the congregation had dispersed, many Jews and worshipers who were converts to
Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to remain FAITHFUL to the grace of God.
The refusal to believe frustrates
for his chosen people; however, no adverse judgment is made here concerning
their ultimate destiny. Again, Luke, in the words of Paul, speaks of the
priority of Israel in the plan for salvation.
summarizes Jesus’ mission by beginning with John the Baptist and stresses the
failure of the Jewish people to recognize him. Yet, by grace and an act of
faith, through baptism Jews can find justification with God and salvation with
Him by the second person in the trinity; the son of God and not through the law
but by grace.
Process or One-Time Deal?
is a favorite verse for Calvinists and those who hold to the doctrine commonly
known as “once saved, always saved:” Therefore, since we are justified by
faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. This text is
believed to indicate that the justification of the believer in Christ at the
point of faith is a one-time completed action. All sins are forgiven immediately
past, present and future. The believer then has, or at least, can have,
absolute assurance of his justification regardless of what may happen in the
future. There is nothing that can separate the true believer from Christ—not
even the gravest of sins. Similarly, with regard to salvation, Eph. 2:8-9 says:
For by grace, you have
been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of
God—not because of works, lest any man should boast. For the Protestant, these
texts seem plain. Ephesians
2 says the salvation of the believer is past—perfect tense,
passive voice in Greek, to be more precise—which means a past completed action
with present on-going results. It’s over! And if we examine again Romans
5:1, the verb to justify is in a simple past tense (Gr. Aorist tense).
And this is in a context where St. Paul had just told these same Romans: For if
Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before
God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was
reckoned to him as righteousness.” Righteousness is a synonym for justice or
justification. How does it get any clearer than that? Abraham was
justified once and for all, the claim is made, when he believed.
Not only is this proof of sola fide, says the Calvinist, but it is proof that
justification is a completed transaction at the point the believer comes to
Christ. The paradigm of the life of Abraham is believed to hold indisputable
proof of the Reformed position.
THE CATHOLIC ANSWER: The
Catholic Church actually agrees with the above, at least on a couple points.
First, as baptized Catholics, we can agree that we have been justified and we
have been saved. Thus, in one sense, our justification and salvation is in the
past as a completed action. The initial grace of justification and salvation we
receive in baptism is a done deal. And Catholics do not believe we were
partially justified or partially saved at baptism. Catholics believe, as St.
Peter said in I Peter 3:21, “Baptism… now saves you…” Ananias
said to Saul of Tarsus, “Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling
on his name.” That means the new Christian has been “washed… sanctified… [and]
justified” as I Cor. 6:11 clearly teaches. That much is a done
deal; thus, it is entirely proper to say we “have been justified” and we “have
been saved.” However, this is not the end of the story. Scripture reveals that
it is precisely through this justification and salvation the new Christian
experiences in baptism that he enters into a process of justification and
salvation requiring his free cooperation with God’s grace. If we read the very
next verses of our above-cited texts, we find the inspired writer himself
telling us there is more to the story here. Romans 5:1-2
reads: Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this
grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of
God. This text indicates that after having received the grace of justification
we now have access to God’s grace by which we stand in Christ and we can then
rejoice in the hope of sharing God’s glory. That word "hope"
indicates that what we are hoping for we do not yet possess (see Romans 8:24). Ephesians
2:10 reads: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ
Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in
them. There is no doubt that we must continue to work in Christ as Christians
and it is also true that it is only by the grace of God we can continue to do
so. But even more importantly, Scripture tells us this grace can be resisted. II
Cor. 6:1 tells us: Working together with him, then, we entreat you not
to accept the grace of God in vain. St. Paul urged believers in Antioch—and all
of us by allusion—“to continue in the grace of God" (Acts 13:43). Indeed, in a text we will look
at more closely in a moment, St. Paul warns Christians that they can “fall from
Grace” in Galatians 5:4.
This leads us to our next and most crucial point. The major part of the puzzle
here that our Protestant friends are missing is that there are many biblical
texts revealing both justification and salvation to have a future and
contingent sense as well as these we have mentioned that show a past sense. In
other words, justification and salvation also have a sense in which they are
not complete in the lives of believers. Perhaps this is most plainly seen in Galatians
5:1-5. I mentioned verse four above. For freedom Christ has set us
free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Now
I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no
advantage to you. I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that
he is bound to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would
be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the
Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness.
