Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended.
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going. By faith he arrived, as a foreigner, in the Promised Land, and lived there as if in a strange country, with Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. They lived there in tents while he looked forward to a city founded, designed and built by God.
It was equally by faith that Sarah, in spite of being past the age, was made able to conceive, because she believed that he who had made the promise would be faithful to it. Because of this, there came from one man, and one who was already as good as dead himself, more descendants than could be counted, as many as the stars of heaven or the grains of sand on the seashore.
All these died in faith, before receiving any of the things that had been promised, but they saw them in the far distance and welcomed them, recognising that they were only strangers and nomads on earth. People who use such terms about themselves make it quite plain that they are in search of their real homeland. They can hardly have meant the country they came from, since they had the opportunity to go back to it; but in fact they were longing for a better homeland, their heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, since he has founded the city for them.
It was by faith that Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He offered to sacrifice his only son even though the promises had been made to him and he had been told: It is through Isaac that your name will be carried on. He was confident that God had the power even to raise the dead; and so, figuratively speaking, he was given back Isaac from the dead.
With the coming of evening, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind they took him, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him. Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him, ‘Master, do you not care? We are going down!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?’ They were filled with awe and said to one another, ‘Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.’
 On that day, when evening had come, He (Jesus) said to them, “Let us go a-
cross to the other side.”  And leaving the crowd, they took Him with them just
as He was, in the boat. And other boats were with Him.  And a great storm of
wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat so that the boat was already filling.
 But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said
to Him, “Teacher, do You not care if we perish?”  And He awoke and rebuked
the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there
was a great calm.  He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”
 And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, “Who then is this,
that even wind and sea obey Him?”
35-41. The episode of the calming of the storm, the memory of which must have
often helped the Apostles regain their serenity in the midst of struggles and diffi-
culties, also helps us never lose the supernatural way of looking at things: a
Christian’s life is like a ship: “As a vessel on the sea is exposed to a thousand
dangers—pirates, quicksands, hidden rocks, tempests—so man in this life, is en-
compassed with perils, arising from the temptations of Hell, from the occasions
of sin, from the scandals or bad counsels of men, from human respect, and,
above all from the passions of corrupt nature [...]. This should not cause him to
lose confidence. Rather [...] when you find yourself assaulted by a violent pas-
sion [...] take whatever steps you can to avoid the occasions [of sin] and place
your reliance on God [...]: when the tempest is violent, the pilot never takes his
eyes from the light which guides him to port. In like manner, we should keep our
eyes always turned to God, who alone can deliver us from the many dangers to
which we are exposed” (St. Augustine, “Sermon 51; for the Fourth Sunday After
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.
 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not
seen.  For by it the men of old received divine approval.
 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he
was to receive as an inheritance and he went out, not knowing where he was to
go.  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living
in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.  For he
looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is
God.  By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was
past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.  There-
fore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many
as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
 These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having
seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were stran-
gers and exiles on the earth.  For people who speak thus make it clear that
they are seeking a homeland.  If they had been thinking of that land from
which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But
as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is
not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had
received the promises was ready to offer up his only son,  of whom it was
said, “Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.”  He considered
that God was able to raise men even from the dead; hence he did receive him
back, and this was a symbol.
1. Although the text does not aim to provide a precise definition of faith, it does
in fact very clearly describe the essence of that virtue, linking it to hope in future
things and to certainty concerning supernatural truths. By means of faith, the
believer acquires certainty concerning God’s promises to man, and a firm convic-
tion that he will obtain access to heaven. The Latin translates as “substantia”
the word the RSV translates as “assurance”; “substantia”, which literally means
“that which underlies”, here refers to the solid basis provided by hope.
This verse indicates that faith, which is a type of knowledge, is different from
other types of human knowledge. Thus, man can know things by direct evidence,
by reasoned proof or by someone else’s testimony. As regards knowledge based
on information provided by someone else, that is, knowledge based on faith, we
can distinguish two types—human faith, when it is another human being whose
word one relies on (as in the case of pupil/teacher, child/parent), and supernatu-
ral faith (when the testimony comes from God himself, who is Supreme Truth).
In this latter case the knowledge provided is most certain.
