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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

Visions of Jesus appearing to Muslims?

In 12 Converts on 2015/12/18 at 12:00 AM
by MICHAEL CARL

Michael Carl is a veteran journalist with overseas military experience and experience as a political consultant. He also has two Master’s Degrees, is a bi-vocational pastor and lives with his family in the Northeast United States.

“Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions,” asserts the promise of God from the book of Joel.

Yet some of those men reportedly seeing visions and dreams are neither Jews nor Christians … but Muslims.

What’s more, Middle East evangelists report the dreamers are coming to Christianity because of their visions of Jesus.

According to a CBN report, Christian Middle East evangelist Hazem Farraj’s television program “Reflections” is reaching a large Muslim audience. Farraj told CBN that he hears from Muslims who report having dreams or visions of Jesus.

Tom Doyle, an evangelist, pastor and the E3 Partners Ministry director for the Middle East and Central Asia says it’s true: Muslims are coming to Christianity through dreams and visions.

“Great things are happening in the Muslim world,” Doyle said in an email to WND. “It’s all very unexpected.”

Doyle told WND that he is familiar with Farraj’s program and that Jesus is breaking through where missionaries have not succeeded.

For the rest of the story…
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“I put my trust in you. I know you are my Father”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/11/13 at 12:00 AM
Jesus prays in the garden. Pater mi (Matt 26:39), Abba Pater! (Mark 14:36). God is my Father, even though he may send me suffering. He loves me tenderly, even while wounding me. Jesus suffers, to fulfill the Will of the Father… And I, who also wish to fulfill the most holy Will of God, following in the footsteps of the Master, can I complain if I too meet suffering as my traveling companion? It will be a sure sign of my sonship, because God is treating me as he treated his own Divine Son. Then I, just as He did, will be able to groan and weep alone in my Gethsemani; but, as I lie prostrate on the ground, acknowledging my nothingness, there will rise up to the Lord a cry from the depths of my soul: Pater mi, Abba, Pater,… fiat! (Way of the Cross, First Station, No. 1)

For reasons that I need not go into now (but which Jesus, who is presiding over us here from the Tabernacle, knows full well) my life has led me to realize in a special way that I am a son of God and I have experienced the joy of getting inside the heart of my Father, to rectify, to purify myself, to serve him, to understand others and find excuses for them, on the strength of his love and my own lowliness.

This is why I want to insist now that you and I need to be made anew, we need to wake up from the slumber of feebleness by which we are so easily lulled and to become aware once again, in a deeper and more immediate way, of our condition as children of God.

The example of Jesus, every detail of his life in those Eastern lands, will help us to fill ourselves with this truth. ‘If we admit the testimony of men,’ we read in today’s Epistle, ‘the testimony of God is greater.’ And what does God’s testimony consist of? Again St John tells us: ‘See how God has shown his love towards us; that we should be counted as his sons, should be his sons… Beloved, we are sons of God even now.’

Over the years, I have sought to rely unfalteringly for my support on this joyous reality. No matter what the situation, my prayer, while varying in tone, has always been the same. I have said to him: ‘Lord, You put me here. You entrusted me with this or that, and I put my trust in you. I know you are my Father, and I have seen that tiny children are always absolutely sure of their parents.’ My priestly experience tells me that abandonment such as this in the hands of God stimulates souls to acquire a strong, deep and serene piety, which drives them to work constantly and with an upright intention. (Friends of God, 143)

Reasons for the Hope Within

In 15 Audio on 2015/07/24 at 12:00 AM

Host – Rosalind Moss

From the heart of a Jewish Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church comes the program, Reasons for Our Hope, based on St. Peter’s exhortation to: “Sanctify (set apart) Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15).

Reasons for the Hope Within

Back to Series List

Program Name

Audio File Name – Click to download

1.

Introduction to the Gospel of Luke 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_01.mp3

This is a thrilling study of the Jewish roots of our faith, taught by a Hebrew-Catholic, and seen through the heart of St. Luke who writes his Gospel to demonstrate that Christ, the Jewish Messiah, came from Israel, for Israel, and for the whole world.

2.

