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This Week On Following The Truth With Gary Zimak…

 

It’s going to be an exciting week (7/8 – 7/13) on the Following The Truth radio show.

Here’s the lineup…

Sunday (Sunday Sunset) – A 15 minute show designed to close out the Lord’s Day and get you ready for the week to come. We’ll pray the Night Prayer (from the Liturgy of the Hours) and briefly reflect on Sunday’s readings.

Monday (Understanding The Mass – The Introductory Rites) – Why do we now say “And With Your Spirit” instead of “And Also With You”? Why do we ask for mercy 3 times? What is the purpose of the Gloria? We’ll answer these and many more questions, using the book, A Biblical Walk Through the Mass (Book): Understanding What We Say and Do In The Liturgy by Dr. Edward Sri.

Tuesday (How To Listen When God Is Speaking) – How come God never speaks to me? That question can often be answered with another question…are you listening? Join us as we begin looking at the book, How to Listen When God Is Speaking: A Guide for Modern-Day Catholics by Fr. Mitch Pacwa. If you are trying to make a decision in accordance with God’s Will, you don’t want to miss this weekly series!

Wednesday (The Importance Of Silence And Solitude) – In an increasingly noisy and busy world, it’s difficult to find the time or the place to be silent. In his book, Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis has a lot to say about the importance of silence and solitude. We’ll discuss it on this show.

Thursday (10 Tips For Praying The Rosary) – Taken from various sources, we’ll present 10 great tips to help you PRAY and not just SAY the rosary. If you struggle with this great prayer, be sure to listen!

Friday (Learning To Deny Yourself) – In his book, The Hidden Power of Kindness: A Practical Handbook for Souls Who Dare to Transform the World, One Deed at a Time, Fr. Lawrence Lovasik discusses the importance of learning to deny ourselves. In the second half of the show, we’ll read and discuss the Mass Readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Now approaching 50,000 listens since first going on the air in late 2010, the Following The Truth radio show has become a nightly part of many people’s spiritual routine. Listen for yourself and see what all the fuss is about!

Don’t Be Afraid To “Cross The Line” For Jesus!

 

“There was a preacher once who was saying to the congregation, ‘It is wrong to steal horses.’ The congregation answered, ‘Amen,amen.’ ‘It is wrong to steal cows.’ ‘Amen, Amen!’ Then he said, ‘It is wrong to steal chickens.’ And someone shouted back, ‘Now he is meddling.’ Up until that point, conscience was not touched.” (Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen)

I recently wrote a blog post about the need for Catholics to take action against some of President Obama’s policies, mainly his health care plan and the HHS mandate. My analysis was clear and to the point – there are provisions in this plan that oppose Catholic teaching and, following the lead of our bishops, we must speak out and take action. While I expected some opposition (mainly from non-Catholics), I wasn’t prepared for what I received…FROM CATHOLICS!

Here’s a sample…

For the first time, a health care plan addresses the lack of health coverage for 60 million Americans who had been up to now left to die on the side of the road until the Good Samaritan bill was passed.

OK, not bad…some editorializing, but still respectful. Things start to go downhill with the next response…

I don’t think that our religion should have anything to do with politics. That is what is so great about our religion, it is the one true church but we aren’t taught to force our religion on people. If we did we would be looked at just as the Protestant church is. The Supreme Court ruling does go against some of the church’s teachings, but it is also for many of the teachings. Let’s not forget that 6 of the justices are Catholic.

A little more direct, but not really nasty. Then I got this one…

Certainly, everyone is entitled to their opinion but I find it improper for Gary Zimak to have the gall to think he speaks for all Catholics. This man is not a Bishop, Priest, or even a Brother for the Church. From where does his authority spring forth? I am wary of any person who speaks or writes in the name of God and doesn’t use Scripture…Yes…abortion is wrong. Yes…its even murder. However, Barack Obama is not a supporter of abortion! Some people do support it and use it as an after-the-fact form of birth control. That is murder. But then others, like Obama simply say that government will not regulate it by making it against the law.

This gentlemen finishes his comments with…

The conservative right (which I would never call religious) are the ones who DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE POOR as Jesus did. They love money, not God or their fellow man. Zimak derided the recent Supreme Court decision. Why? He is a rich white man! He doesn’t care about how the needy are finally getting health care reform that will help the poor and middle class! I am disgusted by those who would use Catholicism to further their own personal agenda. Those are the people Jesus called “Vipers!”

