Bread of Life

BREAD OF LIFE
 this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (john 6: 50)
The miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded. Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church—with the whole community of Catholics around the world…and in heaven.

the Real Presence of Christ

Why does the Catholic Church believe Christ is really present in the Eucharist?
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—body, blood, soul and divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” - John 6:48-56
Furthermore, the early Church Fathers either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!

This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

WHAT IS TRUTH?

Pontius Pilate asked the question to Jesus,“What is Truth”. As it turns out, Pontius was staring The Truth right in the face and didn’t even know it.

Jesus Christ proclaimed that He is The Truth in John 14:6: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

The term I AM is the name of God that Moses learned way back in Exodus 3:14:

God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.'"

So when Jesus said “I Am” the Truth, He was really saying that God is Truth. So many people today believe that what they think is the truth, regardless of what God says in His Word. Their ego and pride are so big that they have convinced themselves that whatever ideas they come up with regarding abortion, homosexuality, money, etc., are true, because it seems true to their 40 or 50 year old mind.

In other words, truth to a lot of people is subjective, not objective. When worldly people use the term “I think for myself”, it is supposed to proclaim to the ignorant Christian that they are somehow smarter than we are, who blindly follow the Pope, the Bible, or the Church. (Proverbs 3:5 says " Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.")

But just look how silly this "I think for myself and therefore whatever I come up with is true" philosophy. A camera is a camera whether or not you believe it to be. If one person says that a camera is really a cow, that doesn’t make it a cow, no matter how sincere the person may be, and how convinced the person’s mind may be.

And if God says in his word that homosexuality, sorcery, adultery, etc., are evil, how stupid is it of man to believe otherwise? Truth is truth, no matter how much man may rationalize otherwise. And signing up to follow a set of principles as espoused in the Bible is not “blindly following the Pope”.

Rather, obeying what is true is good and right, and is a virtue, not a vice. Going off on your own way because you “feel” it’s right is a vice. What if you’re going the wrong way? Where will you end up 100 years from now by following what you “feel” is best? Heaven or Hell?

The devil, called by Jesus “the father of lies” in John 8:44, has done a great job of convincing the Media, Madison Avenue, and Hollywood (an unholy trinity if there ever was one), that evil is good and good is evil. The bible condemns this upside down thinking in Isaiah 5:20:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

And yet, that is exactly the kind of society we live in today. GK Chesterton, the great Catholic writer of the early twentieth century, once said that only dead bodies go with the current. It takes live ones to swim against it. And that is so true.

It’s so easy to go with the flow, rather than to speak The Truth and get made fun of for being a bible thumper. The biggest battle most parents have today is convincing their children that what they see on TV, billboards, and in the movies is garbage, and what they learn in church on Sunday is The Truth.

We are all being inundated with lies when we watch entertainment. For instance, when there is a death or an imminent catastrophe about to happen on a show, how many people do you see praying? None. When a clergyman is portrayed in a TV show, is it a positive or a negative portrayal? More than likely it’s a negative one.

When marriage is portrayed on TV, is it holy, or unholy? Unholy, most likely. And just how many times do we hear organizations like the military and schools ignore the term “Christmas”, in favor of the innocuous term “holiday”?

In John 8:44, Jesus compares lying to murder:

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.

Here are some great quotes from God regarding what truth is:

Isaiah 45:19 I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, `Seek me in chaos.' I the LORD speak the truth, I declare what is right. Ezra 45:1: "Now concerning the signs: behold, the days are coming when those who dwell on earth shall be seized with great terror, and the way of truth shall be hidden, and the land shall be barren of faith.

(**NOTE** - These days appear to be here now)

Psalm 45:8: The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.

John 1: 14 : And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 8: 31-32: Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

John 8:44: You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 14:6: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

John 15:26: but when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me;

John 16: 7: Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

John 16:13: When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 18: 37-38: Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, "I find no crime in him.

Romans 1: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.

Romans 1:25: because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

Galatians 4: 16: Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?

1 Timothy 3: 15: if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

1 John 1: 6: If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth;

1 John 1:8: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 4:6: We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

1 Timothy 1:8-10: Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for menslayers, immoral persons, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

(**NOTE** Here lying is lumped in with a murder, immorality, sodomy, and kidnapping)

1 John 2: 4: He who says "I know him" but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him;

1 John 2:22: Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.

1 John 4:20: If any one says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

1 John 5:10: He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne to his Son. Revelation 21:8: But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death."

So don't be like Pontius Pilate and question what truth is. Truth is whatever God, His Word, and His Church says it is, not what we may think it is, or what we wish it to be. Jesus Christ is Truth, and the devil is the father of lies. Thinking for yourself when it comes to deciding what truth is may seem smart and right, but listening to what The Word says is the better, and only true, path to take.

God sent the Holy Spirit to guide His Church in Truth, not to each individual person. Sinful priests today do not negate what the Truth is, anymore than the sinful Judas and Peter negated what Jesus taught way back when.

And intelligent people need to discern (a gift of the Holy Spirit, by the way) when people are giving their strong personal opinions cleverly disguised and packaged as fact. People can be sincere in their opinions, for sure, but also be sincerely wrong.

CS Lewis once remarked that Hell is full of people who said "My will be done". Heaven is full of people who said "Thy will be done", so choose wisely !

Sunday, January 24, 2016

IS JESUS RELEVANT TODAY?

Many think that Jesus Christ wants us to become religious. They think Jesus came to take all the fun out of life, and give us impossible rules to live by.

They are willing to call him a great leader from the past, but say he is not relevant to their lives today.

