Muslim Scholar: ‘A Reform for the Islamic World Is Needed’

Muslim Scholar: ‘A Reform for the Islamic World Is Needed’

 Please click this link to read the article on Muslim Scholar: ‘A Reform for the Islamic World Is Needed’

Professor of Arabic language Wael Farouq decried the violence perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq, saying, ‘Islamic practice today needs a deep reform to the conception of every Muslim that violence is against the principles of our religion.’

Islam as a Christian Heresy: 8 Quotes from St. John Damascene A.D. 749

Please click this link to read the Article on Islam as a Christian Heresy: 8 Quotes from St. John Damascene A.D. 749

The Islam Study: The Muslim Worldview – Adam Francisco, PhD

Please click this link to watch the video on The Muslim Worldview – Adam Francisco, PhD

Published on Feb 1, 2013. Adam Francisco (who has a PhD in Islamic Studies) speaks on the Muslim Worldview.

Islamic Theology (1 of 2) – Adam Francisco, PhD

Please click this link to watch the video on Islamic Theology (1 of 2) – Adam Francisco, PhD

Published on Feb 2, 2013. Adam Francisco (PhD in Islamic Studies) lectures on Islam and Muslims.

Islamic Theology (2 of 2) – Adam Francisco, PhD

Please click this link to watch the video on Islamic Theology (2 of 2) – Adam Francisco, PhD

Published on Feb 2, 2013. Adam Francisco (PhD in Islamic Studies) lectures on Islam and Muslim.

Islam in America – Adam Francisco, PhD

Please click this link to watch the video on Islam in America – Adam Francisco, PhD

Published on Feb 2, 2013. Adam Francisco (PhD in Islamic Studies) lectures on Islam and Muslims.

A Critical Look at the Koran by William Kilpatrick

“May Allah accept this from me.”“I’m doing it in the name of Allah.”“To establish Islamic law—Allah’s law on earth.”

The above are statements made by would-be and successful jihadists to explain their motivations for planning or executing acts of terror in America. Jihadists in other parts of the world say much the same thing. Where, then, do they get the idea that this is what Allah wants them to do?

Please click this link to continue reading the article A Critical Look at the Koran by WILLIAM KILPATRICK

The Origins of Quran (To Know Islam) – Robert Spencer

Please click this link to watch the video on The Origins of Quran (To Know Islam) – Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer – The Politically Incorrect Guide To Islam

Please click this link to watch the video on Robert Spencer – The Politically Incorrect Guide To Islam

Islam’s View of Christianity – Robert Spencer at Franciscan University

Please click this link to watch the video on Islam’s View of Christianity – Robert Spencer at Franciscan University

Robert Spencer: “Evangelization and Islam”

Please click this link to watch the video on Robert Spencer: “Evangelization and Islam”

Franciscan University Presents: Catholics and Islam

Please click this link to watch the video on Franciscan University Presents: Catholics and Islam

“Blasphemy with Breakfast” Dr. Scott Hahn

Clip from “Abba or Allah: The Difference it Makes” with a Muslim Scholar.

Please click this link to watch the video on “Blasphemy with Breakfast” Dr. Scott Hahn

Abraham: Father or Master?” Dr. Scott Hahn

Please click this link to watch the video on “Abraham: Father or Master?” Dr. Scott Hahn

Dr. Scott Hahn, Fr. Michael Scanlan Chair in Biblical Theology, spoke to Franciscan University of Steubenville’s 2011 Defending the Faith Conference “Ambassadors for Christ.” This is a 20 minute excerpt from the larger talk “Abba or Allah:The Difference it Makes” “For the last quarter of a century,” said Dr. Hahn, “I have shared a conviction with a growing number of people that Islam really does represent the single greatest force of the third millennium and also the single greatest challenge and threat to Christianity worldwide.” Dr. Hahn explains the very different conceptions of God in Islam (as Allah, Master) and in Christianity (as Abba, Father) and their consequences for life, religion, and interreligious encounters. “There’s a profound difference between slavery and sonship,” Hahn declared. “Until the sons of God outserve the slaves of God, Christianity is going to continue to dissolve.”

The Truth About Muhammad – Robert Spencer

Please click this link to watch the video on The Truth About Muhammad – Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer speaks in Los Angeles on Did Muhammad Exist?

Please click this link to watch the video on Robert Spencer speaks in Los Angeles on Did Muhammad Exist?

Robert Spencer vs. David Wood: Did Muhammad Exist

Please click this link to watch the video on Robert Spencer vs. David Wood: Did Muhammad Exist

Did Muhammad Exist? Robert Spencer & David Wood vs. AnjemChoudary & Omar Bakri

Please click this link to watch the video on Did Muhammad Exist? Robert Spencer & David Wood vs. Anjem Choudary & Omar Bakri

Who Killed Muhammad?

Please click this link to watch the video on Who killed Muhammad?

Please click this link to watch the video on Who killed Muhammad- ABN

According to Qur’an 69:44-46, if Muhammad were a false prophet, Allah would sever his aorta. Interestingly, when Muhammad died, he said he could feel his sorta being severed.

“Does Islam Teach Violence?” (Robert Spencer) vs (Nadir Ahmed)

Please click this link to watch the video on “Does Islam Teach Violence?” (Robert Spencer) vs (Nadir Ahmed)

Islam: Threat or Not?

Please click this link to watch the video on Islam: Threat or Not?

Freedom Fest 2008 Debate between Dr. Daniel Peterson of BYU and Robert Spencer. Moderated by Matt Sanchez.

Mic’d Up with Robert Spencer “Banned by Bishops and the Truth About Islam

Please click this link to watch the video on Mic’d Up with Robert Spencer “Banned by Bishops and the Truth About Islam

Robert Spencer, Director of JihadWatch.org, goes into detail about his clashes with many Catholic Bishops both here in the States and abroad; as well as the many myths, lies and dangers surrounding the world’s fastest growing religion; Islam.

Changing Tracks: Mario Joseph, Muslim Imam convert to Catholic Church

Please click this link to watch the video on Mario Joseph, Muslim Imam convert to Catholic Church

Mario Joseph was a Muslim Imam, became a Christian and his father tried to kill him.