As a Catholic evangelist, I often write and say things that are met with resistance. As long as I stick to generalities (“God loves us”, “We can all be a little nicer”, “Prayer is effective”, etc.), then everyone is happy and nobody gets offended. However, the minute I start to challenge people’s beliefs or practices, the negative comments begin to flow. A few years ago, I wrote an article, “Ten Facts Most Catholics Don’t Know (But Should)”. For the most part, it was very well received. However, when one diocesan newspaper picked it up, the readers went crazy! My assertions on the all male priesthood, the Bible being compiled by the Catholic Church and all salvation taking place through the Church were met with the following comments…

“I wonder if Mr. Zimak realizes who his audience is. Some American Catholics are critical thinkers.”

“It is with dismay that I read the article by Gary Zimak in the guest commentary. He purports to be the founder of Following The Truth ministries. I am doubly troubled that you him as an authority of sorts. May I please know the authority by which this lay apostolate says he speaks for the Roman Catholic Church regarding women priests? What in fact are his credentials for representing the Vatican in any way?”

“We were rather startled by the guest commentary by Gary Zimak in the July 30th issue. We think that Mr. Zimak is a questionable source at best…As for No Salvation Outside of the Church, perhaps someone should explain the teachings of Vatican II to Mr. Zimak. He seems to have stopped his belief in Catholic teachings at the Council of Trent.”

“Then there was Gary Zimak’s statement that “Women will never be priests”. (Gary, didn’t your mother tell you ‘never say never?)”

“I wondered what you had in mind when selecting the piece for publication. It provided no new insights, but instead the same old worn out points that are often made by some finger-shaking, pre-Vatican II conservative ‘traditional’ Roman Catholics…Certainly, the piece did not contain any new, enlightened points of view that would pique the interest of forward looking, contemporary Christians searching for new understanding.”

And my personal favorite…

“Today I read ‘Ten Facts Most Catholics Don’t Know’ with the smirking picture of the author…”

Our Catholic Church teaches that we MUST evangelize. This requires us to charitably share the truth with others. Depending on just how much of the truth we share, however, we’re eventually going to be met with resistance. It happened to the prophets, it happened to the Apostles and it happened to Jesus. Our Lord warns of this with His chilling words:

“Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53)

As Catholics, we must be willing to speak the truth, even if it makes someone angry. We live in a world that is filled with darkness. Many people do not want to learn the truth because it is in direct conflict with a sinful and selfish lifestyle. While the world may not WANT to hear the truth, the world NEEDS to hear the truth and it is our responsibility to proclaim it. A close friend (and excellent writer), Shane Kapler, wrote an excellent article in which he discusses the “Caricature Jesus”. In Shane’s words…

We prefer an imaginary Jesus, who forgives our failings but makes no demands. The imaginary Jesus never gets upset – unless it’s at religious bullies, and they’ve got it coming, don’t they? He came to relieve suffering (because pain, not separation from God, is the ultimate evil) and to teach us that if we’ll just be “tolerant” enough of everyone else’s opinion (translation = truth does not exist in fact; truth is what we individually believe it to be), peace will finally come.

Unfortunately, despite some people wanting to believe otherwise, the teachings of Jesus Christ as presented through His Church are very concrete and real. They cannot, and should not, be watered down or ignored simply to avoid conflict. As Catholics we have the duty to speak the truth, even if it means “crossing the line”. Jesus warned us of the hatred that we’d experience, but He also promised a great reward…

You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

Attention, Catholics…Quit Complaining And DO SOMETHING!

 

As Catholics, we’re very good at complaining. We complain about our priests, bishops and deacons being too lax or too strict. We complain about the teachings of the Church being too hard to follow. We complain when we’re asked to contribute to the support of the Church. We also complain about President Obama and his administration’s anti-Catholic policies.

I have to admit that yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court upholding President Obama’s Affordable Health Care plan was painful. However, nothing that this administration does should come as a surprise. President Obama is a supporter of abortion, same sex “marriage” and his HHS mandate makes clear what he thinks about freedom of religion. What boggles my mind is how any Catholic can be surprised by anything this administration does. What’s even more mind-boggling is how any Catholic (and there were many) voted for him, knowing of his support for abortion alone!

