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Jesus' Call to Keep the Ten Commandments

Posted on July 8, 2016 at 10:10 AM Comments comments ()
The Ten Commandments were written on two tablets of stone


Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 10:25-37):

‘There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’ He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus ‘do this and life is yours.’

But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.” Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’’

 

Eternal life in Heaven is where we all want to be.  And even for those who do not believe, the idea of living in comfortable and joyful surroundings forever is a fantastic thought! 


But how do we get there?  Well, Jesus gives us two very straightforward commands.  He tells us that we must love God with everything we’ve got and we must also love our neighbour.  Looks simple on paper doesn’t it?  And in a way it is.  It is, however, important to avoid oversimplifying these commandments in order to suit our own busy lifestyles and agendas.  For example, we can’t simply state that we love God and we love all other people and never follow this up with words and actions to support our claim.  If we are going to follow Jesus’ commands we need to act upon them, and act with conviction; a conviction that tells the world: 'this guy really does love God and he really does love other people!'


Jesus’ commandments are a perfect summing up of the Ten Commandments (or Decalogue) given to Moses by God.  They are not a watering down of the Ten Commandments and they are certainly not an attempt to abolish and replace the Ten Commandments.  What Jesus does is present to us the Ten Commandments in a new way in order to aid our understanding of them.  He invites us to rediscover the beauty and truth of God’s perfect law.  It is worth remembering that the first three Commandments concern love of God and the other seven concern love of neighbour, hence Christ’s summing up of them by referring to love of God and love of neighbour.  This is also why God presented the Commandments to Moses using two tablets of stone rather than one; so as to distinguish between the call to love God and the call to love our neighbour.


In order to obtain eternal life our words and actions must be in keeping with the Ten Commandments.  We must respect God’s clear instructions and, in a spirit of humility and love, encourage others to do the same.


The Ten Commandments:

  1. I am the LORD your God:
    you shall not have
    strange Gods before me.
  2. You shall not take
    the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  3. Remember to keep holy the LORD'S Day.
  4. Honour your father and your mother.
  5. You shall not kill.
  6. You shall not commit adultery.
  7. You shall not steal.
  8. You shall not bear false witness
    against your neighbour.
  9. You shall not covet
    your neighbour's wife.
  10. You shall not covet
    your neighbour's goods. 

Do you love Jesus?

Posted on April 29, 2016 at 10:11 AM Comments comments ()

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word.’


This very short excerpt from Sunday’s Gospel is so simple, yet it is jam packed with significance. 


Read over Jesus’ quote ten times. 


Do you love Jesus?



Should I Evangelise?

Posted on March 4, 2016 at 12:02 PM Comments comments ()

Do you speak openly about your faith to others?  Are you not afraid to be frank about how your religion shapes your moral code?  Do you even go as far as to try to bring others round to your way of thinking on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter?


In the New Evangelisation just a few years back, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged us to get out into the world to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ.  And he wanted us to use every available platform at our disposal in order to do this.  He used the humble but powerful image of a mustard seed from the Gospel, suggesting that if used effectively a small seed of faith has the potential to bring people to God.  His words were: "I have a mustard seed, and I'm not afraid to use it".  In today’s age we are blessed to have social media forums like Facebook to speak more openly about our faith and to tap into a seemingly infinite knowledge base.  While social media can often be a curse there is no doubt it has opened up new avenues of opportunity for spreading the Gospel.


Yet, while some people seem content to do this, many more are not.  In today’s secular relativist world it is undoubtedly a big challenge for people to spread their faith by means of social media.  There is fear of criticism and mocking.  There is also fear of offending people or of compromising long-held friendships.  It is a significant problem for our faith and our Church.  And it is an even bigger problem for Jesus. 


While new age beliefs are thrust onto social media at an astounding rate, somehow managing to gather almost unanimous support in the process, Jesus is left to feed off the few scraps that are left.  People would rather post and read quotes about being true to oneself and looking after number one rather than the horrific thought of making love of God and neighbour our priority.  Quotes from famous authors or even the Dalai Lama have the potential to be of untold worth, but their value often pales in comparison to the Word of God or quotes from the Saints.


The Christian message is a tough one because it asks us to put ourselves in third place, behind God and all those around us.  It also asks us to take up our cross on a daily basis and follow Jesus, accepting the suffering that this will inevitably bring.  It also expects us to toe the line on controversial issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.  It is, in all respects, a challenge of great proportions.  But it is not without its rewards.