However, the object of supernatural faith, that is, what one believes in (God and
the unchanging decrees of his will), is not something that is self-evident to man,
nor is it something that can be attained by the use of unaided reason.That is why
it is necessary for God himself to bear witness to what he reveals. Faith, then, is
certain knowledge, but it is knowledge of things which are not self-evident, things
which one does not see but which one can hope for.
The verse also says that faith is “conviction” concerning things not seen. It is
therefore different from opinion, suspicion or doubt (none of which implies cer-
tainty). By saying that it has to do with things unseen, it is distinguishing faith
from knowledge and intuitive cognition (cf. “Summa Theologiae”, II-II, q. 4,a. 1).
Summing up, we can say that “when God makes a revelation, we are obliged to
render by faith a full submission of intellect and will. The faith, however, which is
the beginning of human salvation, the Catholic Church asserts to be a superna-
tural virtue whereby, with the inspiration and help of God’s grace, we believe that
what he has revealed is true—not because its intrinsic truth is seen by the natural
light of reason, but because of the authority of God who reveals it, of God who
can neither deceive nor be deceived” (Vatican I, “Dei Filius”, chap. 3).
It is, therefore, a feature of faith that it makes as certain about things which are
not self-evident. That is why in order to believe one must want to believe, why the
act of believing is always free and meritorious. However, faith can, with God’s help,
reach a certainty greater than any proof can provide. ‘This faith”, St John of Avila
comments, “is not based on reasons [...]; for when a person believes on the ba-
sis of reasons, he is not believing in such a way that he is totally convinced, with-
out any doubt or scruple whatever. But the faith which God infuses is grounded
on divine Truth, and it causes one to believe more firmly than if one saw it with
one’s own eyes, and touched it with one’s hands—and to believe more certainly
than he who believes that four is greater than three, the sort of thing that is so ob-
vious that the mind never hesitates a moment, nor can it even if it wants to” (”Au-
di, Filia”, chap. 43).
The faith which God gives a person—supernatural faith—is necessarily the point
of departure for hope and charity: it is what is usually called “living faith”.
When one lives with this kind of faith it is easy to see that the three “theological”
virtues (faith, hope and charity) are bound up with one another. Faith and hope
lead a person to unite himself to God as the source from which all good things
flow; charity unites us to God directly, by loving affection, because God is the
supreme Good. Faith is as it were the first step: it means accepting what God
says as true.
We then unite ourselves to him through hope, insofar as we rely on God’s help
to attain beatitude. The goal of this process is charity, the fullness of which is
eternal possession of God, the Supreme Good. “Let us grow in hope, thereby
strengthening our faith which is truly ‘the assurance of things hoped for, the con-
viction of things not seen’ (Heb 11:1).
Let us grow in this virtue, let us beg our Lord to increase his charity in us; after
all, one can only really trust what one loves with all one’s might. And it is certain-
ly worthwhile to love our Lord” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 220).
If hope in general is the conviction of being able to obtain something worthwhile in
the future, something difficult to obtain, theological hope is the conviction of being
able, with the help of God, to attain heaven. And faith is precisely what provides
certain knowledge of those two truths—that heaven is our goal and that God wants
to help us to get there (cf. “Summa Theologiae”, II-II, q. l7, a 5 and 7). Therefore,
nothing should dishearten us on this road to our ultimate goal because we put our
trust in “three truths: God is all-powerful, God has a boundless love for me, God is
faithful to his promises. And it is he, the God of mercies, who enkindles this trust
within me, so that I never feel lonely or useless or abandoned but, rather, involved
in a plan of salvation which will one day reach its goal in Paradise” (John Paul I,
“Address”, 20 September 1978).
8. Abraham, “our father in faith”, is the greatest example, in the Old Testament,
of faith in God (cf. Gen 12:1-4; Rom 4:1ff; Gal 3:6-9; Heb 6:13ff). It is not surpri-
sing that the author pauses to dwell on the faithful life of the father of the chosen
people. Putting all his trust in the divine word, Abraham gave up all the security
and comfort of his native land in Ur of the Chaldeans, to set out for a distant and
unknown place, the land of Canaan, which God had promised to give his descen-
dants. “Neither the love for his homeland nor the pleasure of his neighbors’ com-
pany nor the comforts of his father’s home were able to weaken his resolve. He
set out courageously and ardently to where God willed to lead him. What self-
abasement and abandonment! One cannot love God perfectly unless one re-
nounces all attachment to perishable things” (St Francis de Sales, “Treatise on
the Love of God”, book 10). Abraham symbolizes the need for detachment if one
is to obtain redemption and to be a good servant of God and of others.