Please click this link to watch the video on Mario Joseph was a Muslim Imam, became a Christian and his father tried to kill him

Why Muslim Dr. Nabeel Qureshi converted to Christianity

Please click this link to watch the video on Why Muslim Dr. Nabeel Qureshi converted to Christianity

Dr. Nabeel Qureshi on the history of Muhammad

Please click this link to watch the video on Dr. Nabeel Qureshi on the history of Muhammad

Dr. Nabeel Qureshi: Jesus of Islam vs Jesus of Christianity

Please click this link to watch the video on Dr. Nabeel Qureshi: Jesus of Islam vs Jesus of Christianity

Dr. Nabeel Qureshi: A Look at the Quran

Please click this link to watch the video on Dr. Nabeel Qureshi: A Look at the Quran – Apologetics to Islam

Dr. Nabeel Qureshi; Critical Issues in Islamic Studies

Please click this link to watch the video on Dr. Nabeel Qureshi: Critical Issues in Islamic Studies – Apologetics to Islam

Dr. Nabeel Qureshi: Islam through the eyes of Muslims

Please click this link to watch the video on Dr. Nabeel Qureshi: Islam through the eyes of Muslim – Apologetics to Islam

Dr. Nabeel Qureshi: The history and the law of Islam

Please click this link to watch the video on Dr. Nabeel Qureshi: The History and the Law of Islam – Apologetics to Islam

Dr. Brown Interviews Dr. Nabeel Qureshi: A Devout Muslim & Author of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

Please click this link to watch the video on Dr. Brown Interviews Dr. Nabeel Qureshi: A Devout Muslim & Author of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

Lying in Islam. To read please click this link:  http://www.islamreview.com/articles/lyingprint.htm

Islam’s Religious Exception from Criticism. To read, please click this link:  http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/islams-religious-exemption-criticism?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CrisisMagazine+%28Crisis+Magazine%29

The Vortex: Too Gay?

The Vortex: Too Gay?

Please click this link to watch the video on The Vortex: Too Gay?

Imagine something being ‘too gay’ in this day and age? Imagine!

FBI Homosexuality. Many believe the Freemasons are simply a centuries-old charitable fraternity. However, the Catholic Church has consistently condemned Freemasonry more than any other error in its history because it promotes indifferentism, naturalism, communism, and other dangerous philosophies.

Please click this link to watch the video on FBI Homosexuality by Michael Voris

Homosexuality, the Grave Evil Presented as Good, Part 1

Please click this link to watch the video on Homosexuality: Grave Evil Presented as Good, Part 1

Homosexuality, Question and Answer Part 2

Please click this link to watch the video on Homosexuality, Q & A

Homosexuals and Freemasons inside the Church

Please click this link to watch the video on Homosexual and Freemasons inside the Church by Michael Voris

“The Rite of Sodomy” Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Church

Please click this link to watch the video on “The Rite of Sodomy” Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic Church

Mic’d Up “Pink Money and the Homosexual Mafia” 

Please click this link to watch the video on Mic’d Up “Pink Money and the Homosexual Mafia”

Michael Voris gives a series of short talks, answering questions coming in response to his talk on homosexuality in Nigeria.

In this talk from Nigeria, Michael Voris speaks about the grave evil presented as good – homosexuality. “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10), tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intinsically disordered” (CDF, Persona humana 8). They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC: 2357).

Readings & Reflections: Memorial of the Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist August 29,2014

Readings & Reflections: Memorial of the Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist August 29,2014

“The task set before the Baptist as he lay in prison was to become blessed by this unquestioning acceptance of God’s obscure will; to reach the point of asking no further for external, visible, unequivocal clarity, but, instead, of discovering God precisely in the darkness of this world and of his own life, and thus becoming profoundly blessed. John even in his prison cell had to respond once again and anew to his own call for metanoia or a change of mentality, in order that he might recognize his God in the night in which all things earthly exist. Only when we act in this manner does another – and doubtless the greatest – saying of the Baptist reveal its full significance: ‘He must increase; I must decrease’ (Jn 3:30). We will know God to the extent that we are set free from ourselves” (Pope Benedict XVI).

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

“Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son and deepen his life within me that I may be like him in Word and deed.   Help me to live the gospel faithfully and give me strength and courage not to shrink back in the face of adversity and temptation.”  In Jesus’ Mighty Name, we pray. Amen.

Reading 1 1 COR 1:17-25

Brothers and sisters:
Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.

Where is the wise one?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For since in the wisdom of God
the world did not come to know God through wisdom,
it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation
to save those who have faith.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm PS 33:1-2, 4-5, 10-11

R. (5) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten stringed lyre chant his praises.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
For upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
The LORD brings to naught the plans of nations;
he foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Gospel MK 6:17-29

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers,
his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias’ own daughter came in
and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once
on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders
to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – John the Baptist Beheaded

John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of Christ.  He suffered imprisonment and was persecuted as a witness to our Redeemer.  His persecutors had demanded that he keep silent about the Truth.  Rather than withhold the Truth, he decided it would be better to shed his blood for the Truth as Christ is Truth Himself.  By his own suffering and death, he may have indirectly showed that Christ also would likewise suffer and be put to death.

John the Baptist was a man of his word just like the Man Whom he had to bear witness to and proclaim as more powerful than he, as he was not even fit to carry His sandals.  John the Baptist was a man of character and strength who would rather suffer and be put to death rather than give in to pressure and fail in his task for our Lord. Although he preached the freedom of heavenly peace, he was thrown into irons by ungodly men.  Although he witnessed to the Light of Life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, our Lord Jesus, he was locked away in the darkness of prison.  Such was the fate of a man who would rather proclaim the Truth so that every man who may come to believe and repent may be set free.  Jesus, the True Christ, is the Truth that has set us all free.