And as if this challenge wasn’t difficult enough we are also expected to take Jesus’ message of love and mercy to all people.  Not just one or two, but to everyone.  Had Jesus not called the Disciples to his side and taught them his message, what hope would there be?  Had the Disciples not then taken that message of Jesus to others, what hope would we have today? 


You see our faith is a faith of action, full of energy and enthusiasm, drenched in positivity and hope.  We can’t just settle for our own evangelisation or the evangelisation of those closest to us.  This is not the Christian way.  We must be prepared to carry Jesus and his Gospel message to as many people as we possibly can through our life.  We need to put Christ at the centre and be his voice to all nations, all peoples.  To be truly Christian we must do as the disciples did and carry Jesus and his message to all people, be it on social media, the internet, on the phone, or in person.  Had the disciples failed to do this we would have no Jesus in our lives.  Imagine how empty that life would be? 


Remember, your duty to spread the message of Jesus Christ is not just limited to the people close to you.  In fact, it isn’t just limited to the entire human population of our world in your lifetime.  Like the disciples, your witness will hopefully carry the message of Christ well into the future so that another 2000 years from now people are talking about the great disciples of this time and how without their powerful witness the faith would be dead. 


Jesus told the apostles to "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature".  We need to be disciples for Christ in today's world.  Let the future generations rave about your willingness to speak up for Jesus and how you never shied away from openness and honesty about his loving and merciful message.  Let your children and grandchildren see you stand up for something that will bring eternal life to millions and millions of people!  And remember, you don't need to be a great orator or writer to evangelise.  As Pope Francis has said:  “We evangelise not with grand words, or complicated concepts, but with the joy of the Gospel, which fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus".  So don't worry, let the joy of the Gospel speak for itself!


The phrase ‘do not be afraid’ appears often scripture.  It is a strong, powerful message from God about how we must feel when it comes to our faith.  In doing Christ’s work and spreading his message we have no need to be afraid.  He is on our side!


Here’s the challenge: let your life be a life of evangelisation.  Don’t be afraid to share Christ’s message with other people.  Let your work reverberate down through the generations where it has the potential to bring millions of lives to eternity with God.  Don’t keep good news to yourself.  Use your mustard seed.  Evangelise.




Jesus is the Way to a Better World

Posted on October 9, 2015 at 9:55 AM Comments comments ()
We need to listen to Jesus
 
From Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 10:17-30):
 
'Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.’'
 
 
It’s always difficult to listen to someone telling you what to do and to do so with an open mind and an open heart.  Goodness knows I have struggled with it many times in my life!  But what if that person was Jesus?  Would it change your attitude?  
 
 
In this Gospel Jesus reminds us of some of the Commandments as he tries to steer a man towards the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life.  He speaks with great clarity and no little authority as he tells us not to kill, not to commit adultery, not to steal, not to lie, not to deceive, and to honour our parents.
 
 
As the Synod on the Family in Rome closes its first week of meetings and discussions, we are called to remind ourselves of these words of Christ, especially when we think about hot topics like abortion, contraception, marriage and, of course, the family.  While people may surmise the potential for change or reform in the Church, the Church fathers will always turn to the one who knows best….Jesus.
 
 
There is a need for all of us to get back to basics on issues such as abortion, contraception and marriage.  That’s why we need to listen to Jesus and take in what he is telling us.  Only then, with the Truth embedded in our hearts and minds, can we build a better world.
 

Pope Francis Urges the World to Follow Christ’s Commandment to Love

Posted on September 24, 2015 at 11:37 AM Comments comments ()
The pope received several standing ovations in Congress
 
Pope Francis, in his historic address to US Congress, has urged the world to follow Christ’s Commandment of love.  The pope used the opportunity to tackle critical issues such as the dignity of human life, the death penalty and the refugee crisis.  He also addressed recent attacks on marriage and family life, and his concerns that the very basis of the family and marriage is being called into question. 
 
Here are the main quotes from the pope’s address to USC ongress this afternoon:
 
Pope Francis on the golden rule:
 
“Let us remember the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
 
 
On the dignity of human life:
 
We must “protect by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God in every human life.”
 
We must recognise the “transcendent dignity of the human being”.
 
“The golden rule [to do unto others as you would have done unto you] also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”
 
 
On the family:
 
“The family should be a recurrent theme….how essential the family has been to the building of this country.  I cannot hide my concern for the family which is threatened, perhaps as never before from within and without.  The very basis of the family and marriage is being called into question.”
 
