Using Your God-Given Talents to Witness to Christ

Using Your God-Given Talents and Resources to Witness to Christ

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John was sent from God … He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.”

Thousands of French Jews during World War II owe their lives to a dry cleaner’s teenage apprentice.

Adolfo Kaminsky was 18. Barely escaping internment in a French concentration camp, his father had arranged for his family to adopt false identities and go underground. He sent Adolfo to pick up their new papers from a member of the French resistance. When the resistance member learned that Adolfo had worked at a dry cleaner’s, he asked Adolfo if he knew how to “bleach” ink. Adolfo said he did: with lactic acid. Adolfo showed him how to erase the permanent blue ink that marked official documents with the word “Jew.”

And so began the career of one of the greatest forgers in France during the war. Kaminsky forged perfect identity cards, passports, food ration cards, and birth and marriage certificates. Kaminsky went on to form a team of forgers who created a lab right under the nose of the Nazis in a narrow attic in Paris. The neighbors thought they were all painters. Continue reading

Why Should I Go to Mass?

Why Should I Go to Mass?”

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“He… “He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day as was His custom.”

A story from ancient Egypt tells how the god Thoth invented a new way of helping people learn and remember things, a system called writing. Thoth explained his invention to the king of Egypt; but the king was not impressed. He said the invention was liable to make people lazy in trying to remember things; that they would start to rely on written things instead of thinking for themselves. Worst of all, it would allow people to appear learned, rather than actually being learned. Written things need the help of the author to explain them, the human touch.

Although this is just an ancient myth, it still has some valid points to make. First, we learn from other people. Books are written by other people; they don’t appear out of the blue or fall out of the sky. And second, we learn better from human contact in teaching, even when books are involved – what the ancient Greek philosopher Plato called “the animated speech of a knowledgeable person.” Even then, although the person might have knowledge, they also need the gift of passing on that knowledge, of helping others become keen to learn, and setting people on fire with a love of that subject. And with the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century, some of the Egyptian king’s misgivings came true. People sometimes mistook the book for learning or wisdom itself. Sometimes they thought that simply by reading or quoting that they would become learned, and so they neglected the need for understanding, for teaching and for interpretation to bring the written word to life. Continue reading

Marriage is a Vocation and a Sacrament

Marriage is a Vocation and a Sacrament

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“ … there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the Mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage with His disciples.”

A young woman is set up on a blind date with a young man – a pediatrician.   He comes across as nerdy and awkward, a shy, stumbling conversationalist who spills soup on his tie during dinner.  As the woman is contemplating faking a headache and asking to be taken home early, the doctor’s beeper goes off. He is called to an emergency and invites her to come along, since it was on the way to her home. Seeing him interact with a sick child, she discovers a tenderness in him that surprises her and she begins to speculate about what sort of husband and father he might be. If he isn’t the man of her dreams that she hopes for, she wonders, maybe it’s time for her to change those dreams and expectations.

Today, we hear of the Wedding at Cana in Galilee, where Jesus performs His first public miracle at the urgent request of His Mother, the Virgin Mary! Continue reading

The Feast of Christmas

The Feast of Christmas

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 Merry Christmas!  Tonight the Church celebrates the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Christmas 275xThe Feast of Christmas was initially celebrated in the late fourth century only after Christianity became legal and became the official religion of the Roman Empire! The December 25th date was chosen to counter a popular Roman Pagan holiday.  Scholars speculate that Christ was actually born sometime in mid-March!

The Old Universal Calendar the Church of the saints, before it was revised by Pope Paul VI in 1969, originally celebrated Christmas Eve (12/24) as the feast of Adam and Eve, our first parents! This indicates to us that the Church always did and still does esteem the Old Testament patriarchs, prophets, kings, queens, and holy men and women as saints!   By being here tonight should remind us of few things:

  • First, that Christmas must always remain Christmas. I say again, Christmas must always remain Christmas. Despite other secular and religious holidays at this time of year, we must not let Christmas get lost in the “holidays.”
  • Secondly, the Christ child cannot be sidelined by snowmen, Santa’s, elves, reindeers, bells and tinsel. The Nativity scene must always remain central to Christmas.
  • Third, Saint Nicholas is a real saint of the Catholic Church. He was a bishop of great charity toward children and the poor in the fourth century!
  • Fourth, the truths of the birth of Jesus exists within the Gospels. The first Christmas was an act of divine intervention when the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus in the womb of Mary. It was a miraculous birth, directly caused by God.
  • Fifth, Angels are not mythical figures but spiritual beings from God who interact with humanity. In the Bible we hear of angels speaking to Mary, Joseph, shepherds and others.
  • Sixth, the sighting of the star and coming of the magi proclaimed the divine revelation that God intended salvation for both Jews and Gentiles through Jesus.
  • Seventh, the Christmas season begins tonight (today) and end on the Feast of the Epiphany! It did not begin the day after Thanksgiving and it does not end the day after Christmas.
  • And lastly, the evils of King Herod foreshadowed the rejection of Christ that would lead to His passion and death, and serves as a reminder that there will always be people in our lives who hate and despise anything to do with Christmas, and so therefore, Christmas must always remain Christmas, and not just a winter holiday shopping season!

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