Today as God reveals to us how the life of John, the Baptist ended, He wants us to open our hearts and endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth.  This is His will for all us.  If it was not such a heavy burden for John, the Baptist who received his strength from God, then it should also be easily borne and even desired by us.  With God’s grace we can endure anything for His sake.  To bear every suffering from ungodly men because we have Jesus in our hearts, because we speak the Truth, will never be a burden but a blessing as eternal joy is the reward.  We need to speak the truth without regard for the cost, even if it will mean discrimination and persecution

Brethren to acknowledge Christ as our Lord and Savior even amidst the pain of persecution and death should be a great privilege for a man who proclaims allegiance and loyalty to Jesus. Saint Paul rightly says in Romans 8: “You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake.”  He opens our hearts to the truth that it is Christ’s gift that His chosen ones should suffer for him: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

Direction

To proclaim the truth we need to endure discrimination and ridicule by the world around us.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, give me the grace to stand for the Truth and if need be, to die for your Word.  In Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God

Jesus is the bridegroom who ascended into heaven to prepare a place for his bride, the Church. He will return and when he does we must be ready to greet him, with our lamps burning bright. Today’s parable tells us about five foolish virgins who were not ready and about five wise virgins who were ready to welcome the bridegroom.

The five foolish virgins do not persevere to the end. They brought enough oil to light their lamps for a time, but eventually they ran out of oil and have to leave to buy more oil. While they are away, the bridegroom returns. The oil lamps can be seen to represent the light and fire of the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the Church. Those who are wise, filled with the Spirit of God, and ready for the bridegroom are welcomed into the wedding feast of heaven; those who are foolish and unprepared are locked outside.

In his Letter to the Corinthians, Paul also speaks about wisdom. For the Gentiles, Jesus’ death is foolishness. It looks like he failed. For the Jews, Jesus’ death is a stumbling block. It doesn’t seem to correspond to the role of the Messiah-King. For believers, Jesus’ death represents the mystery of God’s love and gives the ultimate answer that human reason seeks.

In his letter, Paul presents the opposition between “the wisdom of the world” and the wisdom of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross is a challenge for every human philosophy or wisdom, for we cannot reduce the Father’s saving plan to mere human logic. “The wisdom of the wise is no longer enough for what God wants to accomplish; what is required is a decisive step towards welcoming something radically new: ‘God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise…; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not to reduce to nothing things that are’ (1 Cor 1:27-28). Human wisdom refuses to see in its own weakness the possibility of its strength; yet Saint Paul is quick to affirm: ‘When I am weak, then I am strong’” (2 Cor 12:10)” (Pope Saint John Paul II,Fides et ratio, 23). Without God’s revelation, we cannot grasp how death could be the source of life and love.

In the Gospel, Matthew connects wisdom to watchfulness, life in the Spirit, and perseverance in love; in the first reading, Paul connects wisdom to the Cross of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, wisdom is knowledge of God and the wise man judges all things in the divine light. True human wisdom tells us that God created the world and providentially governs it. Revealed wisdom goes beyond this and tells us that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that the Father sent his only Son to redeem us from sin and conquer death, that we are called to be God’s children, through Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit, and to share in his eternal life.

Read the source text: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/daily-homily-christ-the-power-of-god-and-the-wisdom-of-god

Reflection 3 – Honoring John the Baptist

“If the death of the saints is precious (Ps 116:15) and the just are remembered with praise (Prov 10:7), it is even more fitting for us to commemorate John, the highest summit of holy and righteous men, by extolling him. He leapt in the womb in anticipation of the Word of God who took flesh for our sake (Lk 1:41); he was his Forerunner and went before him as his herald, and the Lord in turn proclaimed and bore witness that John was superior to all the prophets, saints, and just men down through the ages (cf. Lk 7:28).

“Everything about him surpasses human speech, and the only-begotten Son of God witnessed to him and honored him, and he has no need of any tribute from us. But this does not mean that we should keep silent and fail to honor with our words, as best we can, the one whom the Scriptures refer to as “the voice” of the sublime Word (Mt 3:3; cf. Is 40:3). On the contrary, the fact that he was proclaimed to be so great and witnessed to by Christ, the Lord of all, should move every tongue to sing his praises as much as it can. Not that we can add to his glory in any way – how could we?- but in order to pay our debt individually and together by recounting the wonders surrounding him and celebrating them in song.

“The whole life of the greatest man born of woman was a supreme miracle. John was a prophet and much more than a prophet (Lk 7:26), even before he was born; and not only did his entire life transcend all wonders, but so did everything concerning him, both long before his lifetime and afterwards. The divine predictions of seers inspired by God described him as an angel rather than a man (Mt 11:10, cf. Ex 23:20, Mal 3:1), as a lampstand for the light (Jn 5:35, cf. Ps 132:17), a divinely radiant star bringing in the morning (cf. Jn 1:8; 5:35), for he went before the Sun of righteousness (Mal 4:2), and was “the voice” of God’s Word (Mt 3:3, cf. Is 40:3). What could be closer or more akin to God the Word than God’s voice?” (St. Gregory Palamas, +1359 A.D., a monk and archbishop of Thessalonica).

Reflection 4 – Martyrdom of John the Baptist

The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life?

This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah. His vocation was one of selfless giving. The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of Yahweh. “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37). It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation or repentance, of salvation.

Comment:

Each of us has a calling to which we must listen. No one will ever repeat the mission of John, and yet all of us are called to that very mission. It is the role of the Christian to witness to Jesus. Whatever our position in this world, we are called to be disciples of Christ. By our words and deeds, others should realize that we live in the joy of knowing that Jesus is Lord. We do not have to depend upon our own limited resources, but can draw strength from the vastness of Christ’s saving grace.

Read the source text: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1122

Quote:

“So they came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.’ John answered and said, ‘No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said [that] I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease’” (John 3:26–30).

Eastern Patriarchs Call to Criminalize Attacks Against Christians in the Middle East

Eastern Patriarchs Call to Criminalize Attacks Against Christians in the Middle East

Published on 2014-08-28

Please click this link to watch the video on Eastern Patriarchs Call to Criminalize Attacks Against Christians in the Middle East

Eastern Catholic Patriarchs have met in Lebanon calling for the criminalization of attacks against Christians.

The Patriarchs released a statement after attending a meeting in BkirkiLebanon to address the rise of terrorist attacks against Christians in the Middle East and the need to stop fundamentalist organizations.

Among those present at the meeting were the ambassadors and representatives of the United States, Russia, France, Great Britain, China and the United Nations. The Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia also attended.