The Most Important Thing
When Catholics read of
Abraham "justified by faith" in
we believe it. But we don't end there. For when Catholics read of Abraham
"justified by works" in James 2 we believe that as
well. For 2,000 years the Catholic Church has taken all of Sacred Scripture
into the core of her theology harmonizing all of the biblical texts. Thus, we
can agree with our Protestant friends and say as Christians we have been (past
tense) justified and saved through our faith in the finished work of Jesus
Christ on the cross. But we also agree with our Lord that there is another
sense in which we are being saved and justified by cooperation with God's grace
in our lives, and we hope to finally be saved and justified by our Lord on the
last day: I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every
careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your
words you will be condemned (Matt. 12:36-37).
All of this really comes down to
faith without works is dead. Remember the last words of Mary in the bible “Do
whatever He tells you.” All the singing and faith in the world must not drown
out the love of God. Our faith if true; propels us to works of mercy and a
sheer joy that celebrates life and defends life, liberty and happiness for
ourselves and others.
Human Trafficking Awareness
Human Trafficking Awareness Day is dedicated to raising awareness of sexual slavery and human trafficking worldwide. Today, there are between 21-30 million people enslaved in the world, more than at any time in human history. Every day, modern slavery can be recognized: children become soldiers; young women are forced into prostitution and migrant workers exploited in the workforce. Human Trafficking Awareness Day seeks to end this slavery, return rights to individuals and make the world a safer place for all inhabitants. Human Trafficking Awareness Day started in 2007, when the U.S. Senate designated January 11th as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the hopes of raising awareness to combat human trafficking. It began as a U.S. initiative, and the United Nations has started to highlight this topic and work towards global awareness with days such as International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
Awareness Facts & Quotes
The most common form of human trafficking is
sexual exploitation, accounting for 79% of human trafficking victims. These
victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls.
According to UNICEF, 2 million children are
estimated to be trafficking victims of sex trade each year. 20% of traffic
victims are children.
The average age of a girl being forced into the
US domestic sex slavery market is 13.
The average cost of a slave around the world is
· It is slavery in the modern age. Every year thousands of people, mainly women and children, are exploited by criminals who use them for forced labor or the sex trade. No country is immune. Almost all play a part, either as a source of trafficked people, transit point or destination. - United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
Awareness Top Events and Things to Do
Talk to children about strangers and make sure
they memorize important addresses and phone numbers.
Save 888-373-7888 to your phone. This is
number to the National Human Trafficking Resources Hotline.
Make a donation to an organization fighting
Learn the signs and indicators of human trafficking
so that you can learn to recognize it and report it. US Homeland
Security offers a training online free of charge.
· Watch a movie about human trafficking. Our picks: Taken (2008), Trade (2007), Human Trafficking (2005), The Pink Room (2011), Nefarious (2011) and Lilya 4-ever (2002).
Know the Signs
indicators of human trafficking is key to identifying victims and helping them
Look for someone who:
Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual
restrictions at work
Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
Was recruited through false promises concerning the
nature and conditions of his/her work
High security measures exist in work and/or living
locations (e.g., opaque windows, boarded-up windows, bars on windows, barbed
wire, security cameras, etc.)
Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense or
Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after
mention of law enforcement
signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or
few or no personal possessions
not in control of his/her own money, has no financial records or bank account
not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being
present and/or translating)
of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
of sense of time
numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
Every Wednesday is
Dedicated to St. Joseph
The Italian culture has
always had a close association with St. Joseph perhaps you could make
Wednesdays centered around Jesus’s Papa. Plan an Italian dinner of pizza or
spaghetti after attending Mass as most parishes have a Wednesday evening Mass.
You could even do carry out to help restaurants. If you are adventurous, you
could do the Universal Man Plan: St. Joseph style. Make the evening a family
night perhaps it could be a game night. Whatever you do make the day special.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
LOVE OF HUSBAND AND WIFE
2364 The married couple forms "the
intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed
by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their
irrevocable personal consent." Both give themselves definitively and
totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one
flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the
obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble. "What therefore God
has joined together, let not man put asunder."
2365 Fidelity expresses constancy in
keeping one's given word. God is faithful. The Sacrament of Matrimony enables
man and woman to enter into Christ's fidelity for his Church. Through conjugal
chastity, they bear witness to this mystery before the world.
St. John Chrysostom suggests that young husbands should say to their wives: I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us. I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.
Collegeville Bible Commentary