The Announcement of the Birth of the Herald of Messiah! (Luke 1:1-25) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_02.mp3

Four hundred years before Christ, God told the people of Judah that He would send a messenger, a herald, to prepare the way for Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. Here, at last, is the announcement of his birth—the birth of John the Baptist—the herald of heralds!

3.

The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_03.mp3

In the greatest announcement ever made to a creature, the angel Gabriel appears to a young Jewish maiden to inform her that she would give birth to the Son of the Most High—the Son of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who, prior to now, no man could look upon and live.

4.

The Visitation (Luke 1:39-56) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_04.mp3

In what has become known as the Second Joyful Mystery, we’ll meet two Jewish women who were not afraid to trust the power of God in their lives to do the miraculous. One, an older woman past child-bearing age would bear the herald of the Messiah; the other, a virgin, would bear the Messiah himself.

5.

The Birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:57-80) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_05.mp3

We are about to witness the birth of the greatest man who ever lived, the one of whom our Lord Himself said, “among those born of women none is greater than John.” Come meet this one, chosen to “make the crooked ways straight” for the long-awaited Messiah of Israel, the son of David, the Lord Himself.

6.

The Birth, Circumcision, Presentation, and Finding of Our Lord. (Luke 2:1-52) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_06.mp3

All that has gone before—the setting of Luke’s Gospel, the Annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Mary, the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, the birth of John the Baptist—has been preparation for the moment we are about to enter: the birth of the Savior of the world.

7.

The Preaching & Imprisonment of Messiah’s Herald (Luke 3:1-20) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_07.mp3

We are about to see the life and ministry of a man who gave his all for Christ, a man who will be known for all time as the herald of the Messiah, the one God chose from all eternity to be the “voice crying in the wilderness” that the world might recognize and receive the Savior of mankind.

8.

The Baptism and Genealogy of the Messiah (Luke 3:21-38) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_08.mp3

Over 1,000 years ago, Joshua led the people of Israel through the Jordan River into the Promised Land. We are about to witness not only the baptism of Joshua’s Lord in that same Jordan, but the manifestation of the Triune of Israel—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

9.

The Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness (Luke 4:1-13) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_09.mp3

The Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness (Luke 4:1-13)

10.

The Beginning of Messiah’s Preaching and Healing Ministry: from The Wilderness to the Synagogue (Luke 4:14-5:26) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_10.mp3

Nowhere do we have a clearer example that the Messiah “came to his own home, and his own people received him not.” From healing, to casting out demons, to the call of his disciples, to the forgiveness of a paralytic, Jesus demonstrates over and over again that He is God indeed, who came that we might have life.

11.

The Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 5:27-6:11) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_11.mp3

From the conversion of Matthew—the wonderful story of a hated, despised tax collector who was among the outcasts of Israel—to the rejection of the religious leaders, comes the lesson that even those zealous for the laws of God can lose sight of the God they serve.

12.

The Calling of the Twelve Apostles & the Sermon on the “Plain”(Luke 6:12-49) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_12.mp3

The Calling of the Twelve Apostles & the Sermon on the “Plain” (Luke 6:12-49) The same God who appeared to Israel through Moses on Mt. Sinai, now appears to that same nation on mount in Galilee. Yet far from being fearful, many are healed. Who is this Man who speaks like no man has ever spoken and who takes the Ten Commandments to heights and depths never before imagined?

13.

Healings, Miracles, Forgiveness: “God Has Visited His People!” (Luke 7:1-8:21) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_13.mp3

Healings, Miracles, Forgiveness: “God Has Visited His People!” (Luke 7:1-8:21) From the healing of the centurion’s slave, to the raising of a son en route to his funeral, to the forgiveness of the woman who washed our Lord’s feet with her hair, rightly did the people of Israel exclaim: “God has visited his people!”

14.

From Power over Nature, Demons, and Death to the Feeding of the Five Thousand (Luke 8:22-9:17) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_14.mp3

“Who then is this, that he commands even wind and water, and they obey him?” Who indeed. We will see in this lesson that this radical Jew, this prophet, this Messiah who heals the sick, who raises the dead, and before whom demons flee is indeed God in human flesh.

15.