“I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.”
 
“I would like to call attention to those family members who are most vulnerable, the young.  Their problems are our problems.  Our young people are precious.”
 
“We live in a culture that threatens young people not to start a family.”
 
 
On the death penalty:
 
“Let’s abolish the death penalty here and everywhere. No punishment should exclude hope or the possibility of conversion.”
 
 
On politics and society:
 
“Preserve and defend the dignity of your fellow citizens in pursuit of the common good.”
 
“We are all worried by the disturbing social and political situation of the world today.”
 
“It can be no more us vs them. We must confront every kind of polarisation. Our response must be hope and healing, peace and justice.”
 
“Safeguard religious freedom, intellectual freedom, and individual freedom.  We must be specially attentive to every type of fundamentalism.”
 
“Politics must be used to build the common good.”
 
“It’s my duty to build bridges and help all men and women to do the same.”
 
“We have to ask ourselves: why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?”
 
“It is our duty to confront the problem and stop the arms trade.”
 
 
On the elderly:
 
The elderly are the “storehouse of wisdom”.
 
 
On the refugee crisis:
 
“We must view them as persons, seeing their faces, listening to their stories, and try to respond as best we can.”
 
 
On poverty:
 
“The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.”
 
 
On business:
 
“Business is a noble vocation, especially in its creation of jobs to the common good.”
 
 
On the environment:
 
“I’m convinced that we can make a difference, I’m sure.”
 
“We have an obligation to our future generations. The time is now.”

Is the Catholic Church too wealthy?

Posted on June 17, 2015 at 7:53 AM Comments comments ()
 
It’s fairly common to be asked the following questions when you run an online Catholic apostolate: why doesn’t your church sell off its valuable assets to feed the poor?  Wouldn’t Jesus balk at the amount of wealth the Church has today?  Wouldn’t he give it all to the poor?
 
 
I do think these are all very valid questions and I believe there are also very good answers to them. But before we begin looking at those answers, perhaps it would be prudent to give the matter of Church wealth a bit of context.  The Vatican City is a unique economy in that it relies on the contributions of its worldwide Catholic congregations and also tourists visiting its attractions to support it.  This, in a nutshell, is the income received by the Catholic Church.
 
 
But what is this money spent on?  Well, the Catholic Church, like any other large organisation, has huge bills to pay such as as wages, utilities, and paying contractors, suppliers etc.  But the Church is also known to be the largest charitable organisation in the world.  With charities such as Missio, CAFOD, SCIAF to name only a few, the Church spends billions in providing assistance to those in need and has been doing so for thousands of years.  Indeed, at last count, the Catholic Church was home to a confederation of some 164 relief agencies providing essential care and relief to people in two hundred of the world’s poorest countries.
 
 
The Church is also the largest non-governmental provider of healthcare in the world, managing one quarter of the world’s healthcare facilities.
 
 
Further, the Church is one of the largest providers of welfare and education in the world, especially in developing countries where the provision of such services is most lacking.
 
 
But could the Church sell some of its assets and put the extra cash generated to good use?  Well, yes, the Church would certainly put any cash it may make to good use like it has done for thousands of years.  That is a given.  But what isn’t a given is whether there is actually a market for the Church’s most valuable assets and whether it would be worthwhile in the long run to shed those assets in this way. 
 
 
Taking the first point, do we really believe there to be sufficient interest in centuries old basilicas and churches for the church to generate reasonable income from a sale?  Would these big, old, a-listed buildings with massive overhead costs really tempt the market to come in with a tasty offer to take them from Church hands?  Perhaps they could be bought and torn down to make way for new, lucrative housing schemes.  But wouldn’t this be a defeat for the Church and a defeat for God?  Surely part of our work here on earth is to ensure a suitable home for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament?  Surely we are duty bound to create and maintain a place where God’s people can come to Him and give him glory and praise in the company of others of like mind?  Wouldn’t signing off the death warrant of these buildings be an offence against God?
 
 
And what about the art treasures holed up in the Vatican museums?  Couldn’t those be sold off for billions of pounds and the money given to the poor?  Well, yes, these treasures could be sold off and the money given to the poor.  But once sold and in the hands of a new owner they would be gone for good and would no longer serve as an attraction to bring millions of visitors to the Vatican.  This would affect the number of visitors to the Vatican which in turn would affect the amount of money generated to feed the poor and care for the needy.
 