“Never forget that Christ cannot be reached without sacrifice. You have to get rid
of everything that gets in the way [...]. You have to do the same in this battle for
the glory of God, in this struggle of love and peace by which we are trying to
spread Christ’s kingdom. In order to serve the Church, the Pope and all souls,
you must be ready to give up everything superfluous” (St. J. Escriva, “Friends of
9-10. Abraham, and his son Isaac and grandson Jacob like him, far from settling
down comfortably in a permanent place, lived a nomadic existence a stranger in
a foreign land (cf. Gen 23:4). By faith the patriarch “looked forward to the city
which has foundations”, the city God would build. Instead of the provisionality of
tents and the weak foundations of cities built by men, a heavenly city was being
established, eternal and permanent, built by God on solid foundations, which Ab-
raham hoped one day to possess. The promised land was a symbol of the defi-
itive fatherland to which God called the father of Israel. There was even a late
Jewish tradition which spoke of Abraham being given a vision of the heavenly Je-
rusalem after he ratified his covenant with God.
Christians live in the world by the will of God, and they love the world, but at the
same time they realize they should not settle down in it as if it were the final goal
of their lives. “They are residents at home in their own country but their behavior
is more like that of people who are passing through [...]. For them any foreign
country is a homeland, and any homeland a foreign country” (”Letter to Diogne-
tus”, V, 5).
11-12. Sarah, like Abraham, was very elderly when God announced that she was
going to have a child. At first she was puzzled and even sarcastically skeptical
(cf. Gen 18:9f), but soon her attitude changed into a faith which God rewarded by
her conceiving Isaac. The faith of Sarah and her husband can be said to exceed
that of the earlier patriarchs because what God promised could come true only
by means of a miracle, since Abraham, like his wife, was old and incapable of
begetting children. That is why it says that from one man “and him as good as
dead” innumerable descendants were born. God is generous in rewarding man’s
faith. “’Si habueritis fidem, sicut granum sinapis”! —If your faith were the size of
a mustard seed!...’
“What promises are contained in this exclamation of the Master!” (St. J. Escriva,
“The Way”, 585).
The conception of Isaac is also a “type” of that of Christ. “All the miraculous
conceptions which occurred in the Old Testament were prefigurements of the
greatest of all miracles, the Incarnation of the Word. It was fitting that his birth
from a Virgin should be prefigured by other births so as to prepare people’s minds
for faith. But there is this difference: God miraculously enabled Sarah to conceive
by means of human seed, whereas the blessed Virgin conceived without it” (St
Thomas Aquinas, “Commentary on Heb.”, 11, 3).
13-16. After speaking about the faith of Abel, Noah and Abraham, the sacred
writer goes on to give a brief panoramic account of the entire history of the Pa-
triarchs and the Exodus. It does not deal with events in chronological order. By
recalling that the Patriarchs left their own country to journey abroad “seeking a
homeland”, he brings in the exodus from Egypt. Between Abraham, who left Ur
to travel to the land of Canaan, and the people of Israel, who left Egypt for the
promised land, there is an obvious parallel, which is even more marked if one
bears in mind that neither Abraham nor the Israelites led by Moses were des-
tined to take possession of the land: that was reserved to their descendants.
The only thing Abraham managed to do was to purchase the cave of Machpelah,
near Hebron, and the land immediately around it, for which he had to pay a very
high price in silver. The cave became the burial ground of Sarah, Abraham him-
self, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah. But Abraham publicly admitted he was
“a stranger and a sojourner” in Canaan when he bought the cave from the Hittites
(Gen 23:4). Nor did the Hebrews of Moses’ generation manage to enter Canaan.
The nearest they got to it was descriptions brought by their spies; and Moses
himself was only able to view it from a distance, from Mount Nebo, just prior to
his death (cf. Deut 32:49-52; 33:1-4).
Abraham, and later Isaac and Jacob (who led a nomadic existence in Canaan),
like the Israelites in the wilderness, prefigure Christians, who are also in search
of a land of their own, a better homeland, that is, heaven (cf. Heb 13:14). It cer-
tainly is moving to recall the Patriarchs and the Exodus, and very helpful to the
faith and hope of Christians amid the difficulties they encounter in this world.