“Upon This Rock I Will Build My Church” (Luke 9:18-27) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_15.mp3

Who or what is the “rock” upon which Jesus would build his Church? Here is a thrilling look into the Jewish context of our Lord’s words to Peter, words the disciples would have understood from their own history and from Israel’s longing.

16.

The Path of Discipleship and the Transfiguration (Luke 9:21-36) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_16.mp3

What does it mean to take up our cross daily and follow Him? Is discipleship a call for a chosen few or for everyone who would call himself a Christian, a follower of the Christ? Join us as we look at the joys, hindrances and worthy end of giving our all to the One who gave His all for us.

17.

Lessons from the Messiah as He “Sets His Face” Toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:37-10:42) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_17.mp3

Jerusalem is our Lord’s destination as he sets out on a journey that will end with his death. We’ll follow the Savior as He casts out demons, is rejected by the Samaritans, encounters a few would-be followers, and pays a needed visit to the home of Martha and Mary. Here is much food and blessing at the feet of the Master.

18.

The “Our Father” The Gospel in a Jewish Prayer (Luke 11:1-13) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_18.mp3

The “Our Father”—also known as the “Lord’s Prayer”—has been called both the greatest prayer and the greatest model for prayer ever given. If your mind ever wanders at prayer or if your prayers tend to become mechanical, here in this lesson is the cure and restoration for the Christian soul.

19.

The Ultimate Rejection of the Messiah by Those He Came to Save (Luke 11:14-54) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_19.mp3

In an almost unthinkable turn of events, the scribes and Pharisees accuse Jesus of casting out demons by the power of the devil. Our Lord responds with a list of “Woes!” which He alone can speak to the nation that gave Him birth. It is no God of love that would leave the scribes and Pharisees, or us, content in our sin.

20.

How Not to Reject the Messiah (Luke 12:1-59) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_20.mp3

We look this week not only at how not to reject our Lord, but, more, how to love Him, how to grow in our faith, how to know freedom and happiness in this life beyond all we’ve thought possible. Here is a practical “how-to” of how to live as pilgrims in this world, with our hearts set on the world that will never end.

21.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem …How oft I would have gathered you!” (Luke 13:1-35) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_21.mp3

In one of the most heartrending passages in all of Scripture, we see the grief of the Savior who came for his own, yet his own received him not. Here is the remedy for the poverty of sin, of apathy, of living a life contrary to God’s will and of being on the path that seems right to a man, but whose end is the way of death.

22.

The Cost of Being Christ’s Disciple (Luke 14:1-35) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_22.mp3

What does it take to live a life that is consistent with our desire to love the Savior who gave himself for us and who never stops loving us, no matter how many times we fail? Join us in discovering how we can lose our lives in order to gain them; how we can to die to self that we might live to God.

23.

The Prodigal Love of God for Every Lost Soul (Luke 15:1-32) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_23.mp3

Here is the Father’s love for sinners illustrated by three parables: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. No matter who we are, what our background, or how far we’ve strayed, God waits—longs—to welcome back with outstretched arms, the one who returns to him with a humble and contrite heart.

24.

Heavenly Attitudes toward Earthly Goods (Luke 16:1-31) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_24.mp3

All that we are and have comes from God. Our Lord teaches that we are to be stewards of His manifold gifts, and that we must be as clever and diligent in storing up riches for heaven as those of this evil generation are in storing up treasures on earth.

25.

Messiah’s Mobile Yeshiva en Route to Jerusalem (Luke 17:1-19) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_25.mp3

In their last year of studies with the Master Rabbi, Jesus teaches his disciples lessons they would need for a time when he would no longer be with them—lessons on the responsibilities, the privileges, and the gratitude of faith. Our Lord teaches them, and us, that what is impossible with men is indeed possible with God.

26.

Warning! Be Prepared for the Coming of the Son of Man (Luke 17:20-18:14) 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_26.mp3

The Second Coming of the Messiah is sometimes as difficult for people of our day to believe as it was for the people of Israel in our Lord’s day. Jesus assures his disciples and us that he who came as a dying Lamb will indeed return as a victorious King, and warns of the dangers of not being prepared for His Coming.

