Friday, January 18, 2019

Podcast 19: The Second and Third Commandments of God

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Second and Third Commandments of God

In our last lesson, we talked about honoring the saints. We learned the difference between worshiping God and honoring the saints. In this lesson, we will talk about the second and Third Commandments of God from The Ten Commandments. The Second Commandment of God is  “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” The Third Commandment is “remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.” Let's start off with a few questions for you to think about during this lesson.

How can we honor God's name? 
How can we keep Sunday holy?
How did the Lord keep the Sabbath holy?

Let's get right into this lesson with a reading from the Holy Bible. This will be from St Luke's Gospel chapter 4 verses 15 and 16, and also 31 and 32.

He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He 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…

Jesus then went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.s He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority.

In that reading we see Jesus going to the synagogue and preaching and teaching on the Sabbath day. The Jewish people had one great temple. That Temple was in the city of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, sacrifices were offered on the great feasts during the year. Every Jewish person was expected to go to Jerusalem during the year. If they could not make it to the great temple throughout the year they were expected to go there during the great feast of the Passover. During the rest of the year that Jewish people would worship God in their own synagogue.

Every city, village, or town had at least one synagogue. In the synagogue, the people would get together to preach, sing hymns, and learn all about God's teachings and his Commandments. The people learned primarily from each other and also through the rabbis. The rabbis were the official teachers at the synagogue. Jesus was a Jewish person and he most definitely went to the synagogue all the time. There he preached and learned about God. After he reached 30 years old he really began to do the work for which he came to Earth. Jesus began teaching about God the Father. He went from place to place from synagogue to synagogue from town to town, village to village to preach about his Father, God. You may be asking yourself, if the Sabbath was on a Saturday in the Jewish tradition, and Jesus was a Jew, then why do we worship God on Sunday. That is a very good question so if you had that in your mind I'm glad that you were thinking about it. The reason that we go to Mass and worship God on Sunday is that Jesus gave the Apostles the authority to change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. The reason they changed it was because Sunday was the day that Jesus rose from the dead. This change was made to remember the day of his resurrection, Easter Sunday. Another special thing happened in the Church’s history on a Sunday. The Holy Spirit came to the Apostles after Jesus ascended to heaven on a Sunday. We are expected to worship God by taking part in the Holy Mass. You are expected to take part in the Mass by paying attention to what's going on, praying, and really learning about God. By going to Mass, we are living the Third Commandment, to keep holy the Lord's Day. Remember the Lord's day is Sunday which is the Christian Sabbath. Let's read The Lord's Prayer which is otherwise called the Our Father. “Our Father who art in heaven Hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but Deliver Us from Evil.”

In this prayer that Jesus taught us to pray it says “Our Father who art in heaven Hallowed be thy name.” Hallowed is another word for Holy.
The Second Commandment says “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”. The Third Commandment is “Keep holy the Lord's Day”. By praying the Our Father we are reminded to keep holy the Lord's Day and that God the Father’s name should only be spoken of in a holy way. We should not use his name by cursing or by using it in bad ways. We should only use God's name in good and holy ways. Again, the Second Commandment is Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. You may be tempted to say bad words using Jesus's name or God's name, however, please remember that Jesus’s name and God's name are Holy and only should be used in holy ways. We are really expected, by the Second Commandment, to always speak of God with reverence. Reverence means giving special honor when we are talking about God or using God's name. I talked a little bit about cursing, so what is cursing. When you say bad things and you are cursing you are really calling down evil spirits on to the person you are cursing. I know you've heard it before when someone might say something bad about someone and they use a curse word. If the person is really thinking about what they are saying they would realize they are actually wanting evil to come to that person. The Third Commandment is to keep holy the Lord's Day. We know that Jesus kept holy the Lord's Day which was the Sabbath. The Apostles changed that day to Sunday. By the Third Commandment, we are also expected to keep holy the Lord's day which means to pray and go to Mass on Sunday and not to do anything that is really hard work on a Sunday. We should rest, pray, concentrate, and focus during Sunday on prayer and being with God as much as possible. There are some people who have to work on Sunday such as doctors and people who we need on Sunday. Of course, it's not bad for them to work on a Sunday. Anyone who has a chance to take Sunday would certainly benefit in many ways.

