Bread of Life

BREAD OF LIFE
 this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (john 6: 50)
The miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded. Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church—with the whole community of Catholics around the world…and in heaven.

the Real Presence of Christ

Why does the Catholic Church believe Christ is really present in the Eucharist?
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—body, blood, soul and divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” - John 6:48-56
Furthermore, the early Church Fathers either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!

This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

WHY NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE?

God wants the best for you. Fornication (sex before marriage) is second rate, second best. You must know who you are. You are a human person. That is, you are an individual human being possessing intellect and free will. You are not a monkey or a pig. God calls you to rise above your animal instincts.

You CAN do whatever you want, but you MAY not. Perhaps the greatest gift that God has given us is our free will. He takes us so seriously that we can choose self as against God; a choice so radical that it can ultimately end in Hell. Your dignity, because of baptism, is that you are a member of God's family; that makes you His child. You are an heir to a great Kingdom: Heaven. But you are on probation.

Where exactly does Christ say that sex before marriage is wrong?

You are made in the image of God. That is, you have a spirit (an intellect and will) that in some way reflects God because He too is a Spirit. Jesus is God. Jesus calls fornication "evil" (Matt 15: 19). The Bible is the Word of God. God cannot lie because He is all good, therefore, the Bible only tells us the truth.

Saint Paul speaks often about fornication in Scripture. Look on Saint Paul as God's messenger. The following, in summary, is what God's messenger says to you regarding sex before marriage: 'Do not be deceived, those who fornicate will not inherit the Kingdom of God'. (See Galatians 5: 15-25, 1 Corinthians 6: 9-20, Ephesians 5: 3-12, 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-8) Princes and princesses, in the presence of their Father the King, act as princes and princesses should.

Chastity is against human nature.

At the beginning of human history God created Adam and Eve with integrity (wholeness, whereby our spiritual soul dominates our lower animal passions). However, since original sin, our nature has been weakened. We can often become slaves to our instincts.

God gives us the grace we need to combat this state of affairs. His plan for us is to be in complete control of our bodies all the time. We obtain this grace from praying for self-control, regular confession and frequent reception of Holy Communion.

God is a loving Father. He's not obsessed by sex like the Church!

Most couples who fornicate these days have more than one sexual partner before they marry. This fact has caused the increased spread of Sexually Transmissible Diseases. How could God be a loving Father and permit free-love if it causes his children disease? More than 60% of defacto couples who marry end up divorcing in the first few years of marriage.

How could God be a loving Father and approve of defacto relationships that mostly end in family break-up? Many young people today are suffering from the intense invisible anguish of a broken heart - some even commit suicide. They have given themselves in sex to someone who has since left them for someone else. How could God be a loving Father and encourage young hearts to be broken through the misuse of sex?

Abstaining from sex before marriage is too difficult.

You have the intellect to know the truth. You have the will to act on it. Chastity is not easy, in fact it is difficult. But, just because something is difficult does not mean it is not worth doing. It is God's will for you as His child to be a full member of His family. You cut yourself off from His grace when you fornicate. Chastity is hard but by no means impossible.

The fruits of chastity are: integrity, strength of character, strength of will, self-control, increased inner strength, full membership of God's family, and ultimately Heaven. What could be better than that? Virginity is cool. And, if you fall into sin, get back up immediately, confess your weakness, and start again. You have great self worth. Jesus loves you too much to leave you in sin. It's never too late to start again.

Why can't engaged couples have sex before marriage?

Even if you are engaged to be married, God still wants you to be chaste. If a couple really love each other they will want to protect their love from anything that might jeopardise their future together. Sex speaks the language of commitment, but sex before marriage is breaking the rules and so weakens the commitment of an engaged couple.

The best way to ensure your fidelity is to freely lock yourself into a sacred oath whereby you promise God that you will love your future spouse in purity. You give them no better promise of your true and patient love than your chastity before marriage.

Sex before marriage doesn't hurt anybody.

