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In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm.
What kind of unclean demons exist today? In 21st century America, many think that the ancient world saw demons in a person that had a medical condition. For instance, someone might say that the ancients would call a person with schizophrenia as demon possessed. Or someone who has seizures as someone who is being tormented by a demon. Certainly, misdiagnoses would have existed in ancient times just as they do today. However, misdiagnoses is not a reason to discredit the reality of the demonic.
Today’s Gospel speaks the truth of Jesus’ healing a man plagued by a demon. We know that the Gospels speak the truth of Jesus’ lives and we know that Jesus is God. The truth of the matter is that demons exist and that we are constantly in a spiritual battle for our souls. For some they have allowed these demons into their lives to oppress them or possess them. These serious conditions plague these people. Many times they have sought help from the medical community for many years to no avail. Modern medicine has no power over these spiritual forces. Modern medicine can treat some of the side effects but not the spiritual problem. Instead, the person needs deliverance from the evil.
I’ve assisted with a deliverance once which took place over a number of months. I saw the demon thrashing the person about in deliberate inhuman and painful ways. Sometimes it looked like an alien trying to leave the person. How did the person get help? She kept her faith and received the sacraments. She received medical care as she needed. She received counseling but ultimately it was when she was lead to the moment in the recesses of her mind that she had allowed the evil to take residence in her life. In Christ Jesus, she rebuked the evil, and the demon left her. She has been whole since.
Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
One of the shortest and best homilies ever!
I found this video enlightening. Maybe you would too.
Something I'm incredibly passionate about is dialoguing with those I disagree with and doing my best to learn from them despite our differences. When it come...
Jesus said to his disciples:
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
All sorts of things vie for our attention. Schooling, business, housework, volunteer work, hobbies, vacation plans, social events, sports, entertainment, and a host of other things. We can easily become drowsy under the weight of these things.
We become so drowsy that we are not able to see the Lord come to us. How does the Lord come to us? He comes through the good, beautiful, and the true. He comes through the poor person standing before us. He comes to us through an encounter with him in prayer and sacraments. He comes to us through the silence that comes from reflection and meditation. Jesus comes to us every day. If we are drowsy with the busyness of life, we may miss Him.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.
Jesus’ words speak for themselves. Lord refine my inner self. Cleanse me and heal me so that I may not be like a whitewashed tomb. But, instead be more like a house where you live.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”
Jesus presents strong words to the religious leaders of his day. The Pharisees were known for their fastidious obedience to the laws of Moses. The more strict they adhered to them, it was thought, the more honorable a man.
And yet, Jesus is critiquing them and challenging them to not worry so much about ritual cleansing and to be more concerned about purifying their inward motives and intentions.
For us, it would be similar to a woman who spends all her time focused on the latest fashion trends and makeup tutorials. And she ignores the emotional and spiritual development of her soul.
Or it would be like the politician that says and does all the right things to gain approval, but has no integrity.
The message is clear for me and you. We need to continually work on refining our inner life; the life that comes from our inner thoughts and feelings. We mortify the moments of selfishness and the moments of pride. We mortify the tendency to hold onto anger and past hurts. We mortify the judgments and accusations. When we do these things interiorly, we open the door to generosity, humility, forgiveness, charity, and mercy. These internal virtues will change our external actions.
Nathanael said to [Jesus], “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Nathanael believed because Jesus saw him under the fig tree. This doesn’t seem like a good reason to go from questioning to belief. To me, this verse is wrapped in mystery. There must be something more going on.
Perhaps, Nathanael has a special place of prayer where he goes that no one knows about. It’s all by itself removed from everybody. When he goes there is takes a while. There is a 20 minute walk out of town, then he goes down a path past a revine and up hill. There all by itself is a solitary fig tree. It has such a magnificent view of the sea.
Perhaps when Nathaneal went there this time, he had such a rich experience of prayer. Maybe it was almost like a vision telling him the Messiah was here. He should ready himself for his coming and be ready to follow. The lying under a fig tree itself is a symbol of messianic peace. Maybe this was the reason that he was so guarded when Phillip came running to him announcing that Jesus is the Messiah.
All of this makes sense. It’s how God works and it’s why Nathaneal was ready to follow Jesus when he said, “I saw you under the fig tree.”