Let's hear a little bit more from the Bible. This reading from the Bible is about swearing and using curse words. This is from the gospel of Saint Matthew chapter 5 vs 33 -37.
“Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.” Let's read a little bit more from The Gospel of Saint Matthew from chapter 5 verses 21 through 24. In this reading, we will read about what Jesus said about cursing or wishing evil on another person. “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” We have one more reading to do so let's read from the Gospel of Saint Matthew chapter 21 verses 12 and 13. This is about what Jesus said to those who did not show proper respect in the Temple. Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those engaged in selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And he said to them, “It is written: ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of thieves.”

Those were some very informative readings from the Bible. I hope that you enjoyed them. Do you have any questions for me? Student: Was the synagogue a Jewish place of worship? Yes, it was the place where the Jewish people went to worship and to pray to God to learn about God. Student: Did Jesus ever go to the synagogue? Absolutely. Jesus was a very good and faithful Jewish person. He followed the Jewish laws and he went to the synagogue all the time as he was supposed too. Student: Was Saturday ever the Lord's Day? Saturday was the Sabbath in the Jewish faith. This was the day that the Jewish people were to go to honor, pray, and worship God. Student: Do we have to go to Mass on Sunday? Yes, we do because now the Lord's day has been changed. It was changed to Sunday by the Apostles right after Jesus died and rose from the dead. If we are to honor the commandment to keep holy the Lord's Day we must attend Mass on Sunday. We must go to worship and pray together as a church community at Mass on Sunday. Student: Is all work permitted on Sunday? Servile work is prohibited. Servile work is really hard work that you need to do with your body or your mind. This kind of work is forbidden except in certain circumstances. Sometimes servile work is absolutely necessary for the community or for the family, such as doctors or air traffic controllers. In those circumstances, servile work is not forbidden.

Student: What day did the Apostles change the Sabbath to?
They changed the Sabbath to Sunday from Saturday. Saturday was the Sabbath and now Sunday is known as the Lord's Day. Student: What does the Second Commandment tell us? The Second Commandment tells us not to take the name of God in vain. This means to only use the name of God in holy and reverent ways, such as when you are praying or saying good things about God. We should never ever use the name of God in a derogatory or a bad way or say bad things about God or use his name when you to talk bad about other people. Student: What does the Third Commandment tell us? The Third Commandment tells us to keep the Lord's Day holy. We are commanded by God in the Third Commandment to keep holy the Lord's day by going and participating in Holy Mass on Sunday. Student: What's the best way to worship God? The best way and the most ultimate way to worship God is to go to Holy Mass. Please make sure you are going to Holy Mass every Sunday and more often is possible. Going to mass is not only a commandment of God but it is also good for your soul to be enriched and to help you get to heaven. In our next lesson, we will continue to talk about the Commandments. As you go through this next week remember that Sunday is coming up. Make sure to go to Mass and do more than you normally would do this Sunday for God. Say God bless you to somebody, say an extra prayer for somebody, or read something from the Bible and something about the saints.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Podcast 18: Honoring Relics and the Saints

Honoring Relics and the Saints

In our last lesson, we talked about Jesus being led up to the mountain and being tempted by the devil. Satan promised Jesus that if he did whatever he wanted him to do and if he worshiped him, he would give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus did not give in to the temptations of the devil. Instead, he honored his Father and did everything that God the Father would want him to do throughout his life even to the point of dying for our sins on the cross. In that lesson, we talked a lot about worshipping God and only God. Today we will talk about honoring relics, statues, saints, and other religious things. We will talk about the difference between worshipping God and how we treat these other items.

Let's start off with some questions for you to think about during this lesson. Try to answer these questions as you make your way through the lesson.

Who are the Saints?
Where are the Saints right now?
In what ways do we honor the Saints?

We will get right into this lesson with a reading from the Bible. This is from St Luke's Gospel. It is from chapter 9: 28-36.

About eight days after he said this, he took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.

You may or may not know who Moses and Elijah were. Moses and Elijah were from the Old Testament time of history. They were very dear friends of God. They lived on Earth long before Jesus was here to save us from our sins. Moses and Elijah lead good lives. They were holy men and they were really truly God's friends. In the reading that we just had from the Bible, we see that our Lord Jesus Christ was there on the mountain with Peter, James, and John. They all saw Jesus appearing white and dazzling in all his glory with Moses and Elijah. Moses and Elijah, of course, were long dead, however, the apostles saw the Lord Jesus Christ with Moses and Elijah on top of the mountain.

