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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Doubting Sola Scriptura: My Road to Rome, Part 1

Steven D. Greydanus

As a young Evangelical in college, I wasn’t impressed with the Catholic arguments I encountered. On one point, though, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with my own answers either.

Two of the most important books in my journey from Evangelicalism to Catholicism were a pair of older apologetical works — one anti-Catholic and one Catholic — which I found laughably unconvincing when I first encountered them in college some 30 years ago, and which I set out to refute at length. …

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/steven-greydanus/road-to-rome-1


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Bible, Acts of the Apostles 6

Chapter 11 explains what Peter went through. We start to see the timing of Paul’s conversion and Peter’s experience. It was in preparation for Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles. In verse 19, this plan begins to be revealed. Because of the persecution of Stephen, which Paul encouraged, Paul is now coming to Antioch. Continue reading


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Want to Learn More About the Bible?

 PaulOf course you do!! We all do!! A Ten Lesson Audio Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Matthew from St. Paul Center will be led by Fr. Timothy J. Barr on Saturdays from 10:30am until noon at the Holy Family Community Center. Continue reading


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Bible: Acts of the Apostles 5

Chapter Ten of the Acts of the Apostles has something very different happening. A centurion is being called by God. Before then, He called mostly Jews. He was a man named Cornelius, a Roman centurion. A couple of times the Bible refers to him as being “God fearing”. This is a lay man’s title for those who are not Jewish, but honor the Jewish religion. They pray to god and even are known to give substantial contributions for the Temple or the Jewish community. Peter is called to go and evangelize him and his household. Peter is instructed to eat profaned meat (v12-14). Peter first refuses because of the type of meat that is set out in his vision. But God has him come to Cornelius’ house and eat. Continue reading


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Bible: Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of all the Gospels. It is sixteen chapters long. However, that does not mean that it covers fewer events or provides less information. Mark goes through each event very briefly; sort of like a condensed version of what is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Yet, at the same time it records things not recorded in Matthew and Luke. Many biblical scholars sense an urgency in the tone of Mark’s writings. Though Mark was not an apostle himself, it is believed that he worked directly with Peter. Continue reading


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The Bible: Malachi

The Book of Malachi is three chapters long. The Name Malachi means “My Messenger”. It is believed to be written sometime before Nehemiah came to town around 455 BC. The people of God returned from exile, but their hearts were still not turned back to Him. The priests were still offering blemished sacrifices, but the prophecy in Chapter 1 verse 11 tells of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Chapter Three, verses two and three states, “But who will endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. He will sit refining and purifying [silver], and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or silver that they may offer the due sacrifice to the Lord.” This is in reference to Zechariah 13:9 and Isaiah 1:25. But, all the Old testament references are pointing to the coming of Jesus. Jesus will offer the true sacrifice; the source of our worship at Mass. He will purify us with the once and for all sacrifice that comes to us in the Mass and whose power comes to us in Baptism, confession and anointing of the sick. Malachi sets the stage for the coming Messiah. Continue reading