Those men of faith are said to have “seen” what was promised: this may be a
reference to some special grace God gave them, as was the case with Abra-
ham (cf. Jn 8:56), or else to the intuitive vision of supernatural things which faith
provides (cf. “Commentary on Heb, ad loc.”). “They greeted it from afar,” happy
to do so. “They greeted the promises and rejoiced,” St John Chrysostom says,
“for they already had such faith in those promises that they could make signs
of greeting. This comparison is taken from seafaring: when from afar sailors es-
py the city they are making for, even before entering the port they cheer in gree-
ting” (”Hom. on Heb.”, 23).
The Patriarchs’ attitude was a true indication of their faith in a future life, for, as
St Thomas points out, by describing themselves as strangers and sojourners
(Gen 23:4; 47:9; cf. Deut 26:5) they showed they were heading towards their
homeland, the heavenly Jerusalem. They did not set their hearts on an earthly
homeland, or on their parental homestead, for if so they could in fact have cho-
sen to return to it (cf. “Commentary on Heb, ad loc.”). Thus the promises made
to them found their fulfillment not in something earthly but in the eternity of hea-
ven: “Therefore God is not ashamed” to be called the God of Abraham and Isaac
and Jacob: seeing their faith and fidelity, he overlooked their sins and faults. And
he is disposed to act in the same way towards Christians.
In vv. 14 and 16, in the Greek text and the New Vulgate — and in the RSV — the
verbs are in the present tense, as distinct from the past (aorist) used generally
in this passage. This is because the whole paragraph is recalling the life of the
Patriarchs, but with the intention of stressing that their faith is an example to all
generations. What we have here is a mixture of history and sapiential writing,
using verbs which indicate that the action—or at least some of its effects — is
still going on.
17-19. It is very difficult for us to imagine what Abraham thought when God asked
him to sacrifice Isaac, the son of the promise, his only son, in the mountains of
Moriah (cf. Gen 22:2). The Old Testament shows how resolute Abraham was, his
absolute docility, his serenity even in the midst of suffering his trust in God (cf.
Gen 22:1-18). This is revealed in the touching conversation between the Patriarch
and his son, when Isaac asks him where is the lamb for the offering and Abraham
replies, “God will provide himself with the lamb for a burnt offering, my son”. In St
Paul’s epistles generally Abraham’s faith is proposed as an example (cf. Gal 3:7;
Rom 4:3, 11-12; 4:17-22); but that was in the context of his faith in God’s promise
that he would have a multitude of descendants. Here, however, the Patriarch’s
faith is to be seen in the way he approaches a commandment which seems to
negate that promise: how could God possibly ask him to sacrifice his only son?
The answer lies in the fact that God knew that Abraham had faith in his ability to
bring the dead back to life.
Abraham’s obedience to God in this episode is the most striking proof of his faith.
Here most of all the Patriarch “believed against hope [...]; he grew strong in his
faith as he gave glory to God” (Rom 4:18, 21). “The Patriarch hears words which
deny the promise; he hears the very author of the promise contradict himself, but
he is not dismayed; he is going to obey as if everything were completely consis-
tent. And in fact the two things were compatible: the two things God said were
contradictory as far as human logic was concerned; but faith brought them into
“God tested Abraham’s faith. Did he not know the strength and integrity of that
great man? Undoubtedly he did, very well. Why, then, did he put them to the
test? He did not do it to prove to himself the Patriarch’s virtue; he did it to show
the world how excellent Abraham was. The Apostle, moreover, shows the He-
brews one of the causes of our temptations, so that anyone who is afflicted
should not think that God has abandoned him” (”Hom. on Heb.”, 25). we know,
moreover, that precisely on account of Abraham’s generosity and faith, God re-
newed his promise to him, now ratifying it with an oath (cf. Gen 22:16; Heb 6:
19. “Hence he did receive him back, and this was a symbol”: after offering Isaac,
Abraham was given him back, because God stepped in before Isaac was sacri-
ficed (Gen 22:11-12). And he received him as “a symbol” (literally, as “a para-
ble”). Tradition has always seen the sacrifice of Isaac, the only Son, as a sym-
bol of the redemptive sacrifice of Christ; and, particularly, it has seen God’s in-
tervention on Mount Moriah as a symbol of the Resurrection. “He saw it as a
symbol,” Theodoret comments, “that is, as a prefigurement of the Resurrection.