27.

Keys to the Kingdom: The Receptivity of a Child and the Riches of Poverty – Luke 18:15-30 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_27.mp3

Many people live only for this world. Rosalind Moss continues her study of the Gospel of Luke by showing how God wants us to live for the world to come. Using the example of the little children and the young rich man, Jesus tells us we are to rely on Him instead of our own devices.

28.

Much is Expected of the One to Whom Much is Given – Luke 18:31-19:28 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_28.mp3

We receive many gifts from God. In the Gospel of Luke, Rosalind Moss show that Our Lord expects us to use the gifts He gives us to spread His Gospel message and not just coast through life ignoring the needs of others.

29.

Palm Sunday: The Humble Advent of the Triumphal King – Luke 19:29-44 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_29.mp3

Our Savior is about to make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Rosalind Moss uses the Gospel of Luke to explain how Christ came humbly as a suffering servant to redeem the world and will come again in glory at the end of the world.

30.

Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week: Our Lord’s Love for an Obstinate People – Luke 19:45-21:4 

Host – Rosalind Moss

rshope_30.mp3

With His crucifixion only days away, Jesus Christ prepared for His death. Rosalind Moss guides you through the Gospel of Luke and shows how even now Our Lord gave one final warning, calling for repentance of the people of Israel.

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“Without Him we can do nothing”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/06/05 at 12:00 AM
When you feel self love – pride! – stirring within you, making you out to be a superman, it is time to cry out: No! In this way you will savour the joy of the good son of God who goes through life with not a few faults, but doing good. (The Forge, 1054)

Do you see how necessary it is to know Jesus and lovingly observe his life? I have often gone to look for a definition or a biography of Jesus in Scripture. And I have found it written by the Holy Spirit: “He went about doing good” [1]. Every single day of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, from his birth until his death, can be summed up like that: he filled them all doing good. And in another place Scripture says, “He has done all things well” [2], he finished everything well, he did nothing that wasn’t good.

What about you and me, then? Let’s take a look to see if we have to put anything right. I certainly can find plenty to improve. I know that by myself I am incapable of doing good. And, since Jesus has said that without him we can do nothing [3], let us, you and me, go to our Lord and ask for his help, through his Mother, in one of those intimate conversations natural to souls who love God. I will say no more, for it’s up to each of you to speak to him personally, about your own needs. Do it interiorly, without the noise of words, now — while I for my part apply these counsels to my own sorry state. (Christ is passing by, 16)
[1] Acts 10:38
[2] Mark 7:37
[3] Cf John 15:5

Immaculate Conception

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2014/12/05 at 12:00 AM

In the Angelus of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Benedict XVI emphasised that Mary is Immaculate “by a gratuitous gift of the Grace of God, which she accepted, however, with perfect willingness and cooperation. In this respect she is ‘blessed’ because she ‘believed’, because of her firm faith in God”.

The Holy Father continued, “Mary represents that ‘remnant of Israel’, the holy root announced by the prophets. The promises of the Old Covenant are welcomed in her. In Mary the Word of God is listened to, and finds acceptance, a response; the Word finds the ‘yes’ that allows it to take on flesh and to dwell among us. In Mary humanity and history are truly open to God and accept his Grace, in readiness to serve his will. Mary is the genuine expression of Grace. She is the new Israel that the Scriptures of the Old Testament describe with the symbol of the bride. … The Fathers of the Church developed this image and so the doctrine of the Immaculate was born, first with reference to the Church as virgin-mother, and then to Mary”.

“The light that emanates from the figure of Mary helps us also to understand the true meaning of original sin. Indeed, in Mary the relationship with God, that may be destroyed by sin, is completely alive and active. There is no opposition within her between God and her being; rather, there is full communion, full understanding. There is a reciprocal ‘yes’, from God to her and from her to God. … She is full of His Grace and His love.

“In conclusion, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary expresses the certainty of faith that the promises of God are realised: that His covenant does not fail, but has produced a holy root, from which has grown the Fruit most blessed of all the universe, Jesus the Saviour. Mary Immaculate demonstrates that Grace is able to bring about a response, that God’s fidelity can generate a true and good faith”.