While we may feel frustrated and defeated, complaining and belittling Obama and his Catholic “partners in crime” (Pelosi, Biden, Sebelius, John Roberts) isn’t really going to do any good. Complaining about your priests, deacons and bishops not speaking out is also not very productive. Rather than simply complaining, let’s look at some PRODUCTIVE steps that every Catholic could and should do:

1. Vote like a Catholic! – Anyone who tries to tell you that faith and politics don’t mix is flat out wrong. If we are not voting based on our Catholic principles, then we are NOT living our Catholic Faith. And that is a BIG problem. Our vote should be an expression of our Faith. Casting the other issues aside for a moment, any Catholic who votes for a candidate who supports the legal MURDER of the unborn could be putting their salvation in serious jeopardy. While I have no right to judge anyone’s motivation, I would not want to appear before the Lord (upon my death) and attempt to justify why I voted for a candidate who supports abortion!

2. Pray – While we do not know how or why prayer works, we know that it does. Turning to the Bible, we see that Our Lord prayed on many occasions. In his letters, St. Paul frequently urged his readers to pray and often did so himself. Prayer is effective! We should pray every day for an end to abortion and for God’s Will to be done on earth. Yes, the world is a dark place…yes, there is much evil taking place every day, but we can’t just sit back and complain. We have to pray!

3. Learn the Teachings of the Church – As Catholics, one of our biggest weaknesses is not knowing the teachings of the Church. Far too many Catholics simply go through the motions and don’t understand their faith. How can we live out our Catholic Faith when we don’t understand it? Furthermore, how can we share the teachings of the Church with others if we’re in the dark? I guarantee that, if you approach it with an open mind, studying why the Church teaches as she does will reveal something shocking…the Church is always right!

4. Speak Out! – When our co-workers speak of the beauty of same sex “marriage” or the “right to choose” to murder the unborn, we shouldn’t remain silent. In addition to knowing why the Church teaches as she does, we MUST defend her teachings. I refuse to believe that most abortion supporters know what the practice involves. One would have to be cold and barbaric to condone the cold blooded murder of a child. As knowledgeable Catholics, it is up to us to share the truth with others. Sure, we have to be charitable, but we need to let people know the truth. There are many abortion and same sex “marriage” supporters in the world who would change their position if they knew exactly what they were supporting. We need to be a light in the darkness and proclaim the “Good News” to the world!

5. Get Involved – There are many ways for us to get involved in combating these threats to our beliefs. Praying outside of abortion clinics, volunteering at crisis pregnancy centers, contributing to pro-life charities, circulating petitions in defense of the family are all productive ways to combat the evil in the world. Instead of simply griping about “the world being crazy”, it’s time to get involved!

Above all, remember to stay positive (in spite of what you may be feeling). The Lord knows what He’s doing. While we may not understand why evil exists, we do know that God permits it to happen. One of the reasons is due to the gift of free will. God will never force anyone to follow His Will. Rather, He allows us to choose good or to choose evil. As evidenced by the crucifixion, God can always bring good out of evil. Therefore, don’t become discouraged, keep fighting the good fight, stop complaining and…

DO SOMETHING!

Join The Fraternity Of Kindness

 

(Listen to Following The Truth on BlogTalkRadio every Friday at 8 PM Eastern as Gary discusses the book, “The Hidden Power Of Kindness” by Father Lawrence Lovasik!)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)

In my life as a Christian, one of the most difficult things for me to do is to love everyone. Even though Jesus commands me to do this (John 13:34-35, 15:12, Matthew 5:43), loving everyone does not come easy for me. While it’s easy for me to love people who are nice to me, I have a REALLY hard time loving those who don’t love me back. Although it’s difficult, I need to take the Lord’s command seriously IF I expect to get to Heaven! Fortunately, I recently ran across a very simple method of putting Jesus’ instruction into practice.

In his book, The Hidden Power Of Kindness, the late Fr. Lawrence Lovasik urges that we all become members of the Fraternity of Kindness.

This “organization” has no officers, no meetings and no dues. In fact, its rules are simple. There are three little don’ts and three little do’s. Brilliant in their simplicity, these do’s and don’ts will put us on the right track for loving everyone:

DON’TS
1. Don’t speak unkindly of anyone.
2. Don’t speak unkindly to anyone.
3. Don’t act unkindly toward anyone.

DO’S
1. Do speak kindly of someone at least once a day.
2. Do think kindly of someone at least once a day.
3. Do act kindly toward someone at least once a day.

