At that time, John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire… where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'”
The above is the Gospel reading at Mass today.
Here are my questions to the U.S. Catholic Church:
How many priests, if any, will actually speak of demons, exorcism, and Hell in their homilies today? I haven’t heard a priest do that in years. Why is that? Jesus described Hell as a reality and spoke three times as much about Hell than he did on Heaven. (See here for all the biblical references to Hell.) Do you not believe the words of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Jesus condemns pedophiles and all who prey on children, so why is Belgian cardinal Godfried Danneels, who shielded priests accused of child sex abuse, a special appointee of Pope Francis to the upcoming and very important Synod on the Family? (Source)
Here’s my question to the Obama administration:
Jesus said “For whoever is not against us is for us.” That describes Syria’s Assad government, but does not describe the so-called Syrian “rebels,” who are anti-Christian radical Islamists, including members of Al Qaeda. So why are you hell-bent on overthrowing Assad, and aiding/training/funding the “rebels”?
Here’s my question to the government and people of Israel:
Jesus said he will reward “Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ.”Why is it that Christians, especially Evangelicals, unfailingly defend Israel and condemn any attack (including even criticism) on Israel and Jews, but I can’t think of even one occasion when Israel has spoken out to condemn persecution and slaughter of Christians. Not even a word of sympathy or empathy. Why is that?
May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,
Genesis 4:1-3 says: “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.”
Dr. Hugh Ross writes for Reasons to Believe, Sept. 10, 2015, that:
A continuing source of challenges to the Bible’s credibility and authority is the claim in Genesis 4 that the first humans were engaging in agriculture and soon thereafter even in metallurgy. Skeptics point out the complete lack of archeological evidence that humans previous to the Neolithic Revolution participated in any kind of agriculture or metalwork.
The Neolithic Era (néos is “new”; líthos is “stone”) or New Stone Age, the last part of the Stone Age, was a period in the development of humankind that first began about 10,200 BC in some parts of the Middle East(and later in other parts of the world), ending between 4,500 and 2,000 BC.
The Neolithic commenced with the beginning of farming, which produced the “Neolithic Revolution”. It ended when metal tools became widespread (in the Copper Age or Bronze Age; or, in some geographical regions, in the Iron Age). In other words, the Neolithic Revolution was the beginning of human civilization, enabled by farming and the domestication of animals, which led to villages, towns, specialized agriculture, the manufacturing of household goods, and trade.
Dr. Ross continues that, until a recent discovery, archeological and DNA evidence had placed the Neolithic Revolution in the Persian Gulf region and Mesopotamia about 12,000 years ago. But the biblical accounts of the Garden of Eden and Noah’s flood imply that humans were living in the Persian Gulf region during much of the last ice age. Antarctic and Greenland ice cores establish that the last ice age persisted from 12,000 to 120,000 years ago.
Now, a research team in Israel has found evidence that humans living along the shore of the Sea of Galilee 23,000 years ago were cultivating wild cereals, i.e., they were “tillers of the ground” 11,000 years before the beginning of the Neolithic Revolution.
Weeds are currently present in a wide range of ecosystems worldwide. Although the beginning of their evolution is largely unknown, researchers assumed that they developed in tandem with cultivation since the appearance of agricultural habitats some 12,000 years ago. These rapidly-evolving plants invaded the human disturbed areas and thrived in the new habitat. Here we present unprecedented new findings of the presence of “proto-weeds” and small-scale trial cultivation in Ohalo II, a 23,000-year-old hunter-gatherers’ sedentary camp on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Israel.We examined the plant remains retrieved from the site (ca. 150,000 specimens), placing particular emphasis on the search for evidence of plant cultivation by Ohalo II people and the presence of weed species. The archaeobotanically-rich plant assemblage demonstrates extensive human gathering of over 140 plant species and food preparation by grinding wild wheat and barley.Among these, we identified 13 well-known current weeds mixed with numerous seeds of wild emmer, barley, and oat. This collection provides the earliest evidence of a human-disturbed environment—at least 11 millennia before the onset of agriculture—that provided the conditions for the development of “proto-weeds”, a prerequisite for weed evolution. Finally, we suggest that their presence indicates the earliest, small-scale attempt to cultivate wild cereals seen in the archaeological record.
