St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Bible: Romans #8

Chapter Three presents Paul’s logic of the Law. Again, he admits a good to the law and circumcision. God’s goodness is not nullified because of the law, nor is His justice because of grace. The punishment from God does not make Him a tyrant. God is just and ought to exact justice. How many of us would complain when justice is not served to someone who has done wrong to us? Yet how many of us would complain if justice is given to us when we have wronged others? Justice is a two-way street. We never look to ourselves and our own actions. Yet all this justice does not mean that God is not merciful.  
All that being said, does God enjoy exacting punishment? No. God really does not have to actively punish us anyways. As said in Chapter One, God leaves us to our own design. The fruit of our sins will always come back to bite us. It is the nature of sin to cause the sinner to suffer. If we do not want God in our lives, then He makes His absence happen. He does not impose His goodness on us. It is all based on, for lack of better terms, the nature of who God is. What is this nature? Goodness itself. God is goodness itself. Anything opposed to this goodness is opposed to God. When goodness is absent, humanity suffers.
We are all under the yoke of sin, Jew or Greek (v9). What Paul is getting at here is that no matter where you are from, every human being in the world is under the yoke of sin. We are all sinners. The law makes us more conscious of our actions in morals (v20). The law teaches us of God’s ways and how to be good and to avoid evil. So the law is good. Since all human beings are subject to sin, we are in need of God’s grace equally (v23-24). But the grace of Jesus’ blood proves God’s goodness (v25). We have access to God’s mercy and the forgiveness of sins through His blood and our faith in Jesus. So without faith, we cannot attain eternal salvation. Faith is absolutely necessary.
There are some assumptions about faith that open us to salvation. First, faith implies that we trust in God. This trust assumes that God wants what is good for us. God has no evil in His heart and would never deceive us. Second: that God loves us. If we do not trust God, we are doubting that God actually loves us. Jesus dying on the cross is the proof we need that He really does love us. Third, that we love God. It is hard to love a person whom we do not trust or believe in. But Scripture says, “even the devils believe” (Jas 2:19). Those in hell believe in God, they just hate Him. But if we believe that God is trustworthy and loves us, we ought to love Him back. Fourth: that a relationship is enjoyed. The faith we have in God is not that of some thing; I trust that my printer will print the page I want when I tell it to. It is a faith in persons, three persons to be exact, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three persons have entered our lives and bring us grace to every part of our lives. Fifth: that faith itself is a gift. God gives us the gift of faith. We cannot get faith for ourselves or purchase it by any means. God freely gives it to all who would accept it. We have to be willing to accept it and do so. Our actions play a part in this acceptance of Faith in many ways. A book could be written on this alone. Sixth: faith is integrated. The entire person is involved in faith. It incorporates body and soul. It involves all the powers of the soul: the intellect, passions and the will. How are you doing in all these assumptions of faith?
Works cannot provide for grace no more than the natural can provide for the supernatural. Works are natural and mere human. Grace and faith is supernatural and come from the divine. Grace can build upon works, but works by themselves can only do so much by themselves. With that in mind, works cannot give us sufficient reason to boast (v27), but faith in Him can give a reason to rejoice.


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Domingo XX Tiempo Ordinario ciclo B 2018

La primera lectura de este Vigésimo Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario habla de la sabiduría y la sitúa frente –en contra– de la insensatez. El conocimiento de Dios –ya lo hemos dicho otras veces– nos coloca en una realidad personal más objetiva con olvido de fantasías inalcanzables o de deseos imposibles que suelen llenar nuestros tiempos insensatos cuando estamos lejos de Dios. La búsqueda de Dios ha de ser, además, placentera y humilde. No se trata de una asignatura técnica, ni tampoco de un ejercicio histórico de investigación. Basados en las Escrituras y en lo que los cristianos, a través de los siglos e inmersos en esa conexión valida llamada Comunión de los Santos, nos han ido aportando: la Tradición.

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Domingo XVII Tiempo Ordina ciclo B 2018

Todos sabemos que el problema del hambre en el mundo no es la falta de alimentos, sino el uso y reparto que se hace de los alimentos existentes. Si se repartieran bien los alimentos existentes, con justicia moral, es decir con una justicia que incluyera la misericordia y la generosidad, no habría en el mundo personas que tuvieran que morir de hambre. Sabemos que repartir bien es muy difícil y costoso, pero merecería la pena: que nadie se quedara con alimentos superfluos y que repartiera estos alimentos a las personas que los necesitan para vivir. No olvidemos nunca la famosa frase de san Agustín: los alimentos superfluos de los ricos son los alimentos necesarios de los pobres. ¿Qué podemos hacer cada uno de nosotros? Primero practicarlo y dar ejemplo; después predicarlo y actuar social y políticamente de acuerdo con esta idea. Jesús repartió alimento de pobres –unos panes de cebada y unos peces- y hubo para todos. El ejemplo de Jesús debería ser contagioso para todos los cristianos, para los pobres y para los ricos. Repartamos todos lo que tenemos, poco o mucho, y desaparecerá el hambre del mundo. ¡Claro que para eso hace falta mirar antes al cielo y obedecer a nuestro padre Dios! Como hizo Jesús. Continue reading


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Humanae Vitae: The Reason My Wife and I Returned to the Church

When I recently read about the new assault within the Church on Pope Blessed Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical on contraception, I was deeply disturbed. Humanae Vitae told the truth about contraception and all its negative impacts on people and society. It was precisely because we read Humanae Vitae that my wife, Margaret, I and became “reverts” to the Catholic Church after being away for almost 20 years. Margaret and I were bot…

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/humanae-vitae-the-reason-my-wife-and-i-returned-to-the-church


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Domingo XVI del Tiempo Ordinario ciclo B 2018

Tiene el relato de San Marcos un panorama íntimo, de comienzo de encuentros entre amigos. Jesús sabe que el periplo de los Apóstoles ha sido difícil y fatigoso y quieres proporcionarles un cierto descanso. Además es lógico que entre ellos cambiaran impresiones. Los discípulos deberían llegar fascinados por el poder que se les ha dado. Han podido someter a los espíritus inmundos y han conseguido sanar a la gente, contribuir a su felicidad. Han de tener esos enviados especiales que su Maestro es algo muy especial, “que no es de este mundo”. Pero la realidad se impone. No es posible el descanso. Hay muchos hermanos que los necesitan. El sentido entrañable que Jesús comienza a manifestar a sus amigos, a sus discípulos más cercanos, es superado por las necesidades reales de toda una multitud. Y así hemos de darnos cuenta que este fragmento de Marcos es uno de los más interesantes de todo el relato evangélico. Marca la verdadera dimensión del trabajo apostólico. Continue reading