If we violate any of these rules, Fr. Lovasik suggests the following actions:

1. Make a brief act of contrition (ex. “My Jesus, mercy!”)
2. Offer an apology, if possible.
3. Say a little prayer for the one to whom you have been unkind.

Although the Fraternity of Kindness is not an official group, living by these “do’s and don’ts” will allow you to follow the Lord’s command to “love one another” and keep you on the road to Heaven. Just don’t forget to ask the Lord for the grace necessary to carry them out. If we try to do this on our own, it’s not easy, but…

“With God nothing will be impossible!” (Luke 1:37)

If anyone 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 4:20)

Empty Churches – Where Should We Draw The Line?

 

“Religion is popular only when it ceases to be truly religious. Religion by its very nature is unpopular – certainly unpopular with the ego.” (Archbishop Fulton J Sheen)

Recently, an interesting article was brought to my attention. Appearing in The Morning Call (Allentown, PA), the point was raised that organized religion was on the decline throughout the area. More and more, organized religion is coming under attack, as evidenced by the recent YouTube video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”. While the idea of individuals creating their own personal version of Jesus’ teachings is nothing new, this philosophy is now creeping into organized religion. Evidence of this can be seen in a comment made by Rev. Tony Sundermeier, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Allentown (in the above article):

“We create a space for different ways for people to engage with God. I still think people are spiritual and religious. It’s just not orthodox Christianity they’re looking for.”

Reaching Out or Dumbing Down?
In an attempt to reach out and bring people back to church, some Christian churches are bending over backward to give the people what they want, rather than what they need. If the teachings of Jesus are too challenging, let’s change them so that they are more appealing. Strong evidence of this can be seen in the churches that proclaim the “health and wealth gospel”. Sometimes referred to as prosperity theology, the message is that faithful believers will be rewarded with financial wealth. While this can be an attractive message, it is certainly not the message lived and proclaimed by Jesus Christ. Additionally, some churches water down their teaching to make it more “user friendly” and appealing. In other words, let’s make going to church fun. If we take away the negativity and challenging doctrine, then people will come back in droves. Sadly, I’ve even seen this in some Catholic parishes and it is a big mistake. Christians deserve the truth and not a watered down message that “feels good”. For, although it might feel good now, a diluted set of religious doctrine isn’t going to help us get to Heaven! The question that must be asked is, although it may attract more people to church (and even this is debatable), what good does it do to remove the difficult, but necessary, aspects of Christianity?

What Does The Bible Say?
While I don’t claim to have all the answers, I do know that the Bible provides some valuable clues about truth. In his letter to Timothy, Saint Paul states that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm 2:4). That statement implies that absolute truth exists, God wants us to know that truth, and learning and obeying it will allow us to get to Heaven. Given that statement, it’s easy to see why distorting that truth could be problematic. While I understand why this is being done, what is the point of getting people in your church if you’re not going to give them the teaching that they need to one day achieve salvation?

There is no doubt that the truth will cause division, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be spoken. What does Jesus have to say about the truth?

“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Lk 12:51-53)

Furthermore, the words of Jesus as He commissioned the Apostles affirms the importance of always preaching the whole truth:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt 28:19-20)

Note that Jesus didn’t say to share only His pleasant and less challenging teachings…He said to teach ALL that He commanded. This includes unpopular and difficult teachings, even if they’re met with resistance. Jesus encountered this difficulty first hand when He taught about the necessity of the Eucharist for salvation. In His Bread of Life discourse (Jn 6: 22-71), when He proclaimed that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life within you” (Jn 6:53), many of His disciples said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (Jn 6:60). Instead of backing down or modifying this crucial teaching, Jesus let many of His disciples walk away from Him. (Jn 6:66). Why? Because He couldn’t compromise the truth!

A Catholic Response
As Catholics, we are blessed to have the fullness of truth and, under no circumstances, can we change the truth in order to make it more palatable. Although we should become creative and try to meet people “where they are”, the “Good News” can’t be changed. For, in doing so, we’d be hurting people rather than helping them. Although it’s a challenge, we need to educate people about Church teachings. As many of us cynics have discovered, the teachings of the Church really do make sense once they are prayerfully explored with an open mind. That’s the great thing about truth…it’s TRUE!

