The first reading reminds us about evangelization and suffering for the faith. Paul and Barnabas converted many people in Jesus’ name. They began to set up the first local primitive dioceses or parishes of the time. However, they reminded the people that suffering was part of the package if they want to enter God’s kingdom (Luke 9:62). God’s grace was working in them and brought the seeds of their work to flourish (Romans 11:6, Ephesians 2:8). In today’s world, we see so much hatred against God and the Church. Religion is being pushed aside as irrelevant and useless.
Christians are being persecuted and slandered as being backward or an annoyance. We all must bear with this. Suffering for the faith gives testimony that the faith is true and scares the world. If the faith was not true, then the world would not focus so much attacks on it. Think about this carefully. Nevertheless, we must not become cowards and hide our faith for God’s spirit is not a cowardly one (2 Timothy 1:7). We must proclaim it boldly and face whatever may come from it (Romans 5:3-4). God is number one which is what the responsorial Psalm reminds us of today. We must praise God’s name forever. God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger. All creation must thank God for everything. God is God. There is only one. God loves us so much that He became one of us in all things except sin (John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:21). He dwells with us even today as we read in the second reading.
God dwells with the human race. He is with His people. God is with us in the Blessed Sacrament. We see bread and wine, but in reality these are the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ after consecration at Mass (John 6, 1 Corinthians 10:16). Like the Jews with the Ark of the Covenant, we have our own holy of holies in the Holy Eucharist (Joshua 7:6, 1 Samuel 5:3). Jesus awaits us in every parish and chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. We should make time to spend with him in the silence of His Sacramental presence (Matthew 18:20). There He will wipe away our tears as we tell Him of our struggles and ask for His help.
In the Gospel, we read of how Christ is glorified because He is God. He ascended into heaven in His human form, but is still present with us in the Blessed Sacrament. He calls us to love one another (John 15:12). When we love one another and our enemies, this shows we are His disciples because Jesus is all about love and mercy (Luke 5:32, Matthew 5:44). Unfortunately, we see so many ‘Pharisees’ in the Church and even in Protestant sects who claim to follow Christ, but promote animosity, gossip and discord. There are those who refuse to help those who come to our nation and who ask for help as refugees. They even attack the Pope for reaching out to others who are not Christian or may be living publicly in sin while calling themselves ‘true Catholics.’ This is not a sign of discipleship in Christ. It is a sign of arrogance and hypocrisy (Matthew 7:9, Matthew 6:5). This is surely a path to hell and not heaven for not everyone who cries out “Lord Lord” will enter God’s heavenly paradise (Matthew 7:21). In this year of Mercy, love and compassion must accompany our evangelization. We must not treat others who are not Catholic as pariahs or unworthy of our acknowledgement or time. Rather, we must welcome them with open arms showing them the love of Christ. Let us go out and preach the Word with love and mercy; seek God in the Holy Eucharist and love on another. Those who pray all day and live life judging others and not loving them are only fooling themselves. God will say to them, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23).
The children’s version of my book ‘Atheism Is Stupid’ is now on sale. I had announced the book in this post: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2016/03/childrens-version-of-my-book-atheism-is.html.
Many people had messaged me asking me to make a children’s version of my popular ‘Atheism Is Stupid‘ book. After much thought, I decided to author one. The book takes the main ideas of the ‘Atheism Is Stupid‘ book and simplifies them in a way that children ages 7 and up can understand. Children younger than 7 who have a strong grasp of vocabulary will be able to understand the text as well especially if the book is read to them.
The book presents arguments in favor of God using science and philosophy, making atheism and its conclusions look silly in comparison to the facts as presented by science and philosophy. I believe that even adults will find this book useful as an introduction as it contains heavy ideas and terms in easy language. In fact, the book will help children learn about science and philosophy which will prepare them for their regular schooling! My own nephew enjoyed it and is now fixated on space and physics!
The description says the book is 64 pages, but this is because of the font size and graphics used which took a lot of pages since the book is 8.5 x 8.5. In reality, the text if shrunken to 12 font will be about 4 or 5 pages I believe. I hope you will find this book useful for your kids and students. It will protect children from the indoctrination of atheism early on so when they grow and go to college, they will be able to respond to atheistic rhetoric with ease and not feel as if atheism is somehow correct and has refuted religion. ‘Atheism Is Silly’ is the antidote to the atheistic/secular brainwashing children will face as they age.
This book is priced at $13.75 and money from sales will help with my evangelization. Discounts will be made available soon for those who want to buy bulk copies (i.e. catechists, clergy, religious schools, parents etc).
You can purchase your copy at any of these places or your local bookstore:
My book will become available at other stores in a few weeks. I will update this post when this happens.
Happy Earth day! Today we remember our great and beautiful home. Our “spaceship” flying around in the solar system 365 days a year.