Terrorist groups, like the Islamic State, have taken over Christian populated towns, such as Mosul and Nineveh, forcing thousands to either leave, convert or face death.

The Patriarchs stated that it is painful to witness the silence of world powers amid the violence.

They highlighted the need to liberate cities overrun by terrorist groups, such as ISIS. Also the need to secure persecuted towns and to prevent further displacements of Christians and religious minorities.

 

10 things to know about St. Augustine of Hippo

10 things to know about St. Augustine of Hippo

BY JIMMY AKIN Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 28th is the memorial of St. Augustine, bishop and doctor of the Church.

He’s one of the most influential Church Fathers and theologians in history.

Who was he and why is he so famous?

Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

1) When and where was he born?

St. Augustine was born in A.D. 354 in Thagaste, Numidia (modern day Souk Ahras, Algeria) into an upper-class family.

His father—Patricius—was a pagan, though he converted to Christianity on his deathbed.

His mother—St. Monica—was a Christian and raised Augustine in the faith, though he was not baptized until he was an adult.

He was of mixed-race ancestry, with ancestors including PhoeniciansBerbers, and Latins. He considered himself Punic.

Latin seems to have been his first language.

2) How did he become aware of sin?

As a boy he became conscious of sin in a special way when he participated in a pointless act of theft. This made a profound impression on him and he later wrote about and regretted it.

In his spiritual autobiography, the Confessions, he described the incident:

In a garden nearby to our vineyard there was a pear tree, loaded with fruit that was desirable neither in appearance nor in taste.

Late one night—to which hour, according to our pestilential custom, we had kept up our street games—a group of very bad youngsters set out to shake down and rob this tree.

We took great loads of fruit from it, not for our own eating, but rather to throw it to the pigs; even if we did eat a little of it, we did this to do what pleased us for the reason that it was forbidden.

Behold my heart, O Lord, behold my heart upon which you had mercy in the depths of the pit.

Behold, now let my heart tell you what it looked for there, that I should be evil without purpose and that there should be no cause for my evil but evil itself.

Foul was the evil, and I loved it [Confessions 2:4:9].

3) What other sins did he commit in youth?

St. Augustine participated in what St. Paul delicately calls “youthful passions” (2 Tim. 2:22).

He wrote about this in the Confessions, noting a prayer of his at the time that later became famous and reflects the experience of many people. He said:

I, miserable young man, supremely miserable even in the very outset of my youth, had entreated chastity of You [O God], and said,

“Grant me chastity and continence . . . but not yet.”

For I was afraid lest You should hear me soon, and soon deliver me from the disease of concupiscence, which I desired to have satisfied rather than extinguished [Confessions 8:7].

When he was 19, he began a long-term affair with a woman. We do not know her name, because Augustine deliberately did not record it, perhaps out of concern for her reputation.

She was not of Augustine’s social class, and he never married her, perhaps because St. Monica objected to him marrying a woman of a lower class.

She did, however, give Augustine a son, who was named Adeodatus (Latin, “By God Given” or, more colloquially, “Gift of God”).

This naming indicates an awareness that, no matter how a child is conceived, and even if the parents did something very wrong, every child is a gift of God.

4) How did he develop religiously?

Despite his Christian upbringing, Augustine left abandoned the Faith and became a Manichean, which crushed his mother.

Manicheanism was a Gnostic, dualistic sect founded in the A.D. 200s by an Iranian man named Mani.

5) Thus far, Augustine has stolen pears just to be naughty, had a long-term affair, fathered a child outside of wedlock, and abandoned the Christian Faith. Things aren’t going so well for him on the becoming-a-saint front. How did he turn it around?

He took a position teaching rhetoric in Milan, Italy and, with the encouragement of his mother, began to have more contact with Christians and Christian literature.

One day, in the summer of 386, he heard a childlike voice chanting “Tolle, lege” (Latin, “Take, read”).

He took this as a divine command and opened the Bible, randomly, to Romans 13:13-14, which reads:

Let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy.

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Applying this to his own life, Augustine was cut to the heart, and his conversion now began in earnest.

He was baptized, along with Adeodatus, at the next Easter Vigil.

St. Ambrose of Milan baptized both of them.

Incidentally, St. Ambrose may have the strangest life story of any of the Church Fathers.

6) So now he’s a baptized layman. How did he become a Church Father?

In 388, Augustine, Monica, and Adeodatus prepared to return to North Africa.

Unfortunately, Monica only made it as far as Ostia, the port of Rome, where passed on to her heavenly reward.

Back in Africa, Adeodatus passed away also.

This left Augustine alone on the family property. He sold almost all his possessions and gave the money to the poor. He did, however, retain the family house, which he turned into a monastery.

In 391, he was ordained a priest of the diocese of Hippo (now Annaba, Algeria).

In 395, he became the city’s coadjutor bishop and then its bishop.

As bishop, he wrote extensively (in fact, he wrote prodigiously), and the value of his writings was such that he became a Church Father.

7) How did he die?

Augustine passed to his heavenly reward on August 28, 430 (hence his feast day of August 28).

At the time, Hippo was being sacked by Arian Vandals—meaning actual, historical Vandals (the Germanic tribe), not just people committing the petty crime of vandalism.

Unfortunately, after his death the Vandals burned the city, but they left Augustine’s cathedral and library untouched.

8) How did he become a saint?

He was canonized by popular acclaim, as the custom of papal canonization had not yet arisen.

9) How did he become a doctor of the Church—and why?

Together with Gregory the Great, Ambrose, and Jerome, Augustine was one of the original four doctors of the Church. He was proclaimed a doctor by Pope Boniface VII in 1298.

He was named a doctor because of the extraordinarily high value of his writings, which include major theological, philosophical, and spiritual works.

Among his most famous works are:

This is just a tiny selection of what he wrote though. The guy could not stop writing!

A large selection of his writing is online here.

10) Is it true that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has a special attachment to the thought of St. Augustine?

Yes. In his autobiography, Milestones, he wrote:

[Augustine] in his Confessions had struck me with the power of all his human passion and depth. By contrast, I had difficulties in penetrating the thought of Thomas Aquinas, whose crystal-clear logic seemed to me to be too closed in on itself, too impersonal and ready-made.