Isn’t This The Clergy’s Job?
As lay Catholics, what can we do to combat declining Mass attendance? Isn’t this the job of the priests and deacons? In actuality, we should all be concerned about this matter. If you think about it for a minute, it’s not easy for the clergy to reach out to those who no longer attend Mass. Furthermore, the Church teaches that evangelization is the responsibility of ALL baptized Catholics. In his apostolic letter, Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith), Pope Benedict XVI observed:

The renewal of the Church is also achieved through the witness offered by the lives of believers: by their very existence in the world, Christians are called to radiate the word of truth that the Lord Jesus has left us.

In order to share the truth with others, the first thing we should do is learn, understand AND LIVE the teachings of the Catholic Church. Then, as charitably as possible, we should share these teachings with others. Our Church is blessed to have the fullness of truth and it would be wrong to keep this treasure to ourselves. With whom should we share? Everyone around us – our family, friends, coworkers and any others who we encounter in our daily lives.

Using The Internet
Do you spend a lot of time on the Internet? Why not use it for sharing the faith? One of the great things about the Internet and social media is the ability to reach those who no longer go to Church. Here are some simple and concrete steps that we can all take to share the truth with others:

Share good Catholic articles with others via email.

Post inspirational quotes on Facebook or Twitter.

“Like” solid Catholic fan pages, groups or posts on Facebook.

Create your own Catholic website, podcast, Facebook group or Twitter account.

Whether we do it on the Internet or face to face, we must never stop proclaiming the true teaching of the Catholic Church. In the end, that truth is what is going to save souls. Sometimes people will get offended and “walk away”, but that shouldn’t deter us from delivering the “Good News” IN FULL. It happened to the prophets, it happened to the Saints and it happened to Jesus…and that’s some good company!

“No one is truly poor but except the one who lacks the truth.” (St. Ephraem the Syrian)

The Easiest Way To End Up In Hell…

 

As humans, we have a tendency to do things that “feel good”. Conversely, we like to avoid things that are unpleasant. When we are young, this practice often keeps us out of trouble. Speaking from personal experience, very few kids are going to put the metal key in the electrical socket more than once. One “zap” is usually all it takes to make them realize that it’s not a “fun” experience! Unfortunately, while this attitude can be a big help when we are young, it can work against us when we are older ESPECIALLY when we use it as the basis for making moral decisions.

There is no question that sometimes what God wants us to do is not pleasant. If we want to grow closer to Him, however, it’s necessary to do these unpleasant things. When we study the life of Christ and the saints, we see them constantly rising above what “feels good”, choosing instead what is necessary. If you need an example, look at the life of Jesus and remove everything that wasn’t pleasant. What would be left? If you take away His most painful agony, suffering and dying on cross, where would you and I be today? Quite often, what is most painful in life bears the most fruit. If we want to get closer to Christ, we have to learn to put aside what WE want to do and do what HE wants us to do.

While it’s important for us to understand the necessity of sometimes doing the unpleasant, it’s even more important to understand the danger of ALWAYS doing the pleasant. Want to know the easiest way end up in hell? Always do those things that “feel good” or look attractive! No matter how much we want to deny it, sin feels good (at least for the moment). If it didn’t, we wouldn’t be tempted to sin. Let’s face it…if it was a sin to drink sour milk or eat moldy bread, it wouldn’t be too hard to avoid. Satan may be a liar, but he’s not stupid. If he wants you to sin (and he does!), he’s going to tempt you by appealing to your sense of pleasure. The “harmless” link on the Internet that teases you with pictures of a celebrity’s revealing dress, the thought of “sleeping in” and missing Mass on Sunday, the gratification of not forgiving someone who offended you…these are ways that he fools you into sinning and putting your salvation in jeopardy.

Fortunately for us, the Church gives us the season of Lent to work on practicing self denial. If we train ourselves to voluntarily give up small pleasures, we’ll be better able to avoid the evil of mortal sin. Although eating the candy bar won’t send you to hell for all eternity, clicking on that link could lead to something that will. Self mastery is the key to becoming a saint. Give it some thought…

It really is THAT important!

“It is not always in the soul’s power not to feel a temptation. But it is always in its power not to consent to it.” (Saint Francis de Sales)

Moment Of Truth with Gary Zimak 1-26-12

 

Good Morning Friends!  Here’s today’s Moment of Truth with Gary Zimak, the memorial of Sts. Timothy and Titus…

Moment Of Truth with Gary Zimak 1-26-12 (mp3)

Where Do You Live – Capernaum Or Nazareth?

