Friday, January 25, 2019

Podcast 20: The Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Commandments

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Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Commandments of God

Did God tell us to obey and respect our parents in everything they tell us? This is lesson 19, The Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Commandments of God. Welcome back to another lesson of All About My Catholic Faith. Today, I want to continue to talk about the Ten Commandments. This lesson will be on the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Commandments. Fair warning that during this episode I’ll be talking about some sexual and life topics that may not be appropriate for younger ears. So, with that being said, I’d like to give you a few questions to think about during this lesson. From whom does all Earthly power come? Did Jesus obey his parents? How did Jesus obey his Heavenly Father? Did Jesus obey Pontius Pilate? How can we imitate Jesus? Let's get going into this lesson with a quick reading or two from the Holy Bible. These readings are from St Luke's Gospel chapter 2: verse 51, and from Philippians chapter 2: verse 8. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Let's dive in to find out what these readings are all about. First of all, we need to realize that God controls all power on Earth and in Heaven. He may grant people here on Earth a share of his power. Your parents have authority and power over you the same as my parents have power and authority over me even though I'm an older adult. God also gives rulers of the world, in countries and cities, the power to make decisions and rules for the people of their areas. We need to give obedience to those people who are in power and authority because their power comes from God. Here's an example when Jesus obeyed his Heavenly Father. In Saint John's Gospel chapter 6 verse 38 Jesus said; "I have come down from Heaven not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me." Of course, he was talking about his Father, God the Father. Jesus also said in John's Gospel chapter 14 verse 31. "I love the Father and I do as the Father has commanded me." Also in this reading, we see that Jesus not only obeyed his Heavenly Father he also obeyed his earthly parents, Mary and Joseph. Jesus obeyed his parents in anything they taught him and guided him in, Jesus did this because he knew that his Heavenly Father gave his earthly parents their authority. This is the same as when God gives your parents and my parents the authority over us. Jesus also obeyed the rulers of the country and the areas where he was. Jesus knew that their power came from God just like the power his parents were given. An example of this is when Pontius Pilate asked Jesus this question. "Do you not know that I have the power to release you." Jesus gave a great response because he knew that Pontius Pilate had power but only because God gave him the power. Jesus said, "You would have no power at all over me if it were not given to you from above." We know that Jesus obeyed those in power even though it cost him to be put to death on the cross on Good Friday. Jesus showed us the way of love and obedience. We must follow him and we must obey the Ten Commandments just like Jesus did. We must also follow his example of love and show Jesus just how much we love him by going to Mass every week, reading the Bible and praying every day, and also by loving and having obedience to our parents, teachers, and anyone who God has given power to. In this lesson, we're going to talk about the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Commandments of God, so let's get going into the Fourth Commandment. What is the Fourth Commandment of God? “Honor thy father and thy mother.” We must obey our parents in everything that is not sinful. When we obey our parents in this way we are also obeying God. Our parents are here to help us grow and to help us to know everything that is good and also to keep us away from things that are bad. Part of the Fourth Commandment means that we should be helping our parents in every way that we can by doing our chores, cleaning our room, making our lunch, doing our laundry, and listening and being a good member of the family. The Fourth Commandment also tells us that we shouldn’t be disrespectful, unkind, or disobedient to our parents and those who are in lawful authority. Let's move on now to the Fifth Commandment. The Fifth Commandment says "Thou shalt not kill." This sounds pretty straightforward. I think we all know that we shouldn’t kill anyone or anything for an unjust reason. This also means that we need to take care of our body and our spirituality by being and staying healthy and keeping our prayer life healthy. We are not to murder or commit suicide or fight or to have hatred or anger toward another person. We also shouldn’t be seeking revenge against another person. It’s not good to get drunk or take drugs or do anything that harms our body. We should also not be setting bad examples for others. Everyone in this world should be able to live without someone killing them, from the time they are first conceived in their mother's womb until the time they die of natural causes. You probably heard of a great event that happened last Friday in Washington DC. It was the annual Walk for Life. The Walk For Life is an event where thousands and thousands of people gather together in Washington DC to stand up for the rights for children to be born. You may or may not know, that right now in our country, the United States, it's legal to kill a little baby who's in his mother's womb. This, of course, goes directly against the Fifth Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." The baby in the mother's womb has never done anything wrong and deserves the right to be born just as you and I were born no matter how they were conceived. Sadly and tragically, just this past week, the State of New York, a law was passed that allows many terrible things to happen to little babies. It is now legal to kill babies through abortion all the up to the time he or she is born, If the abortion fails