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Jesus Asks: What are You Thinking in Your Hearts?

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In Luke 5:22, Jesus asks the Pharisees, “What are you thinking in your hearts?” It is a rhetorical question, as Jesus knew quite well what the Pharisees were thinking; what the Pharisees believed. It is here, in the Gospel of Luke where we read of the historical event of Jesus physically healing the paralytic, and spiritually healing his friends. The room, in which Jesus was teaching, was so crowded that the paralytic’s friends could not get him inside. Yet, they knew that if they could somehow get their paralytic friend in front of Jesus that Jesus would heal him. Their faith in Jesus was great. So, the friends dropped the man into the room from the roof! “When He saw their faith, He said, ‘As for you, your sins are forgiven’”(Luke 5:20). Jesus knew that the Pharisees did not recognize Jesus as God, and that they believed only God can forgive sins. But, for the friends and the paralytic, they knew otherwise... Read more...

What Do You Want Jesus to Do For You?

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In today’s Gospel, we hear from the blind beggar, who begs Jesus to hear his plea. Jesus asks in response: What do you want me to do for you? (Luke 18:41) The beggar asks Jesus to cure him of his blindness. Jesus responds, “have sight; your faith has saved you” (Luke 18:42). So, the blind man now sees, and he sees through the eyes of faith. It is because of the man’s faith that he not only sees physically, but he also comes to understand spiritually that Jesus is Our Savior and Redeemer. Jesus Asks You This Question, Too! This is a hefty question to consider. If Jesus sat across from you today, and asked you the same question, how would you respond? Would you ask for money, power and/or fame? Would you want Him to solve your transient problems of the day? Perhaps you would ask for a physical cure of your own illness. Or maybe you would seek understanding, wisdom and knowledge of God. Whatever your need, God is ready to listen. However, I think... read more...

All Things Worked for the Good

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We all know the quote from St. Paul which assures us that everything works out for the good for those who trust in God. We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Well, our family has seen this truth dramatized over and over again.
My sixth child discovered she had gestational diabetes. (This disappears immediately after you give birth.) After living on a strict cleansing diet for six months to try to cure her migraines before pregnancy, she was devastated but resigned to another two months of eliminating anything that tastes good from her diet, constantly eating small measured meals, and jabbing herself with a needle twice a day to test her blood sugar.
Gestational Diabetes Worked Out for the Goodcontinue reading

Keiko Uemura, a spring flower in the desert. Sunday Reflections, 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

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Keiko Uemura on her First Communion Day, December 1971 Keiko died 27 April 1972, aged 14
Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings(Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
GospelMark 6:1-6 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)
Jesus left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except…

The Beatitudes: Jesus' Way Requires Virtue

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In today’s Gospel reading from Matt 5:1-12, we hear Jesus teach about the Beatitudes. I am quite partial to the Beatitudes, as they embody virtue. As you all know, virtue is my “thing.” When we look at each one of the Beatitudes, we see that they are actually God’s gift of grace. That is because, to master the Beatitudes, we must embrace virtue. To embrace virtue, we need God’s grace. The Beatitudes – Jesus’ Way!To be poor in spirit, one must embrace and exemplifyhumilityIf you are one who mourns, you arecompassionateMeekness is obvious. Yet to bemeek, one requires great strength (fortitude).If you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you embodyjusticeMerciful is obvious, like meekness. However, to bemerciful,to the extent necessary, one must be ready to alsoforgive... Read more... 

Jesus Asks: “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?”

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In today’s Gospel reading Jesus asks: “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you?(Mark 9:19). On face value, it seems like a couple of strange questions, coming from Jesus, given that He has promised to be with us always, even until the end of the age (Matt 28:20). To the average reader, this would seem like a contradiction. So, what exactly is Jesus saying when He asks these questions? “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? Jesus never answers this question. He only poses it, as a rhetorical question, to a group of people gathered around Him seeking Jesus’ assistance in curing a young boy of seizures.  By His statement, He recognizes the weakness of human faith, as we are imperfect beings. We all have our doubts from time to time. His reaction is to cure the boy of seizures; to demonstrate to each of us that we can place our full faith and trust in Him. Therefore, He is calling us to be a faith-filled generation. How long will I e…

The Grace of Faith

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Faith is the bedrock of Christian living. Without a strong faith, we would easily lose our way. But, the grace of Faith guides us, and aides us in getting to know God intimately. It is through the grace of faith that we come to know God, our Father, Creator of all that is good. Faith is a gift from God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. ‘Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.’1 The Grace of Faith leads us to God Faith, combined with the use of reason, leads us to determine what is true. So, rather than believing in “alternative facts,” we apply our faith, and use our reason, to determine objective truth. With the knowledge of objective truth, we choose to follow God’s way. We know this is the right thing to do because... Read more...