The Saints are people who knew all the joys and the sorrows and sufferings as we do. The Saints never forgot God. They loved God and they always did their best to do God's will as we should be doing. This sometimes was not easy. It may have even been very difficult at times, however, they kept persevering and did their best to follow the will of God. They did this because they truly loved God. In the same way that Jesus honored Elijah and Moses, we must also honor all of God's friends. God's friends are Moses and Elijah and of course, all the saints.

God really does want us to pray to all of the Saints. When we pray to the saints we are simply talking to the saints. These saints are in heaven right near God. Many of our churches, schools, and other buildings are actually named after saints. Statues and paintings of them are everywhere throughout our world. Many cities are also named after the great saints. We have stained glass windows in many of our churches that show scenes from Jesus' life as well as scenes from the lives of the saints. The saints are those who are in heaven who died in a state of grace in true friendship with God.

Perhaps you will see a person wearing a metal of a saint around his neck or he’ll have pictures of saints in the home. This is perfectly fine. There are people who may think this is not fine and what we doing is committing idolatry. Idolatry means that we are worshiping these statues, metals, or icons (pictures). We definitely do not worship these things. We simply have these things in our lives to remind us of these wonderful saints and the great things that they did during their lifetime. When we wear a Catholic medal, such as St. Patrick who is my patron saint, we do so to remind us of the real person. We are encouraged by the Church and also Jesus to ask the saints to be there and to intercede for us. Intercede means that these saints will ask God for things that we need and want on our behalf.

You may be thinking that we just talked about the First Commandment of God which says "Thou shalt not put strange Gods before me". Does the First Commandment forbid us to honor the saints who are in heaven? No, the First Commandment does not forbid us to honor the saints in heaven because we are not giving them worship that only God should have. We are only praying to the saints which means we are talking with them and honoring them because they were great people who are in heaven with God right now.

This is similar to honoring your great-great-grandfather because he was a great person. You may honor by having pictures of him because he was such a great person and you want to be reminded of him.

We never, of course, will put anyone on the same pedestal with Jesus, God the Father, or the Holy Spirit. When we pray to the saints we actually ask them for help for anything that we need. If you need help from your coach and you know that your coach's brother is really close to him, you might ask the coach’s brother to say a good word for you to your coach. You might tell him that you really want to play in the next game. This is not a perfect example of praying to saints however it's similar to asking the saints to ask God to help us because they are closer to God than we are.

When we have a crucifix or other holy image while we are praying we are not praying to that image or that item. When we are praying the Holy Rosary and we're holding the rosary beads we're not in any way praying to those beads. That would be idolatry which would be a sin. We are just using those items such as the rosary beads or metal to simply help us. We have pictures of holy things in our churches and at our houses to remind us of those people just as we have pictures of our relatives and those who we love who are here on Earth or who have passed on. We want to be reminded forever of these people and the great things that they did.

Let's have another reading from the Bible from the Book of Revelation chapter 7; 9-12. This is about Saint John's vision of the saints in heaven.

After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.” All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed: “Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

Do you have any questions for me?

Student: Can the saints really help us?
Yes, the saints are able to help us. If we ask them to ask God for help they definitely will be happy to do that for us. They can't actually do miracles for us as God can however they can definitely ask God to help us if we ask them to.

Student: Do we actually pray to the crucifix and statues?
No, some people may think that we are praying to the crucifix and the statues, however, we are not actually praying to them. We are just using those items to help us have a deeper and more enriching prayer life. The crucifix reminds us of Jesus dying on the cross for us and this may help us to be in a holier state of mind when we pray. Statues that we may have in front of us when we pray may also remind us of the holy things that these saints did while they were here on Earth.

Student: Do we honor the Saints the same as we honor God?
This is absolutely not true. No one ever has the same place of God. We should never honor any saint as much as we honor God. The saints are God's special friends. They are with God in heaven because they have loved God and they were true to God while they were here on Earth. They died in the State of Grace and are in heaven with God. Even though they are so very special we still do not worship them or honor them at the same level as God.

Student: How can the saints help us?
The saints can help us by their prayers to God.

Student: Where are the Saints right now?
The Saints are in heaven right now next to Jesus and God the Father.

