Hating Jesus

Christ mocked by a soldier Bloch

 If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.
John 15:18-19

The ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion
Laudato Si’ 217

Looking at many of the reactions to the encyclical ‘on care for our common home’ by Pope Francis I began to wonder ‘what is meant by the world hating Jesus and His followers and why is  this hatred felt?’ Given the widespread welcome given to the document outside of rigidly conservative and rigidly liberal circles (one group wishes to go on polluting the other wants to impose artificial sterility on poor people) this may seem like a perverse subject to reflect upon at this time. I am reminded, however, of the time when a fiery sermon by St John Chrysostom against the practice of applauding in church was greeted with a standing ovation by the congregation. Individual propositions by Christ and His Church can be warmly welcomed but the whole package cannot be accepted without the profound interior conversion of which the Holy Father spoke. And it is the determination to resist conversion that is at the root of hatred to Jesus and those who faithfully follow Him. As our Lord put it Himself‘Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters’ (Lk 11:23)

To begin at the beginning, a very formidable and exceptionally varied coalition was formed to oppose Jesus during the time of His mission. It is easy at this distance to think that what united His opponents was greater than what divided them but really except on this one subject they were completely with odds with each other about almost everything. American Democrats and Republicans are more in harmony with each other than the enemies of our Lord were. From the Gospel we can see that His opponents included the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, the High Priestly party and the Roman occupying power. Each of these groups had a distinct agenda and priorities which excluded those of their rivals. The followers of Jesus were mostly the anawim, the humble poor, who were either poor in fact or, like Joseph of Arimathea, poor in spirit. What is significant for our purposes was that it was possible for people to be anawim and Pharisee or anawim and Sadducee or even anawimand Roman and so on. The key to being a follower of our Lord was not outward allegiance but inward conversion. click here to read more

Waiting on the Lord! Tick-Tock!

patience 2

Waiting on the Lord can be tough at times, especially in times of stress. Waiting on the Lord to provide sustenance, or direction, can seem like suffering in itself. Whether it is periods of unemployment, or waiting for medical results, the clock ticks slowly and it is easy for impatience to surface.

Patience requires an ability to corral our emotions, exercising composure and self-control (another virtue and fruit of the Holy Spirit). Saint Francis de Sales stated it best regarding why we should embrace patience, when he said:

…the more perfect our patience, the more perfectly do we possess our… Read more…

Patience in an Up-Tempo World

Patience-is-a-virtue

Patience in an up-tempo world – what a contradiction! The technology advances of the 20th century created an expectation for obtaining things NOW. With that, the virtue of patience seems to have fallen by the wayside. Does anyone even remember what it was like to be patient? Remember when you had to wait for the new school year to start to get some new clothes and shoes? Or do you remember waiting until your birthday to get that toy you really wanted? Or best yet, do you remember in the “olden” days when you actually waited until you saved… Read more…

Five Steps to Conquering Fear

conquering fear

Fear has no place in the heart, because it doesn’t come from God. Fear is used by the devil to keep us from doing God’s will. The devil will attempt to make us doubt our abilities, especially the ability to be courageous. How do we effectively shut the devil out and listen only to God? How do we become courageous?

We start with these five steps:

Pray

Ask the Lord to make His presence known to you in your heart; so that you know He is always with you, and will never leave you. “Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen… Read more…

“You Have Cast Off the Weight; Beware, Lest the Sand Overwhelm You”

Let’s consider a Bible passage from Matthew 9:9-13…

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 10 While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. 11 The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. 13 Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

From what we know about what Jesus taught, there is one thing we can never forget:

  • Major Premise: Jesus came to call the sinners, not the righteous.
  • Minor Premise: Jesus came to call us.
  • Conclusion: Therefore, We are sinners.

If we forget this fact, then we run the risk of becoming like the Pharisees, looking upon others as sinners, but giving no thought to our own sins.

Continued HERE

Be Not Afraid! Have Courage!

