Bible Reflection: Jesus is the Christ

After staying in Antioch some time,
Paul left and traveled in orderly sequence
through the Galatian country and Phrygia,
bringing strength to all the disciples.

A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria,
an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus.
He was an authority on the Scriptures.
He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and,
with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus,
although he knew only the baptism of John.
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue;
but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him,
they took him aside
and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.
And when he wanted to cross to Achaia,
the brothers encouraged him
and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him.
After his arrival he gave great assistance
to those who had come to believe through grace.
He vigorously refuted the Jews in public,
establishing from the Scriptures that the Christ is Jesus.-Acts 18:23-28

In the first reading of today’s mass we read about a man by the name of Apollos.  St. Luke tells us in the book of Acts that he was well versed in the scriptures, was a great orator, and spoke boldly for Christ.  Those in the synagogue opposed him at every turn, and Priscilla and Aquila took him under their wing and helped him to explain the scriptures even more accurately. In short, he was open to correction and wanted to teach right doctrine.  Having learned from this correction he refuted the Jews that denied Christ, and established through scripture that Jesus is the Christ.

We can lean something very helpful from Apollos.  No matter how much training, or how much others praise us we must remain humble.  We must be open to correction especially to those appointed over us.  This will help us better proclaim that Jesus is the Christ as the scriptures teach.  Let’s make it a daily goal to study the scriptures, pray, and perhaps even look for a spiritual director that can help us learn the faith in a deeper way.  In addition, lets be open to the Holy Spirit and proclaim Christ just as Apollos did.

Quote

The creator of the heavens obeys a carpenter; the God of eternal glory listens to a poor virgin. Has anyone ever witnessed anything comparable to this? Let the philosopher no longer disdain from listening to the common laborer; the wise, to the simple; the educated, to the illiterate; a child of a prince, to a peasant.”
-St. Anthony of Padua

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May 8 Gospel Reflection: We Have An Advocate

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Now I am going to the one who sent me,
and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes he will convict the world
in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:
sin, because they do not believe in me;
righteousness, because I am going to the Father
and you will no longer see me;
condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”John 16:5-11

When I read scripture, I often try to put myself in the place of the disciples.  I wonder how I would reacts in a particular situation.  I have the benefit of looking back and asking the disciples “How did you not see that?”  To do that is to miss the point in my opinion.  They walked, talked, and ate with Christ.  They were friends and went with him wherever he went.  At this point in Jesus’s ministry he was telling them that he had to leave, and this was a terrifying prospect for them.

What I find interesting is that not one disciple inquires as to where Jesus is going.  They were so terrified at the though of not living with Jesus that they couldn’t gather the courage to ask.  As I put myself in their shoes I don’t blame them.  I would be terrified as well.  Especially after all the bad things that Christ said would happen to those who believe in them.  However, that was not the case and he was looking out for them as he does with us.

The Holy Spirit, the advocate, had to come to empower the disciples.  In today’s passage we see the disciples as being scared, but when the Holy Spirit comes they boldly proclaim the Gospel, preserve the truth, and helps them teach the ways of God.  The Holy Spirit also convicts the world of its sin, and is acts in the defense of the disciples.

Like the disciples we may be afraid and think that Christ has left us.  The Holy Spirit is present and working among us even if we don’t realize it.  The Holy Spirit works in the Church and through us today.  Through scripture and sacred Tradition the Spirit is working for the ultimate good of all of us.  Are we open to the Holy Spirit prompting us to action?  Are we open to the Holy Spirit telling us that we are doing something wrong?  What is the Holy Spirit telling you to do today?

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Quote

O  Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.  –Saint Augustine

Episode 5: Do we need the Old Testament? Plus a look at Jesus in Hebrew Poetry.

Listen to this week’s episode here

On Google Plus the other day someone responded to one of my posts by saying that, as Christians, we no longer need to bother reading the Old Testament.  This show is a response, and shows why it is important because thee are so many things we can learn from it.  It is the story of salvation history.  I also look through the poetic books of Jon, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs and look at how Christ is in them.  This helps us see why the Old Testament is worth studying.  As Augustine said, “The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old revealed in the New”.

Episode 1 of the Hope Within Radio Program

Study the Bible With Me

I want to start off for begging for your forgiveness.  On December 1 I started a new podcast titled The Daily Bible, and I forgot to make mention of it here.  The goal of this show is to help you understand the Bible a little more.  Everyday I go over one to three verses and explain the history, meaning, and application of the verse.