Later, as pope, he said:

As you know, I too am especially attached to certain Saints: among them (in addition to St Joseph and St Benedict, whose names I bear) is St Augustine whom I have had the great gift to know, so to speak, close at hand through study and prayer and who has become a good “travelling companion” in my life and my ministry [General Audience, Aug. 25, 2010].

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/st.-augustine-10-things-to-know-and-share#ixzz3BjS33Ib4

BONUS ITEM:

The name Augustine is a form of the title Augustus, which was given to Roman emperors to indicate their greatness and venerableness. (That’s what “Augustus” means.)

Despite the high-sounding connotations of the name “Augustus,” the name “Augustine” has given us a name with much more colloquial connotations: Gus.

The name of Augustine’s diocese—Hippo—also has interesting resonances. To English speakers, it sounds like a contraction of “hippopotamus,” but in Greek it called to mind a very different animal.

“Hippo” comes from the Greek word for horse.

“Augustine of Hippo” thus can be read as “Gus from Horse.”

That Old West sound seems appropriate, since as one of the Latin Fathers, Augustine was from the really Old West.

What Now?

If you like the information I’ve presented here, you should join my Secret Information Club.

If you’re not familiar with it, the Secret Information Club is a free service that I operate by email.

I send out information on a variety of fascinating topics connected with the Catholic faith.

In fact, the very first thing you’ll get if you sign up is information about 

Pope Francis: Stop gossiping! Don’t let envy divide your parish

Pope Francis: Stop gossiping! Don’t let envy divide your parish

 Please click this link to watch the video on Pope Francis: Stop gossiping! Don’t let envy divide your parish

The Pope’s general audience took place outdoors this week. That means the Pope did plenty of rounds in the pope mobile, making his way through St. Peter’s Square. He drank a bit of mate tea and as usual he blessed several children along the way.

In his catechesis the Pope talked about Christian unity. He explained that Jesus wanted His disciples to stay united. But the Church has seen divisions throughout its history.

Read the source text: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-at-audience-as-sinners-we-are-called-daily-to-conversion

POPE FRANCIS 

“Looking back at history, Christians have fought among themselves because of theological differences. Let’s not forget the Thirty Years’ War. This is not Christian!”

But these separations aren’t the only divisions. The Pope also talked about gossip and all the evils it triggers.

With roughly 12,000 people in the Square, the Pope talked about so called ‘parish’ sins, like criticizing someone behind their backs or being overpowered by envy.

POPE FRANCIS

“Everyone can fall into the traps of gossip. Just think about all the gossiping that goes on in parishes. Is this good? Is it? If someone is elected president of an association, he’s criticized. If someone is elected as the head of catechesis, there’s also targeted. This is not the Church. This shouldn’t happen.” 

The Pope also highlighted that God is communion and love, adding that the Church is Holy, despite the sins of its members.

 

 

 

 

Pope Francis’ Audience: Don’t let envy, jealousy or antipathy divide your parish

Pope Francis’ Audience: Don’t let envy, jealousy or antipathy divide your parish

Please click this link to watch the video on Pope Francis don’t let envy, jealousy or antipathy divide your parish

During his weekly general audience, Pope Francis talked about the importance of unity. He called for Christians to recognize the sins that work against unity in local parishes and communities, like jealousy, envy and antipathy.

Read the source text: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/on-the-dangers-of-parish-sins

SUMMARY OF POPE’S CATECHESIS: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

We affirm in the Creed that the Church is one and that she is holy.  One because she has her origin in the Triune God, mystery of unity and full communion.  Holy since she is founded by Jesus Christ, enlivened by his Holy Spirit, and filled with his love and salvation.

While we, the members of the Church, are sinners, the unity and holiness of the Church arise from God and call us daily to conversion.  We have an intercessor in Jesus, who prays, especially in his passion, for our unity with him and the Father, and with each other.

Unfortunately, we know well the sins against unity – jealousy, envy, antipathy – which come about when we place ourselves at the center and which occur even in our parish communities.  God’s will, however, is that we grow in our capacity to welcome one another, to forgive and to love, and to resemble Jesus.  This is the holiness of the Church – to recognize the image of God in one another.

May we all examine our consciences and ask forgiveness for the times when we have given rise to division or misunderstanding in our communities, and may our relationships mirror more beautifully and joyfully the unity of Jesus and the Father.

I offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Malta and Canada.  May Jesus Christ confirm you in faith and make you witnesses of the holiness and unity of the Church.  May God bless you all! 

 

 

Readings & Reflections: Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church August 28,2014

Readings & Reflections: Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church August 28,2014

Saint Augustine was born in Tagaste, North Africa in 354 A.D. and entered the Church at the age of thirty-two. After his baptism by St. Ambrose in 386, he was ordained, and in 395 elected bishop of Hippo. His over one thousand seven hundred writings include sermons, treaties, scriptural commentaries, the spiritual classic Confessions, and the magisterial City of God. His biographer Possidius wondered how anyone could have produced such a volume of work. At the end of his life, Augustine requested that the penitential psalms, copied in large print, be hung in his room. He recited them to himself for the ten days leading to his death on August 28,430 A.D.

AMDG+

Reading 1 1 COR 1:1-9

Paul, called to be an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Sosthenes our brother,
to the Church of God that is in Corinth,
to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,
with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always on your account
for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus,
that in him you were enriched in every way,
with all discourse and all knowledge,
as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will keep you firm to the end,
irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful,
and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (1) I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
They discourse of the power of your terrible deeds
and declare your greatness.
They publish the fame of your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Gospel MT 24:42-51

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant,
whom the master has put in charge of his household
to distribute to them their food at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.
Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.
But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’
and begins to beat his fellow servants,
and eat and drink with drunkards,
the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day
and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely
and assign him a place with the hypocrites,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Always be ready

The coming of our Lord will be the day when the rewards and the punishment will be manifested to all. It is the time when our Lord Jesus returns to earth as King of Kings and Lord of all. This will be the time when all those who have been in heaven together with every believer considered in good standing with the Lord will be glorified. But this will also be the shameful and pitiful time for all those who did not make it to the narrow gate, for there will be wailing and grinding of teeth as one finds himself cast out.