Be not afraid

Be Not Afraid! Have Courage! Not so easy? You ask, “Why should I be the one who acts so courageous? Look around! You don’t see anyone else stepping up to the plate!”

Hmm…need I say more? If no one acted courageously, and set the example for others to follow, we would all be swallowed up in fear – and fear comes from the devil. When you lack courage and you are aware of what makes you afraid, it is incumbent upon you to face those fears.

For me, I am afraid to take risks for fear of failure. If I… Read more…

Bloom Where You Grow

There are a couple of flower boxes on our back deck railing. Anyone who has cats knows what that means – anything growing there has to be pretty persistent or it will be crushed under the furry bellies of our lounging feline friends. In fact, for the past couple of summers we haven’t even bothered to plant anything in them.

That’s where a delicate salmon-colored poppy comes into the story. Even though the parent plants are far below – on the ground below this raised deck – somehow a tiny seed made it to the soil in one of the flower boxes. Not only did it make it, it germinated, set down roots, and has been beautifully blooming for a few days now.

What can we learn from this persistent, lovely little plant?

We aren’t always where we thought we’d be in our lives. Maybe we don’t even want to be where we are at all. It’s easy to focus on an idealistic image of if only. In this imaginary, perfect world we would be saints, may be successful (in a worldly way), or admired by all. Every effort would reap the anticipated reward and failure would only come if we didn’t try hard enough – or didn’t have enough faith.

Yet scripture tells us that we will be tested. That our trials – and how we handle them – will shine a light for others to see. We can become the salt for them and the leaven for their spiritual bread.

Matthew 5:13-16
13“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. 14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

It isn’t always ours to choose where life leads us but it is our choice when it comes to how we react. When life hands us an unexpected detour from our search for perfection, we should choose to react with grace. As a sweet little lady used to tell me,

Bloom Where You Grow smaller file size

“We need to bloom where we grow”.

Wherever God has planted us that is our place to shine – to shine with His love and compassion and faithful service. Then we will be headed down the road of success – and toward sainthood!

Courage Cannot Be Denied!

Sts Peter and Paul

Courage cannot be denied! Think about that for a moment. Other people can deny you love, joy and peace, but no one can take courage away from you. That is because courage is found only from within. Solely by the grace of God, you have courage when you need it.

When I think of courageous people, I first think of martyrs; from the earliest Christians, like the Apostles, to the persecuted Christians of today. They all have one thing in common, the persecutors robbed them of their physical freedom and took their lives because they were… Read more…

 

Thoughts on the Love of Truth vs. Sophistry

The love of truth requires a person to find out what is true about a thing in its very nature, responding to that truth in approaching life. But many people are not actually willing to do this. They want to stop searching at the level where they are content—especially if continuing to follow the truth means an uncomfortable change of how one lives. This approach to life is known as Sophistry—which is the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of justifying a position contrary to an unpopular truth.

The difference between the two outlooks are polar opposites. One seeks to find out what is. The other seeks to justify himself or herself in the eyes of others. When shown that his or her position is wrong, the Sophist tends to become hostile—seeing the demonstration as a personal attack on their comfortable little world, and even an attack on the person. It is important to remember, however, that sophistry is not something exclusive to one ideology—where one side is always seeking the truth and the other side seeks to deceive. Anyone of us can become a sophist if we stop searching for truth when it makes uncomfortable or even try to justify ourselves against truth.

[Continued HERE]

Moral Disconnect Regarding Sex

Moral Disconnect

Moral disconnects regarding sex exist between God and man as a result of individualism, autonomy secularism, and concupiscence. Today, we are bombarded from all four fronts; fighting a moral battle within. Let’s start this discussion by first defining the four terms:

Individualism

“…there is a tendency to grant to the individual conscience the prerogative of independently determining the criteria of good and evil and then acting accordingly. Such an outlook is quite congenial to an individualist ethic, wherein each individual is faced with his own truth, different from the truth of others.” 1

Autonomy

“…the right to determine what… Read more…