(Isaac) was brought to death by his father’s will, and then brought back to life by
the voice which prevented his death. All this amounts to a prefiguring of the pas-
sion of the Savior, and that is why the Lord told the Jews, ‘Your father Abraham
rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad’ (Jn 8:56)” (”Interpre-
tatio Ep. ad Haebreos, ad loc.”).
Origen, a writer of Christian antiquity, reflects this tradition very beautifully when
he says that the sacrifice of Isaac helps us to understand the mystery of Redemp-
tion. “Isaac carrying the wood for the burnt offering is a symbol of Christ, who car-
ried his (own) cross. But it is also the function of the priest to carry the wood for
the burnt offering [...]. Christ is the Word of God, but the Word made flesh. There-
fore, there is in Christ an element which comes from above and another which
comes from human nature, which he took on in the womb of the Virgin. This is
why Christ experiences suffering: he suffers in the flesh, and he dies, but what
suffers death is the flesh, and the ram is a figure of this, as St John said, ‘Behold
the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ (Jn 1:29) [...]. Christ is at
one and the same time victim and high priest. Thus, according to the spirit he of-
fers the victim to his father, according to his flesh, he himself is offered on the al-
tar of the cross” (”Homilies on Genesis”, 8, 6 and 9).
For all these reasons, Eucharistic Prayer I links Christ’s sacrifice with those of
Abel, Isaac and Melchizedek.
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.
The two largest groups containing prisoners in the camps, both numbering in the millions, were the Polish Jews and the Soviet prisoners of war (POWs) held without trial or judicial process. There were also large numbers of Roma (or Gypsies), ethnic Poles, Serbs, political prisoners, homosexuals, people with disabilities, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholic clergy, Eastern European intellectuals and others (including common criminals, as declared by the Nazis). In addition, a small number of Western Allied aviators were sent to concentration camps as spies. Western Allied POWs who were Jews, or whom the Nazis believed to be Jewish, were usually sent to ordinary POW camps; however, a small number were sent to concentration camps under antisemitic policies.
01/30/2015 8:14:12 PM PST
· 372 of 375 Iscool
to metmom; boatbums; CynicalBear; Arthur McGowan
Forbidden was hardly the word.
It was a SIN!!!!
And those nuns struck the fear of God into you about it. They had you thinking that God would strike you dead for doing something like that to Christ's body.
Isn't that really peculiar since we have a Catholic priest here telling us that the word used in the scriptures to command us to eat the flesh of Jesus actually means to gnaw, rip, tear, chew and grind the flesh of Jesus before we swallow and that proves the verse is to be taken literaly...
I grew up about a mile from Dixon’s house in Tucson.
The view in Cloudbanks and Shadows was also the view out our front door.
My grandparents knew him casually in the 40s; it was a small town then but with many interesting people.
dont think I ever knew about the house at Mt. Carmel - great idea to open it. Have been planning to do that drive someday soon, need to take my kid through the real West. Maybe we’ll stop by, still love Dixon’s work.
When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, then-Prime-Minister of Great Britain, Neville Chamberlain went to speak with him. He returned, assuring everyone that the new regime in Germany would not be a problem. Sadly, we know the rest.
It means that without the Holy Spirit, we are lost, and that human nature unaided by grace can do nothing.
“Without me, you can do nothing.”
The “flesh” in the sense of unaided human nature is NOT the flesh of Jesus which he promises to give us to eat. I have seen these words twisted, as though Jesus is saying “MY flesh profiteth nothing.” (And, therefore, what’s the point of giving us his flesh to eat?)
It’s amazing how people will twist themselves into pretzels trying to prove that, in John 6, Jesus isn’t saying anything more interesting than “have faith.” And saying it VERY BADLY.
“The problem with basic preterism is that it turns Yeshuas millennial reign into a complete failure, and violates the timing of the grandest event in all of time, the First Resurrection, the event that marks the end of the rule of men, which is the beginning of the millennial reign.”
No, the problem with preterism (for the futurist) is that it places the words of Christ and the apostles in their proper place, and destroys all the false teaching that has sprung up around apostolic eschatology.