VIS 121210

“You will never love enough”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/06/23 at 12:00 AM
No matter how much you may love, you will never love enough. The human heart is endowed with an enormous coefficient of expansion. When it loves, it opens out in a crescendo of affection that overcomes all barriers. If you love Our Lord, there will not be a single creature that does not find a place in your heart. (Way of the Cross, 8th Station, 5)

Let us now consider the Master and his disciples gathered together in the intimacy of the Upper Room. The time of his Passion is drawing close and he is surrounded by those he loves. The fire in the Heart of Christ bursts into flame in a way no words can express and he confides in them, ‘I give you a new commandment that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

Lord, why do you call it a new commandment? As we have just heard, it was already laid down in the Old Testament that we should love our neighbour. You will remember also that, when Jesus had scarcely begun his public life, he broadened the scope of this law with divine generosity: ‘You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I tell you, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute and slander you.’

But, Lord, please allow us to insist. Why do you still call this precept new? That night, just a few hours before offering yourself in sacrifice on the Cross, during your intimate conversation with the men who — in spite of being weak and wretched, like ourselves — accompanied you to Jerusalem, you revealed to us the standard for our charity, one we could never have suspected: ‘as I have loved you’. How well the apostles must have understood you, having witnessed for themselves your unbounded love.

If we profess the same faith and are really eager to follow in the clear footprints left by Christ when he walked on this earth, we cannot be content merely with avoiding doing unto others the evil that we would not have them do unto us. That is a lot, but it is still very little when we consider that our love is to be measured in terms of Jesus’ own conduct. Besides, he does not give us this standard as a distant target, as a crowning point of a whole lifetime of struggle. It is — it ought to be, I repeat so that you may turn it into specific resolutions — the starting point, for Our Lord presents it as a sign of Christianity: ‘By this shall all men know that you are my disciples.’ (Friends of God, 222-223)

The Priesthood of Christ / audio

In 15 Audio on 2014/05/16 at 12:00 AM

The Priesthood of Jesus Christ Back to Series List

 

Program Name Audio File Name – Click to download
1. General Introduction
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood01.mp3
Fr. Miller briefly discusses the aspects of the priesthood which will be discussed in future episodes.
2. The Old Testament Prietshood
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood02.mp3
Fr. Miller looks at the priesthood of the Old Testament Jewish prietshood.
3. Christ’s Own Priesthood
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood03.mp3
Fr. Miller looks at Christ’s own words as recorded in Scripture concerning his own prietshood.
4. The Priesthood in the New Testament
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood04.mp3
Fr. Miller examines the priesthood as seen in the New Testament, especially in the letter to the Hebrews.
5. The Priesthood of the Apostles
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood05.mp3
Fr. Miller examines the priesthood of the Apostles as instituted by Christ.
6. The Priesthood in the Early Church
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood06.mp3
Fr. Miller delves into ancient Christian writings to examine the priesthood in near-apostolic times.
7. The Prietshood in the Early Church 2
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood07.mp3
Fr. Miller continues his examination of ancient Christian writings to further our knowledge of the priesthood in near-apostolic times.
8. The Attack on the Priesthood
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood08.mp3
Fr. Miller discusses how the priesthood has been attacked during the past 500 years.
9. The Priesthood of the faithful
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood09.mp3
Fr. Miller discusses the way in which all the baptized are said to be priests.
10. The Priesthood and Vatican 2
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood10.mp3
Fr. Miller briefly looks at the priesthood as seen in the documents of the second Vatican Council.
11. The Priestly Character
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood11.mp3
Fr. Miller looks at the indelible mark impressed on all who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.
12. The Mission of the Priest
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood12.mp3
Fr. Miller looks at what the mission of the priest is in our world today.
13. The Holiness of the Priest
Host – Fr. Frederick Miller
priesthood13.mp3
Fr. Miller discusses the holiness that the priethood deserves and requires.

 

Your salvation

In Uncategorized on 2014/03/07 at 12:00 AM

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate.”