to kill the baby, it’s now the law that the baby can’t receive medical attention to help them. Weirdly, New York law doesn’t recognize a human baby as actually a human until after he or she is born. It’s also now against the law for any other laws to be on the books that support the right to a baby to be born. Did you hear me? How can this possibly have happened? What a most horrific and hateful attitude and now law. Please pray for the governor who signed this law and for all the people, especially little babies. If your listening to this podcast on the day it came out, tomorrow is Saturday, January 26th, There is another big walk for life Saturday in San Francisco and it's the West Coast Walk For Life. You can stand up for the Fifth Commandment and for all of those babies who deserve the right to be born by praying and attending one of these wonderful events that are helping to promote the right to a child to be born. Since the right to kill a baby in their mother’s womb was made law back in January of 1973, there have been about 60 million babies killed before they had a chance to live and make a difference in the world. That is very tragic. If there would have been 60 million more people on Earth, you never know, one of them could have been that person who invented the cure for cancer or to figure out how we can live on this Earth completely without destroying the natural resources. Besides that, of course, every person deserves the right to live from the time they were conceived in their mother's room until the time they die of natural causes. As I said, the West Coast Walk for Life is Saturday, January 26th and I hope I will see you there. What's really amazing about The Walk For Life in Washington DC and the West Coast Walk For Life in San Francisco is that there are so many families and so many young people there. We really need the young people to lead this country back to being great again, and to be holy again, and back to a point to where we really truly respect everyone, most especially the young children in their mother's womb. I really hope that I will live to see the day when the law that allows children to be killed in their mother's womb, will be changed. Furthermore, and most especially, I hope that I will see the day where everyone in this country will realize how important life is and that we'll start respecting everyone's life, those here on Earth already and those who have been conceived in their mother's womb and are about to be born. This is what the Fifth Commandment is all about. If you are a young person, please make sure you stand up for all the babies to be born. Never be afraid to do this or to show your Catholic Christian faith to everyone around you. You are the key to our future. If you are a parent of a young person please, please, we must take care to protect, support, and lead our young men and women to the truth that Jesus taught us. The Sixth Commandment says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Remember from earlier lessons that the Holy Spirit lives in you. The Holy Spirit moved into your soul when you were baptized. This is when you became a childof God. I don't know about you, but since God in the form of the Holy Spirit is living in my soul, I want to do my very best to keep my body and my thoughts pure and clean for him. This means that we should have perfect respect for our body and for the bodies of other people. This commandment also means that when we get married we should only be with and have true love with that person who we are married to. Marriage is a Holy Sacrament. Marriage should never be broken up by any man or woman. The Sixth Commandment also tells us not to commit acts of impurity or immodesty in the way we speak, the way we look, the way we dress, and how we act. This pertains to when we are alone by ourselves or when we are around other people. Do you have any questions for me now? Student: Is it really important that we need to be thinking of our health? Yes, we must always be thinking about our health. We must always keep our body and our soul healthy. We were made in the image and likeness of God. God wants you back one day to join him in Heaven, so it is your responsibility to keep your body and our soul in good shape. Remember, your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is living in your soul so do whatever you can to respect your body and your soul and not do any damage to yourself in any way. Student: Is God really displeased when we try to get even with other people even though it may make us feel better? He does want me to be happy, right? Yes, God does want you to be happy, but he would be very unhappy, and very displeased if you try to get even with others by taking revenge. Revenge is when you try to get back at someone because perhaps they said something bad to you or did something against you. Jesus teaches us not to seek revenge. In the Bible, it actually says to turn the other cheek which means that if someone hurts you, don't go back and try to hurt them. Student: What does the Fourth Commandment say? The Fourth Commandment says, "honor thy father and thy mother." Both your father and mother are very special and need to be honored and obeyed. Student: Should we obey and follow our parents even when they teach us something sinful or bad? No, not actually. We must obey our parents. This is part of the commandment to honor thy father and thy mother. Remember though, this is only when your parents are doing things that are not sinful. If your mother and father are doing something or teaching you something that is sinful you should not follow their example. Your parents should not be doing things sinful or leading you into sin. If I knew my parents are teaching my something sinful I would respectfully not follow them. I would even ask them why they’re doing that and why they’re leading me down the wrong path. I want to go to heaven and I want my parents to go to heaven so I would try to get them back on the right path by not doing sinful things and helping them not to have me do sinful things. Student: Did Jesus always obey his parents? Jesus always did obey his parents in