I hope this lesson has helped you to be able to better tell the difference between honoring the friends of God, the saints, and actually worshiping God. We never ever put the saints on the same level as we put God. This would be a sin of idolatry. We only worship God and God Alone, however, we should honor the great saints who were the great friends of God. As you continue to learn about your faith, I am confident that you will become closer and become better friends to our Lord Jesus Christ. I am definitely getting closer to our Lord as I make these lessons for you.

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Podcast 17: The First Commandment of God - Thou Shalt Not Have Strange Gods Before Me

The First Commandment of God

Thou Shalt Not Have Strange Gods Before Me

In our last lesson, we talked about the two great Commandments. The first of the two Great Commandments is: Thou shalt love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, and with your whole mind, and with your whole strength. The Second Great Commandment is: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Today we will learn about the first of the Ten Commandments. We listed the Ten Commandments in the last lesson. The First Commandment is: I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt not have strange Gods before me.

Before we get started let's think about a few questions.

What did the Devil tempt our Lord to do?
What did our Lord do?
What should we do when we are tempted to sin?
Why do we owe supreme worship to God?
What do we learn by loving and serving God Alone?

Let's get right into this lesson with our first reading from the Holy Bible. This is from the Gospel of Saint Matthew chapter 4: verses 1,8-11.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Do you remember that God is our creator? Do you remember that he created you and me as well as everything in the world and that we really owe him all of our love and all of our service?

In the reading that we just read, Jesus really did show us by his example how to love and serve God above everything else. When the devil took him up to the mountain and tempted him by offering him everything in the entire world, what did Jesus do? He refused to give in to the devil. He was not going to bow down and worship him as the devil wanted him to do. Jesus loved and served only his Father, God the Father. Jesus did this all the way to the cross. He followed God's will his entire life. The Lord Jesus tells us in John chapter 8 verse 29. "I do always the things that are pleasing to him [the Father]”. Jesus shows us how to obey the First Commandment: I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt not have strange Gods before me.

Jesus told the devil to go away. He did not give in to the temptation.
Every day, we are tempted by the evil one, the devil, to do bad things. We know what is right and what is wrong and we should always say "no, I am going to follow the way of Jesus". Do you follow Jesus Christ in your daily life? Do you refuse to listen when the devil tempts you? Do you place God first?

We should serve God by faith, hope, and charity. In Matthew chapter 16 verse 26 Jesus said this, "For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffer the loss of his own soul?" This is a good example of what happened to Jesus on the mountain. He could have gained the whole world but he would have lost the most important thing, his soul. Jesus, of course, cannot lose his soul because he is God, If we give in to the temptations of the devil and we do not follow Jesus, we may lose our soul and go to that dreaded place, Hell. If we follow Jesus Christ and never place anyone or anything above God, we will always be loving and serving God alone. This will help to make sure that we make it to Heaven at the end of our life. When we are in Heaven we certainly will have happiness with God forever.

The First Commandment of God is: I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange Gods before me. This is very important. When we hear this Commandment we should remember to only worship God. Of course, Jesus Is God and the Holy Spirit is God. We can worship Jesus, we can worship the Holy Spirit and we can worship God the Father. This is the Blessed Trinity. We should not worship anything or anyone else. We should not worship our parents. We should not worship money. We should not worship video games or anything else.

How do we really worship God? How do we worship Jesus? We really should worship Him by praying to him and by doing acts of faith, hope, and charity. We should really truly adore Jesus in everything that we do. As a Catholic, you will sin against faith if you do not believe what God has revealed. What God has taught us through the Church is very important. We should believe and follow all of those things in faith. This is a very important part of making it to Heaven.

We can also have sins against hope. How can you actually sin against hope? If you despair or become so sad or depressed that you just give up and you do not want to do anything, this is despair. That is a sin against hope. You should always have hope. We have hope that everything will be alright but we do not absolutely know that anything that we do, no matter how bad, will work out. That would be called presumption, which is a sin. It is our responsibility to follow what Jesus and the Church teach and not just presume that everything is going to be alright at the end.

What about charity? What are some of the sins that we could have against charity? If we really show that we hate God or that we hate our neighbor, if we are really lazy or cause bad things to happen to other people, if we do things on one hand and say something different, this is a sin against charity. Charity means love. Hatred is the opposite of love.

Envy is like jealousy. When you are jealous or envious of someone else, what they have and what they have succeeded in, this is a sin.