Christian’s Calling: To Preach the Gospel

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As Christians, we are all called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can do this in several ways. You don’t need to be a Catholic blogger/author/public speaker like myself. You can preach the Gospel, without ever saying a word; by the mere witness of your charitable actions. Most people will never remember eloquent words spoken to them. But, they will remember a kindness done for them.

Deeds speak volumes!
A police officer who runs toward danger, when others run away. The witness of his or her bravery and courage speaks volumes.A man or woman who volunteers at the local soup kitchen to serve the needy. The witness of his or her generosity and love speaks volumes.A child who... Read more...

Materialism, Robots and Attitudes

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Robots are starting to look and act a lot like humans.

Wondering if robots can be people, or if humans are merely biological robots, involves assumptions about reality. I'll look at one of those assumptions in this post and why I believe there's more to me than chemicals.

Whether a robot could be a person is more of a philosophical question than a legal issue. So far. The question would be particularly interesting if a robot asked to be recognized as a person. Or disturbing, depending on how you look at it.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

The Dream

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She was a young mother when she had the dream, just thirty, with four little boys between the ages of one and five.  She would not give birth to her fifth, and last, son for several years.

She was normally not a dreamer.  Always an exceptionally deep sleeper (the alarm had not yet been invented that would easily wake her--except, of course, for the middle-of-the-night cries and calls of her children), she rarely dreamed--and even when she did, she even more rarely remembered the details of her dreams, which would grow hazy as soon as she opened her eyes and then quickly evaporate, like a misty fog being chased off by the sun.  "I was having the strangest dream," she might tell her husband.  But when he asked her what it was about, she could almost never clearly recall the particulars.
This dream was different.
THIS one the heavy-sleeping young mother remembered vividly upon waking--every excruciatingly painful detail of it.
If you'd like to read the whole post, it's he…

The Annunciation: Mary’s Fiat, Faith and Courage

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Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, the day when Mary gave her “fiat,” her yes, to becoming the Mother of God. Because of her fiat, she plays a pivotal role in God’s plan for salvation. Can you imagine where we would all be, if she had declined? I shudder to think! Yet, it was because of her fiat, that she conceived, without sin, her Son, Jesus; Our Lord and Redeemer. Her simple, yes, to God, set God’s plan in motion for His Son, Jesus, to be our Messiah; Our Savior.

Mary’s Fiat Took Faith and Courage
Agreeing to become the Mother of Our Lord was not an easy thing to agree to at this point in human history. You see, women who became pregnant outside of marriage were subject to being stoned to death. In addition, Mary had pledged her virginity to God. Therefore, conceiving a son, albeit the Son of God, would be seen by others as sinning against God and her betrothed, Saint Joseph. Mary’s fiat, placed her in danger. Yet her faith, and trust, in God gave her the courage t…

Early Birds, Unisex Fish

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We still don't know exactly how birds got their wings. Literally and figuratively. But we're learning more about when and how they started.

Scientists in Europe and China found fossils of birds that lived roughly 120,000,000 years ago.

Other scientists found genes with some 'feather' instructions in alligators. That's old news. What's new is that one team coaxed alligator embryo scales into growing as something like very simple feathers. Part of a simple feather, anyway.

I'll be talking about those birds, alligator feathers, and why discovering something new doesn't upset me. Also a chimp, the French Revolution something Benjamin Franklin said and evolution....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Being Evangelical

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I'm a Christian. I take my faith seriously. That's why I think part of my job is evangelizing. Which doesn't necessarily mean I'm an evangelist.

For some folks, an evangelist is someone like Saints Mark, Luke and John. "The Evangelist" often gets added to their name. Saint Matthew is an evangelist, too. So are Saints like Augustine of Hippo, Francis of Assisi, Francis Xavier and Thérèse of Lisieux.1

"Evangelist" has quite a few meanings. Merriam-Webster says it's a Protestant minister or someone who enthusiastically advocates something. Oxforddictionaries.com adds "...the writer of one of the four Gospels...."

