Kindly do not divide the church or segregate her members.

divideJesus rebuked the Pharisees for knowing the commandments, but not implementing them in their lives. If they are not practicing what they say, not only do they not serve us, but they hurt : they deceive us , they make us believe that we have a beautiful home, but without a foundation.

A Christian word without Christ at its centre leads to vanity, to pride, power for the sake of power. Anyone who utters Christian words without putting them into practice hurts oneself and others, because they are based on pride and cause division in the Church.

Do well to examine our own consciences to see whether our Christian words are indeed Christ centred because when they are not, they divide us from ourselves and divide the Church.

Lord is our foundation.Our rock is Jesus Christ. The Lord, breaks down these people who believe themselves to be the Rock.  – Papa Francis

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THE NATIVITY

Thphoto0344e tradition of having a nativity scene or “crèche” was made popular by St. Francis of Assisi. It is a reproduction of the cave in Bethlehem with Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus in a manger, shepherds, angels, and animals. Each night during Advent, children are encouraged to place in the manger one piece of straw for each good deed done that day by a family member. This Advent tradition combines the spirit of conversion and the coming of Jesus. There is a blessing ceremony provided by the Church in the Book of Blessings for the crèche.

Ref# Fr. Hal Stockert, Fishnet
Ref# EWTN

Hurray! Pope issues first Apostolic Exhortation: Evangelii Gaudium

The Joy of GospelI was waiting so long for this. Over Joyed. Reading it!

“In strikingly direct and personal language, the Pope appeals to all Christians to bring about a “revolution of tenderness” by opening their hearts each day to God’s unfailing love and forgiveness. The great danger in today’s consumer society, he says, is “the desolation and anguish” that comes from a “covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience.” Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests , he warns, “there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.”As we open our hearts, the Pope goes on, so the doors of our churches must always be open and the sacraments available to all. The Eucharist, he says pointedly, “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” And he repeats his ideal of a Church that is “bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets” rather than a Church that is caught up in a slavish preoccupation with liturgy and doctrine, procedure and prestige. “God save us,” he exclaims, “from a worldly Church with superficial spiritual and pastoral trappings!” Urging a greater role for the laity, the Pope warns of “excessive clericalism” and calls for “a more incisive female presence in the Church”, especially “where important decisions are made.” …

Awesome!

After The Rain

aftertherainAfter the rain,
Buildings are like,
Boxes settled in sands,
Clean and neat.
Roads in front,
Shiny black velvet,
Banded with ivory.

Everything looks new,
The city is clean.
The city is fresh.
Sacrament of Penance
Is like this rain.
It cleanse my soul,
To make it fresh.
Pour this rain,
More and more
To make my soul,
Shining Pearl.

WHY DO WE CALL PRIESTS ‘FATHER’?

fathers

This question refers to Jesus’ teaching found in the Gospel of St. Matthew, when He said, “Do not call anyone on earth your father. Only one is your father, the One in heaven” (23:9).
Taken literally, we would have to wonder why we do use the title “Father” when Jesus seems to forbid it. First, we must remember the context of the passage. Jesus is addressing the hypocrisy of the scribes and the Pharisees—the learned religious leaders of Judaism. Our Lord castigates them for not providing good example; for creating onerous spiritual burdens for others with their various rules and regulations; for being haughty in exercising their office and for promoting themselves by looking for places of honor, seeking marks of respect and wearing ostentatious symbols. Basically, the scribes and Pharisees had forgotten that they were called to serve the Lord and those entrusted to their care with humility and generous spirit.

Given that context, Jesus says not to call anyone on earth by the title, “Rabbi,” “Father” or “Teacher,” in the sense of arrogating to oneself an authority which rests with God and of forgetting the responsibility of the title. Yes, as Jesus said, only the heavenly Father is the true Father, and the Messiah, the true teacher and rabbi.

Nevertheless, we do use these titles in common parlance: We call those who instruct us and others “teacher”; our male parent “father”; and Jewish religious leaders “rabbi.” Especially in a religious sense, those who serve the Lord and represent His authority, as a teacher, parent and especially a priest, must be mindful of exercising it diligently, humbly and courageously. To use this authority for self-aggrandizement is pure hypocrisy. Jesus said at the end of this passage, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”

Since the earliest times of our Church, we have used the title “Father” for religious leaders.

Bishops, who are the shepherds of the local Church community and the authentic teachers of the faith, were given the title “Father.” Actually, until about the year 400, a bishop was called “papa” for Father; this title was then restricted solely to addressing the Bishop of Rome, the successor of St. Peter, and in English was rendered “pope.”

In an early form of his rule, St. Benedict (d. c. 547) designated the title to spiritual confessors, since they were the guardians of souls. Moreover, the word “abbot,” denoting the leader in faith of the monastic community, is derived from the word abba, the Aramaic Hebrew word for father, but in the very familiar sense of “daddy.”

Later, in the Middle Ages, the term “father” was used to address the mendicant friars—like the Franciscans and Dominicans—since by their preaching, teaching and charitable works they cared for the spiritual and physical needs of all of God’s children. In more modern times, the heads of male religious communities, or even those who participate in ecumenical councils such as Vatican II, are given the title “father.” In the English-speaking world, addressing all priests as “Father” has become customary.

On a more personal note, the title for me is very humbling. As a priest, “Father” reminds me that I am entrusted with a grave responsibility by our Lord—His faithful people. Just as a father must nourish, instruct, challenge, correct, forgive, listen and sustain, the priest must meet the spiritual needs of those entrusted to his care, providing them with the nourishment of our Lord through the sacraments. He must preach the Gospel with fervor and conviction in accord with the mind of the Church, challenging all to continue on that path of conversion which leads to holiness. He must correct those who have erred but with mercy and compassion.

In the same spirit as the father with his prodigal son, the priest must reconcile sinners who have gone astray but seek a way back to God. As a father listens to his child, so must a priest listen to his spiritual children, providing counsel and consolation.

A priest must also be mindful of the “physical” needs of his flock—food, housing, clothing and education. While priests may be celibate, the words of our Lord to His Apostles ring true: “I give you My word, there is not one who has given up home, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children or property for Me and for the Gospel who will not receive in this present age a hundred times as many homes, brothers and sisters, mothers, children and property—and persecution besides—and in the age to come, everlasting life” (Mk 10:29-30).

All of us must pray for our priests, especially those that serve in our own parishes, that by God’s grace they may strive to fulfill the responsibility of being “Father.”
– Father William Saunders

The Joy of the Gospel – Evangelii Gaudium!

papafrancis

Francis Pope wrote his first apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium!

Next Sunday, 24th November, the day of closing the Year of Faith will hold a ‘Joyful’ moment. Papa Francis will deliver the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”. This is Papa’s first official document after the encyclical “Lumen Fidei”  (The light of faith) which he co-wrote with Papa Emeritus Benedict XVI. In his Exhortation, the Pope entrusts every baptised Catholic with the mission of becoming an evangeliser.

The Church is emphasizing on her mission and if you closely watch, the word ‘mission’ is booming in church. A  missionary boom is imminent. The missionary boats started sailing and are you in the same boat?

Do not die like my secular friends, evangelise someone somewhere before you die. I pray let this be a wake-up call for all sleepy, Catholics in maintenance mode.

I am dedicating this post to all my friends and bloggers with the name ‘Joy’ because ‘Gaudium Evangelii’ means ‘The Joy of the Gospel’