Sloth is when you are lazy. We are not supposed to be lazy. We're supposed to get out and do things such go to work, do our chores, pray and go to church. There is a difference between being lazy and being so tired because you have been playing or working so hard. This is not actually being lazy. Being lazy or being a sloth is when there is no excuse to do something but you just want to lay around and not do it.

Scandal is when you set a bad example for your friends, your family, your community, or your Church.

Let's read a little bit more from the Bible. This is from the gospel of St. Matthew. It's about the faith of the woman. This is from Matthew chapter 15: 21-28.

Then Jesus went from that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and 
Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.

Now let's hear what Saint Paul says about hope. This reading is from his letter to the Romans chapter 8: 24-25.

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.

Our last reading is also from Saint Paul. Saint Paul was a very important writer in the Bible. He wrote some letters to the Corinthians. This reading is from one of those letters. 1st Corinthians chapter 13.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three;h but the greatest of these is love.

I have a very important question for you. Do you have any questions for me?

Student: Did Jesus do what the devil wanted?
No, he surely did not do what the devil wanted him to do. In fact, he told the devil to get away and that he should also worship God Alone. Jesus did not worship Satan and did not do what the devil wanted him to do even though he promised Jesus the entire world.

Student: Did Jesus always do what pleased God the Father? 
I think we can be sure beyond any doubt that Jesus Christ Our Savior did everything that God the Father wanted. He totally and completely gave his will over to the Father and said. "Father, I will do what you want me to do because I know this is what is best."

Student: Does prayer help us when we are tempted? 
Yes, it does. Prayer is so very powerful. Anytime you feel tempted or anytime you feel that someone or something is in your way, leading you down the wrong path, or trying to make you do something that you know you should not do, just step back and say a prayer to our Lord Jesus and ask him for strength to do what is right. I promise that he will always lead you down the right path. You will get extra strength from Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father.

Student: Does charity mean only giving money to the poor? 
No, that's what we typically think of about charity, giving something to somebody. Remember though that charity is not only that. It also means that we should love God and our neighbor, and not be jealous or envious of our friends or family, and not to be lazy. We want to make sure we get up and go to school, do our chores, and go to Mass. It is so very important to go to Mass every Sunday, and throughout the week if you have a chance. Do not set bad examples for your friends or for your brothers or sisters or for anyone.

Student: Do we obey the first commandment when we give God the worship that he deserves? 
Absolutely. Remember the first Commandment is to love God. It actually says: I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange Gods before me. This means not to worship anything else and only worship God.  God is the Blessed Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Student: Presumption and despair are what kind of sins? 
Presumption and despair are sins against hope. Always keep hope and never feel so despairing that you feel that there is no hope. There is always hope.

Student: When we don't believe everything that Jesus told us what type of sin is this? 
We sin against faith when we don't believe what Jesus told us and what the church has taught us.

Student: Hatred of God, hatred of our neighbor, or hatred of anyone is a sin against what? 
This is a sin against charity. Charity is not just giving things to people who need them, it is also loving and not hating those who we know and those that we don't know.

Student: If we resent someone else's blessings, what type of sin do we commit? This is the sin of envy. It is the same as being jealous when someone out there has something bigger or better, or they are healthier, taller, or stronger than you are. When we are jealous or envious, this is a sin.

Student: If we do not give God our love and our service what commandment are we sinning against? 
Remember we are talking about the first Commandment here today. If we do not give love and service to God then we are definitely sinning against the first Commandment of God. The first Commandment of God is: I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt not have strange Gods before me.

Remember that Jesus worshipped his Father and not Satan. Also, remember that God is our creator. He created us and everything in the world. Because of this, we should worship God and God Alone.

I would like you to start doing something every day. Each morning when you wake up, make a promise to yourself and to God that everything that you do that day you will do it to please God. This means that everything that you promise to do that day, you will do it for the Glory of God.

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Friday, December 28, 2018

Podcast 16: The Two Great Commandments and The Ten Commandments

The Two Great Commandments and The Ten Commandments

Today we're going to start talking about the Ten Commandments. Today we will focus on the two great commandments. Do you recall that Jesus Is our shepherd and we are all his sheep? Remember that the sheep are those who love as Jesus wants them to love and who follow him. Jesus is the shepherd who will lead them to heaven. In this lesson, we are going to learn that the goats are those who refuse to love Jesus and who turn away from him.  

As always here are a few questions for you to think about while we go through this lesson.