Capernaum:

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. (Mt 9:35)

Nazareth:

He departed from there and came to his native place,accompanied by his disciples.  When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished.  They said, “Where did this man get all this?  What kind of wisdom has been given him?  What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!  Is he not the carpenter,the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?  And are not his sisters here with us?”  And they took offense at him.  Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”  So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.  He was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mk 6:1-6)

Although the Bible documents the fact that Jesus taught in the synagogue at both Capernaum and Nazareth, the people responded to Him in two completely opposite ways.  While the residents of Capernaum had great faith and believed in the Lord, the Nazoraeans had a completely different opinion of Jesus.  In fact, their faith in Him was so lacking that Jesus “was amazed at their lack of faith”.  Not exactly a good thing!

When we look at what happened in Nazareth, our first reaction is to question the intelligence of the people.  How could they deny that Jesus was the Savior?  How could anyone be so stupid?  In reality, you and I make the same mistake every day.  Before you disagree, ask yourself the following question.  What was the big mistake made by the people of Nazareth?  Simple.  They had their own idea of how the Savior should act, where He should live and how He should speak.  “This guy can’t be our Savior, he’s only a lowly carpenter’s son.  We’ve known him since he was small.  Who does he think he is?”

How many times do we put limits on the Lord?  How often do we expect our prayers to be answered in a specific way and get angry when He doesn’t listen?  How many times do we brush His miracles as “just a coincidence”?  How about the times when we look down on others, thinking that the Jesus can’t work through “sinners”?  How strong is our faith when faced with a life threatening illness or an “insurmountable” problem?  How about the countless occasions when we fail to acknowledge His real presence in the Eucharist by being preoccupied and distracted at Mass?    

The people of Capernaum accepted Jesus with an open mind.  As a result, He performed many miracles in their town.  The people of Nazareth didn’t want anything to do with Him and their wish was granted. 

Where do you “live”, Capernaum or Nazareth?

Is The Assumption Still A Holy Day?

As Catholics, one of the most confusing developments in recent times, is the decision by the United States bishops to abrogate (or remove) the obligation to attend Mass for certain Holy Days of Obligation if they fall on a  Saturday or a Monday.  Such is the case with the Solemnity of the Assumption which we celebrate on August 15th.

Although Catholics in the United States are not obligated to attend Mass on the Assumption in 2011, it still remains not only a holy day, but a solemnity (the holiest of holy days).

I would encourage everyone to attend Mass, if possible, in order to celebrate this great day when our Blessed Mother was assumed bodily into Heaven.  Our Lady is standing by in her heavenly home, ready to intercede on our behalf.  That is definitely something to celebrate!

If you’d like to read more about the Assumption, here’s a link to Munificentissimus Deus, the Apostolic Constitition issued by Pope Pius XII on Nov 1, 1950, which defined the dogma of the Assumption. 

Mary, Queen of Heaven, pray for us!

Whatever Happened To Admonishing The Sinner?

Anyone remember the Spiritual Works of Mercy?  According to Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Dictionary, these acts “focus on the spiritual welfare of the one in need”.  In case you need a refresher, they are:

•To instruct the ignorant;
•To counsel the doubtful;
•To admonish the sinner;
•To bear wrongs patiently;
•To forgive offences willingly;
•To comfort the afflicted;
•To pray for the living and the dead. 

To put it simply, when we perform one of these works, we are attempting to help someone spiritually.  Considering that one’s spiritual health has a direct relationship to whether they end up in Heaven or Hell makes these works pretty important.  Although many of today’s Catholics have never heard of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, one of them completely goes against the message of our culture – to admonish the sinner.

While the world would call this being judgmental, the purpose of admonishing the sinner is to help them recognize that their behavior is sinful and could result in the loss of their salvation.  Not only is this task an act of charity, but an obligation.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), remaining silent about the sins of others could cause us to end up in hot water:

Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

  • by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
  • by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
  • by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;
  • by protecting evil-doers. (CCC 1868)

While this doesn’t apply in every case, it’s certainly something we should take seriously.  We can’t ignore the fact that we have an obligation to look out for the spiritual well being of those around us.  Otherwise, we could end up bearing some of the guilt!

So the next time the topic of gay “marriage” comes up at the office, one of your children stops going to Mass, a friend moves in with his girlfriend or a divorced Catholic gets married outside of the Church, it’s ok to speak out (just make sure you choose a good time and remain charitable) .  There is a possibility that they may really not know what they’re doing is wrong.  On the other hand, if you know it’s wrong and don’t say anything…

you could end up in a place you’d rather not go!