Let's not overlook the devastating effects that are caused in society from fornication. The best start you can give children is to bring them up in a stable loving family of two parents (mum and dad) whose bond of love has been sealed by almighty God in the Holy Sacrament of marriage.

This helps to give the child the most loving and secure upbringing possible. Single parent families can still achieve great results but few would dispute that it is better and easier with a mum and a dad. Fornication can and does often result in children of unmarried parents. A cosy 'loving' relationship of two people can and does often result in break-up when pregnancy occurs.

Children suffer terribly in this situation. They are often left with only one parent. Or, much worse, they are aborted. It is therefore selfish and short-sighted to base justification of fornication on the love of two when a third much younger person can often enter the equation. Fornication does hurt.

But what if there is no risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases or pregnancy?

It would be a rare couple indeed who could discount disease or pregnancy. But it still wouldn't be ok. Pre-marital sex inhibits your ability to love truly because it stifles a young person's ability to communicate properly and to think clearly about consequences.

It pre-occupies a young person's mind when they should be concerned about the next maths test not the next pregnancy test! It can become all-consuming. It causes guilt even if the couple don't admit it. It can make you marry the wrong person because sex can cause a blindness in one or both parties that causes you to fall in love with a person who is not suited to you.

It causes future jealousies and bad memories that can never be totally erased. It can cause sexual dis-satisfaction once one is married because of comparing married love with past experiences (you can't miss what you never had). Waiting for and anticipating anything in life always makes us appreciate it more, sex is no different. It doesn't bring a clear conscience because promiscuity can cause tension from fear of 'being caught'. You are jeopardising your salvation because God is very clear on this topic; sex is His gift for the married couple, God said it so that should settle it. You could be the cause of the broken heart of a previous partner. [Pinto, St Joseph's Com.]
How can you remain sexually pure until marriage?

Pray for purity. Frequent the Sacraments. Keep your clothes on and your feet on the floor. Set high standards - the person who stands for nothing, falls for everything. Have the courage to leave bad relationships. Value the other person - would you want someone else fooling around with your future spouse?

If not, then you shouldn't be fooling around with someone else's future spouse. Pray with your date. When tempted, ask What Would Jesus Do? Take a True Love Waits pledge whereby you promise publicly to abstain from sex until marriage. Contact: truelovewaitswa@yahoo.com

Why should anyone listen to the CELIBATE Catholic clergy on sexual matters?

Because one need not engage in an action to become an expert in giving advice about it.

* Please note that this text should be read in the context of the whole work and in recognition of the appropriate paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlighted in the index.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

WHAT IS TRUTH?

Pontius Pilate asked the question to Jesus,“What is Truth”. As it turns out, Pontius was staring The Truth right in the face and didn’t even know it.

Jesus Christ proclaimed that He is The Truth in John 14:6: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

The term I AM is the name of God that Moses learned way back in Exodus 3:14:

God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.'"

So when Jesus said “I Am” the Truth, He was really saying that God is Truth. So many people today believe that what they think is the truth, regardless of what God says in His Word. Their ego and pride are so big that they have convinced themselves that whatever ideas they come up with regarding abortion, homosexuality, money, etc., are true, because it seems true to their 40 or 50 year old mind.

In other words, truth to a lot of people is subjective, not objective. When worldly people use the term “I think for myself”, it is supposed to proclaim to the ignorant Christian that they are somehow smarter than we are, who blindly follow the Pope, the Bible, or the Church. (Proverbs 3:5 says " Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.")

But just look how silly this "I think for myself and therefore whatever I come up with is true" philosophy. A camera is a camera whether or not you believe it to be. If one person says that a camera is really a cow, that doesn’t make it a cow, no matter how sincere the person may be, and how convinced the person’s mind may be.

And if God says in his word that homosexuality, sorcery, adultery, etc., are evil, how stupid is it of man to believe otherwise? Truth is truth, no matter how much man may rationalize otherwise. And signing up to follow a set of principles as espoused in the Bible is not “blindly following the Pope”.

