that the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Holy Eucharist was a doctrine believed and taught unanimously by the Church since the time of Christ. The Catholic “literal” sense was always and only the sense in which the early Christians understood Christ’s words in John 6. The “figurative” or “metaphorical” sense was never held by the Church Fathers or other early orthodox Christians. This can be proven not just by appealing to the writings of the Fathers, but also by the fact that ancient Christian traditions such as the Copts and the Orthodox Churches also hold and teach the doctrine of the Real Presence, just as the Catholic Church does. St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of St. John the Apostle and successor of St. Peter as bishop of Antioch, wrote: “They [the heretics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again” (Epistle to the Smyrnaeans 6 [A.D. 107]).

Even Martin Luther himself admitted that the early Church was unanimous in the literal interpretation of Christ’s words in John 6: “Who, but the devil, hath granted such license of wresting the words of holy Scripture? Who ever read in the Scriptures that my body is the same as the sign of my body?. . . It is only the devil, that imposeth upon us by these fanatical men. . .Not one of the Fathers, though so numerous, ever spoke [thus] . . . they are all of them unanimous.”

Step Three:

You can make your case another way. Say, for the sake of argument, that Christ intended His words in John 6 to be understood metaphorically. Even if this were granted, the anti-Catholic argument your cousin Mark is using still falls apart. Here’s why: The phrases “eat flesh” and “drink blood” did indeed have a symbolic meaning in the Hebrew language and culture of our Lord’s time. You can demonstrate this by quoting passages such as Psalm 27:1-2, Isaiah 9:18-20, Isaiah 49:26, Micah 3:3, and Revelation 17:6,16. In each case, we find “eating flesh” and “drinking blood” used as metaphors to mean “to persecute,” “to do violence to,” “to assault,” or “to murder.” Now, if Christ were speaking metaphorically, the Jews would have understood him to be making an absured statement: “Unless you persecute and assault Me, you shall not have life in you. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you do violence to Me and kill Me, you shall not have life within you.” Besides being an absurd understanding of these words, there’s one further problem with the “metaphorical” view: Jesus would have been encouraging- exhorting!- His hearers to commit violent mortal sins. If it were immoral, in any sense, for Christ to promise to give us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink, then he could not have command us to even symbolically eat and drink His body and blood. Even symbolically performing an immoral act is of its very nature immoral. You can see your explanations are hitting home, but you’re not done yet. Mark still has a few arguments left. “Look,” he sighs. “You haven’t convinced me. After all, Jesus Himself said in John 6:63 that He wasn’t speaking literally: ‘It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.’ How do you get around that?”

Your response:

The word “spirit” (Greek: pnuema) is never used anywhere in Scripture to mean “symbolic.” John 4:24 says God is “spirit” (pneuma). Does that mean He is “symbolic?” Hebrews 1:14 tells us that angels are “spirit” (pneuma). Are angels merely symbols? Of course not. You can multiply the examples of the constant use of the word “spirit” as a literal, not figurative, reality. Now point out that sarx, the Greek term for “flesh,” is sometimes used in the New Testament to describe the condition of our fallen human nature apart from God’s grace. For example, St. Paul says that if we are “in the flesh,” we cannot please God (cf. Rom. 8:1-14). He also reminds us that, “the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it because it is judged spiritually” (1 Cor. 2:14). Remind Mark that it doesn’t require grace to look at Communion as just grape juice and crackers. It does, however, require faith and “spiritual judgment” to see and believe Christ’s promise that He would give us His body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearances of bread and wine. The one who is “in the flesh,” operating in the realm of mere natural understanding, won’t see this truth. Your cousin has a comeback ready. “But Jesus says, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.’ I believe this means that coming to Him is what He really means by “eating” and believing in Him is what He really means by “drinking.” Not so. Point out that “coming to” and “believing in” Christ are definite requirements for having this life He promises, but not the only ones. It would, after all, be a sacrilege to receive the Eucharist without believing (cf. 1 Cor. 11:27-29). But this doesn’t erase the fact that Christ repeatedly said, “My flesh is real food, and My blood is real drink.” This literal dimension of the passage can’t be explained away by appealing to “coming” and “believing.” To do that would be to make the mistake of focusing solely on just one aspect of the Lord’s teaching and ignoring the rest of it. Mark is starting to look a little uncomfortable. You’re still smiling. He’s not. “Wait!” he says. “Leviticus 17:10 condemns eating blood. There’s no way Jesus would contradict this. He would have been encouraging cannibalism if He really meant for us to eat His body and drink His blood. That would be immoral.”

Step Four:

Acknowledge that Leviticus 17:10 indeed condemns “eating blood.” Then say, “If we’re going to be consistent with the Levitical Law, then we must also perform animal sacrifices – lambs, pigeons, turrtledoves- according to Leviticus 12:8. But as Christians, we are not under the Levitical Law. We’re under the ‘law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus'” (Rom. 8:2). Hebrews 7:11-12 tells us the Levitical Law has passed away with the advent of the New Covenant. A New Testament commandment always abrogates an Old Testament commandment. For example, in Matthew 5, the Lord repeatedly uses the formula, “You have heard that it was said (quoting an Old Testament law), But I say unto you . . .” In each instance, Christ supercedes the Old Testament law with a new commandment of His own, such as the commandment against divorce and remarriage, overagainst Moses’ allowance for it in Deuteronomy 24:1 (cf. Matt. 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). This is what we see in John 6. The blood prohibition in Leviticus 17:11-12 was replaced by Christ’s new teaching in John 6:54: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall have no life in you.” Eating blood was prohibitted in the Old Testament, “Because the life of the flesh is found in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). Blood is sacred and the life of each creature is in its blood. Many pagans thought they could acquire “more” life by ingesting the blood of an animal or even a human being. But obviously this was foolish. No animal or human person has the capacity to do this. But in the case of Christ, it’s different. John 6:54 tells us that our eternal life depends on His blood: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall have no life in you.”

Step Five:

By now Cousin Mark has run out of things to say. Rather than hold him to his promise to become Catholic on the spot, give him a hug, tell him you’re praying for his return to the Church and that he’s always welcome to come home. Then go get another helping of Aunt Mary’s potato salad. You’ve earned it.

Thought Of Day…

Posted: November 24, 2010 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

As I was reflecting on why it is so difficult for one to remain holy.

 

For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.

Wisdom 4:12

 

And then I was led to this passage….

 

For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy, but the mighty will be mightily tested.

Wisdom 6:6