Josh McDowell was a college student who thought Jesus was just another religious leader who set up impossible rules to live by. He thought Jesus was totally irrelevant to his life.

Then one day at a student union lunch table McDowell sat next to a vibrant young coed with a radiant smile. Intrigued, he asked her why she was so happy. Her immediate reply was, “Jesus Christ!”

Jesus Christ? McDowell bristled, firing back:

“Oh, for God’s sake, don’t give me that garbage. I’m fed up with religion; I’m fed up with the church; I’m fed up with the Bible. Don’t give me that garbage about religion.”

But the unfazed young coed calmly informed him,

“Mister, I didn’t say religion, I said Jesus Christ.

McDowell was stunned. He had never considered Jesus more than a religious figure, and didn’t want any part of religious hypocrisy. Yet here was this joyful Christian woman talking about Jesus as someone who had brought meaning to her life.

Christ claimed to answer all the deep questions about our existence. At one time or another, we all question what life is all about. Have you ever gazed up at the stars on a pitch-black evening and wondered who put them there? Or have you ever seen a sunset and thought about life’s biggest questions:

  • “Who am I?”
  • “Why am I here?”
  • “Where am I going after I die?”

Although other philosophers and religious leaders have offered their answers to the meaning of life, only Jesus Christ proved his credentials by rising from the dead. Skeptics like McDowell who originally scoffed at Jesus’ resurrection, have discovered that there is compelling evidence that it really occurred.

Jesus offers life with real meaning. He said that life is much more than making money, having fun, being successful, and then ending up in a graveyard. Yet, many people still try to find meaning in fame and success, even the greatest superstars.

Click here to read page 2 of 10 about "Is Jesus Relevant Today?"

Monday, January 18, 2016

IN PERSONA CHRISTI...

'In the person of Christ'

In the confessional, as the priest gives absolution, he says, 'I absolve you of your sins'. He does not say Jesus Christ absolves you of your sins. The priest is acting in the person of Christ, 'In Persona Christi'.

Think about this for a minute, as it is an awesome truth.

During the consecration of the host, the priest says, 'This is MY Body'. He does not say, this is the Body of Christ. The priest is acting in the person of Christ, 'In Persona Christi'.

Again it is almost incomprehensible, that it is possible for any human person to act in the person of Christ. However, it is a teaching of the Church, and is therefore to be believed.

What we do not realize is that GOD has given each one of us a specific talent of one kind or another, and if we in turn give that talent back to GOD in His service, then each one of us is acting 'In Persona Christi'.

What could be more rewarding to anyone than to know that when we give back to GOD the fruits of the talents He has given to us, we are doing it 'In Persona Christi'?

"Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I have done for your sake's, in the person of Christ." 2Corinthians 2:10

Monday, January 11, 2016

WHY INFANT BAPTISM?

Holy Baptism is the first of seven Sacraments in the Orthodox Christian Church. Together with the Sacrament of Holy Chrism it joins the candidate to the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.

Some people argue that the only valid baptism is that of an adult who believes in Christ first.

They argue that to baptise a helpless infant only a few weeks old who is unable to believe is meaningless. So why baptise a baby when it doesn't know yet what is happening? Why not wait for the baby to grow and believe in Christ and ask for baptism?

If we were to follow this line of reasoning, we wouldn’t inoculate the baby against diphtheria until he grows up and asks for it! But we know better.

Baptising infants before they know what is going on is an expression of God's great love for us. It shows that God loves us and accepts us before we can ever know and love Him. It shows that we are wanted and loved by God from the very moment of our birth. Nothing shows the nature of God's grace more than infant baptism.

The Orthodox Church does not belittle personal faith in an adult who seeks baptism, but instead insists that the whole emphasis of baptism is not an what the baby does or the parents or the godparents, but on what God does. The fact that we are Christians is not due to any act on our part; it is due to the act of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Of course Baptism demands a personal response on the part of the baptised child when it reaches the age of reason. The child must accept what God did for him or her in Baptism.

Baptism is not a divine pass that will get us into Heaven automatically. It must be followed by a personal awareness or awakening to the many gifts of God's love bestowed upon us through this great sacrament.

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

WHY CATHOLICS NEEDN'T CELEBRATE NEW YEARS DAY

On Friday, January 1, the secular world will observe “New Year’s Day.” The Catholic world will not, for two reasons. One is that we have a genuine religious feast day to observe, in celebration of Mary, the Mother of God.

The second is that Catholics don’t find much use in celebrating the chronological movement from December 31, 2015 to January 1, 2016. Not because we are grumpy, and not because we are boring. Catholics don’t have much use for “New Year’s,” simply because we live on a different sort of calendar than the rest of the world.

The Catholic calendar is not progressive, in the sense that it does not continuously march on from one date to the next indefinitely, as does the secular calendar. The Catholic calendar is perpetually seasonal, cyclical, and repetitive. We like rote prayers, not just because we happen to have them memorized, but because we have accepted the rotary characteristic of our faith, our lives, and the world.

Shortened attention span created by technological gluttony and self-centeredness isn’t the only reason the secular world is bored by repetition. Fascination with the new is rooted in a worldview opposed to ours, which is enamored with the novel and dissatisfied with the static.

Pope Francis, for example, has warned of “those who doggedly uphold the myth of progress,” pointing out that they are largely to blame for causing the very problems that many contemporary progressives claim to be solving (Laudato Si, 60).

The progressive worldview has interesting origins from the perspective of religious history. Biblical religion brought with it a new emphasis on the idea of progress, in that the Jewish and Christian Scriptures testified to a cosmic significance in individual persons and actions that was somewhat foreign to the pagan philosophies.

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