“Sorry, but no, only those that dont accept the plain words of the beginning of the Revelation have any difficulty.
The revelation events began to run shortly after it was given to John in 91 or 92 AD.
It signaled the end of the apostolic era, and the beginning of Yeshuas schedule of breaking the seals off of Satans title deed to planet Earth. It was to be a 2000 year process, the end of which is approaching.
We are in the 5th seal period, nearing the 6th seal.”
Only when one’s faith is based on what the Bible actually says. And if I have done nothing else, I have tried to impress on people that the futurist’s understanding of apostolic eschatology is wrong to the point that a number of cults - some dangerous to their adherents, have sprung from it.
The problem with basic preterism is that it turns Yeshua’s millennial reign into a complete failure, and violates the timing of the grandest event in all of time, the First Resurrection, the event that marks the end of the rule of men, which is the beginning of the millennial reign.
“And in a futurist understanding they are going to be resurrected to see this avenging... I thought you had a more complex argument than this.”
Nope. Not when you have Jesus saying this to His disciples in Matthew:
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Fathers glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. Matthew 16:27-28
No less than Christ Himself said He would come in His Father’s glory (read up on what that means in the OT) While some of them lived, not in the resurrected sense but in the still-living-on-earth, flash-and-blood sense.
"[You] joyfully assented to the confiscation of your goods, knowing that you had better and more permanent possessions." Hebrews 10:34
Imagine that somebody not only steals your stuff, but confiscates it, that is, he legally "steals" your possessions by a power squeeze and then openly and blatantly keeps it for himself. In our modern society, people would expect you to go to court and sue the confiscator to get back your possessions. If that was not possible, society would expect you to try to exact revenge by whatever means possible. Instead, you publicly rejoice and praise God, saying: "Thank You, Jesus! I didn't need all that stuff anyway. It was holding me back from a deeper relationship with You. Praise You, Lord! Alleluia!" It's not hard to imagine the incredulous reactions from those who can't understand what it means that Jesus is your King Who promises to supply all that you need (Mt 6:24-34; Phil 4:19).
Our possessions can end up possessing us (see Mt 19:21-22). Therefore Jesus bluntly tells us: "None of you can be My disciple if he does not renounce all his possessions" (Lk 14:33). St. Paul obeyed this teaching and proclaimed: "Those things I used to consider gain I have now reappraised as loss in the light of Christ. I have come to rate all as loss in the light of the surpassing knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ. For His sake I have forfeited everything; I have accounted all else rubbish so that Christ may be my Wealth" (Phil 3:7-8).
Each day, lose your life for Jesus' sake (Lk 9:24). Detach yourself from your possessions and the things of the world. Less of the world equals more of Jesus.
Prayer: Jesus, the only possession I want is You (1 Jn 5:12; 2 Jn 9).
Promise: "Take delight in the Lord, and He will grant you your heart's requests." Ps 37:4
Praise: Nine years after his vasectomy, Ralph repented, joined a small Christian community, and had his vasectomy reversed.
January 30, 2015. Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
He said, "This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come." He said, "To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade." With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come into your presence with openness of heart. I know that you want to plant your seed in me and help it to bear fruit. I trust that you will pour out your mercy on me as I spend this time with you. I want to love you more and become a better instrument of your love.
Petition: Lord, help me contemplate the action of your grace upon the world and fully cooperate with you.
1.Steady Growth: Jesus reminds me that his grace is working in the world. His message carries an interior dynamism that affects souls and brings about change in them. I think of someone who has surprised me by a sudden conversion or steady growth in Christian living. I see many people who are working on projects of evangelization or are full of Christian charity. I see many other people who are trying in their secular occupations to do their part to make this world better. I contemplate the many families that are striving to be places of love in which each person is valued as a unique gift. This is the seed of the Gospel that grows silently without our knowing how.
2.When the Grain Is Ripe: God, in his mercy, often adds years to our life so that we can learn wisdom and produce in our actions fruit that is worthy of eternity. How much do I value the opportunities I have each day to do simple acts of charity or leave messages that have a beneficial effect on others? How often do I pray for others? Each day I should be attentive to the small and big opportunities the Lord gives me to help establish his kingdom more deeply in my soul and in the souls of others.