Dr. Ross concludes:
The [Israeli] team’s discovery also answers the skeptics’ challenge to the credibility of claims in Genesis 4 about the technological achievements of the earliest humans. We now have evidence sustaining the compatibility of biblical and archeological data on the civilization achievements of early humans.
See also these other cases of the confluence of science and faith:
FOTM readers know that I, a Catholic, am no fan of Pope Francis, formerly known as Jorge Bergoglio.
I am especially critical of his call for a supra-national global authority to combat the alleged man-made global warming climate change, and his advocacy of wealth redistribution by individual governments and on a global level by the same climate-change “global authority”. Both are a recipé for political tyranny and a violation of God’s gift to us of free will. See:
On Monday the Bishop Of Rome addressed Catholic followers regarding the dire importance of exhibiting religious tolerance. During his hour-long speech, a smiling Pope Francis was quoted telling the Vatican’s guests that the Koran, and the spiritual teachings contained therein, are just as valid as the Holy Bible.
“Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Jehovah, Allah. These are all names employed to describe an entity that is distinctly the same across the world. For centuries, blood has been needlessly shed because of the desire to segregate our faiths. This, however, should be the very concept which unites us as people, as nations, and as a world bound by faith. Together, we can bring about an unprecedented age of peace, all we need to achieve such a state is respect each others beliefs, for we are all children of God regardless of the name we choose to address him by. We can accomplish miraculous things in the world by merging our faiths, and the time for such a movement is now. No longer shall we slaughter our neighbors over differences in reference to their God.”
The pontiff drew harsh criticisms in December after photos of the 78-year-old Catholic leader was released depicting Pope Francis kissing a Koran. The Muslim Holy Book was given to Francis during a meeting with Muslim leaders after a lengthy Muslim prayer held at the Vatican.
Like many, I too thought washingtonpost.com.co is the website of The Washington Post newspaper. But I increasingly became perplexed because:
The article is undated and has no author.
The article contains an obvious gross mistake — that “St. John Paul II has courted several controversies since being elected as Pope Benedicto XVI’s replacement in 2013.” It was Bergoglio who succeeded Pope Benedict XVI; the latter had succeeded Pope (and now Saint) John Paul II.
Still thinking the website was The Washington Post, I attempted to leave a comment, but saw that one must first “log in.” But the site provides no way for a reader to log in.
The website also provides no way for a reader to contact them.
Then I clicked “Home” and was brought to a page with the latest news, including such headlines as:
Here is the entirety of what Pope Francis actually said on March 20 2013, when he received several dozen representatives of the various Christian Churches and of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, who had attended the pope’s inauguration. From Vatican Radio:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
First of all, heartfelt thanks for what my Brother Andrew told us. Thank you so much! Thank you so much!
It is a source of particular joy to meet you today, delegates of the Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and Ecclesial Communities of the West. Thank you for wanting to take part in the celebration that marked the beginning of my ministry as Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter.
Yesterday morning, during the Mass, through you , I recognized the communities you represent. In this manifestation of faith, I had the feeling of taking part in an even more urgent fashion the prayer for the unity of all believers in Christ, and together to see somehow prefigured the full realization of full unity which depends on God’s plan and on our own loyal collaboration.
I begin my Apostolic Ministry in this year during which my venerable Predecessor, Benedict XVI, with true inspiration, proclaimed the Year of Faith for the Catholic Church. With this initiative, that I wish to continue and which I hope will be an inspiration for every one’s journey of faith, he wished to mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, thus proposing a sort of pilgrimage towards what for every Christian represents the essential: the personal and transforming relationship with Jesus Christ, Son of God, who died and rose for our salvation. This effort to proclaim this eternal treasure of faith to the people of our time, lies at the heart of the Council’s message.
Together with you I cannot forget how much the council has meaning for the ecumenical journey. I like to remember the words that Blessed John XXIII, of whom we will soon mark 50 years since his death, when he gave his memorable inauguration speech: “The Catholic Church therefore considers it her duty to work actively so that there may be fulfilled the great mystery of that unity, which Christ Jesus invoked with fervent prayer from His heavenly Father on the eve of His sacrifice. She rejoices in peace, knowing well that she is intimately associated with that prayer “.
Yes, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be intimately united to our Saviour’s prayer at the Last Supper, to his invocation: ut unum sint. We call merciful Father to be able to fully live the faith that we have received as a gift on the day of our Baptism, and to be able to it free, joyful and courageous testimony. The more we are faithful to his will, in thoughts, in words and in deeds, the more we will truly and substantially walk towards unity.