 
But if the Church did decide to sell off its assets and use the money to feed the poor, the big question we must ask ourselves is how long that feeding could be sustained.   The truth is, not very long.  More privileged societies plough millions, possibly billions, of pounds into charitable organisations every month in order to help the needy around the world. If the Catholic Church decided to sell its assets in order to look after the needy it would only be able to do so for a very short amount of time, probably just a few months, before the cash realised would dry up. Not only that but the Church itself would disappear because it could no longer pay its bills.  The end of the Catholic Church would create an enormous black hole in worldwide charitable giving and healthcare provision, the likes of which we have never witnessed.  At the end of the day, the results of a flash sale in Vatican assets would create a quick fix for a few, but it would also create a lifetime of poverty and destitution for many.
 
 
The Church - if it is to sustain its significantly high level of charitable giving and healthcare provision - must retain its valuable assets in order to continue to generate the income necessary to tend to the poor, needy and sick.  The consequences of failing to retain these assets simply doesn’t bear thinking about.
 
 
Another point many people make is Jesus’ attitude to the Church’s wealth.  But again these points are made without seeing the bigger picture of the Church as an organisation with bills like anyone else.  More crucially, it fails to recognise the Church’s status as the biggest provider of food to the starving in the world.  It fails to recognise the Church’s status when it comes to the provision of healthcare.  And perhaps most crucially, it fails to recognise Christ’s own personal attitude to how God should be glorified. 
 
 
Consider the occasion when Jesus ate at the house of a Pharisee and Mary of Bethany approached him with an alabaster jar of costly fragrant oil, proceeding to pour the oil over him. The house was in uproar because of Mary’s supposed wastefulness.  People even suggested that she should have kept the oil and sold it, giving the proceeds to the poor.  Jesus’ response to this?  He said that Mary had done a good deed.  Indeed he went even further than this saying: “The poor you will always have with you. But you will not always have me.”  Jesus did not believe Mary had done the wrong thing by not using the oil in order to help the poor.  His need was greater and he was grateful of this simple act of great love towards him.  And so we must consider this when we look at the Church and how it glorifies God.  A beautiful Church is not a contradiction to the Church’s mission to care for the poor.  Indeed it is quite the opposite.  It is a gesture of our love for God and a real, tangible example of our need to glorify Him, just as Mary’s simple gesture of love was a real and tangible act of glorifying God.    
 
 
Consider also when Jesus entered the temple to find the money changers doing their dealings in his Father’s house.  Wasn’t he extremely angry with them?  Didn’t he make whips out of some cord and chase them out?  But why did Jesus do this?  He did it because they were profaning the house of God.  The actual dealings of those in the temple weren’t the cause of Jesus’ anger.  It was the fact that they were taking place in God’s house.  And so Jesus places huge importance on church buildings and our need to have them to glorify God.  
 
 
But what about when the man who has kept all the Commandments approaches Jesus and asks him what he must do to inherit eternal life?  Jesus tells him to sell all he has and give to the poor.  Doesn’t this contradict what we have already discovered?  No it doesn’t and here is why.  This man was very rich and his reaction to Christ’s call was telling.  He went away sorrowful because of what he was  expected to do.  There was no obvious willingness on the part of the man to do as Jesus says. He was a man who did not give anything to the poor and, despite Jesus’ best efforts, he wasn’t about to start. This is different to the Church which already gives billions to the poor every year.  Not only that but it spends time with the poor through missionary work and putting at risk the lives of those priests, religious and volunteers who do such work.  Charitable work isn’t just about throwing money at something, it’s about giving up the comfortable life and spending a little time with those in most need.  The man described above is not only unwilling to give any of his wealth away but he is also unwilling to devote any time to the poor.   This is the complete opposite of what the Church does.
 
 
Ultimately, if the Church wishes to maintain its status as the bride of Christ it must ensure that it is a fitting bride.  It must be beautiful and glorious, but it must also be in the trenches tending to those in most need.  As Catholic people we believe in Christ’s promise that he will be with the Church until the end of time, and it is with this promise in mind that we can be confident that the Church has struck the perfect balance of being the perfect bride and of being the beacon of hope to the billions of people in our world who suffer from poverty, deprivation and illness.
 
 
Remember, God is love and the Church is the physical, earthly presence charged with the task of bringing that love to all people.  And what is love?  Latin for love is caritas, which means ‘charity’. 
 