Who will take us to the Father on the last day? 
What must be in our hearts when the Lord comes? 
Will our Lord have to ask us if we love him? 
What are some ways to show love of neighbor? 
Do we love God if we only love those who we like?

Before we find out about what the two great commandments are, let's start by reading from a section from the Holy Bible. This will be from Saint Matthew's Gospel chapter 25: 31-45. 

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Since we're going to be talking about the Ten Commandments, let's see what they are. 

I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange Gods before Me. 
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. 
Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day. 
Honor thy father and thy mother. 
Thou shalt not kill. 
Thou shalt not commit adultery. 
Thou shalt not steal. 
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. 
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife. 
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's Goods

The two great commandments are not spelled out here directly in the Ten Commandments, but if we follow the two great commandments we are naturally going to be following each and every one of the Ten Commandments. So what are the two great commandments, you might ask? The first great commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with your whole strength. The second great commandment is to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. 

I hope you see that if you love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and with everything that you have in your being, and if you love your neighbor as much as you love yourself, you will be following all the Ten Commandments. When you are following the Ten Commandments, you will be doing what Jesus wants you to do in order to get to heaven. Remember, that one day we're going to appear before Jesus our king, and on that day he's going to judge us. 

When he judges us, he is going to look at everything that we've ever done in our life. The biggest things that he will be looking for are if we have love in our hearts and if we have loved others while we are were living our life here on earth. You can take a look at your life right now to see if you really have love in your heart. Are you always kind to everyone that you see? Do you judge others before you find out how they really are? Are you helpful and are you generous? Do you really listen to others? Do you help in every way, the people who you know? Do you make fun of people and do you talk about them behind their backs? I think we should all look at ourselves in the mirror every day. That goes for me and you. We should ask ourselves these questions. Have I really loved myself today? Have I really loved my neighbor and my friends? Have I really loved God today?  

If God is going to ask us those these questions, then we might as well be asking those of ourselves as we are living today so we will be able to live the way God wants us to live. If you are always loving yourself and loving your neighbor you can probably be pretty sure that you are following the Ten Commandments. If you're following the Ten Commandments, then Jesus will definitely know you as one of his sheep and not as one of the goats. 
It's very important for us to believe what God has revealed to us and taught us through his Church, and to also to keep his laws and his commandments. These are both very very important if we want to make it to heaven after we die. If you take a closer look at the Ten Commandments you will see that the first three commandments of God teach us how to love God. The last seven of the Ten Commandments show us how to love one another. 

Let's read a little bit more from the Bible. This reading will be an example of how we should love. It's from the Gospel of St Luke chapter 10: 25-37.

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Now let's have a reading from St Luke's Gospel about how to love others.
This will be from chapter 6: 27-38.

“But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit [is] that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

I hope you see from the readings and by the commandments that God gave us, that God really and truly wants us to love ourselves and to love one another.

Do you have any questions for me?

Student: Will Jesus know, without asking, if we love him? 
Yes, Jesus will know what we think and he will know how we feel. He can see right inside of our heart and soul and he will know if we have loved before he asks us. 

Student: Do we love God if we only love some of our neighbors? 
No, if we only love some of our neighbors we are not truly loving like God wants us to love. God wants us to love everybody, those who we like and those who we do not like, those who we get along with, and those who we do not get along with. 

Student: Do we have to keep holy the Lord's Day? 
Yes,  one of the Ten Commandments is that we must keep holy the Lord's Day. That means to pray and to go to Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation. 

Student: What does the first great commandment tell us to do? 
The first great commandment tells us to love the Lord our God with our whole heart, with our whole soul, with our whole mind, and with our whole strength. 

Student: What does the fourth Commandment tell us to do? 
The fourth Commandment says to honor thy father and thy mother. This means to not do anything against your mother or father here on earth and also to honor your Father in Heaven, as well as his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Student: Who must we love? 
We must love ourselves and our neighbors, and of course, God.

I hope this lesson has helped you learn a little bit more about the Ten Commandments and the two great commandments.

Why don't you take a moment, after you finish this chapter, to say a nice prayer for anyone who you don't get along with? You can ask Jesus for both of you to get along better with each other and for you to love and to forgive that person for whatever it is that is bothering you.

