St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Bible, Acts of the Apostles #17


Chapter 21 starts with Paul bouncing around a little while people are more and more aware of his death (v4 & 9-12). The Jews in Jerusalem were plotting to have him killed. Paul’s response is unexpected. Paul says, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? I am prepared not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of our Lord Jesus” (v 13). His faith in Jesus and his purpose in dying drives him on.
He trusts in Jesus’ promise of eternal life. This is enough to inspire most Christians, but his love for Jesus that drives him to death is something that even many Christians would hesitate on. Most people would think Jesus is there to bring nothing but good things. Paul seems to be driven more by love than a promise of good things. He is driven by love to give his love to God by way of sacrifice, and nothing else will do. He looks forward to it, but it is a heroism that few would.
I noticed here a small detail as well. Luke, the writer of this book, is using the word “we.” Luke is present in all these events and so is giving first-hand accounts of these events. Actually, Luke has been with Paul for quite a while. If you noticed, the Acts of the Apostles covers Paul’s life since his conversion. The Acts of the Apostles offers a great summary of Paul’s Christian life. Actually, most of the Acts of the Apostles deals with Paul’s life once his conversion happens. There is good reason for this.
It ties in to the reason he is about to go through his persecution and what leads to his death. Paul gets arrested, but only after the Jews of Jerusalem try to kill him. Accusations are made against Paul about his handling of the Gentile converts. He does not demand circumcision or any of the other requirements of the law except for the eating of food dedicated to false gods. Paul is the one chosen by God to go and convert the Gentiles. It is through Paul that the rest of the world is called into the fold of the Christ, the anointed one. He is truly living out the call that Jesus gave to the Church He founded: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:18-19). Paul exemplifies the mission of the Church even to today.
Paul is driven for this purpose. He is accused of not doing as God commands (v21), but points to the higher command. He points to the unity that Jesus desires for us and only He can give (Eph 4:5). False accusations are given on this account (v 28 &29) but only as the old law had required. Even the Jews who believed did not recognize the authority that Jesus had regarding the law. They still do not see Jesus as God.
I am not sure what this means in Jewish understanding, but I noticed how when they take Paul out of the temple to kill him, the Bible says, “and immediately the gates were closed.” Sounds to me that God was not pleased. It would either mean that no admittance would be given, or the flow of His graces would now be shut. The riot that ensues is the commencement for the death of Paul in Rome. Paul’s death happened because he followed Jesus’ divine will. He exemplifies the Church’s mission to sacrifice and love. Ironically, Paul’s accusers echo Jesus’ death by yelling, “Away with him” (v 36). Paul’s mission, even in death, is united to Jesus.


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Domingo de Pentecostés ciclo B 2018

El Espíritu Santo nos fortalece cuando estamos débiles, nos llena interiormente cuando nos sentimos pobres y vacíos, nos da luz y calor cuando estamos apagados y fríos, nos orienta y sana nuestro corazón desorientado y enfermo, sucio o indómito. Por naturaleza somos egoístas, débiles y tornadizos; si nos dejamos arrastrar por nuestros instintos más primarios, caemos fácilmente en actitudes y comportamientos que son más animales que espirituales. Necesitamos la fuerza del Espíritu, la gracia y el calor de lo alto, para sobreponernos a las tentaciones del mundo, del demonio y de la carne. Tenemos que pedir hoy con fervor que el Espíritu Santo se haga dulce huésped de nuestra alma, brisa en las horas de fuego, gozo que enjugue las lágrimas, don en sus dones espléndido. Que sea agua viva que riegue nuestro corazón árido y seco, aliento que vivifique y dé vida a nuestra alma, padre amoroso que, con su amor, guíe y llene nuestro corazón que está siempre inquieto e insatisfecho cuando no descansa en Dios. Continue reading


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Trump Administration to Announce Plan to Strip Title X Funds From Abortion Providers

CNA/EWTN News
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration Friday will announce a plan to ensure that Title X family-planning funding does not go to programs or facilities that promote or perform abortions, CNA has learned.
The measure would dramatically curtail federal funding to abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood. …

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/trump-administration-to-announce-plan-to-strip-title-x-funds-from-abortion


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Bible, Acts of the Apostles #16

The last half of Chapter 19 proves the difficulty in the change of culture that needed to happen for people to come to faith in Jesus Christ. A silversmith named Demetrius complained about how Paul was refuting his work, saying that his work was useless. Paul said he made false idols for worship, and that the works of human hands were not gods at all. That would mean Demetrius would be out of a job. A riot was almost started. It was so dangerous, the faithful made sure Paul would not come out and preach. It took some effort for the town clerk to convince the people to do everything through the legal system and not start a riot, which could have put everyone in danger. Continue reading