German MEP urges 'Christian based' Europe to do more to help asylum seekers

Posted on May 12, 2015 at 8:57 AM Comments comments ()
Manfred Weber
 
Manfred Weber, a German MEP and Chairman of the European People's Party, has stated that Europe needs to do more to welcome asylum seekers to its shores; and he cites the continent's Christian roots as being a critical element.
 
 
Mr Weber, a Roman Catholic from Bavaria, said: "Europe must be open...nobody can say close the borders, don't accept them".  He then went on to say that "we have to be helpful as a Christian based continent".
 
 
Mr Weber's words should resonate with most people, but especially with Christians across Europe.  This call is entirely in keeping with Christ's call to brotherly love.  As we have said often enough on this site, Jesus offers no exceptions to his call to love one another.  It applies to everyone, including those seeking asylum.
 
 
Mr Weber is no stranger to speaking up for Christian values as evidenced by comments he made when Pope Francis visited the European Parliament last year.  Mr Weber said: "Pope Francis reminded us that European values are rooted in Christianity - it's our global responsibility to keep these values alive and make sure they're respected." 
 
 
Let us pray for all people seeking asylum that they will find the peace and justice that they, as sons and daughters of God, deserve.  And let us pray for our governors, that they will come to the aid of those most in need and provide for them a place of safety for their families.

Jesus calls us to love politicians too you know

Posted on May 11, 2015 at 12:35 PM Comments comments ()
These people need our love and prayers too
 
 
It’s not often you hear people standing up for politicians but that is precisely what I am about to do!  As the dust settles on last week’s UK General Election the usual lampooning of political figures and parties has started up once again as we embark on another five year cycle of ridicule and abuse in the direction of those elected to lead our country.
 
 
As Christians our call is simple: to love one another and to keep God’s Commandments.  Indeed, this was the call at Mass last Sunday for those blessed enough to be there to hear the Word of God. 
 
 
So, in light of this calling, is it okay to ridicule our politicians?  Is it okay to speak ill of them and to make fun of them?  Is it okay to abuse them?  The answer is quite simply no.  Of course it isn’t okay to ridicule politicians; to speak ill of them; or abuse them.  We are called to love them!  God expects us to love our political leaders just as much as we love our own families. That’s what brotherly and sisterly love ‘God-style’ is all about!  There are no exceptions. 
 
 
Yet this does not mean we cannot question our politicians and call them to account.  That is all part of the democratic process and indeed we, as Catholics, are expected to participate in that process in order to ensure God’s Commandments are upheld in our country.  But we must be careful not to cross the line into the territory of abusing our politicians.  We shouldn’t even be gossiping about them (remember Pope Francis’ call to refrain from gossiping applies to all God’s children, even those in political office).
 
 
So as we embark on this latest cycle of government with those newly elected and those elected to serve another term, let us pray hard for our political representatives, that they will serve the people of the United Kingdom with love, mercy, and compassion; and with justice at the heart of their policies.  They have a very difficult job and that job is made all the more difficult by a media constantly trying to undermine them and make mischief from their every move. Let us pray that our politicians will not be swayed by the traps set for them by the evil one and let us hope that moved by the Holy Spirit they will appreciate the importance of God’s Commandments and that they will draw inspiration from the loving example of Jesus Christ as they lead our country.
 

Confessing our Sins and Keeping God’s Commandments: the Key to Perfection (Dwelling on the Word of God, Sunday 19th April 2015)

Posted on April 17, 2015 at 4:29 AM Comments comments ()
 
From Sunday’s First Reading (Acts 3:13-15,17-19):
 
‘Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.’
 
Peter, in the short passage from Sunday’s first reading, gives a clear and incredibly simple instruction to the people who put Christ to death.  He tells them to repent of their sins and turn to God; and the result of this according to Peter?  Their sins will no longer exist.  It’s very simple stuff!  It's also incredibly merciful when you consider what the people did to Jesus; how they ridiculed him, abused him, spat on him and beat him.  Yet here is one of Jesus' most trusted friends telling them that all is forgiven, if they just say they are sorry. 
 
