Monday, July 22, 2013

Contra the politicization of Christianity

A great post by Rebecca Hamilton on Patheos regarding the ongoing efforts of Christians to align Christ to their favorite ideologies:
 Before Christians can engage the larger culture they’ve first got to be all-in for Jesus. That appears to be a major stumbling block for a lot of people. These ridiculous designations of “conservative” and “progressive” Christians are a symptom and an expression of just how far away we are from actually following Christ, or even taking Him seriously at all.

In today’s America, “conservative” and “progressive” are political terms. If we were being honest, we’d just dispense with those terms and say what we mean. On the one side we have people who twist the Gospels to justify themselves for following right wing politics instead of following Jesus, and on the other side, we have people who twist the Gospels to justify themselves for following left wing politics instead of following Jesus.

They are, both of them, following the world instead of following Jesus. And they are claiming that Jesus not only supports them in this, but He is following them.
Read the rest over there.

But before you go, listen to this music video that accurately captures my sentiments on the matter:

For the 'Super Cool' File - Baby declared dead ‘comes back to life’ after being placed on chapel altar

via LifeSiteNews:

Family members and medical personnel at a hospital in Lindrina, Brazil, say they are stunned after a baby declared dead apparently came back to life after being placed on the altar in the hospital’s chapel.

According to local news sources, Yasmin Gomes was born premature earlier this month, and almost immediately stopped breathing. Doctors attempted for nearly an hour to revive the girl, who weighed only 2.6 pounds, but after their attempts failed they declared the baby dead and issued a death certificate.

The altar where the little girl lay for three hours, before being discovered to be alive.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

May God continue to bless the Carmelite Sisters!

On the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16) the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles had two sisters make their first professions and four young women enter into the novitiate.

See the slideshows for the first professions and entrance into the novitiate on their website!

I can tell you from personal experience that these are a group of wonderful, faithful women who are a true blessing to the Church. All four of my children attended the preschool that they used to have here in the Antelope Valley. The witness of these dedicated disciples who always wore a habit and a smile even in the 100+ degree heat of the Mojave desert was an inspiration to me and was an instrumental part of my journey from catechumen to clergyman. There is no way that God could ever reward them enough for the blessings that they have brought to me and my family.

So, Te Deum Laudamus on on their new growth:

First Professions
Sister Gianna, OCD
Sister Maria Goretti, OCD

New Novices
Gabriela Batres (now Sister Maria Augustine of the Holy Family, OCD)
Cygnet Custodio (now Sister Anita Mary of the Blessed Trinity, OCD)
Melissa Ponce (now Sister Luisa Graciela of the Holy Eucharist, OCD)
Noemy Bañuelos (now Sister Marianna of the Heart of Christ, OCD)

Seven more for the Kingdom of God

I had the great grace of celebrating the monthly infant baptisms today at our parish, Sacred Heart in Lancaster, CA. I an happy to report that there are now seven new new members of the body of Christ--members who bring with them the innocence, hope and joy that come with childhood.

Now, at first glance seven little ones being baptized doesn't seem like a very newsworthy event. When we talk or write about 'events' in the Church we tend to focus on the comings and goings of the Holy Father, things said and done by the cardinals, gossip from the Roman curia, etc. Seven baptisms in a parish in the middle of the Mojave desert doesn't seem like a big deal.

It just goes to show how far we are away from God's way of seeing.

All of the various goings-on in the Church are interesting, yet the scriptures say that the holy angels rejoice over the salvation of human souls (Lk.15:10). Jesus rebukes the disciples for not recognizing the value of little children (Mk. 10:13-16) and he insists that it is even with the least of disciples that the forces and powers of the heavenly kingdom are most concerned:
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father." (Mt. 18:10)
So, let us rejoice with the angels and the saints in paradise! Seven new souls have begun their relationship with God, have been joined to Christ Jesus, have been filled with the Holy Spirit!

In the order of grace, this is the very definition of big news.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"We are accompanied and supported by the Angels of God"

Pope Emeritus Benedict joined Pope Francis on July 5th in consecrating Vatican City to St. Michael the Archangel during a blessing of a statue of St. Michael in the Vatican Gardens:

An excerpt from the Holy Father's address:
"We are not alone on the journey or in the trials of life, we are accompanied and supported by the Angels of God, who offer, so to speak, their wings to help us overcome so many dangers, in order to fly high compared to those realities that can weigh down our lives or drag us down. In consecrating Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel, I ask him to defend us from the evil one and banish him."
Read the whole text on the Vatican Radio site.

JPII's Second Miracle

From a LaStampa article comes the story of Blessed Pope John Paul II's second miracle, a woman with an inoperable brain aneurysm who was completely healed after appealing to for the pontiff's intercession during his beatification ceremony:
Floribeth has not felt any pain in her head since. And never will.  “A visit to the neurologist and two MRI scans later (one on 11 November 2011 and one on 16 May 2012), the aneurysm has completely disappeared and the woman has made a full recovery.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Drama of Sin and Redemption

...played out almost as 'participatory theater':

I baptized my very first person yesterday and it was an event that I won't soon forget. I was out at the Challenger Memorial Youth Center and one of the young men scheduled to depart this next week had been preparing for baptism. The plan was to baptize him during our weekly communion service. I was able to execute that plan, but just barely.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sermon for First Friday Holy Hour - Interior Freedom

Below is the text of the sermon I gave tonight at our monthly First Friday Holy Hour on interior freedom. For your reference the readings used were the 'wondrous river' passage from Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47:1-9) and the 'rich young man' passage from Matthew's Gospel (Mt. 19:16-30). Also, in the interest of authorial honesty, the portions in brackets were taken with minimal modification from a great little article called "True Freedom is Interior" by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J. on Homiletic and Pastoral Review (because borrowing things for sermons is what homiletics magazines are for!)