Man is endangering both himself and the world!

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“Man is in any case incapable of mastering history by his own power. Man is clearly in danger, and he is endangering both himself and the world; we could even say we have scientific evidence of this. Man can be saved only when moral energies gather strength in his heart; energies that can come only from the encounter with God; energies of resistance.

We therefore need him, the Other, who helps us be what we ourselves cannot be; and we need Christ, who gathers us into a communion that we call the Church.” – Papa Benedict XVI

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Isn’t Christmas on December 25th a continuation of the pagan holiday?

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December 25th was indeed a pagan holiday. In ancient ages many new converts yielded to temptation to keep that feast. It seems that Christian leaders endeavored to counteract that practice by giving believers a Christian festival on the same day, celebrating the birth of Christ. Some churches in our day conduct special banquets or other attractions for their high school seniors on the night of the senior prom for much the same motive. Certainly the celebration of Christmas is not a continuation of the pagan holiday. It is a unique Christian observance hailing the birth of Jesus Christ.

Moreover, December 25 is especially fitting in that it comes four days after the winter solstice. As the days grow longer with more light, Christians rejoice in the hope of the world in the birth of him who called himself the Light of the World. G. H. Montgomery wrote, “Church leaders saw in the birth of Jesus a triumph of light over darkness, spring over winter and of life over death. What more appropriate time could have been selected to commemorate the birth of the Man whose life, teachings and vicarious death were to change the trends of history, cause light to shine out of darkness and offer light to those who dwell in the valley of death! It will be good to keep these things in mind as you observe Christmas.”

God isn’t against Christmas. God is in favor of Christmas—of the proper observance of the holiday, that is. God planned and executed the first Christmas. No matter how flagrantly men may abuse this holiday, they cannot rob devout believers of its wonder and glory as expressed by the angel of old, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10, 11).

Ref# Raymond L. Cox., Answers In Action.

December 25th is the wrong date for Christmas.

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Probably it is. There is one chance in 365 (or 366 if Jesus was born, as some suppose, in a leap year) that the date is correct. But because we do not know the date, must we ignore Christ’s birth? We don’t know for sure in what year Jesus came. Yet we mark our calendars according to anno domini (AD). We do know for sure that Jesus was not born in the year one of the Christian era, for Herod the Great died in what we call 4 BC! Shall we junk our calendars and stop keeping track of dates just because the year marked AD is incorrect?

Jesus’ birth probably did not take place in December. But those who insist it could not have taken place in December go too far. They argue that shepherds could not have been in their fields as it was the height of the rainy season. However, weather is a variable quantity and the Palestinian climate is quite mild. The particular December—if it was December—could have been a warm, rather dry, month. But what if Jesus was born instead in January, March, April or October, as has been suggested? Would that make God object to the observance on December 25?

Secular events are sometimes observed on dates different from their occurrences. England’s late King George VI annually proclaimed a date in June for the celebration of his birthday, but he was born on December 14th. His people did not rebel, because they celebrated his birth and not just its date!

Ref# Raymond L. Cox, Answers In Action

Is God against Christmas?

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What’s wrong with the use of the word Christmas?

The ecumenical atmosphere which seems prevalent in many religious circles today tends to muffle this objection, but it will be heard this year and next and probably for a long time to come. The objection to the name pertains to its derivation. Christmas is obnoxious to some because it represents the combination of two words, “Christ” and “mass.” The word means “the mass of Christ.”

But what does “mass” really mean in the compound word Christmas? Any authoritative dictionary will reveal that the English term mass evolved from the Anglo-Saxon word maesse, which derived in turn from the Latin missa, which is a form of the verb mittere, which means “to send.”

Consequently, the root meaning of Christ-mass is “to send Christ,” or “Christ is sent.”

Is God against describing the coming of His son with a word meaning “Christ is sent”? Did not Paul refer to Immanuel’s incarnation as the sending of Christ? “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman…” (Galatians 4:4). Moreover, the Savior spoke often of “him who sent me.” There is nothing inherently obnoxious in the name Christmas. The term accurately represents what the holiday is all about or should be—the sending of Christ.

Ref# Raymond L. Cox.

WHY DO WE CALL PRIESTS ‘FATHER’?

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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

God’s hands are hands that are wounded from love.

God’s hands are hands that are wounded from love. I could never imagine those hands giving us a slap, Never. Never.

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“Our God, like a Father with his child, teaches us to walk, teaches us to walk along the path of life and salvation. It’s God’s hands who caress us in our moments of pain and who comforts us. God’s hands are hands that are wounded from love. I could never imagine those hands giving us a slap, Never. Never. Even when he scolds us, he does it with a caress.” – Papa Francis

The strength and honor of the family

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The strength and honor of the family come above all from within, from union with Christ which gives power to manifest in daily living the beautiful family virtues of patience, energy, generosity, forbearance, cheerfulness, and mutual reverence with their consequent effect of peace and contentment.
– Ref# Christ in Home