You and me have had our own fig tree experiences. These moments where Jesus came to us and said - “Cone follow me.” Remember yours this morning.
Saturday mornings, we are now offering the sacrament of reconciliation starting at 8:30 am.
Come and be forgiven!
The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son ... The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’
There is no sneaking into heaven. Jesus gives us another parable about heaven and in this case at the end a man who was not dressed properly was tossed out of the feast. From our 21st century minds, we may think that is unfair. After all, the king gathered everyone from all sorts of backgrounds to come. Perhaps this man didn’t have a wedding garment and was too poor to buy one?
However, what if the king gives everyone who enters a wedding garment to put on. Then, one of two things: 1) either the man chose not to wear the garment. 2) Or, the man snuck into the feast.
With this parable the wedding feast is heaven. The king is God, the Heavenly Father. The guests are all the people of the earth. The wedding garment is the baptismal garment that we receive when we are baptized. From this context. The man without the wedding garment either was not baptized or was baptized and rejected the fruits of baptism. Either way, he can not be in heaven. We know by faith that baptism is the ordinary way to enter eternal life.
There is no sneaking into heaven.
Viviana Ruiz is from St. Joseph and is going to be a missionary with NET missionaries this year. I am so excited that we have young people like her who are ready to take the risk to sure the good news of Jesus Christ! I am so proud of you Viviana!
Thank you so much for watching this video and know of my prayers for you and your family! I appreciate any support you can give. If you are unable to donate ...
[Jesus speaking within a parable said,] “Are you envious because I am generous?”
Quotes only make sense within context. This quote lies within a long parable through which Jesus was speaking to his disciples. One of the Kingdom of God parables, Jesus presents the story of a landowner who hires workers for his fields at various times during the day. He pays each the same amount for a days worth of work. The workers who started working in the morning felt like it was unfair and complained. Then, the landowner says the above quote.
What Jesus is describing is God’s amazing Grace that calls people to serve him at various points in their lives. Some respond to the call from the very beginning of their lives. Others at the end of their lives. Those of us who begin serving early on need to be thankful for the opportunity to work for the Lord lest we become envious of the others.
Some of the best people helping others to know Jesus!
Our Meet the Director series recently introduced you to our Youth Ministry Department, Katie Smith and Ojas Inamdar. Watch the videos below to meet Ojas and Katie!
Katie Smith, Director of Youth Ministry
Ojas Inamdar, Associate Director of Youth Ministry
So excited for Viviana! Have you thought about being a missionary? Every Catholic is called to the mission. Some missions are far from home and others are on our doorstep.
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Jesus spoke often about riches and our proper use of riches. Today’s Gospel is one example.
It’s a tough Gospel especially those of us who live in one of the wealthiest suburbs (Richardson) of one of the wealthiest cities (Dallas) in one of the wealthiest states (Texas) in the wealthiest countries (United States) during the wealthiest period in human history (21st century). And if you have more than $70,000 saved then that makes you in the top 20% of wage earners.
Truth is that by the history of the world, almost every one of us is absolutely rich. And so Jesus tells us. It will be hard for you to enter the kingdom of heaven and it will be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for you to enter heaven. Try this exercise. Put your name in place of “than one who is rich” and see what internal reaction that causes. Truthfully, many times, we read this and we think of someone other than ourselves; the person that has more than we do. I’m sure even Michael Dell might think this is really for Bill Gates. (These are two of the top 25 richiest in the world.)
Truthfully, we are need to recognize we are rich and that Jesus is speaking to us personally here. And he says to us that it will be hard for us to enter the kingdom of heaven. Why will it be hard. It will be hard because we will place our trust in material wealth than spiritual.
What is the remedy of this? The remedy lies in detachment. The eye of the needle was a defensive mechanism in ancient walls in the Middle East. A camel would have to be stripped of its belongings, go on its knees and be pulled through to make it on the other side. Jesus is saying the same thing for us.
To go to heaven, we will be stripped of all of our attachments, bowing humbly before God and allowing God to pull us into his kingdom.
How can we start to do this now? We can start by tithing. We can give a percentage of our income to charity. In giving, we should feel it some. This feeling is the sacrifices that we do so that we can give to charity. These sacrifices allow for our detachment to happen.