The show officially launched on December 1 with discussing the geneology in Matthew Chapter one.  This morning I completed chapter four, and tomorrow I will move into chapter five.  The shows run from 4-7 minutes and are a good way to accompany any devotional that you may be reading.  Every verse in the Bible will be covered…even the “controversial” ones.  When the New Testament is complete I will go into the Old Testament.  It has been an exciting journey thus far, and I hope you come along for the ride.

If you wish to listen I have provided the links to the show in popular podcast directories below.  God bless you and thank you for your support of this page.

 

Click here to listen of ITunes

Click here to listen on Soundcloud

Click here to listen on Spreaker

Click here to listen on Stitcher

Click here to listen on Podbean

Click here to listen on Castbox

I hope you enjoy the show, and if you do please rate it and share it.  God bless.

 

Book Review: 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path

The book of Proverbs has always been a favorite of mine.  I have read through the book several times as it provides great advice for daily living.  In her new book 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path Author Liz Curtis Higgs breaks down thirty-one verses is the influential Old Testament book.

The author takes one verse and created very readable, understandable, and relatable devotional book out of them.  Each chapter starts with a verse from Proverbs and the author relates it to everyday life.  She takes it a step further and does not rely on one translation of the scripture.  The main verse at the top of each chapter is from the New International Version, or NIV.  The author utilizes other translations within each chapter such as The Message, VOICE, Complete Jewish Bible, Good News Translation, NET, Holman Christian Standard Bible, and the Contemporary English Version.

Each chapter is fairly short, and is no longer than three pages in length.  At the end of the devotional the author includes a prayer, and a call to action.  The author also includes a Proverbs study guide at the end of the book as an added bonus.  This book is good for anyone who wants a better understanding of Proverbs.

[Note:  This book was provides free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.]

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We All Need Sympathy

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.- Hebrews 4:15 (NRSV)

 

Like it or not, we are in the throws of the holiday season.  Christmas songs are already on the radio, and a couple weeks ago retailers started to put up their “holiday” decorations.  This is also the time of the year when people feel alone and get lost in the business that has become the holiday season.  With the popularity of social media people who are hurting may say so on the platform of their choice.  They may be depressed, alone, lost a loved one, or are hurting in some other way.  It is in our nature to want to connect, and that desire is heightened when we are hurting in some way.

Why?  Because, whether we want to admit it or not, we all need sympathy.  We want to know that people are supporting us during our darkest of times, and that other people have been where we are currently and have made it through to the other side.  Today’s verse shows us something remarkable, simple, and reassuring.  It shows us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, is not some unfeeling and uncaring figure.  He walked on this Earth and felt what we felt.  He was tempted (Matt. 4:1-11), he felt the pain of someone close to him dying (John 11), and his friends abandoned him in his hour of need (Mark 14:50).

What are you struggling with today?  Do you feel that nobody understands what you are going through?  I want to encourage you and say that many sympathize and care for you.  Jesus Christ himself sympathizes and loves you with an everlasting love.  Throughout life we will always have hard times, but our savior lived on this earth and knows all about them on a personal level.  Jesus is there to sympathize, guide you, and walk you through the dark times.  Keep your head up!

He is Faithful

Lamentations 3:22-33

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,     his mercies never come to an end they are new every morning;     great is your faithfulness. (NRSV)

 

                When I was a child I got in a fight with my best friend.  As most childhood arguments go it was over something trivial.  I was so upset that I took a multi-colored crayon and expressed my feelings about him.  The problem was I didn’t do this on paper, but on the side of my house.  Imagine the shocked look that my parents had when they finally got a glimpse of my masterpiece.

My dad yelled my name, and I courageously barricaded myself in the bathroom hoping to escape the wrath to come.  When I emerged from my hideout I was not met with yelling or a spanking, but with a concern on why I would do such a thing.  I pleaded my case, was told that if I was truly sorry that I would do something about it.  My dad handed me a paintbrush, a can of paint, and told me to go say sorry to my friend.

The point I’m trying to get across is that we all do something that we regret.  Like this scenario from my childhood we try to hide and pretend that it didn’t happen.  My parents are wonderful people, and they showed me incredible love and patience that day.  It is the same in our relationship with the Lord.  His love and mercy are always available.  He is faithful to forgive us even when we have trouble forgiving ourselves.  Is there anything you have been holding onto?  Pray, and give it to the Lord.  In 1 John 1:9 we read “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (NRSV).  Let Him love you and forgive you for everything you have ever done.

 

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