Unified Old Catholic Church

Unified Old Catholic Church

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Feast of St. Bartholomew
Friday August 24th
Rev. Shawn Gisewhite, OPI

+In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

“Beaten with rods, flayed like a fish and then crucified upside down.” This was the fate of St. Bartholomew, also known as Nathanael. He is among the lesser-known disciples. In fact the story of his martyrdom is one of tradition. It is a tradition to which we subscribe, but know full well that it is not Scripture. But what is Scripture is the Gospel appointed for this day of St. Bartholomew. And one could ask the question, “So why is this Gospel lesson chosen for him. He’s not mentioned by name. None of the disciples are mentioned by name” The answer is found when you put the story of his martyrdom and this Gospel together.

“Who is the greatest of all the disciples?” Certainly it has to be St. Peter, the confessing rock of the Church, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” No, he is not him. Remember, Jesus calls him Satan in the same conversation in which Peter confesses the truth about Jesus. And three times Peter denied his Lord, the very same night of this debate between the disciples. Certainly he’s not the greatest. If it is not Peter, how about St. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved? Now there’s a man of greatness. He lived a full life, wrote an account of the Gospel of Christ and a few letters and even the Revelation of Jesus Christ. But then he died in relative obscurity off on some island called: Patmos. He didn’t become a bishop in the Church, nor did He become Pope. He just wrote a few things and then died.

Measuring greatness, from our perspective, can only occur one way – by the law. When we measure the greatness of, say, an athlete we measure using an established scoring system or standard. Now regardless of how you feel about the standard or those enforcing the standard at the time of competition, the standard is the law. In a race the standard is time. In a game it’s the score. The one who fulfills the standard best wins, and therefore is the greatest until another challenges and conquers. Now, when measuring those who are greatest over time. We use other standards, such as championships, gold medals, and records broken and held. With this standard in mind we can ask, “who is better, the Vikings or the Bears?” The standard, the law will let us know in the end.

In our own lives we measure our greatness in much the same way. We are greater or less than another based on what we’ve done or who we are. Mr. Jones is better than Mr. O’Brien because he makes more money, lives on the right side of the tracks, has a trophy wife who still lives with him and has been a member of his church his entire life. The list can and does go on. The list of measures can and is any number of things; things we inherit and things we work for, but in the end they are all to be considered works or merits. They are the things we turn to, to find our place at the table of life. This will not do. Repent.

The greatest among the disciples doesn’t participate in their foolish conversation. Jesus is infinitely greater than any of the disciples sitting at their table. In fact, Jesus is perfect in every way. No one can ever match Him in greatness. He keeps every jot and tittle of the Word of God, and always will. He is victorious and no one can defeat Him, not even death itself.

Immediately preceding this selfish conversation between the disciples, the greatness of God in the flesh is manifested to them, given to them. What had just happened to them appeared to have had no effect on them, but that would change. They had just received the Lord’s Supper, Christ’s body and blood. They had just received Jesus into their mouths. They had, placed on their tongues, the greatest of all – God Himself. The one thing that worth talking about among themselves, Jesus in them, was absent from the conversation. They cared only on themselves. We are no different in our conversations. Repent.

Your greatness is given to you. It is branded upon your forehead with water and Word. It is stuck in your ears through preaching. It is seared onto your tongues with Body and Blood in, with and under bread and wine. You are made to be great. You are given the gift of greatness by God through the simple means of His choosing. And they are given from the hand of sinful men. A man made great by the gift given.

St. Bartholomew was great among the disciples, but his greatness was not because of his horrific and senseless ex*****on. His greatness was found not in what he did in his life or even how he died. Those are the things we would see and judge by. His greatness, however unseen it is, was found in what Jesus had given to him and all the disciples those three years as they sat at His feet. St. Bartholomew’s greatness was because on that night in which Jesus was betrayed He took bread and wine, and gave to them His body and blood for the forgiveness of their sins. His greatness was because of the Word in which he believed and preached. His greatness was because of Jesus, who in His greatness came down from heaven and walked, talked and died among us. Jesus was given to St. Bartholomew and with Jesus came the forgiveness of sins, which was purchase by His innocent suffering and death on the cross; that forgiveness forgave when St. Bartholomew and all the disciples thought of only themselves; When they thought about what they had done and who they were. Jesus forgave them. He does the same for you.

Jesus is your greatness. He is given to you, and carrying with Him He brings all His gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation. No matter how horrible your life may be, having been beaten by the assaults of the devil, stripped of your skin, your reputation, by this dark world and dying in this rotting flesh, He will never leave you or forsake you. He cannot and will not be taken from you. This confidence is the example of St. Bartholomew and all the martyrs. Their hope and peace, as well as yours, is not found in the disciples themselves and their perceived greatness, but rather outside them in Him who is great for them – Jesus. In Him you suffer loss and pain, but your loss and pain is not endured alone. Your great champion over death and the grave is with you. He is yours. Not even death will rend us from Him. He is our greatness.
Amen
Is it easier to heal the body or the soul?
"When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9: 2).

Jesus was ministering in a room packed with people. The friends of the paralytic man lowered him from the roof and dropped him in front of Jesus. Their action is the "faith" that Jesus saw. So you can see faith.

The bigger theme of the Gospel of today is the sin of the paralyzed man. Since Jesus came to suffer and die for sin, He dealt first with the root and source of illness. “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9: 2). Jesus was immediately attacked for forgiving the man's sins. “This man is blaspheming.” (Matthew 9: 3).

The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world knows more than anyone the intricate connection between Sin, Suffering and Salvation. He proves it:
"Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” (Matthew 9: 5 - 6).

"Lord, send your mercy and your truth to rescue us from the snares of the devil, and we will praise you among the peoples and proclaim you to the nations, happy to be known as companions of your Son." (Psalm Prayer, Lauds Thursday, July 5th, 13th Week in Ordinary Time).
I have been living just outside of Myrtle Beach for 11 years and never heard of the church. You do maintain a low profile.

We are a Church whose roots stem from Old Catholic Tradition, We are an inclusive and inviting Church, celebrating the Love of Jesus Christ.

We are a Church whose roots stem from Old Catholic Tradition, those of the original Catholic Church. We are an inclusive and inviting Church, celebrating a diversity of worship styles within our communities, while remaining traditionally theological and devoutly Catholic. We are truly Catholic and Apostolic and we believe that the Church must be a place where the Kingdom of God is open to all peop

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[06/23/21]   Beware of false teachers.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit." (Matthew 7: 15 - 17).

The false prophets may dress and talk like the genuine one. But ask which Way they promote? The Broadway in all likelihood. Follow the Narrow Way is the teaching of Jesus.

Our Lord and Teacher says that" "You will know them by their fruits."
Sometimes fruits take long in coming but they surely come. Look at religious people who abused children under their care. For some of them, the bitter fruits take decades to show but they come.

By contrast, the good fruits produced by good prophets are formed by the Holy Spirit and show up in the lives of the prophets. They are :

1. Charity 🍏
2. Joy 🍊
3. Peace 🍐
4. Patience 🍓
5. Kindness 🍍
6. Goodness 🥝
7. Generosity 🍉
8. Gentleness 🍎
9. Faithfulness 🍋
10. Modesty 🍠
11. Self-control 🌰
12. Chastity 🥔

The most destructive fruits of the false prophets are:
"Immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts and or**es." (Galatians 5: 19 - 21).

Beware of such prophets. You are warned. If you are uncertain of how to discern their fruits, ask a seasoned and approved pastor or teacher in your Church.

Calming the Storm ~ Fr. Frank Bellino, Novice 06/20/2021

Calming the Storm ~ Fr. Frank Bellino, Novice

Calming the Storm ~ Fr. Frank Bellino, Novice Before I talk of our Heavenly Father, I want to share about “Father’s Day.” Far from a “Hallmark holiday,” Father’s Day has its origins in medieval Europe, when Catholics dedicated a day to honorin…

[06/18/21]   Where do you hide your treasure?

"Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be." (Matthew 6: 19 - 21).

Friday 18th June 2021, in the 11th Week in Ordinary Time.

No doubt about it that your heart is always where your treasure lies whether you like it or not. Consider these six areas most people consider treasure:
Health, family, money, job, tools and possessions and food. Each of these has an expiration date stamped into it. There is no security in anything with an expiration date.

What shall we do in the light of the explicit teaching of Jesus on how to manage money and all our needs? How do we store up treasures in heaven while living on earth? Consider the following:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."
The poor in spirit understand that every material thing is subject to decay and loss. So they do not cling tightly to them.

"Apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me [Paul] of my anxiety for all the churches." (2 Corinthians 11: 28).
The Church is the seed of the kingdom of God on earth. Paul puts all his treasure in the kingdom. He is therefore anxious for her well-being.

The supreme remedy for greed, idolatry and materialism is given by Jesus:
"But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also." (Matthew 6: 33 AMP).

Those who are entrusted with material wealth like Abraham have the responsibility of using their wealth to help others.
Those who seek the will of God in their lives on wealth will find it.

Father, in Your will is our peace.

[06/17/21]   Forgiveness of the other is a precondition for Reconciliation.

"If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions." (Matthew 6: 14-15).

Thursday 17th June 2021, in the 11th Week in Ordinary Time.

Why did Jesus conclude the teaching on Our Father, the Lord's Prayer by stating unequivocally a precondition for the forgiveness of our sins and reconciliation with the Father? This is obviously an important theme for Jesus because He taught it in Matthew 18:21–35, which concluded thus: "Then in anger his master handed him [the unforgiving servant] over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

Reconciliation is crucial to enjoying the privileges of filial adoption. A girl who ran away from home and lived a lawless life for a couple of years may be hesitant as she approaches home. The prodigal son understands the importance of Reconciliation.

Many people claim that forgiveness of the other is hard. Lessons that help forgiveness:
#1. Forgive at once.
#2. Forgive everyone without discrimination.
#3. Forgive always.
#4. Forgive everywhere.
#5. "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." Forgive everyone. This step is modeled for us from the Cross. Jesus forgave in real time those who were killing Him. He did not wait until Sunday when He rose from the dead.
#6. Pray everyday for all those whom you have offended, known or unknown to forgive you and set you free.

Jesus Christ invites us to a life of continual conversion so that we can pray Our Father (the Lord's Prayer) with confidence.

[06/14/21]   Christian: No Complain. No Criticize. No Condemn.

"Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well." (Matthew 5: 38 - 39).

Monday 14th June 2021, in the 11th Week in Ordinary Time.

Offer no resistance to one who you know to be a thief, a liar, an oppressor, a violent person, etc. What is Jesus teaching us here? Let us note that it is impossible to go through life without meeting the type of person the Lord calls "evil."

Our key Scripture for today evokes some word associations: Forgiveness, Retaliation, Litigation, etc.

What archetypes of evil does the Bible place the wicked person? "Immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, or**es, and the like." (Galatians 5: 19 - 21). In the same passage it says that those with such behavior will never see the Kingdom of God.

Now, if we desire to see the Kingdom of God, we must practice what Jesus teaches: Forgiveness and not retaliation. Reconciliation and not litigation.

When we live as Christians in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will produce the fruits of the Spirit which are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5: 22 - 23).

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit." (Galatians 5: 25).
This is the core teaching of our key Scripture for today.

[06/13/21]   The power in the seed.

"Jesus said to the crowds: “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 through it all 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." (Mark 4: 26 - 28).

Sunday 11th June 2021, 11th Week in Ordinary Time.