A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” ... Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
There was a thirst in the rich, young man to live completely for God. He asks a question that we should all be asking. I think we can do well by preparing people in our lives to ask this question, think about, and come up with an authentic answer. The secular mindset tries to steer people away from thinking about life after death. Instead, there is a desire to focus on the pleasures of today. So much work towards evangelization can be done if we just get people to think about this question and questions like it: what is the meaning of life? Why do you exist? What happens after death?
Anyhow, the rich young man was thirsting to live for God. So he asked the God-man what to do. Jesus’ first response was to live the commandments. The man claimed he has done so but there is must be more he could do. Sensing the man’s desire to live more perfectly, Jesus goes to the one big attachment that the man has that kept him from being perfect. The man couldn’t handle it. He went away sad. He couldn’t and wouldn’t give up what he felt he was secure in.
What is your attachment? Is it money? Then make sure you tithe. This is a great way to break down the bonds of this attachment. Is it comfort with food or drink? Then, make sure to fast. Is it proper relationships? Then, spend more time in relationship with God.
[08/15/20] We had the last of our makeup sacraments today with some First Communions. With so much time having passed since many had attended Mass, lets just say it was organized chaos. But, it was all worth it when after Mass I asked an 8 year First Communion girl how she was doing. She giggled with joy and said she was just so happy! That was grace!
Jesus said to the Pharisees, “I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”
Divorce and remarriage in the United States has become the norm. It’s so much the norm that young people are choosing not to get married and instead they are pretending to be married by cohabitating. One of the reasons that they say they do this is because they have seen divorce and they are afraid that they too will be divorced. So they decide to live in a state of relational limbo where they live a pretend marriage.
Why is divorce so rampant in the United States? Why does divorce strike Christians and Catholic Christians as much as anyone else. I think that it’s a matter of three real things. 1) Communication, 2) Humility and 3) Faith.
A couple learning to communicate with each other is essential for that couple to have a life-long marriage. Humility is essential within marriage where each person within the marriage recognizes their own limitations and they are willing to reach out for help when needed. And then there is Faith.
Faith in God and a couple’s communication with God is the glue that keeps the marriage together. Faith is what provides the perseverance that a couple needs to having a lasting relationship.
Today’s Gospel demonstrates why. Jesus is talking about marriage. He gives a teaching that says that marriage is a one-time event until death. He is clear in saying that when one divorces and marries another he/she commits adultery. Jesus can not be more clear.
We need to look at this as a syllogism. If Jesus is the Son of God, and Jesus said that getting divorce and remarrying causes adultery, then God is saying to us that unless the marriage is unlawful, couples can not divorce and remarry.
Some may try to dismiss this statement and say that Jesus was speaking through the lens of the 1st century perspective and that today is a different time and place. Really? So you are saying that we know better than God. I think what happens is that we create a mental rationalization that tells us that it is okay because our situation is difficult and we don’t want to keep fighting for the marriage.
Now, I get it. Sometimes one partner gives up and there is nothing that the other partner can do. Sometimes there is abuse. In the case of abuse, this was never a lawful marriage because the abuser clearly never entered the marriage to love and sacrifice for the other. These are unique situations and the Church has a process to prove that these marriages were never sacramental bonds. But for the majority of marriages couples end up giving up. I think a lack of faith is a huge reason why.
So how can a young man or woman do things that will help them remain married. First, they should really learn how much God loves them and place their security in Jesus Christ. Second, they should spend most of their day away from the smart screen. Third, they should only date once they are readying themselves for marriage. Fourth, they should only date another Catholic. Fifth, they should dismiss the lies of the Sexual Revolution and refuse the sexual life prior to marriage. Sixth, they should never cohabitate. Seventh, they should spend as much time as needed taking marriage formation classes. Eighth, they should thoroughly understand NFP and never use contraception. Ninth, they should pray each day together rejoicing with God. Tenth, they should go on a date with their spouse a minimum once per month.
What God has put together, man shall not put asunder.
This is a place for the St. Joseph community to support each other and foster our faith.
St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church is a Catholic Community in Richardson, Texas, located in the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.
Walking In the Power of Agreement Through Prayer / Old Fashion Prayer Meeting
Trinity Bible church is located in Richardson, Texas and seeks to "Connect people with God and each other".
Council 8954 Knights of Columbus St Joseph Catholic Church dedicated to the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism