St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Bible: Romans #18

In the Last article dealing with the book of Romans, we see how patriotism is important and even virtuous. The law of the land is to be upheld by all Christians for the good of society. St John Bosco once said, “Many people [in authority] oppose us, persecute us, and would even like to destroy us, but we must be patient. As long as their commands are not against our conscience, let us obey them, but when the case is otherwise, let us uphold the rights of the Church, for those are superior to all earthly authority”. This is pretty sound advice and is steeped in catholic tradition. It is what the first Christians did up through the conversion of Rome.
Verse seven talks about giving what is due to others, be it government or individuals. But verse eight recognizes something greater and even more “primary” as the theologians may put it. Love demands that we ourselves fulfill the law of God, which is superior than man’s law. If we love a person, we would never think of offending that person. When I was a child, I was so afraid to sin against my mom. I knew my mom loved me and I would have been crushed if I had done something that offended her. Love does not demand it from others, it demands it from ourselves. It is the purest form of strength.
I have heard many people say that if you want to work for peace, work for justice. There is wisdom in this saying, but it will always come short of any lasting peace. If everybody demanded and got justice, strictly speaking, it might be a brutal world and a lot more people may be in jail. But Jesus has found a way where justice and mercy have met. Combined, justice and mercy, and only understood being together do they produce virtue. This is because love is the motivation of mercy and therefore fulfills the law. That is why forgiveness is not letting somebody get by with something (complacency) and justice is not revenge.
Verse eleven recognizes the motivation of love to do God’s holy will. It also recognizes that our faith also demands that we do God’s holy will. We have faith in those we love, or at least that is what normally should happen in God’s design. This is particularly true with our love for God. If we trust God, It is much easier to do His will. But to shed off the old self, it takes more than faith, it takes love. It is our love for Him that would make us give up coffee, alcohol, chocolate, sugar or any other comforts we like. In a husband, it is love for his wife that makes him go to the opera, not faith in her. It takes love for her husband that makes her go to the game with him, not faith in him. It is love that makes grandma go to the school activities, not faith in the grandchildren.
Paul’s challenge is what are we willing to do for Jesus? It was His love for us that motivated Him to die on the cross for us. Are you motivated by love to do something for Jesus? Is it something that reflects the way you live? Has your love for Jesus changed your life? How?


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Are the Gospels a Myth?

One of the most common pronouncements by the atheists is that “Christianity is a myth.”
Are they right? Is Christianity a myth? Are the gospels myths?
In a sense the gospels function like a myth. However, most of the atheists making this comment do not seem to have a very knowledgeable understanding of myth and how it works. They don’t seem to understand the richness and the ambiguity of the term “myth.” When they say “myth” what they mean is “fairy tale.” Even the term “fairy tale” has far deeper and richer levels of meaning than they are aware of. They use…

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/longenecker/are-the-gospels-a-myth


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Bible, Romans #17

Chapter twelve continues with making sure we live soberly, and also that we view ourselves soberly (v3). So many of us worry about what others may think of us. We get so concerned that it can start to rule our lives. When this happens, we give others power over our lives. We can easily be thrown into an emotional roller-coaster ride every minute of the day. We come across one person who affirms us and we are fine, then one person comes across and expresses disapproval and we are crushed. We look for security in whether people like us rather than if God likes us. Continue reading


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Domingo I de Adviento ciclo C 2018

Comienza el Adviento con el anuncio profético del Mesías. La primera lectura anuncia la llegada de un salvador para el pueblo. Será un vástago de David. El tronco de Jesé no puede secarse. Establecerá en la tierra la justicia y el derecho. Se ve que en tiempos de Jeremías tampoco prosperaban la justicia y el derecho. El vástago de David hará justicia, él mismo será justicia, la de Dios, y a su paso todo lo dejará justificado. Y uno pregunta: ¿Qué hay de esta profecía? ¿Se puede saber si la justicia y el derecho han florecido alguna vez en la tierra? ¿En qué tiempo? ¿En qué ciudad? ¿Es que aún no ha venido el Mesías? Estos versos se escriben en el siglo VI a.C., hace más de 2.500 años. ¿Es que Dios no cumple su promesa? Busca en la fe tu respuesta. El Mesías-Dios-justicia no sólo vino, sino que se quedó con nosotros. Pero su presencia es dinámica y con tensión escatológica. Vino, pero aún tiene que venir. Está, pero no del todo. Actúa, pero se vale de nosotros. No reparte frutos, sino semillas. Crece a la manera del fermento, pero deja crecer también a la cizaña. Por todo ello conviene celebrar el Adviento. Continue reading