St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Journey Through Advent:

Liturgical Cycle B Get the most out of Advent by following along with Bishop Robert Barron’s homilies as he unpacks these profound scripture readings. The homilies presented on this CD will correspond to the Scriptures for Sunday Masses throughout Advent and Christmas 2017. Prepare your heart for His coming!


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Bible: Gospel of John 2

 

The Gospel of John does not have an account of how the birth of Jesus came about other than when it says, “And the Word became flesh” (John 1:14). The first historical context of the Gospel starts with John the Baptist. After that, John the Baptist introduces Jesus to the first disciples. Right after that, begins the second chapter and the Wedding in Cana. This is the first mention of Mary. Mary is mentioned again later in the suffering and death of Jesus.

I’ll give you some tips for looking up things in the Gospels. Remember, Mary is in only two of the Gospels, Luke and John. So, if you are looking for one of the stories where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is present, then you would look for it in either the Gospel of Luke or John. If it is a story about Mary when Jesus was a child, then it is in the Gospel of Luke. Most anything during Jesus’ adulthood that deals with Mary would be from John. John accounts Mary at the Wedding of Cana and at the suffering and death of Jesus. There are, however, parts in Matthew and Luke where the Mother of Jesus is mentioned (MT 12:47 & Lk 8:20) as waiting outside with His “brothers”. Matthew’s account, written originally in Aramaic, a Hebrew language, does not make any difference between brothers and cousins. Back then, they used the same word to describe both cousin and brother. That is why we can still believe that Mary remained a virgin.

John also gives great detail that the other Gospel accounts do not have. One example of this is in Chapter Five at the beginning. There was a pool called Bethesda “with five porticoes” (Jn 5:2). This is an odd detail for its time, and perhaps that is why John notices this. Most buildings in Jesus’ time would have four porticoes (meaning doorways). Usually a building would have one door facing each direction; one facing north, one south, and so on. But, this one has five. Many scholars believed that John got this wrong and were starting to teach that the Gospel accounts did not intend to be historically accurate, as if the Gospels were just stories of myths trying to explain a spiritual reality. But, as archeologists found a pool building with five doorways in it, near to where John described. Therefore, the sceptics and those who are considered to be the “professional scientists” were wrong in their assumption, and the believers were vindicated. The Gospel of John does in fact provide actual, historical accuracy in its details.

In the Gospel of John is also the great “Bread of Life” discourse. This is where Jesus performed the multiplication of the loaves, walked across the sea, and then taught about the Eucharist. First, He reminds the people of the Manna in the desert by the multiplication of the loaves. They even mention it in verse thirty-one of Chapter Six. The miracle of the loaves was a set-up by Jesus so He could speak about the true Bread of Life of (Himself), in the Eucharist. He goes so far as to say, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (V 53-54). Many people leave because of this teaching, but Jesus does not back down. He does not say, “wait a minute, you are misunderstanding me, I meant it as a mere symbol”. No, He really means that He is the Bread of Life and that the host is really His body and the wine is no longer wine; it is His blood. He turns to his disciples and asks if they, too, are going to leave. Notice the chilling coincidence that you note at verse 66 in Chapter Six, that those who do not believe in the Eucharist leave Jesus and no longer follow Him.

 


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Lighthouse CD Series, The Truth

(This Lighthouse cd can be found on the cd rack)
What is the meaning of life? Fr. Larry Richards tackles life’s biggest question with straightforward, timeless, and often jolting answers. In this one-of-a-kind, life-affirming reality check, he unlocks the mysteries of our existence and opens our hearts and souls to the meaning of life. The Truth will give you concrete answers on how to live.
Parishioner Comments

This was probably the most beneficial CD our family has ever heard! It had a profound effect on several family members and I will be forever grateful!! Toni – Peachtree City, GA
I work in the Prison Ministry for Spanish inmates, and Fr. Larry’s presentation has provided me with great material to share in my ministry.

Esteban 


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Cd of the week: The Rosary

Praying the Rosary Like Never Before (This Lighthouse cd can be found on the cd rack)
Dr. Edward Sri is a nationally sought Catholic speaker who appears regularly on EWTN, and is a founding leader of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). In this discussion of his book “The New Rosary in Scripture: Biblical Insights on Praying the Twenty Mysteries” (Servant Books), Dr. Sri shares John Paul II’s practical strategies for praying the Rosary better, so that you can encounter Jesus more deeply in prayer.
Parishioner Comments
Awesome! Dr. Sri covers this subject in depth. I’ll need to listen to it two or three times to find all the golden nuggets hidden in this talk. Richard – Simi Valley, CA The rosary is all about Jesus… from now on, ‘praying’ the Rosary will be much more than ‘reciting’ the Rosary! Jane, Kansas City, MO


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The Bible: Maccabees and Job

The first and second books of Maccabees were originally written as one book, but the Church decided to divide them into two, to make things easier to remember. That happened long before chapter or verse numbers were put into the Bible. The events that took place were during the reign of the Greeks. It is also one of the books that were taken out of the Jewish tradition after the time of Jesus. Continue reading


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The Bible: Tobit, Judith and Esther

The Book of Tobit is another one of those fun stories in the Bible. This story is self-contained. What do I mean by that? You can read the book while not knowing where it fits in the Bible and still get a whole story. It is a story of a very holy man named Tobit. Tobit was a very real person and in the first chapter and a half sets the stage for the story. Continue reading


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Trinity Sunday: Rejoicing in Knowing Who God Is