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Questions of Faith

Continuing my theme of the spiritual works of mercy of the last few weeks, here are some more questions that your children and grandchildren might ask you when talking about our Catholic faith. Once again, it’s really just to give you some kind of answer to tough questions. I’m happy to expound on them if you would like.

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

“My friends say that after the priest sex abuse scandals, I shouldn’t be Catholic any longer”.

Those scandals are horrific indeed, and give us the unfortunate reminder that the Church is made up of sinful human beings. As awful as they are, though, they don’t take away from the truths about God and our Catholic faith. Do the scandals change God as Father, Son, and Spirit? Do they negate the Resurrection? Is the Eucharist no longer the Body and Blood of Christ? Doctrine is the core reason to be Catholic, and the scandals don’t change doctrine. Even if math teachers commit similar crimes, two plus two is still four, and we should still follow the laws of mathematics.

“I don’t know if I believe in God anymore”.

The next time you see a tree, ask yourself, ‘who made that?’

Look at the stars in the sky and ask, ‘who made those?’

Look at the size and the order of the universe. Did everything come into being as a result of a “big bang” and just fell into perfect order? The chances are so small…too small.

By the way, what /who made it go bang?

Keep in mind that everyone has faith. Everyone believes in something. Even atheists believe. They just believe that God does not exist. (By the way, atheists admit that the order of the universe is the best argument for the existence of God.) “I’m not into Confession”

That’s understandable. It’s hard and uncomfortable. I remember when you were younger, you were not into taking showers. You fought against and complained before every shower. But, when you came out and you were clean all over, you were much happier. Confession is like a spiritual shower!

“I don’t agree with everything the church teaches” You probably agree with everything that Jesus taught and said, right? Well, Jesus gave authority to the church to continue His teachings (Mt 16, Mt 18, Lk 10). Also, we hear so much in the Bible that Christ and the Church are one. So, when the Church teaches on faith and morals, it is really Jesus who is still teaching today.

“Do we worship saints?”

No, we worship God alone. We remember the saints and honor them. But they are only human like you and me. Our church honors the saints with statues like our country honors our forefathers and heroes with monuments and memorials. “Can people of other religions go to heaven?”

Yes. Pope Francis once said that even atheists can be saved. The Church’s mission is to proclaim Jesus Christ as the way to heaven and to invite people to experience the fullness of Christ on earth.

Where there is much love, there is much forgiveness

11th Sunday  in Ordinary Time

Father Greg / anniversary
Ordination card

SAA party / confessionsGospel
Love <=> mercy
God thirsts for tears
Her love – like Christ at Last Supper?

Forgiveness is an act of love

Confession

With the help of God, we will be safe and win victory over our Enemy

About two hundred years ago in France lived a very holy priest, Fr. John Vianney. Fr. Vianney loved his people, and prayed for them constantly. He was extremely devoted to hearing their confessions, spending about 15 hours a day in the confessional! Eventually, people came from all over France to go to him for Reconciliation because of his extraordinary natural and supernatural gifts. He is the only parish priest who has been canonized a saint.

In a rare outward appearance, the Devil tried to disrupt St. John Vianney’s ministry of healing. Many nights, he would attack Fr. Vianney; people heard loud and strange noises coming from the rectory. One night, they saw fire coming from Fr. Vianney’s bedroom: the Devil had lit Father’s bed on fire! At first, Fr. Vianney was afraid, but then he got used to the attacks. He finally figured out the timing of it all: every night the Devil came to attack him, a big sinner would come to Confession the next day – someone who hadn’t been to Confession in 20 or 30 or more years. With the help of Christ, St. John Vianney withstood the attacks of Satan, and won victory over him.

The Devil makes another rare appearance in today’s Gospel (Lk 4:1-13): he tempts Jesus in the desert three times. Usually, Satan works in invisible and very subtle ways. His main objective is to take people away from God without them even knowing of his presence. He has made his presence known a few times – the Garden of Eden, to Christ in the desert, and to a few people like St. John Vianney.

It’s very important for us to know that the Devil can never force us to do anything against our will. He tempts us in brilliant ways; he is much smarter than any of us. On our own, we can’t defeat him; but, with the help of God, we will be safe and win victory over our Enemy.

Christ wins victory over the Devil in the desert and in his Death and Resurrection. In the desert, he is tempted in his human nature. He wins victory for two main reasons, I believe: 1) he is fasting, and 2) he is “filled with the Spirit”. Fasting brings spiritual strength. When we deny our bodies in some way, we build up inner or spiritual strength. During Lent, we imitate Jesus’ fast of 40 days in order to build up our souls, and to resist the temptations of the Devil.

We can imitate our Lord in being “filled with the Spirit” through our reception of the sacraments. The sacraments are the primary ways for us to be filled with the Spirit.

The Church strongly encourages us to come to the Eucharist often -for example, going to daily Mass during Lent – and going to Confession. When we are filled with the Spirit, we are filled with God’s love, imitate Christ, and are ready to defeat the Devil and his temptations.

–Sincerely in Christ,

Fr Greg

Make Straight Your Room

2nd Sunday in Advent

CCD kids / Jesus coming over
St John Baptist – Jesus is coming!
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight your room
Glory of his visit / presence

Preparation through purification
Conversion!
Make straight your paths / souls / hearts
Change ways, habits

Leveling mountains (pride)
Confess!
Wednesdays, 6-7 pm
Humility
Examination of Conscience
Apologize
Forgive

Valleys filled
Despair —-> Hope
sadness ——> Joy
Anxiety  —–> Confidence in God
Fear ——–> Faith

Holy Mass : mini-Advent