For my part, I wish to assure, in the wake of my predecessors, the firm wish to continue on the path of ecumenical dialogue, and I thank you, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, for the help it continues to offer in my name, for this noble cause. I ask you, dear brothers and sisters, to bring my cordial greetings to the Churches and Christian communities who are represented here. And I ask you for a special prayer for me so that I can be a pastor according to the heart of Christ.
And now I turn to you, distinguished representatives of the Jewish people, to whom we are bound by a very special spiritual bond, from the moment that, as the Second Vatican Council said, “thus the Church of Christ acknowledges that according to God’s saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets”.(Decree Nostra Aetate, 4). I thank you for your presence and trust that with the help of the Almighty, we can continue that fruitful fraternal dialogue that the Council wished for. And that it is actually achieved, bringing many fruits, especially during the last decades .
I greet and thank cordially all of you, dear friends belonging to other religious traditions; firstly the Muslims, who worship the one living and merciful God, and call upon Him in prayer. I really appreciate your presence, and in it I see a tangible sign of the wish to grow in recipricol trust and in cooperation for the common good of humanity.
The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of the promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions – this I wish to repeat this: the promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions – this is attested evident also in the valuable work undertaken by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The Church is equally aware of the responsibility that each of us bring towards our world, abd to the whole of creation, that we must love and protect. And we can do a lot for the good of the less fortunate, for those who are weak and suffering, to promote justice, to promote reconciliation, to build peace.. But above all, we must keep alive in our world the thirst for the absolute, and must not allow the vision of the human person with a single dimension to prevail, according to which man is reduced to what he produces and to what he consumes: this is one most dangerous threats of our times.
We know how much violence has been provoked in recent history by the attempt to eliminate God and the divine from the horizon of humanity, and we feel the need to witness in our societies the original openness to transcendence that is inherent in the human heart. In this we feel the closeness also of those men and women who, while not belonging to any religious tradition, feel, however the need to search for the truth, the goodness and the beauty of God, and who are our precious allies in efforts to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation.
Dear friends, thank you for your presence. To all, I offer my cordial and fraternal greetings.
I read the above speech three times. No where did Pope Francis mention the Koran. No where did he equate the Bible with the Koran. No where did he say Jesus and Allah are the same deity. Nor did Pope Francis kiss the Koran.
Note: Francis did meet Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Pentecost Sunday, June 8, 2014. As explained by Fr. Dwight Longnecker, the three men prayed in chronological order in the Vatican Gardens, not in a Catholic Church: first a Jewish rabbi, then the Christians, then a Muslim imam led a service. This was not a large, public, global interfaith act of worship. After the prayers, the three leaders planted an olive tree for peace.
In other words, everything that the fake news site washingtonpost.com.co said is untrue.
And yet, because people think the site is that of The Washington Post, they not only swallowed the fake story, some are using that as evidence that Pope Francis is the Anti-Christ who will forge a one world religion from the union of Christianity with Islam. See here.
I wrote a letter to The Washington Post, asking the paper why they aren’t doing anything about the fake washingpost.com.co that is trafficking on — and despoiling — the reputation of the real Washington Post. If you want to send a letter as well, click here.
Update (Sept. 24, 2015):
None of the above means that there aren’t real reasons to be concerned and perturbed about Pope Francis’ papacy. Please see:
Lately I’ve shared my lament that in America today we are witnessing a surreal transformation of the greatest nation in history. Last week, a spate of headlines made this point better than I could make it on my own.
I was minding my business, mind you, surfing the Internet to check out the news and political sites and forums I customarily visit, and these news and column headlines, most from last week, some from a bit earlier and a few from this week, bombarded me. I wasn’t looking for trouble. Nor was the satirical website The Onion one of the sites I visited. The world is upside down, inside out, sideways, crazy, nutso. Bad is good; up is down. Left is right; right is wrong. Evil is good; insanity is sanity. Abnormal is normal. Circles are squares. Hot is cold. Luke warm is red hot — among Republicans, anyway. Common sense is uncommon. The world is otherworldly. Dissent is “hate.” Diversity means conformity. The good guys are the bad guys; virtue is vice; sophistry is intellectualism; jerks are celebrated; debauchery is glorified; the holy is debauched. Let me share some of these headlines, which speak for themselves — loudly and depressingly.