Today’s gospel sets forth that we should always be ready for our Lord’s return. But the question that surfaces is how do we ready ourselves for God’s return.  Discipline is the process of endurance which enables one to attain the character of our Lord Jesus. It is one difficult route everyone has to take if one hopes to behold our Lord face to face.

Another way we could ready ourselves is by having true and authentic love in our hearts as seen from the love that prevailed in the hearts of the Thessalonians. Just like them, our love should be able to embrace fellow believers and all men, including those who are not one with us and those who cannot seem to accept us as their equal in Christ. Such was the model we have in the people of Thessalonica and as such it should be the kind of love we should have in our hearts.

If we have the same Christian love in our hearts in this life, we will certainly be blameless in the next. This implies the need for us to train ourselves to love all men without any reservation. We have to be able to spend our lives for the interests of others. When we have love in our hearts, we fulfill God’s foremost command to love Him above all and our neighbor as ourselves. In time, we will be blameless in holiness before our Heavenly Father.

As believers we should be faithful and far-sighted servants who care for God’s people. We should avoid being considered nominal servants whose lives are not affected by the prospect of God’s return. Such servants are complacent and are not yet ready for God’s kingdom. They will be pitifully judged and be given their rightful portion with the hypocrites and the sinners.

Today the call is for every believer to be a “man for others” who regards self always as second and last in the distribution of benefits, who sacrifices self for another and forgets himself all for love of God and neighbor, whose servanthood knows no limits, whose deeds are congruent with his heart’s yearnings. All these are possible because the grace of God which has been bestowed on all of us in Christ Jesus has enriched us in every way. We are not lacking in any spiritual gift as we await for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. God will keep us firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by Him we are all called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Direction

Living a life of love and by standing firm (endurance/discipline) for Him are two ways to prepare for the return of Jesus.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, fill us with your love, O Lord so that we may, at anytime, be able to share your love with everyone. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Are you ready to meet the Lord?

In 1998 Kurt Warner was a backup quarterback for the Rams football team. The only way he was going to play during that season was if the first-string quarterback got hurt, a remote possibility. But, in August, in the pre-season, the Rams’ first string quarterback went down with an injury. Kurt was ready from years of practice. He played quarterback brilliantly, leading the Rams to the Super Bowl – and winning. All his preparation paid off.

Kurt Warner is a wonderful football player, but more importantly he is a religious man. He learned to be ready, not by playing football, but from reading the Bible. As a Christian he read often from Matthew’s Gospel, the same passage we heard proclaimed today.

Jesus’ parable invites his listeners to be prepared to meet the Lord when he returns. As remote as it seems for us today, the Master, our God, will indeed return. The ones who are ready will be invited to the eternal banquet. Those who aren’t will miss out on the extraordinary event. A painful thought!

As Catholics we ready ourselves every time we come to Mass and receive Communion. We prepare ourselves when we say our prayers and partake in our spiritual devotions. Our hearts are opened when we partake in the sacrament of reconciliation. We become aware of God’s love when we read and study the Bible. These simple actions help us to be prepared.

The line “Blessed is that servant whom the master finds prepared when he comes,” is meant for us. It is a challenged and an invitation to be vigilant. It is a reminder of the serious nature of our faith. If the Lord comes today, would you be blessed? Remember, if we are not prepared, the consequences are far worse than missing a football game! (Source: Steven R. Thoma. Weeday Homily Helps. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, August 26, 2010).

Reflection 3 – To the Church of God that is in Corinth

Jesus’ last major discourse in the Gospel of Matthew foretells the destruction of the Temple (24:1-2), announces the signs of his coming and of the Great Tribulation (24:3-28), reveals the second coming of the Son of Man in power and glory (24:29-35), states that the day and the hour of his return is unknown (24:36-44), offers three parables about his return and the need for watchfulness (24:45-25:30), and concludes with the judgment of all nations (25:31-46).

The three parables “stress the need for watchfulness and preparedness in the time leading up to the coming of the Son of Man, who will call his disciples to account for their actions at his return. The day of reckoning will reveal that works of charity and compassion determine the Lord’s final verdict on our lives” (C. Mitch and E. Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Baker Academic, 316).

Today’s parable contrasts the faithful and prudent servant with the wicked servant. The master of the house is Jesus, the household is the Church, the servants are his disciples. The good servant distributes food to the household; the wicked servant neglects his duty, harms his fellow servants and spends his day with gluttons and drunkards.

The distribution of food refers not only to earthly bread and to charity toward those in need, but also refers to the heavenly bread of the Eucharist. Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God. The Apostles distributed bread at the miracle of the loaves and fishes and will be commanded by Jesus to celebrate the memorial of his Passover – Do this in memory of me – and to continue distributing the Bread of Life to the Church.

Paul shows himself to be a faithful and prudent servant who cares for the household of the Church in Corinth. He is concerned that they do not lack any spiritual gift during the time leading up to Jesus’ return in glory. He prays that they will be firm to the end and irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul speaks about the essence of our vocation – we are called to be holy in Christ Jesus and to live in communion with him. We become God’s children through the gift of divine grace; we are enriched by this spiritual gift and, through it, are introduced into the knowledge and love of God, who is faithful to his covenant of peace. As sons and daughters, we praise God and joyfully sing of his justice.

If Jesus were to return right now, how will he find me? Am I like the wicked servant, focused entirely on myself? Or am I striving to be like the faithful and prudent servant, focused on the needs of my brothers and sisters? Do I sing my own praises and seek earthly glory or do I sing God’s praises and seek to glorify God by my words and actions?

Read the source text: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/daily-homily-to-the-church-of-god-that-is-in-corinth

Reflection 4 – St. Augustine of Hippo(354-430 A.D.)

A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience.

There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother (August 27), the instructions of Ambrose (December 7) and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love.

Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism.

In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).

Comment:

Augustine is still acclaimed and condemned in our day. He is a prophet for today, trumpeting the need to scrap escapisms and stand face-to-face with personal responsibility and dignity.