Rather, obeying what is true is good and right, and is a virtue, not a vice. Going off on your own way because you “feel” it’s right is a vice. What if you’re going the wrong way? Where will you end up 100 years from now by following what you “feel” is best? Heaven or Hell?

The devil, called by Jesus “the father of lies” in John 8:44, has done a great job of convincing the Media, Madison Avenue, and Hollywood (an unholy trinity if there ever was one), that evil is good and good is evil. The bible condemns this upside down thinking in Isaiah 5:20:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

And yet, that is exactly the kind of society we live in today. GK Chesterton, the great Catholic writer of the early twentieth century, once said that only dead bodies go with the current. It takes live ones to swim against it. And that is so true.

It’s so easy to go with the flow, rather than to speak The Truth and get made fun of for being a bible thumper. The biggest battle most parents have today is convincing their children that what they see on TV, billboards, and in the movies is garbage, and what they learn in church on Sunday is The Truth.

We are all being inundated with lies when we watch entertainment. For instance, when there is a death or an imminent catastrophe about to happen on a show, how many people do you see praying? None. When a clergyman is portrayed in a TV show, is it a positive or a negative portrayal? More than likely it’s a negative one.

When marriage is portrayed on TV, is it holy, or unholy? Unholy, most likely. And just how many times do we hear organizations like the military and schools ignore the term “Christmas”, in favor of the innocuous term “holiday”?

In John 8:44, Jesus compares lying to murder:

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.

Here are some great quotes from God regarding what truth is:

Isaiah 45:19 I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, `Seek me in chaos.' I the LORD speak the truth, I declare what is right. Ezra 45:1: "Now concerning the signs: behold, the days are coming when those who dwell on earth shall be seized with great terror, and the way of truth shall be hidden, and the land shall be barren of faith.

(**NOTE** - These days appear to be here now)

Psalm 45:8: The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.

John 1: 14 : And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 8: 31-32: Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

John 8:44: You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 14:6: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

John 15:26: but when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me;

John 16: 7: Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

John 16:13: When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 18: 37-38: Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, "I find no crime in him.

Romans 1: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.

Romans 1:25: because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.

Galatians 4: 16: Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?

1 Timothy 3: 15: if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

1 John 1: 6: If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth;

1 John 1:8: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 4:6: We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

1 Timothy 1:8-10: Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for menslayers, immoral persons, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

(**NOTE** Here lying is lumped in with a murder, immorality, sodomy, and kidnapping)

1 John 2: 4: He who says "I know him" but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him;

1 John 2:22: Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.

1 John 4:20: If any one says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

1 John 5:10: He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne to his Son. Revelation 21:8: But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death."

So don't be like Pontius Pilate and question what truth is. Truth is whatever God, His Word, and His Church says it is, not what we may think it is, or what we wish it to be. Jesus Christ is Truth, and the devil is the father of lies. Thinking for yourself when it comes to deciding what truth is may seem smart and right, but listening to what The Word says is the better, and only true, path to take.

God sent the Holy Spirit to guide His Church in Truth, not to each individual person. Sinful priests today do not negate what the Truth is, anymore than the sinful Judas and Peter negated what Jesus taught way back when.

And intelligent people need to discern (a gift of the Holy Spirit, by the way) when people are giving their strong personal opinions cleverly disguised and packaged as fact. People can be sincere in their opinions, for sure, but also be sincerely wrong.

CS Lewis once remarked that Hell is full of people who said "My will be done". Heaven is full of people who said "Thy will be done", so choose wisely !

Sunday, January 24, 2016

IS JESUS RELEVANT TODAY?

Many think that Jesus Christ wants us to become religious. They think Jesus came to take all the fun out of life, and give us impossible rules to live by.

They are willing to call him a great leader from the past, but say he is not relevant to their lives today.

Josh McDowell was a college student who thought Jesus was just another religious leader who set up impossible rules to live by. He thought Jesus was totally irrelevant to his life.

