Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Least in the Kingdom of Heaven

"Amen I say to you, among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is." (Matthew 11:11)

Saint John the Baptist is by far my favorite Saint.  I strive to imitate him in my unique situation in life.  For clarity in regards to his life, quality, virtues and works I recommend reading Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich's visions.  

This teaching of Jesus has always been a bit enigmatic to me, however this morning at Mass I seemed to have had a moment of clarity.  I think interpreters have tended to overthink this teaching.  Surely we can assume that Mary and Jesus Himself are excluded from this teaching since they both had miraculous conceptions and births as well as dignity and works that are in another league than anyone.  They are in one sense incomparable.  What I think Jesus is teaching here is that once one graduates to Heaven, sees God face to face, and so on, one is endowed with a certain dignity and power that cannot possibly be attained on this Earth as a member of the Church on Earth.  So even though John the Baptist was in his time the greatest and holiest among the active Church on Earth he is still not equvalent to even the least member of Heaven which of course included the Holy Angels at his time.  Jesus is providing a concept, a comparison of the unspeakable greatness of those with God in Heaven.  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hosea 8:7


They sow the wind, and so they will reap the whirlwind! The stalk does not have any standing grain; it will not produce any flour. Even if it were to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it all up. (Hosea 8:7)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Transform Them into His Majestic Warhorse (Zechariah 10:3)

For the household gods [televisions, computers, iphones, etc.] have spoken wickedness, the soothsayers [media personalities] have seen a lie, and as for the dreamers [gurus, commentators], they have disclosed emptiness and give comfort in vain. Therefore the people set out like sheep and become scattered because they have no shepherd. I am enraged at the shepherds [some priests, a few bishops and cardinals] and will punish the lead-goats [presidents, elite, etc.]. For the LORD who rules over all has brought blessing to his flock, the house of Judah, and will transform them into his majestic warhorse. From him will come the cornerstone [Jesus], the wall peg [Great Monarch], the battle bow, and every ruler. And they will be like warriors trampling the mud of the streets in battle. They will fight, for the LORD will be with them, and will defeat the enemy cavalry. (Zechariah 10:3, NET version)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Main Roman Road Connecting the Seven Churches of Asia

It is not clear why these seven were chosen to represent the whole church, though they are connected by being located on the main Roman road at intervals of about thirty or forty miles. ---(M. Eugene Boring, Revelation, p. 87)
The arrangement of the cities is geographically significant: the seven all lay on a main Roman road and formed a circuit, starting from Ephesus, the nearest to Patmos. (John Sweet, Revelation, John Sweet, p. 78)

That all seven cities chosen by Jesus to prophetically model the Church, were connected by a main Roman road is of great significance. This signifies that the whole Church on Earth, passing from generation to generation is unified, connected, and continued without fail by the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter, also called the Pope.  The Angel of each Church serves as a moniker, a collective noun, for every single Pope who led for the duration of each respective Church.  

The geographical circuit, starting with Ephesus and ending in Laodicea, prophetically mimics the full circle the Church will voyage from the First Coming of Jesus culminating in his Ascension to his Return, as well as conclusion in which God will wrap up world, even this Earth as we know it so to create a New Earth.        

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pope Francis on Rigidity

"But some of you might remember. You couldn’t even drink a drop of water. Not even that! And to brush your teeth, it had to be done in such a way that you didn’t swallow the water. But I myself as a young boy went to confession for having made the Communion, because I thought a drop of water had gone in. Is it true or no? It’s true. When Pius XII changed the discipline: ‘Ah, heresy! No! He touched the discipline of the Church.’ So many Pharisees were scandalized. So many. Because Pius XII had acted like Jesus: he saw the need of the people. ‘But the poor people, with such warmth.’ These priests who said three Masses, the last at one o’clock, after noon, fasting. The discipline of the Church. And these Pharisees [spoke about] ‘our discipline’ – rigid on the outside, but, as Jesus said of them, ‘rotting in the heart,’ weak, weak to the point of rottenness. Gloomy in the heart.” (Homily, December 15th, 2015)

This (is the) healthy realism of the Catholic Church: the Church never teaches us ‘or this or that.’ That is not Catholic. The Church says to us: ‘this and that.’ ‘Strive for perfectionism: reconcile with your brother. Do not insult him. Love him. And if there is a problem, at the very least settle your differences so that war doesn’t break out.’ This (is) the healthy realism of Catholicism. It is not Catholic (to say) ‘or this or nothing:’ This is not Catholic, this is heretical. Jesus always knows how to accompany us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal, He frees us from the chains of the laws' rigidity and tells us: ‘But do that up to the point that you are capable.’ And he understands us very well. He is our Lord and this is what he teaches us.” (Homily, September 6th, 2016)

And pointing out that the Jesus responded calling the leaders of the synagogue ‘hypocrites’, the Pope observed that this is an accusation Jesus often makes to those who follow the Law with rigidity. “The Law – he explained – was not drawn up to enslave us but to set us free, to make us God’s children”.

Concealed by rigidity, Pope Francis said, there is always something else! That’s why Jesus uses the word ‘hypocrites!’:

"Behind an attitude of rigidity there is always something else in the life of a person. Rigidity is not a gift of God. Meekness is; goodness is; benevolence is; forgiveness is. But rigidity isn’t!” he said.

In many cases, the Pope continued, rigidity conceals the leading of a double life; but, he pointed out, there can also be something pathological.

Commenting on the difficulties and suffering that afflict a person who is both rigid and sincere, the Pope said this is because they lack the freedom of God's children: “they do not know how to walk in the path indicated by God’s Law”.

“They appear good because they follow the Law; but they are concealing something else: either they are hypocritical or they are sick. And they suffer!” he said. (Homily, October 24th, 2016)








Monday, September 26, 2016

The Price of Orthodoxy

Here is an interesting thought from William Barclay's the Revelation of John in his section on the Church of Ephesus. Where Jesus says:
All the same I have this against you---that you have left your first love.

he comments


Much more likely this means that the first fine rapture of love for the brotherhood is gone. In the first days the members of the Church at Ephesus had really loved each other; dissension had never reared its head; the heart was ready to kindle and the hand ready to help. But something had gone wrong. It may well be that heresy-hunting had killed love and orthodoxy had been achieved at the price of fellowship. When that happens, orthodoxy has cost too much. All the orthodoxy in the world will never take the place of love.