The above is a photo of our home. Isn’t she a beauty? Just looking at this picture puts me in to a contemplative mood.
The Earth is so small, so fragile in a sense, yet so important to us all.
This planet unfortunately has gone through a lot of abuse, not from earthquakes, storms, asteroids or solar flares, but from a creature that lives on it that sometimes thinks it is God. This creature is the Human being. The reality of the harm caused by human beings along with the Christian views of John McConnell led him to begin Earth day.
McConnell was born on March 22, 1915 and died on October 20, 2012. He was the son of a Pentecostal traveling preacher. His Christian faith inspired him greatly. As a peace activist, he fought for peace, the promotion of science and the environment. He believed we all have a God given duty to protect the Earth and each other. McConnell is correct.
We must care for our home. We must stop polluting it and destroying it. Numbers 35:33 says, “Do not pollute the land where you live…” The book of Jeremiah has a few more verses that speak about humans defiling the Earth. In Genesis 1:26 God commands man to care for the Earth and all living things and in Psalm 115:16 we read how God gives His children (us) the Earth.
- We must develop technology that does not destroy the environment.
- We must throw garbage not on the streets or fields, but in their right place.
- We must recycle items so that they won’t end up in landfills.
- We must conserve water and not let it run without use.
- We must find better energy sources such as solar power which is what powers the solar system.
Pope Francis has also spoken strongly against the harm being done by humans against our planet. In his encyclical Laudato Si he draws upon what his predecessors have stated:
4. In 1971, eight years after Pacem in Terris, Blessed Pope Paul VI referred to the ecological concern as “a tragic consequence” of unchecked human activity: “Due to an ill-considered exploitation of nature, humanity runs the risk of destroying it and becoming in turn a victim of this degradation”. He spoke in similar terms to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations about the potential for an “ecological catastrophe under the effective explosion of industrial civilization”, and stressed “the urgent need for a radical change in the conduct of humanity”, inasmuch as “the most extraordinary scientific advances, the most amazing technical abilities, the most astonishing economic growth, unless they are accompanied by authentic social and moral progress, will definitively turn against man”.
5. Saint John Paul II became increasingly concerned about this issue. In his first Encyclical he warned that human beings frequently seem “to see no other meaning in their natural environment than what serves for immediate use and consumption”. Subsequently, he would call for a global ecological conversion. At the same time, he noted that little effort had been made to “safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic human ecology”. The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious, not only because God has entrusted the world to us men and women, but because human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement. Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in “lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies”. Authentic human development has a moral character. It presumes full respect for the human person, but it must also be concerned for the world around us and “take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system”. Accordingly, our human ability to transform reality must proceed in line with God’s original gift of all that is.
6. My predecessor Benedict XVI likewise proposed “eliminating the structural causes of the dysfunctions of the world economy and correcting models of growth which have proved incapable of ensuring respect for the environment”. He observed that the world cannot be analyzed by isolating only one of its aspects, since “the book of nature is one and indivisible”, and includes the environment, life, sexuality, the family, social relations, and so forth. It follows that “the deterioration of nature is closely connected to the culture which shapes human coexistence”. Pope Benedict asked us to recognize that the natural environment has been gravely damaged by our irresponsible behaviour. The social environment has also suffered damage. Both are ultimately due to the same evil: the notion that there are no indisputable truths to guide our lives, and hence human freedom is limitless. We have forgotten that “man is not only a freedom which he creates for himself. Man does not create himself. He is spirit and will, but also nature”. With paternal concern, Benedict urged us to realize that creation is harmed “where we ourselves have the final word, where everything is simply our property and we use it for ourselves alone. The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves”.
7. These statements of the Popes echo the reflections of numerous scientists, philosophers, theologians and civic groups, all of which have enriched the Church’s thinking on these questions. Outside the Catholic Church, other Churches and Christian communities – and other religions as well – have expressed deep concern and offered valuable reflections on issues which all of us find disturbing. To give just one striking example, I would mention the statements made by the beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with whom we share the hope of full ecclesial communion.
8. Patriarch Bartholomew has spoken in particular of the need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet, for “inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage”, we are called to acknowledge “our contribution, smaller or greater, to the disfigurement and destruction of creation”. He has repeatedly stated this firmly and persuasively, challenging us to acknowledge our sins against creation: “For human beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”. For “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God”.
9. At the same time, Bartholomew has drawn attention to the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms. He asks us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which “entails learning to give, and not simply to give up. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed and compulsion”. As Christians, we are also called “to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet”.
The pope continues in Laudato Si by calling on the world to do more to fight the abuse against our planet and criticizes even those believers who are in denial regarding global warming:
13. The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.
14. I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges. Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation”.  All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.
I hope you take this time to pledge to save our planet not only for us now but for future generations to enjoy.
May God bless and protect His planet Earth. We Thank Him for creating it and us.
God is quite an artist I must say. 🙂