Then one day at a student union lunch table McDowell sat next to a vibrant young coed with a radiant smile. Intrigued, he asked her why she was so happy. Her immediate reply was, “Jesus Christ!”

Jesus Christ? McDowell bristled, firing back:

“Oh, for God’s sake, don’t give me that garbage. I’m fed up with religion; I’m fed up with the church; I’m fed up with the Bible. Don’t give me that garbage about religion.”

But the unfazed young coed calmly informed him,

“Mister, I didn’t say religion, I said Jesus Christ.

McDowell was stunned. He had never considered Jesus more than a religious figure, and didn’t want any part of religious hypocrisy. Yet here was this joyful Christian woman talking about Jesus as someone who had brought meaning to her life.

Christ claimed to answer all the deep questions about our existence. At one time or another, we all question what life is all about. Have you ever gazed up at the stars on a pitch-black evening and wondered who put them there? Or have you ever seen a sunset and thought about life’s biggest questions:

  • “Who am I?”
  • “Why am I here?”
  • “Where am I going after I die?”

Although other philosophers and religious leaders have offered their answers to the meaning of life, only Jesus Christ proved his credentials by rising from the dead. Skeptics like McDowell who originally scoffed at Jesus’ resurrection, have discovered that there is compelling evidence that it really occurred.

Jesus offers life with real meaning. He said that life is much more than making money, having fun, being successful, and then ending up in a graveyard. Yet, many people still try to find meaning in fame and success, even the greatest superstars.

Click here to read page 2 of 10 about "Is Jesus Relevant Today?"

Monday, January 18, 2016

IN PERSONA CHRISTI...

'In the person of Christ'

In the confessional, as the priest gives absolution, he says, 'I absolve you of your sins'. He does not say Jesus Christ absolves you of your sins. The priest is acting in the person of Christ, 'In Persona Christi'.

Think about this for a minute, as it is an awesome truth.

During the consecration of the host, the priest says, 'This is MY Body'. He does not say, this is the Body of Christ. The priest is acting in the person of Christ, 'In Persona Christi'.

Again it is almost incomprehensible, that it is possible for any human person to act in the person of Christ. However, it is a teaching of the Church, and is therefore to be believed.

What we do not realize is that GOD has given each one of us a specific talent of one kind or another, and if we in turn give that talent back to GOD in His service, then each one of us is acting 'In Persona Christi'.

What could be more rewarding to anyone than to know that when we give back to GOD the fruits of the talents He has given to us, we are doing it 'In Persona Christi'?

"Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I have done for your sake's, in the person of Christ." 2Corinthians 2:10

Monday, January 11, 2016

WHY INFANT BAPTISM?

Holy Baptism is the first of seven Sacraments in the Orthodox Christian Church. Together with the Sacrament of Holy Chrism it joins the candidate to the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.

Some people argue that the only valid baptism is that of an adult who believes in Christ first.

They argue that to baptise a helpless infant only a few weeks old who is unable to believe is meaningless. So why baptise a baby when it doesn't know yet what is happening? Why not wait for the baby to grow and believe in Christ and ask for baptism?

If we were to follow this line of reasoning, we wouldn’t inoculate the baby against diphtheria until he grows up and asks for it! But we know better.

Baptising infants before they know what is going on is an expression of God's great love for us. It shows that God loves us and accepts us before we can ever know and love Him. It shows that we are wanted and loved by God from the very moment of our birth. Nothing shows the nature of God's grace more than infant baptism.

The Orthodox Church does not belittle personal faith in an adult who seeks baptism, but instead insists that the whole emphasis of baptism is not an what the baby does or the parents or the godparents, but on what God does. The fact that we are Christians is not due to any act on our part; it is due to the act of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Of course Baptism demands a personal response on the part of the baptised child when it reaches the age of reason. The child must accept what God did for him or her in Baptism.

Baptism is not a divine pass that will get us into Heaven automatically. It must be followed by a personal awareness or awakening to the many gifts of God's love bestowed upon us through this great sacrament.

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