Quote:

“Too late have I loved you, O Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Too late I loved you! And behold, you were within, and I abroad, and there I searched for you; I was deformed, plunging amid those fair forms, which you had made. You were with me, but I was not with you. Things held me far from you—things which, if they were not in you, were not at all. You called, and shouted, and burst my deafness. You flashed and shone, and scattered my blindness. You breathed odors and I drew in breath—and I pant for you. I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and I burned for your peace” (St. Augustine, Confessions).

Read the source text: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1121

Patron Saint of: Printers

Reflection 5 – It’s not the end of the world – St. Augustine

George Carlin once punctuated a series of comedy stories with a simple observation. “Out there in the world,” he said, “is the worst doctor in the world: the one who got the lowest grades in med school and barely passed.” Then he looked at the audience and said, “And the scary thing is: someone has an appointment with him tomorrow.” Jesus’ call to vigilance is similarly meant to shake people into reality. Vigilance for “Jesus’ coming” is even harder 2000 years after this message was written. It’s tough to be all that intense about it when he hasn’t come for all this time. You can only stay awake for so long before your eyelids give out.

St. Augustine is the ideal saint for today’s changing world. He didn’t see the end of the world, but he saw the end of the world as he knew it. Before he died, he saw the fruits of the so-called “barbarian invasions” as the Roman Empire disintegrated and a new, non-Christian power was coming to be. What would happen to the schools where he learned philosophy? What would happen to civilization? St. Augustine had enough faith not to despair. Although he’d never see it, things turned out pretty well even without a Roman Empire. All Augustine knew was that the future was in God’s hands.

St. Augustine lived a reflective life. His faith and the reality of Jesus Christ was the absolute center of his existence. Maybe “vigilance” is about sticking to the faith and to the Jesus we know even when the whole world is falling apart. Living our lives in the perspective of faith is so urgent, especially when there are voices who want to see the devil behind every new reality. We may not be facing our death tomorrow, but things do die around us – how will we handle it? The death of a family member? The act of fanatical terrorism? The sickness of the child? The foreclosure of the mortgage? If we are vigilant in our faith, keeping Jesus and his compassionate love before our eyes, living the reflective life, maybe we won’t fall to pieces. Maybe, instead, we’ll be able to face the future – and the worst doctor in the world – with the knowledge that even that wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Reflection 6 – Let us lead good lives

“Let us lead good lives, and while we lead good lives let us on no account take it for granted that we are without sin. Living a life that is praiseworthy includes begging pardon for things that are blameworthy. But people who are beyond hope pay all the less attention to their own sins, the more interested they are in those of others. They are looking for a chance to tear others to bits, not to put them right. Unable to excuse themselves, they are only too ready to accuse others.

“Sin cannot possibly go unpunished. If a sin remains unpunished it is unjust, and so undoubtedly it must be punished. This is what your God says to you: “Your sin must be punished, either by you or by me.” So sin is punished either by man repenting or by God judging. So either it, without you, is punished by you or else together with you it is punished by God. What is repentance, after all, but being angry with oneself? What’s the idea of beating your breast if you aren’t just pretending? Why beat it if you aren’t angry with it? So you beat your breast you are being angry with your heart in order to make amends to your Lord. This is also how we can understand the text Be angry and do not sin. Be angry because you have sinned, and by punishing yourself stop sinning. Give your heart a shaking by repentance, and this will be a sacrifice to God.” – St. Augustine of Hippo (+430 A.D.)

Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time & Memorial of Saint Monica August 27,2014

Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time & Memorial of Saint Monica August 27,2014

AMDG+

Reading 1
2 Thes 3:6-10, 16-18

We instruct you, brothers and sisters,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
to shun any brother
who walks in a disorderly way
and not according to the tradition they received from us.
For you know how one must imitate us.
For we did not act in a disorderly way among you,
nor did we eat food received free from anyone.
On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked,
so as not to burden any of you.
Not that we do not have the right.
Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you,
so that you might imitate us.
In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that
if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.

May the Lord of peace himself
give you peace at all times and in every way.
The Lord be with all of you.

This greeting is in my own hand, Paul’s.
This is the sign in every letter; this is how I write.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 128:1-2, 4-5

R. (1) Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Blessed are you who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Gospel
Mt 23:27-32

Jesus said,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You build the tombs of the prophets
and adorn the memorials of the righteous,
and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors,
we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’
Thus you bear witness against yourselves
that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;
now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”

Reflection 1 – What really corrupt the soul?

Jesus in today’s gospel revealed that what really corrupts the soul is not ritual impurity and the failure to observe religious tradition and custom but impurity of sinful pride, greed, sloth, envy, hatred, lust as He chastised the scribes and Pharisees, when He said: “You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.

The scribes and Pharisees were intensely rigid in the outward observance of law and tradition but their outward show didn’t match the inner reality of their hearts.  While they professed love and mercy for neighbor, it was so natural for them to neglect the poor and the weak.  They were very attentive to items of little importance as they placed unnecessary burdens on others while neglecting to show love as their hearts were filled with pride and contempt for others.  They meticulously went through the correct motions of conventional religion while forgetting the realities. While they were so strict in the observance of the Law, they were double-minded and demanded from others, standards, which they refused to apply to their very own lives.

They professed oneness with the prophets by building their tombs yet they opposed them and even persecuted them as they closed their hearts to God’s messages.  They considered themselves so righteous but they circumvented God’s word to serve their own purpose.  They appear to be so godly and holy yet they rejected the Messiah because their hearts were hardened to the voice of God that is why Jesus said: “Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.”

Jesus wants us to wake up to the truth that only the humble of heart can receive wisdom and understanding.  He warns all of us about the vanity of appearance and pretense.  He wants us to look into the goodness of very man, as we are all children of the Father, created in His likeness.  He encourages us not to condemn but to make “right judgments.”  He is asking us to carefully test and examine our ways, and then refer judgment, not to ourselves as jury and hangman, but to God Who judges justly and mercifully.

But most importantly, it is His desire that we all recognize our sinful nature and that a Pharisee definitely lives within every man.  To acknowledge and accept this truth will only allow the Holy Spirit to transform us and renew our minds and hearts. It can bring the peace, joy, and righteousness of God’s kingdom.