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Podcast 15: The Resurrection and Live Everlasting

The Resurrection and Life Everlasting

This is step 14: The Resurrection and Life Everlasting. I hope you were able to learn about the communion of saints and the forgiveness of sins in our previous chapter. Recall that in that lesson we talked about what the communion of saints means and what that entails. Basically, the communion of saints is the belief that we here on earth, who are the followers of Jesus, are connected with the saints in heaven and the souls in purgatory.
We also learned in our last lesson that the priests of the Catholic Church were given the power, two thousand years ago, to forgive our sins. This was done when Jesus told his apostles, “whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven.” That authority and power has been passed down from the apostles to the priests and continues to be passed down through the priesthood today.

In today's lesson, we will wrap up the section on the Apostles Creed. The final section of the Apostles Creed states: “I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” The Resurrection of Jesus is when Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. We celebrate this event each time that we celebrate Mass. This is the reason that we are followers of Jesus Christ.

Jesus proved to those on earth that he certainly was God. When Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion, this really and truly did prove that he was God. No mere man could ever raise themselves from the dead.

The resurrection of the body, as we read about in the Apostles Creed, is when all bodies are resurrected to join their souls in heaven at the end of the world.

Here are a few questions for you to think about while we go through this lesson:

Is death the end of all life for us?
What is our Lord doing for us in heaven?
What must we do while we are here on Earth?
When will Jesus come again?
Why must we always be prepared for death?

Let's start off by reading a section from the Holy Bible. This is from Hebrews chapter 13 verses 20 and 21.

“May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will. May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever [and ever]. Amen.”

I hope that you know that heaven is really and truly our home. This is where we are really meant to be. Our blessed Lord Jesus certainly loves us very much. He loves you, he loves me, and he loves everybody very much. He went to heaven to prepare it for us one day. Jesus told his disciples the night before he died, “I go to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you, I am coming again, and I will take you to myself, that is where I am, there you also may be, and where I go you know, and the way you know.” You can find that in the Gospel of John, chapter 14: 2-4.

When he told the apostles that, they were a little puzzled. The Apostle Thomas was really not sure what Jesus meant when he said that they would know the way. Jesus did his best to clear it up by saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” By telling Thomas and the apostles this, it was clear that in order for anyone to make it into the Kingdom of Heaven they must follow Jesus.

Just as Jesus had to die in order to enter his Father's Kingdom, we too must die one day. If we die in a state of grace, without any mortal sin on our soul, without any selfishness, and with pure love in our hearts, then we will be able to join Jesus and the Father and all the saints in heaven. If we die without mortal sin on our soul but we are still not perfect, then we'll go to a place that we call purgatory. This is where our souls will be washed perfectly clean like the cleanest towel or the cleanest sheet that you can possibly ever imagine. You can think of purgatory in this way: Let's say you're going to give a car to your best friend. You wouldn't give it to them all dirty and dusty and sticky now would you? You would probably take it to a car wash and then take it home. You would give it the best detailing job and vacuuming that you possibly could. You would run that vacuum so hard on the carpet that if that car had feelings it would say, “ouch, stop vacuuming me so hard, that hurts!” That's the same thing that happens when we are in purgatory. It may hurt a little bit, but our soul will be perfectly clean so that when we enter the beauty of heaven we will be perfectly clean and pure.

You know, it is only our soul that joins the souls of the saints in heaven. There will be a final resurrection one day. This will be at the end of the entire world, at the end of time. At that time all the souls who are in heaven will be connected back with their most perfect body. After the final resurrection, the body that you have in heaven will have no illness, no sickness, no injuries, and no pain or suffering. Nothing will affect your perfect body and soul ever again.

Right now, at this point, there only two bodies in heaven. Do you know who they are? You may remember from earlier lessons that Jesus and our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, are the only two bodies who are in heaven right now joined with their soul. Remember that when Mary went to heaven we call this the Assumption. The Assumption of Mary is when Mary’s body and soul were both taken into heaven. Right now only the souls, of the people who have died in a state of grace, are in heaven.

When we die, but before the end of the world’s final judgment, we will all receive a personal or particular judgment. Our judgment will be given to us by Jesus himself. We will be told that we are going to heaven immediately or that we have to go to purgatory for a while, or that we must spend eternity in hell. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want to go to hell when I die.