3.Disproportionate Strength:Like the image of the mustard tree in the parable, Christ’s grace sustains many men and women throughout the world. People discover in Christ’s friendship the true home their hearts seek and the communion with all men they intuitively desire. What a great gift we have in the Church! Let us try to make it a true home for all people. Let us partake deeply of its teachings and its grace and become more deeply a gift for others. The strength of love sustains us.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for the workings of your grace in so many souls. I want to be united with your grace throughout this day and throughout my life. Help me to use this day in such a way that I will be planting your love around me.
Resolution: Today I will take time to say a special prayer or make a special sacrifice for the conversion of sinners.
>> “The identity of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse has mystified and intrigued people for centuries” <<
Sorry, but no, only those that don’t accept the plain words of the beginning of the Revelation have any difficulty.
The revelation events began to run shortly after it was given to John in 91 or 92 AD.
It signaled the end of the apostolic era, and the beginning of Yeshua’s schedule of breaking the seals off of Satan’s title deed to planet Earth. It was to be a 2000 year process, the end of which is approaching.
We are in the 5th seal period, nearing the 6th seal.
“History sometimes furnishes precursors to later completed events. It does not always need to be an utter either-or.”
Christ was quite specific about this and His apostles - those who contributed to the NT through their letters - were both specific and urgent in their appeals through them.
History did repeat itself: the destruction of 586 BC was repeated in 70 AD. The difference was Peter, like John the Baptist and Christ, stated specifically that they were living in “the last days.” By the time John wrote his epistles, they were in “the last hour.” And by the time he wrote Revelation (68 AD), Christ told Him to write to the seven churches, “I am coming soon.” Not once, but repeatedly.
Now, did God know the day and the hour of Christ’s parousia? If so, why do people not believe these words:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. Revelation 1:1-3
If not, why would God Himself tell John to write them???
No, my friend, there is only one “end of the age”, and that was the end about which both Daniel and John wrote:
But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge. Daniel 12:4
And he *said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Revelation 22:10
Now, look at the first 3 verses of Daniel 12 and see what all was to happen and when: the resurrection and judgment. And when did this happen?
...When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed. Daniel 12:7
The power of Daniel’s people was “finally broken” in 70 AD, signified by the destruction of their city and temple. It was the end of Jewish civil and religious society.
The seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. (Mark 4:27)
In the film Mr. Holland’s Opus, the lead character is Glenn Holland, a composer working on a symphony who takes a job as a high school music teacher to support himself and his wife. At first he is frustrated by teaching and dreams only of finishing his composition. But he gradually learns to love his job and to see how much he has taught his students—and how much they have taught him. The film’s message is best expressed in a verse from a John Lennon song that Holland sings for his deaf son, Cole: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
Unexpected results is also a theme in these two parables. The farmer can’t predict his harvest from just planting seeds. And someone who knows nothing about mustard plants can’t possibly imagine that they grow from such small seeds. But that’s the point. It’s often the case that when we’re working on one thing, God is doing something else in our hearts, creating something new that we can’t recognize until we look back and see it.
This means that you can relax a bit. Of course, try to stay vigilant at avoiding sin and growing in virtue. But let it be a confident, happy vigilance, secure in the knowledge that God will bring growth in the areas he knows you need the most. Just plant your seeds and tend your garden as you think best, and know that your heavenly Father will bring his good work to completion in you (Philippians 1:6).
God doesn’t always show us what he is doing in our lives, but that’s okay. In fact, it can be very comforting. Rather than expending so much energy trying to figure everything out, we can devote ourselves simply to loving God, loving our neighbors, and helping the needy. If we can focus just on this, we can rest assured that our heavenly Father will take care of everything else!
“Lord, thank you that you have an awesome plan for my life—even if I can’t see it all. Help me to trust you day by day. Lord, I place my life in your hands!”
"Your quote from Zechariah 12 has not happened yet either."
Yes, it did:
And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. "For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.' "Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, 'FALL ON US,' AND TO THE HILLS, 'COVER US.' Luke 23:27-30
This was fulfilled in the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem, and it's that destruction about which Zechariah prophesied. And here is verse 30's parallel in Revelation:
Then the kings of the earth [land] and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" Revelation 6:15-17
You can choose to ignore the evidence all you wish, but it won't hasten Christ's return because He already appeared to that generation: the generation that crucified Him and persecuted His apostles.