Direction

Let our words and deeds match the goodness in our hearts.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, give me the grace and the humility to accept my hypocrisy so that by the power of your Spirit I may be renewed and transformed.  In Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Reflection 2 – Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites

Today’s Gospel finishes our reading of the seven woes pronounced by Jesus upon the scribes and Pharisees. Each one of them reveals an aspect of their hypocrisy. On the outside, the scribes and pharisees present themselves as: authentic teachers about God and his law; untiring in their zeal to make converts; men of truth and of their word; men who faithfully fulfill even the minutiae of the law; men of purity and holiness; upright men; and defenders of God’s messengers.

In truth, the scribes and Pharisees are only wearing a mask. Instead of teaching the way that leads to heaven, they teach in such a way that keeps them out and hinders the entry of others into God’s kingdom. Instead of bringing the nations to worship the one, true God, they introduce them into a dead religion. Instead of speaking the truth, they find ways to lie under the appearance of solemn piety. Instead of fulfilling the essence and heart of the law, they neglect this and focus exclusively on the minor details. Instead of living a holy life from within, they mask the evil intentions of their heart with external observance. Instead of a life of righteousness, they live a contradiction between a beautiful exterior and a filthy interior. Finally, they think they are better than their ancestors, who persecuted and killed the prophets, but in actuality they are about to condemn the Son of God to death.

What is more, the Pharisees accuse Jesus and his disciples of their own faults. They accuse him of blasphemy and false doctrine. They attack his disciples and try to sow doubt about Jesus. They accuse Jesus of working by the power of the devil , the “father of lies”. They point out when Jesus breaks the Sabbath rest and when his disciples do not fast as evidence against Jesus’ teaching. They accuse Jesus’ disciples of impurity since they neglect the ritual washing before meals. They accuse Jesus of eating with the unrighteous, with sinners and tax collectors. Finally, they are plotting to put Jesus to death.

Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians is one of encouragement, hope and consolation. Confusion about the timing of Christ’s second coming “has led certain believers into strange and disorderly conduct. We can infer from Paul’s comments in 3:6-15 that some in Thessalonica were so convinced that Jesus would return at any moment that they had quit their jobs and stopped working for a living” (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible). This is not the right way to live. Christ’s Kingdom is present, yet grows until the end of time when Jesus returns in glory. We need to live in such a way that we are always ready and always prepared for our definitive encounter with him.

Paul criticizes the behavior of those who refuse to work and “seems annoyed that his readers have not heeded his earlier appeals to ‘work’ diligently (1 Thess 4:11) and ‘admonish the idle’ (1 Thess 5:14). The congregation is charged with addressing this problem decisively but charitably (2 Thess 3:14-15). In Paul’s mind, these freeloaders who live on the charity of others will better prepare themselves for Christ’s return by working than by sitting around waiting” (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible).

The filial, loving obedience of Jesus Christ, not the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees, is our model for Christian life. As Christians, we are called to teach, through our words and actions, in the name of Christ. We are sent out to the ends of the earth to preach and baptize. Every word of ours should be full of truth and seek the glory of God. We need to live according to the new law of charity, moved by the Holy Spirit. There should be a conformity between our actions and purity of heart. We are righteous insofar as we believe in Christ, welcome God’s grace and work with charity and love. We are called to defend the faith and spread the faith as messengers of God’s word.

Read the source text:http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/daily-homily-woe-to-you-scribes-and-pharisees-you-hypocrites

Reflection 3 – Whitewashed tombs

“I am talking about those who spend their whole lives in pleasure and in sumptuous living, looking for luxuries and for great honor at huge banquets. They spend everything they have on nothing but such things. The poor are dying of hunger, but they are busy looking for plenty of big meals, elegant dishes, expensive tables, and fine fancy clothes. They don’t care that their wretched souls are dying of starvation because they deprive them of their food: holy virtue, holy confession, and God’s holy Word – I mean the Word incarnate, God’s only-begotten Son. We should by our affection and love be following in that Word’s footsteps, loving what he loves, seeking what he sought. We should be loving virtue and despising vice. We should be seeking God’s honor, and our own and our neighbors’ salvation. This is why Christ said we do not live on bread alone but on God’s Word.

“So I want you… to follow this gracious Word, Christ crucified, in true virtue. Don’t let yourself be deceived by the world or by the strength of your youth. For if we follow only the world, what Christ said of the Jews could be said of us: “They are like tombs, beautiful and whitened on the outside, but inside full of the bones and stench of the dead.” Oh how well does gentle First Truth speak! It is indeed so, for on the outside they seem beautiful in all their finery, but their heart and affection are filled with these dead transitory things that give off the disgusting stench of bodily and spiritual corruption.

“But I trust that by God’s goodness you will make such an effort to amend your life that those words will not apply to you. No, with tremendously blazing love you will take up the cross, where the death of deadly sin was spent and destroyed, where we won life. And here is what it will do for you: when you take up the cross, all your past sins against God will be taken away. And then God will say to you, “Come, my beloved son. You have worked hard for me. Now I will relieve you; I will lead you to the wedding feast of everlasting life, where there is satiety without boredom, hunger without pain, pleasure without discord” (Source: St. Catherine of Siena, +1380, Magnificat, Vol. 16, No. 6, August 2014, pp. 386-387).

Reflection 4 – St. Monica(322?-387 A.D.)

The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism.

Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted.

When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan.

In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste.

She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death.

Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his Confessions.

Comment:

Today, with Internet searches, e-mail shopping, text messages, tweets and instant credit, we have little patience for things that take time. Likewise, we want instant answers to our prayers. Monica is a model of patience. Her long years of prayer, coupled with a strong, well-disciplined character, finally led to the conversion of her hot-tempered husband, her cantankerous mother-in-law and her brilliant but wayward son, Augustine.

Quote:

When Monica moved from North Africa to Milan, she found religious practices new to her and also that some of her former customs, such as a Saturday fast, were not common there. She asked St. Ambrose which customs she should follow. His classic reply was: “When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday, but I fast when I am in Rome; do the same and always follow the custom and discipline of the Church as it is observed in the particular locality in which you find yourself.”

Read the source text: http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1120&calendar=1