People here on earth just really don't know when their time to die will be. Only God knows the day and time when we will die. I believe it is a great idea that we always remain ready for that day just in case today is the day that Jesus calls us to join him in heaven. If today, next year, 10 years from now, 30 years from now, or 50 years from now is the day we die, we should always remain in the state of grace so that when Jesus sees us in front of him after we die, he will be able to easily say “Well done my faithful son (or daughter).” If we are always ready and always in a state of grace without mortal sin then are assured that we will go to heaven. Again, we may have to spend some time in purgatory to cleanse our soul so it will be perfectly clean and perfectly pure, but we do know that we will make it into heaven. If we die loving Jesus, following Jesus and staying free of mortal sin in our life, we will make it to heaven. Being in the state of grace means to follow and obey what the Church teaches. Remember if we are following with the Church teaches we are also following what Jesus teaches. If we disobey what the Church teaches then we are disobeying Jesus. If we disobey Jesus, then this will likely not be a good sign for us on the day that we die. I don't know about you but I want to be ready at all times. I want to very much stay in a state of grace and not to have any mortal sin in my life.

Remember, if by some chance you do slip up and you do commit a mortal sin, then please go to confession as soon as possible to see a priest and have your sins forgiven. This is one of our great sacraments of the Catholic Church, to have our sins forgiven by God through the priest.

Let's read a little bit more from the Bible. This is from The Book of Revelation chapter 21: 3-4. It is about the happiness of Heaven.

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them [as their God]. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.”

Here is our last reading for this lesson. This will show us the way that we must die to send in order to rise with Christ. It is from Romans chapter 6: 3-11.

“Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. For a dead person has been absolved from sin. If then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as [being] dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.”

Do you have any questions for me?

Student: Will the world last forever? No. As much as we would like to have it last forever, the world will end one day. Jesus will come to earth in the same way that he left earth. He left earth when he was taken into heaven in a glorious event. It was such a bright and glorious event. He will come again at the end of time just like that so that he may judge everyone’s soul to see if their body will be joining their soul in heaven.

Student: Is death the end for us?
No, it will not be the end for us. It will be the end of us here on earth, but at the end of time at the end of the world, our bodies will be resurrected and brought to heaven to join our souls that are in heaven to live for the rest of eternity. In order for that to happen though, we need to be in a state of grace when we die.

Student: Is our life a preparation for heaven?
Yes, most definitely so. Everything that we do on earth is preparing us for heaven. We are following Jesus. We are living his way. We are following his way because he told us that he is the way, the truth, and the life. If we follow him we will make it to heaven. Through the grace of God, we are given faith to believe in God, to follow God, and to do good things in the name of love for other people.

Student: Will Jesus come again on the last day?
Yes, he will. As I told you a couple of questions ago, he will come again to judge the living and the dead. He will come again on the last day in full glory and majesty.

Student: Will Jesus Take everyone to heaven?
Unfortunately not. Only those who he judges who are ready and who have lived a good and faithful life.

Student: What is it called when Mary's body was taken into heaven?
That is called the Assumption of Mary. This is when Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven. She was just taken into heaven at the end of her earthly life.

Student: On the last day of the world, what of ours will rise again?
Just like when Jesus rose again from the dead, on the last day of the world, our bodies will also rise and join our souls in heaven.

Student: What do you call the judgment that will be at the end of the entire world?
This judgment will be called the Final Judgment. At the Final Judgment, all those souls who are in heaven will have their bodies join their souls. All those who are going to stay in hell forever because they rejected God throughout their life will stay in hell forever. This will also be the time when there will no longer be any evil remaining anywhere except hell.

Student: What do you call the judgment right after we die? That judgment is called personal or particular judgment. We will see Jesus face to face right after we die. He will again tell us, “Well done my faithful son (or daughter), come into heaven.” Or he'll say that you need to spend a little time in purgatory in order to be purified and to be perfectly clean. Unfortunately, the bad news is you might have to go to hell. You don't want that because hell is certainly not a place that you will want to spend eternity. There is good news though,  you can do something about that right now.

This will wrap up the first section of the Catechism which is about the Apostles Creed. Remember the Apostles Creed is what tells us what we believe as Catholic Christians. These beliefs have been passed down throughout the 2,000 years of the Catholic Church, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

Our next lesson, which will be step 15, we will start talking about the Commandments of God. I'm sure you've heard of The Ten Commandments before. Over the next several lessons we will talk about what the Ten Commandments are and what that means for your life and in your life.

I want you to know that you were made to be holy. You were made to be a saint. You were made to be great here on earth. So whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability, and do it for the glory of God.

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