The Holy Father noted that Jesus was responding to the question of how many people will be saved. But, the Pope said, “it is not important to know how many are saved. Rather, it is important to know what is the path of salvation.” Jesus Himself is the gate, a gate “that allows us to enter into God’s family, into the warmth of the house of God, of communion with Him. This gate is Jesus Himself.”

Pope Francis emphasised that “the gate that is Jesus is never closed . . . it is always open and open to everyone, without distinction, without exclusions, without privileges.” Jesus, he continued, does not exclude anyone. Some people might feel excluded because they are sinners – but Pope Francis definitively rejected this idea. “No,” he said, “you are not excluded! Precisely for that reason you are preferred, because Jesus prefers the sinner, always, in order to pardon him, to love him. Jesus is waiting for you, to embrace you, to pardon you.”

We are called to enter the gate that is Jesus. “Don’t be afraid to pass through the gate of faith in Jesus,” Pope Francis said. Don’t be afraid “to let Him enter more and more into our lives, to go out of our selfishness, our being closed in, our indifference toward others.”

Jesus speaks about a narrow gate not because it is a “torture chamber,” but “because it asks us to open our hearts to Him, to recognize ourselves as sinners, in need of His salvation, His forgiveness, His love, needing the humility to accept His mercy and to be renewed by Him.”

Finally, the Holy Father emphasised that Christianity is not a “label” – it is a way of life. Christians must not be Christians in name only: “Not Christians, never Christians because of a label!” he said. He called us to be true Christians, Christians at heart. “To be Christian,” said Pope Francis, “is to live and witness to the faith in prayer, in works of charity, in promoting justice, in doing good. For the narrow gate which is Christ must pass into our whole life.”

At the conclusion of his Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the many pilgrims from around the world who had gathered in Saint Peter’s Square, with special greetings for a number of groups from Italy and Brazil, and for priests and seminarians from the Pontifical North American College. Noting that many people are nearing the end of their summer break, he offered best wishes for a peaceful and committed return to normal daily life.

Listen: RealAudioMP3 

 Jesus is going up from Galilee to the city of Jerusalem, and along the way, says St. Luke the Evangelist, someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?” (13:23). Jesus did not answer the question directly: it is not important to know how many are saved, but rather, it is important to know what is the path of salvation. And so Jesus responds to the question by saying, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough” (v. 24). What does Jesus mean? What is the gate by which we enter? And why does Jesus speak about a narrow gate?

The image of the gate recurs several times in the Gospel and is reminiscent of home and hearth, where we find safety, love and warmth. Jesus tells us that there is a gate that allows us to enter into God’s family, into the warmth of the house of God, of communion with Him. This gate is Jesus himself (cf. Jn 10:9). He is the gate. He is the gateway to salvation. He leads us to the Father. And the gate that is Jesus is never closed, this gate is never closed, it is always open and open to everyone, without distinction, without exclusions, without privileges. Because, you know, Jesus does not exclude anyone. Some of you might say to me, “But Father, surely I am excluded, because I am a great sinner. I have done so many things in my life.” No, you are not excluded! Precisely for that reason you are preferred, because Jesus prefers the sinner, always, in order to pardon him, to love him. Jesus is waiting for you, to embrace you, to pardon you. Don’t be afraid: He’s waiting for you. Be lively, have the courage to enter through His gate. All are invited to pass through this gate, to pass through the gate of faith, to enter into His life, and to allow Him to enter into our life, because He transforms it, renews it, the gifts of full and lasting joy.

Nowadays we pass many doors that invite us to enter, that promise a happiness that then we realise lasts but a moment, which is an end in itself and has no future. But I ask you: which gate do we want to enter? And who we want to through the gate of our lives? I want to say emphatically: don’t be afraid to pass through the gate of faith in Jesus, to let Him enter more and more into our lives, to go out of our selfishness, our being closed in, our indifference toward others. Because Jesus illuminates our life with a light that never goes out. It is not a firework, not a “flash”! No, it is a soft light that always endures and that gives us peace. That is the light that we meet if we enter through the gate of Jesus.

