Saturday, November 19, 2016
Acts, Chapter 28, Verse 20
This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear these chains.”
The hope of Israel is of course the messiah. Paul is trying to show to the Jews in Rome that Jesus was indeed the hope of Israel. Paul states that he is wearing chains yet later in Acts it states he has his own house and seems to be quite free. One must conclude that he may have been speaking metaphorically for later Paul quotes Isaiah 6:
Go and say to this people: Listen carefully, but do not understand! Look intently, but do not perceive! Make the heart of this people sluggish, dull their ears and close their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and their heart understand, and they turn and be healed.
I see in this verse that Paul may be saying that the Jews did not recognize Christ because they may have been in the habit of saying the Shema Israel every morning yet in the end failing to live it.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your Heart1, and with all your soul2, and with your entire mind3, and with all your strength4.
1. Love with all your Heart: “their heart understand, and they turn and be healed.” (Accept Christ as messiah)
2. with all your soul: “Look intently, but do not perceive!” (Eyes are the window of the soul).
3. with your entire mind: “and their heart understand”
4. with all your strength: “the heart of this people sluggish, dull their ears and close their eyes.”
Paul then said to the Roman Jews: “Let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”
We must be prayerful and we can look to the example of the early Church. "They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles 1.[Creed] and to the communal life 2.[Morality], to the breaking of the bread 3.[Sacraments] and to the prayers 4.[Prayer]" (Acts 2:42). These four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church are based on the life of the early Church. We can see these aspects of a holy life pre-figured in the Old Testament: the Shema, the preeminent belief of the Hebrew people that God is one (Dt 6:42); the Ten Commandments; the Passover; and the Psalms. These four pillars of the Catholic faith are not to be assimilated consecutively: they must be encompassed simultaneously. Our Christian lives must be integrated. Our prayer lives cannot be properly formed unless we infuse into them what we believe, how we worship, and how we behave. And how does our lived experience of all four pillars take root in our lives? Love! The Catechism says that all doctrine is directed to the love that never ends (CCC, no. 25). Pope Francis, in the address above, continued, ”To 'be' a catechist requires love, an ever stronger love for Christ, a love for his holy people . . . This love comes from Christ! It is Christ's gift! And if it comes from Christ, it also starts with Christ, and we too need to start anew with Christ, from the love he gives us". He gave three ways that we, as catechists, can start anew. The first is to remain close to Christ, abiding in him, forever. The second is to leave ourselves behind and go out to others. And the third is going with Christ to the outskirts. These are integral to Francis' pontificate, but also echo the Doxology of the Mass, "Through him, with him, and in him." Of the ways to start anew, the hardest one for most of us is to leave ourselves behind. Therefore, we must always seek conversion. Our self-love can rob us of generosity; it can make our catechetical endeavors self-centered rather than Christ-centered. We can build our own kingdoms rather than building up the kingdom of God.
COURAGE FOR THE MODERN WORLD 2017
Authored by Mr. Richard H. Havermale Jr.This book is the continuation of my first book based on more than 365 references in the Bible to fear, dread, and that in fact our God encourages us to "BE NOT AFRAID". To do this we must be in the presence of our Lord and talk to Him. I recommend you develop the habit of spending 10-15 minutes a day with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel or if that is not available some other quiet place where you can be in the presence of our Lord. Read the daily entry and reflect on it asking our Lord and His mother to talk to your heart and reveal to you the will of the Father and then Do it. The layout of this book is to list and reflect on the books of the bible Sirach through Revelations. In the early part of September my search of the verses dealing with fear and being afraid was completed; so I asked the Lord what do I, do now. After some reflection I realize that the fruit of fear in the Lord is the Theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love which ultimately results in Peace of the Lord. As a consequence the month of September will deal with Peace, October with Love and the month of November will be reflections on Faith and Hope. After Thanksgiving for the season of Advent and Christmas this work uses a multitude of references that reflect the Christmas season. There are many theologians who state that the eighth deadly sin is fear itself. It is fear and its natural animal reaction to fight or flight that is the root cause of our failings to create a Kingdom of God on earth. Saint John Paul II in his writings and talks also tells us to BE NOT AFRAID. In fear or anger we walk away from God. Our Lord, Jesus Christ taught us how to walk back toward God in His sermon on the mount through the Beatitudes. Each of the beatitudes is the antidote for the opposite deadly sins.
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