In the Sunday Gospel for today, Jesus gives us two parables of the Kingdom of God. We hear the phrase often: the kingdom of God, viz: The kingdom of God is within you, seek first the kingdom of God, the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed or a dragnet. The kingdom of God is right here and now.

What is the Kingdom of God?
The kingdom of God is the reign of God, the authority of God over all creation. Where there is reign and authority, there are subjects. Although God has supreme sovereignty over visible and invisible creation, the kingdom of God in its proper and absolute sense concerns the human race. Why? God created the human race in His own image and likeness and gave them authority over the physical world.

Jesus came to overthrow the kingdom of Satan in our hearts and minds. At the inauguration of the Kingdom work, Jesus says: "Repent the kingdom of God is here."

The Church is the seed of the kingdom of God in the world. How does the Church grow? It starts off like a tiny mustard seed and continues to grow by the power of God until it covers the whole world.
The process of growth is the subject of our key Scripture for today. The seed once planted by the Sower, grows mysteriously by the power of God. The power of God is inside the seed to cause the growth.

All we need is faith in the power in the seed and faith in the divine plan. Faith comes through hearing and understanding the word of God.

[06/08/21]   Let your light shine and shine.

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." (Matthew 5: 14 - 16).

Tuesday 8th June 2021, in the 10th Week in Ordinary Time.

Our Lord Jesus Christ calls Himself the Light of the world. How did Jesus transmit this light to the world? Primarily through His teaching. The public ministry of Jesus covers a number of activities, viz: healing people, casting out demons, feeding people, etc. It is through teaching that Jesus is primarily known by all and sundry. The common people, the doctors of the law, the Pharisees all know Jesus as Rabbi, Teacher.

The Mission of Jesus Christ is to bring light to a world covered in darkness. (Isaiah 49: 6). The Lumen Christi (Light of Christ) is to be mediated to the world through teaching of new ideas.
Christians are commissioned by virtue of their Baptism to be the Light of the world like Jesus. How is this done in practice?

Baptism incorporates the Christian fully into the Body of Christ. When the Church gather in worship, it catechizes the Christian through the act of worship, reading and breaking open the word of God, homilies and songs. At the end of the Service, the Christian is sent forth into his community and the world to go and be the light of the world. He indicates his understanding and acceptance of the commissioning by answering "Thanks be to God."

Christians, God called us to be the light of the world so that His salvation will reach the ends of the earth. Do not therefore hide your lamp under the bed. Place it on the Internet, emails, text messages, conversations, etc.

[06/06/21]   The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

"While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many." (Mark 14: 22 - 24).

Sunday June 6th 2021, Solemnity of Corpus Christi (the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus). Today, the Church demonstrates her faith in the most precious Eucharist: the source, center and summit of her life. It is also the occasion of great thanksgiving for this immense gift and the radical faithfulness of Jesus to His Bride all these 2000 plus years.

The Church and the world needs the Eucharist desperately.
"The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease." (CCC 1380).

Jesus Christ is everyday inviting everyone to come to the Eucharist. "Come and eat bread without money." The more we respond to this invitation, the more we experience the salvation Jesus Christ won for us.

The Eucharist brings us immense peace. Do you lack peace of soul? Then go often to the Eucharist. The Prince of Peace is waiting to heal your heart and mind of fears, worries and doubts. He will heal you and immerse you in peace. When you cannot receive Jesus physically, make a Spiritual Communion. You will be blessed.

Are you hungry for the Eucharist? How strong is your faith in the Real Presence?
Jesus I believe in Your Real Presence in the Eucharist.
Jesus I believe in Your Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
Jesus I believe in Your Real Presence in me in the Sacrament of the Present Moment.

The mode of Christ's presence in these three forms is unique and very real. The whole of Jesus is present in each of these modes.
Thank You Jesus. Thank You Jesus. Thank You Jesus. Amen.

This is Jesus-Emmanuel. God is with us in the Eucharist. Come receive him, adore him, This is Jesus, our Lord.

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