Certainly, it is a narrow gate, the gate of Jesus, not because it is a torture chamber. No, not because of that! But because it asks us to open our hearts to Him, to recognize ourselves as sinners, in need of His salvation, His forgiveness, His love, needing the humility to accept His mercy and to be renewed by Him. Jesus in the Gospel tells us that being a Christian is not having a “label”! I ask you, are you Christians because of a label, or in truth? And for each one the answer is within. Not Christians, never Christians because of a label! Christians in truth, in the heart. To be Christian is to live and witness to the faith in prayer, in works of charity, in promoting justice, in doing good. For the narrow gate which is Christ must pass into our whole life.

We ask the Virgin Mary, the Gate of Heaven, to help us to pass through the gate of faith, to allow her Son to transform our existence as He transformed hers, in order to bring everyone the joy of the Gospel.

Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/08/25/pope_francis:_you_are_not_excluded!/en1-722638
of the Vatican Radio website

“Christ tells you and me that he needs us”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2013/12/16 at 12:00 AM
Christmas devotion.–I don’t smile when I see you making cardboard mountains around the crib and placing simple clay figures near the manger.–You have never seemed more a man to me than now, when you seem to be a child. (The Way, 557)

Every time Christmas comes around, I love to look at representations of the child Jesus. Statues and pictures which show a God who lowered himself remind me that God is calling us. The Almighty wants us to know that he is defenseless, that he needs men’s help. From the cradle at Bethlehem, Christ tells you and me that he needs us. He urges us to live a christian life to the full — a life of self‑sacrifice, work and joy.

We will never have genuine joy if we do not really try to imitate Jesus. Like him we must be humble. I repeat: do you see where God’s greatness is hidden? In a manger, in swaddling clothes, in a stable. The redemptive power of our lives can only work through humility. We must stop thinking about ourselves and feel the responsibility to help others.

It can sometimes happen that even well‑intentioned people create personal problems — really serious worries — which have no objective basis whatsoever. These problems arise in persons whose lack of self‑knowledge leads to pride and a desire to be the centre of attention, to be favoured by everyone. They want to appear always in a good light, to be personally secure. They are not content simply to do good and disappear. And so, many who could enjoy a wonderful peace of soul and great happiness become, through pride and presumption, unhappy and unfruitful.

Christ was humble of heart. Throughout his life he looked for no special consideration or privilege. (Christ is passing by, 18)

The Word Was Made Flesh

In 15 Audio on 2013/12/12 at 12:00 AM

Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, gives an impassioned meditation on the Scriptural work that St. Clement of Alexandria called the “Spiritual Gospel.” In The Word Was Made Flesh series, viewers gather the categorical distinction between John’s Gospel and the earlier composed Synoptics. According to St. Clement, “Seeing that the other gospel accounts set forth only the material story, John, the last of all, entreated by his familiar friends and divinely upheld by the Spirit, wrote the Spiritual Gospel. No one can fully understand this Gospel until they have leaned upon the heart of Christ like the Beloved Disciple at the Last Supper and stood at the foot of the cross, next to his Blessed Mother!” Hence the privileged position of St. John has yielded an eye-witness account unlike any other. Written after 90 AD, much theological reflection and insight were infused into the soul of the text to produce a timeless classic of divine inspiration.

The Word Was Made Flesh

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Program Name

Audio File Name – Click to download

1.

The Prologue of St. John 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli unpacks the rich layers of meaning contained within the famous Prologue of John’s Gospel. The timeless, eternal Son of God was always with God, and yet he decided to become a human being, entering a specific time and place and taking on human nature. This mystery rightly occupies the mind of the Gospel’s author and all Christians who would like to sincerely believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the cause of our redemption.

2.

The Week of the New Creation and the Wedding at Cana 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli recounts the first week of Our Lord’s Public Ministry, culminating with the first miracle performed at the Wedding Feast at Cana. The Divinity of Jesus is revealed in his words and deeds, in addition to the testimony of John the Baptist and the first apostles called by Christ.

3.

The Cleansing of the Temple and the Meeting with Nicodemus 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli lends insight into the pivotal public event of Christ cleansing the Temple, which would cause all Jewish people to be polarized, either for or against him. In contrast to this censure for blindness, unbelief or unawareness of the sacred presence of God in his Temple and especially in the person of Jesus, John provides the refreshing contrast of a Jewish leader asking for understanding from, and coming to belief in, Christ.