 
But is there anything more we can add to this instruction from Peter?  Let’s consider Sunday’s second reading from St John:
 
Sunday’s Second Reading (1 John 2:1-5):
 
‘I am writing this, my children,
to stop you sinning;
but if anyone should sin,
we have our advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ, who is just;
he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away,
and not only ours,
but the whole world’s.
We can be sure that we know God
only by keeping his commandments.
Anyone who says, ‘I know him’,
and does not keep his commandments,
is a liar,
refusing to admit the truth.
But when anyone does obey what he has said,
God’s love comes to perfection in him.’
 
Here John puts a little more meat on the bones of Peter’s instruction to repent and turn to God.  He gives a similar instruction to turn to Christ if we should sin.  But it is the next part which is the challenge and it is along similar lines to Jesus’ call to the woman at the well to “go and sin no more”.  Here John the Evangelist tells us that we must keep God’s Commandments, and he also states that keeping God’s Commandments is the only way to ‘know God’.  But what does it mean to ‘know God’?  The clue is in the last sentence of the passage.  God’s love will come to perfection in us if we keep His Commandments; that is, the perfect love of God will shine through us and out of us to the world if we do as He says.  We will become beacons of love, mercy, peace and hope for all.
 
 
This is in keeping with the recent Papal Bull of Indiction where Pope Francis revealed a jubilee Year of Mercy from 8 December 2015 (the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception).  Our call is to go out to the world and to show mercy to everyone.  No exceptions.  But in order to be a merciful people we first need to receive God’s mercy and we must keep His Commandments.  Only if our own house is in order will we be in a fit and proper state to administer to others.  Think of a doctor or a lawyer.  Professionals in these fields need to satisfy annual training requirements and receive an annual certificate authenticating their ability to practice.  If they don’t fulfil these requirements they are not considered to be fit and proper persons with respect to their work and they cannot diagnose patients’ ills or advise clients on legal problems.  They are essentially deemed unfit and incapable of carrying out their job.
 
 
And so it is with God.  Unless we first seek His forgiveness for our own wrongdoings and thereafter keep His Commandments, we are deemed unfit to administer to those around us.  Only God gives us true love, true mercy, true peace and true hope.  And if we want to care for those around us and give them a real and proper love, unconditional mercy, perfect peace and a sure and certain hope, we must seek God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, because it is in that Sacrament where we will find all of these things and much more besides.  And it is this Sacrament which gives us the graces we need to go forth into the world with God’s Commandments firmly in heart and mind, to bring God’s perfect love, mercy, peace and hope to all people. No exceptions.

The glory of Easter: accepting and sharing Jesus' outstretched hand of love

Posted on April 2, 2015 at 12:45 PM Comments comments ()
 
The next few days are simply fascinating!  The future of every human being has already been affected by what is about to unfold as our Lenten journey comes to an end and we find ourselves immersed in the incredible reality of Christ's Passion, death and Resurrection. 
 
With the exception of reading this article, stop whatever you are doing right now.  Take a moment to ponder the reality of what you are about to read and let it really sink in....
 
Around two thousand years ago a man was brutally beaten and killed.  He died before numerous witnesses, including his own mother and friends.  He was taken from the cross on which he limply hung and buried.  It was just another death followed by just another burial.  Except that several hours later this man woke up and walked out of his burial place.  That's right, he simply got up and he walked.  
 
Just think about that for a moment....
 
My dear friends, Jesus is the man who can give us eternal life.  He even said himself that he was "the way, the truth and the life".  And how can we argue with him?  We can't!  We just can't argue with a man who gets up and walks out of his own burial place!  
When all seemed to be lost and when a dark shadow hung over the reality of yet another poor soul lost to the ground this man did the impossible and got up!  Not only that, he went on to live forever!  
 
And if you think that's special it ain't half as special as him wanting us to join him!  He wants you and me to rise again just as he did!  Isn't that really something?  Isn't that the greatest piece of news you could ever wish to hear?  
Of course it is!  So let's rejoice in it!  Let's delight in this reality and follow Christ and his Commandments!  And let's tell others about this wonderful story of our salvation!  This is the kind of good news you won't find in the newspapers or on the news bulletins.  No, this is the kind of good news you hear on the streets; from people who are willing to share the news of our salvation with others so that they too may find joy in it.  It's not something we should keep to ourselves.  That's what secular society tells us to do.  But Jesus challenges us to share the reality of his Resurrection with everyone!    
 
Jesus died and rose again so that we too may rise after we die.  My brothers and sisters, death is not the end.  Jesus is offering us his outstretched hand of love with a promise of eternal life.  We just need to accept it and then be prepared to go out and encourage others to do the same.    

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