With the hindsight knowledge of the past 6½ years, I truly believe America reached a tipping point or “jumped the shark” when millions elected Barack Obama to the White House in 2008, then re-elected him in 2012.
Do you think America has crossed the Rubicon, past the point of no return? Sound off!
Author Joel Richardson and his book, MIDEAST BEAST
Has the enemy been unmasked?
Author Joel Richardson argues pursuasively that the Antichrist, his empire, and his religion will come from the Middle East and not Europe as has been widely taught by many modern prophecy teachers.
The subject of the end times has become a total hairball of confusing and conflicting theories. Joel Richardson lays out a compelling case for the possibility we’ve been looking in the wrong direction for years. The evangelical world has been European centric in it’s interpretation, sometimes accusing the Catholic Church, sometimes accusing Russia of being the in league with the antichrist. But the prophetic scriptures have been specific in the naming of the geographic home of the antichrist’s origin, and that is today’s Turkey.
The most disconcerting of the strange noises is what sounds like the blowing of trumpets or a similar brass musical instrument in Terrace, British Columbia, which you can hear in the beginning of the video below.
In June 2013, Kimberly Wookey of Terrace, British Columbia, Canada, first caught the sound, and has continued her recordings through May 7 of this year.
Wookey said on YouTube: “On the morning of August 29, 2013 at approximately 7:30am I was awoken by these sounds. I shot out of bed realizing it was the same sounds I had heard before and I ran looking for a camera to try to capture them with. I came out into the living room to find my seven-year-old son awake and scared wondering what was going on. He had said the noises woke him up as well and shook his window. I managed to record three clips showing almost five minutes of these strange sounds. After it was over and I sat down at the computer to upload the video. After checking my Facebook I noticed a lot of locals had heard the same sounds again but this time it was far more widespread. I have no idea what these sounds are but it is pretty strange and I am glad that I was able to catch them this time and share what I heard. The sounds were heard again on Sept 8th at 6:30am so far we have confirmed reports of it being heard from town to the lake, 25km [15.5 miles] away.”
Now, compare the “trumpet” sounds heard in British Columbia with the sound made by an ancient Hebrew musical instrument called shofar in the video below.
A musical instrument of ancient origin made of a horn, traditionally that of a ram, the shofar frequently is mentioned in the Old Testament, Torah, Talmud and rabbinic literature. As examples:
The blast of a shofar emanating from the thick cloud on Mount Sinai made the Israelites tremble in awe (Exodus 19:16).
The shofar was used to announce holidays (Ps. lxxxi. 4), and the Jubilee year (Lev. 25:9).
The first day of the seventh month (Tishrei) is termed “a memorial of blowing” (Lev. 23:24) or “a day of blowing” (Num. 29:1), the shofar.
The blowing of the shofar signified the start of a war (Josh. 6:4; Judges 3:27; 7:16, 20; I Sam. 8:3) and was employed in processions (II Sam. 6:15; I Chron. 15:28), as musical accompaniment (Ps. 98:6; comp. ib. 47:5) and inserted into the temple orchestra by David (Ps. 150:3).
The shofar was blown in the times of Joshua to help him capture Jericho.
Note that the “trumpets” described in Numbers 10 are a different instrument. The Hebrew word for “trumpet” is חצוצרה or ḥaṣoṣrah, whereas the word for shofar is שופר).
Today, observant Jews still use the shofar for religious purposes.
Isaiah presented in amazing detail many aspects of the Messiah’s life and death.
He predicted the nature, stature and mission of Jesus Christ in such exact detail that we are left with nothing we can do but either call Jesus, “LORD,” or turn away.
In the 53rd chapter of the Book of Isaiah we see a picture of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. We also are given the meaning of his suffering.
“Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.”
There you have it
The suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. You could imagine Isaiah standing with John at the foot of the cross, or walking with Mary to visit the tomb and being told by an angel, “He has risen just as He said.”
And we could easily imagine Isaiah standing among the disciples looking up as Jesus ascended into a cloud.
But no, Isaiah wasn’t there. He saw these events 700 years earlier. And he understood the full meaning and power of Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
Because of his brilliant vision of the things to come, Isaiah is sometimes depicted as an eagle, a bird with amazing eyesight.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”