4.

Our Lord and the Samaritan Woman at the Well 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli relates the dramatic story of the Samaritan woman who encounters Our Lord at Jacob’s Well. Jesus leads from a discussion of natural water to the deepest need of the human heart, to be filled with God’s grace. Jesus proclaims that he is the Anointed One expected by his people, and her testimony to Christ leads an entire village to see and believe for themselves the truth of his identity.

5.

Cures Amongst Opposition 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli recounts the intensified situation in which Jesus finds himself, freely performing miraculous cures amongst a population with leadership hostile to his message and fearful that his authority will encroach upon their own. The actions of Jesus naturally call out for a human response of love, but he is met with stern political resistance and outright opposition.

6.

The Bread of Life 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli relates the testimony of Jesus, backed up by miraculous signs, that he is the fulfillment of ancient prophecies contained in the Hebrew Scriptures. The fathers of the Hebrews ate manna in the desert, and Jesus declares that he himself is the bread that will forever satisfy, divinely providing for all his people’s needs. Large multitudes are scandalized by his remarks and leave his company. Only the apostles, notably Peter, discern his veracity.

7.

The Living Water and the Light of the World 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli shares the further unfolding drama of Jesus attempting to make known his true identity, using the analogies of Living Water and the Light of the World. For those genuinely searching for fulfillment and truth, he is the source par excellence. Humility of heart, or receptivity, is the condition for grasping who he is, where he came from, and where he is going.

8.

The Good Shepherd and the Healing of the Man Born Blind 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli proceeds to discuss the progression of Jesus’ ministry, as Christ opens the physical and spiritual eyes of those are willing to believe in him, while he must censure those who claim to be healthy, in no need of a physician. To those who would receive him, he will act as a Good Shepherd, carefully safeguarding and leading his flock unto eternal salvation. He proclaims that he is the only way to heaven.

9.

The Raising of Lazarus at the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli relates defining factors which will culminate in the unjust trial and execution of Christ. Jesus chooses to raise Lazarus from the dead after his friend has spent four days in the tomb. After this moment, no one can deny the truth of what happened, nor what this event says about Jesus. If Jesus is allowed to continue his ministry, the people will seek to make him king. In fact he enters Jerusalem and is treated to a king’s welcome, albeit short-lived. Jesus knowingly predicts his Passion and subsequent death.

10.

The Last Supper: Part One 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli follows the Gospel narrative to the Eucharistic feast celebrated by Our Lord. He defines the nature of his discipleship as one of service led by example. He gives his apostles the priesthood as the means for him to remain with his people always in his Eucharistic presence. He promises that he will send His Spirit to guide his people into all truth, reminding them of all he said and did.

11.

The Last Supper: Part Two 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli recounts Jesus’ further directives to his disciples on how to remain connected with him even after he has gone. They are to live in his love, keeping his commandments, loving one another as he has loved them. Jesus proves the rightness in his going to the Father and prays for their protection, unity and preservation in the truth.

12.

The Passion and Death of Our Lord 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli unfolds John’s dramatic firsthand accounts of the suffering and death of Christ, which he underscores as the perfect and purposeful fulfillment of the Father’s will. Jesus’ faithfulness unto death, along with that of his mother and the Beloved Disciple, is contrasted with responses of the figures surrounding him: Peter, Judas, Pilate and the Roman centurion, the Jewish people and leaders. John’s account leaves readers to decide how they will respond to the life and death of Christ.

13.

Easter Sunday and Post-Resurrection Appearances of Our Lord 

Host – Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR

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Fr. Apostoli concludes his survey of the Gospel by highlighting the reactions of the apostles and disciples to Christ’s resurrection from the dead. The Madgalene takes the words of the angels and Christ himself to the skeptical apostles. Peter and John verify her story by visiting the tomb. Thomas finds probative evidence for the resurrection for all time. Jesus further confirms his identity and mission in the hearts of his disciples by numerous signs and appearances. He corrects Peter’s triple denial by encouraging him to make a threefold confession of faith. The author proclaims his own identity.

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