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Friday, November 17, 2017

False prophets

I am going to stretch my hand over the prophets who have empty visions and give lying predictions; they will not be admitted to the council of my people, their names will not be entered in the Book of the House of Israel, they will not set foot on the soil of Israel; and you will learn that I am the Lord, since they have misled my people by saying: Peace! when there is no peace.

Instead of my people rebuilding the wall, these men come and slap on plaster. Tell these plasterers: It will rain hard, it will hail, it will blow a gale, and down will come the wall. Will not people ask: Where is the plaster you slapped on it? Well then, the Lord says this: I am going to unleash a stormy wind in my anger, torrential rain in my wrath, hailstones in my destructive fury. I mean to shatter the wall you slapped with plaster, to throw it down and lay its foundations bare. It will fall and you will perish under it; and so you will learn that I am the Lord.

-- Ezekiel 13:1-16

"The truth will set you free." Do people still know this saying? How can they when they do not believe in objective truth? They prefer putty. It had become a matter of what one can get away with claiming. People in authority treat and invent theories and claims as mere commodity to buy and to profit by, labeling them "truth." It will all be for nothing, but in the meantime, our children are collateral damage, victims of lies and deception.

How long, O Lord? How long?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Kingdom of Heaven begins for us here below

The reign of God I will show you clearly that you must receive the whole Kingdom of Heaven here below if you also want to enter into it after your death. Listen to God speaking to you in parables: “To what shall I compare the reign of God? Listen well. It is like mustard seed which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and in truth, it became a large tree.” That seed is the Kingdom of Heaven, it is the grace of the divine Spirit, and the garden is the heart of each human being, where the one who has received the seed conceals the Spirit in the depths of his being, in his most inward parts, so that no one might see it. And he watches over it with all his care so that it might grow, so that it might become a tree that rises up towards heaven. So if you say, “It is not here below that all who have fervently desired the Kingdom will receive it, but after death,” you are overthrowing the words of our Savior God. And if you don’t take the seed, that mustard seed, as he said, if you don’t sow it in your garden, you will remain completely sterile. At what other moment will you receive the seed if not now? The Master says: “Here below, receive the deposit; here below, receive the seal. Light your lamp already here below. If you are sensible, I will become the pearl for you here below (Mt 13:45); here below, I am your wheat and like a mustard seed. Here below, I become leaven for you and I make your dough rise. Here below, I am for you like water and I become a soothing fire. Here below, I become your garment and your food and all your drink, if you desire this.” That is what the Master says. “Thus, if already here below, you acknowledge me as such, you will possess me there as well in an ineffable way, and I will become everything for you.”

-- Symeon the New Theologian (c.949-1022), Greek monk, saint of the Orthodox churches

From DailyGospel.Org for today's gospel commentary

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

God is Not Nice

Interesting title and theme for this book. Up there with "Reality Bites" (the expression), I think. Must get my hands on it. God is not nice perhaps but he is perfectly good.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

when anyone preaches to you without mentioning Jesus Christ

do not let the congregation of God be blasphemed because of the behaviour of a few foolish persons. For Woe to him who makes anyone blaspheme my name without a cause.   Be deaf therefore when anyone preaches to you without mentioning Jesus Christ, who was of the family of David, who was truly born of Mary, who truly ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth; who was also truly raised from the dead, when his Father raised him up — just as his Father will raise us up, believers in Christ Jesus without whom we have no true life.

-- From St Ignatius of Antioch's letter to the Trallians

Friday, October 06, 2017

If God is no longer important...

.. the criteria for establishing what is important is displaced.

"In the consciousness of the people of today, the things of God and thus of the liturgy do not appear at all urgent. There is an urgency about every possible thing. But the matter of God does not seem to be urgent."

Perhaps it is a matter of perspective. God is the only foundational perspective, as he is the only firm foundation. What can happen to a building or some framework without a firm foundation?

Anything, of course.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Please pass the grace

Just in time for the great marriage debate in Australia today, Bishop Robert Barron writes up, in good news fashion, comparing Grace with Karma. Read it twice. Better yet, listen to his podcast of it (Word on Fire). He did not have our current issues in mind, but I think this is a challenge for Christians in Australia: how are we doing in the debate about same sex marriage today? If all we are about is condemnation, fire, brimstone and no, no, and no, then we're not preaching good news. We'd be talking at the other side, not dialogue at all. Instead, I think we should pass the grace on and say:

Here is the Christian institution of Marriage. These are the gifts flowing from it. This is the grace of God in action through families built on this version of Marriage. It is indissoluble, built as a total, exclusive self-giving as exemplified by Christ for his bride, the Church (us). It is fruitful if we die to ourselves and live for each other. We don't always get it right, and it's not easy, but when we get it right, it's pretty good, and it makes us better people. We build families this way, where our children learn about love, patience, kindness, delighting in one another, creatively rich in our diversity - yes, a man and a woman, united as one body. We all learn resilience and support for one another amidst challenges. We learn and practice forgiveness over and over again because we are not perfect, and marriage, and our kids, teach us that about ourselves. They also give is every opportunity to get it right (eventually). Day by day, at each episode, with each drama we find ourselves in, this develops our character. The civilization we enjoy today was built on this institution. It has tamed our barbarous ways. We've been making a hash of things because we've trashed marriage and family in the last half-century. We can get things right again if we go back to how it was instituted in the beginning. This is the grace of Christian marriage. It is built on firm foundation, unassailably beautiful in physical form, philosophy and theology.

We are not screaming "no" at you (on the other side). We are inviting you to consider our "yes" to all the above.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Matthew 22:34-40:

Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. 

Why is the command to love God the first command? It isn't because he needs anything from us. Why should adults secure their own oxygen masks in an airplane emergency before helping others? Because if we're not alright, we're no good to others. To love God above anything with everything we've got is to get our ideals right, to set a real foundation for what our life will be about. First off, what is truth? Next, what does it truly mean to love? Knowing God will teach us that because God is Truth and God is Love. Truth is reasonable, so it is not whimsical, and can be grasped with or reason. Truth can be objectively known, and is not subject to contradictory opinion. Truth can be tested, and is a necessary foundation for everything else that follows. And Love.. Love is a verb. It does not rely on arbitrarily changing moods and emotions. It is to will the good of someone else, and act accordingly. It is not self-seeking, for if everyone loves like that, then we are reduced to beasts.

Let's get back to basics. If we don't build our lives on God, anything we build will come to absolutely nothing.