I don't know about the 'enthusiastic' part, but I think sharing what I believe is a good idea.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Art, Evolution and Aquinas

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Someone left stenciled handprints on Maltravieso Cave wall. Quite a few 'someones,' apparently.

Marking a wall can leave adolescent graffiti or murals like Orozco's "Omnisciencia."

I think it's a very "human" thing to do. So do scientists. That's why most figured the folks who made cave paintings were like us: Homo Sapiens. That may be so, but it's not what a new analysis shows.

If those stencils are as old as the research says they are, we're going to be reevaluating what "human" means. That got me thinking about art, being human, and a new species of bird that really is new. They didn't exist until a few decades back.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Skydiving and Lent

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Lent is fast approaching. How I see it and what I do is up to me. Ash Wednesday is next week, so I don't have much time to decide.

Christians, Catholic and otherwise, in my culture generally change what we eat for this season. I'm a Catholic, so I've got rules.

But not all that many. Mostly they're guidelines. I put a link to my territory's rules about diet under 'Fast & Abstinence' near the end of this post....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Firestorm Comet?

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Scientists figure a comet started breaking up about 12,800 years back. Nothing unusual there. Many comets break up while they're this close to our sun.

This time Earth got in the way before the fragments spread out much.

Fire rained from the sky, consuming forest and meadow alike.

Sounds a bit like Genesis 19:1, now that I think of it. Except we didn't start building cities until a few millennia later. Or maybe we haven't found our first cities yet. And that's another topic or two....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Do You Believe Christ Can Heal You? Do You Believe in His Power?

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In today’s Gospel reading from Mark 6:53-56, we hear of Christ giving His healing touch to so many people. More than that though, we learn of the faith of the people who believed that “they might touch only the tassel on his cloak” (Matt 6:56) and be healed. And yes, merely touching the tassel of his cloak was sufficient. Fast forward 2,000 years. Do you believe today, that Jesus can heal you? Do you believe in His power? I do!

Jesus Christ Responds to Prayer
Recently, my sister, a paraplegic, entered the hospital, with medical concerns. Many people said many prayers for her healing. The doctors were concerned because after two tries at some tests, the results were inclusive. Her situation required consultation with experts, to obtain a proper diagnosis. For a few weeks, (over the Christmas holidays), we all held our breath, and said many prayers. Then... Read more... 

Chasing Butterflies and Truth

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Which came first? The butterfly or the flower? And how did flowers happen at all?

The question hasn't been answered yet, not quite. But scientists are closer to finding answers. Meanwhile, wondering whether chickens or eggs came first gives philosophers something to do.

Aristotle came up with an answer. So did Anaximander, who figured thunder and lightning were natural events: not evidence of divine anger issues. I'll talk about those two, beetles, and Orlando Ferguson's flat Earth map.

Also butterflies, flowers and why I think pursuing truth and seeking God work together.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

"Do Not be Afraid"

4th Sunday of Advent, 2017

By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas December 24, 2017

Good! Now try to imagine yourself describing the scene in which the Angel Gabriel seeks and speaks to Mary as one that could be played out spectacularly on film or a TV program, it would begin with the panoramic vision or an overall view of the world that solemnly zooms in and spotlights in one tiny little place. We could imagine the overview from the film score to the mission behind Google Earth....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

It Takes Time and Effort

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When my husband & I were on vacation, we went to a local parish for Mass. As we walked in to find a place, I almost chose a “half pew” directly behind a longer one, but we ended up sitting in the next pew back. A group of what appeared to be college kids ended up sitting in the 2 pews ahead of us. It was obvious that only 3 of them were Catholic. My first tip-off was that one of the young men who sat in front of us walked in carrying something that looked like chocolate milk, and they all ranked of cigarette smoke. I took a deep breath and thought, “Well, at least they’re taking time out to go to Mass.” The young man with the drink took a couple of swigs during Mass, and at one point, handed it to a young lady in front of him. She took a swig as well. The thing is: this is one of the young ladies who is Catholic, and this was right before communion. She then proceeded to put a piece of gum in her mouth. You have no idea how badly I wanted to say something to her.
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