everything. His parents were very special, they were holy. Jesus's parents Mary and Joseph never did try to lead him into doing sinful things. Jesus's parents are saints because they were such holy people. Student: What does the Fifth Commandment say? The Fifth Commandment says, "Thou shalt not kill." We talked a lot about the Fifth Commandment in our lesson. I hope that you’ll have courage to always stand up for the week and the innocent, especially the unborn and the elderly. Student: What does the Sixth Commandment say? The Sixth Commandment says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." This means to keep our body and our spirit pure and clean. Student: Is it a sin if I have impure thoughts? Part of being human is that we often think impure thoughts. It is not a sin when you have impure thoughts about others. What’s important, is how you react to those thoughts. If you see a beautiful woman and a handsome man together on a beach and you look at them in awe and thank God for the gift of beauty he has bestowed on them you are certainly not committing a sin. If you, however, see those same two people and start thinking of sexual thoughts about them, you then have have crossed that line and are committing a sin. If you actually act on these lustful fantasies by watching porn or masturbating, you are deeply harming your soul and may be committing a mortal sin. If you or someone you love experiences problems with porn, I want to recommend going to This is a program that will help you to break away from this terrible thing. Viewing porn images or movies and mastubating are not good for your soul and by doing these things you are training yourself to treat others as simple objects for your pleasure, instead of them as being persons made in the image and likeness of God. I am not sponsored at all by them, but I know it’s the best software program out there to help. Remember that God made each of us as either a male or a female. You can tell, even before a baby is born, if the baby is male or female. That’s not something that’s dependent on how a person thinks or feels, or what a person likes to do, it’s how we were made. God also gave us the gift of being attracted to those of the opposite sex. This, of course, is a very good thing. When a man and a woman are joined together in the Sacrament of Marriage, it’s a beautiful thing for them to love each other in very intimate ways. God told Adam and Eve, and all of his children, to be fruitful and multiply. As long as we do this in a loving marital relationship and without treating each other as an object simply for our pleasure, God will most definitely be happy with us. There are people who have a disordered attraction toward someone of the same sex. That alone is not a sin, but remember it’s how we react, that actually determines whether we fall into sin. We’re all called to be chaste in our life. Chastity is living out our sexual life according to our state of our life. Regardless if a someone is attracted to a person of the opposite sex or to someone of the same sex, we should never be taking part in a sexual or romantic relationship with anyone until we are married. And remember, marriage was set up by God and made into a Sacramento by Jesus to be only between one man and one woman. Student: Does everyone's power come from God? Yes, anyone who has power over someone else gets that power from God. If God did not give someone the power they would not have it. Student: Who should we use as our model for obedience? Well, of course, Jesus Christ Our Lord and Our Savior is the best and truest model for us to follow in everything. Those were some great questions. I’m sure they helped many other people. Let's have another reading from the Bible. The first part will tell us about obedience. This is from Ephesians chapter 6: verses 1 through 3 and then from First Peter Chapter 2: verses 13 through 25. Children, obey your parents [in the Lord], for this is right. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise, “that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth.” Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake, whether it be to the king as supreme or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the approval of those who do good. For it is the will of God that by doing good you may silence the ignorance of foolish people. Be free, yet without using freedom as a pretext for evil, but as slaves of God. Give honor to all, love the community, fear God, honor the king. Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse. For whenever anyone bears the pain of unjust suffering because of consciousness of God, that is a grace. But what credit is there if you are patient when beaten for doing wrong? But if you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls. Now let's have a reading from First Corinthians chapter 6: verses 19 and 20. This reading is about respect for the body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body. I hope you learned a little bit more about the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Commandments. Remember the Fourth Commandment is "Honor your father and your mother." The Fifth commandment is, "Thou shalt not kill." The sixth Commandment is, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Next week we will continue to learn more about the Commandments of God. Remember Sunday is coming up so please make sure that you go to Mass this week and every week. Do your best to do something special this week to honor God and to honor your parents. In this way, you will be truly living out the Fourth Commandment. If you're not Catholic you can still always come to church with us to see how we love and worship Jesus. You don’t need to be invited or anything. Just find where your local Catholic Church is and go to Mass. I hope you'll keep listening to these lessons to learn why we love Jesus and his Church. If you know someone who wants to learn more about the Catholic Church please tell them about this podcast series.

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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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