Category Archives: Bible

Sunday Devotional: ‘I will be with you always’

In the 40 days after He resurrected from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared several times to His apostles and disciples — in their homes, on the road, by the shores of the lake . . . .

Every time, strangely, they at first did not recognize Him because He is transfigured — a mystery that will remain a mystery until, should we be so blessed, we ourselves are transfigured in our “glorified bodies” when we are resurrected from the dead at the end of this world.

How precious those times must have been which the apostles shared with their risen Lord.

And then, 40 days after His resurrection, His mission on Earth completed, Jesus bade His apostles a last farewell.

John 16:4-5, 28; 17:1, 4-5, 13

“I did not tell you this from the beginning,
because I was with you.
But now I am going to the one who sent me….
I came from the Father and have come into the world.
Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father….”
When Jesus had said this, he raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come….
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began….
But now I am coming to you….”

Acts of the Apostles 1:8-9

“When he had said this,
as they were looking on,
he was lifted up,
and a cloud took him from their sight.”

Every time I read those passages from John, I weep — as I imagine how wrenching it must be for the Apostles to say goodbye to their lord, master and friend forever.

But of course, Jesus would not just abandon His apostles, nor us.

John 14:19, 18, 16-17

“the world will not see me anymore . . .
I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.
And I will ask the Father,
and He will give you another advocate
to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept Him,
because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.
But you know Him,
for He lives with you
and will be in you.”

Not only did the Father send us the Holy Spirit, who lives with us and will be in us, Jesus also left us His Body and Blood:

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

I will be with you always

How very much He must love us . . . .

May the joy and peace of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, be with you!

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: ‘unclean spirits came out of many possessed people’

Acts 8:5-8

Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed the Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city.

Exorcists often say real cases of demonic possession are rare, but the above passage from the Acts of the Apostles says otherwise.

As an example, Catholic News Service reports on Feb. 17, 2005 that:

“Two Italian exorcists preparing priests and seminarians to respond to reports of demonic possession have affirmed that the devil is real and can possess people, but it does not happen as often as many people think.”

The late Gabriele Amorth, Vatican’s chief exorcist who passed last September 16 at age 91, said again and again in his writings and interviews that while demonic possession is on the rise across the world because “Today Satan rules the world” and “The masses no longer believe in God,” real cases of possession nevertheless are rare.

But Fr. Amorth emphasized that demonic attacks come in forms other than demonic possession — the full possession by a demon or demons of a human’s body, not the soul. There are five other types of demonic attacks:

  1. External physical pain caused by Satan: Demonic activity that manifests as physical pain, such as the physical beatings and torment demons inflicted on some saints, e.g., St. John of the Cross and St. (Padre) Pio.
  2. Diabolical oppression: Severe to mild events that plague the individual where “There is no possession, loss of consciousness, or involuntary action and word.” Some examples are Job’s severe afflictions and St. Paul’s thorn in his flesh (II Cor 12:7).
  3. Diabolic obsession: “Symptoms include sudden attacks, at times ongoing, of obsessive thoughts, sometimes even rationally absurd, but of such nature that the victim is unable to free himself.” Moreover, “the obsessed person lives in a perpetual state of prostration, desperation, and attempts at suicide. Almost always obsession influences dreams.”
  4. Diabolic infestation: “Infestations affect houses, things, or animals.”
  5. Diabolical subjugation or dependence: This is the classic Faustian bargain or pact with the Devil. In Fr. Amorth’s words, “people fall into this form of evil when thy voluntarily submit to Satan. The two most common forms of dependence are the blood pact with the devil and the consecration to Satan.” Fr. Malachi Martin called this total or perfect possession. Since the human, with full consent and assent, voluntarily invites in the demon(s), we would not expect the totally possessed person to seek an exorcist. In other words, the cases of demonic possession that come to the attention of exorcists are only of the partial or incomplete variety, which is a frightening thought.

So what’s the antidote?

Jesus Christ.

Forever and always.

John 14:15-21

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

Love the Lord thy God fiercely — with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

And may the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

See also:

‘Humanity’ in animals

We humans like to think of ourselves as “like gods” who are superior to the real God’s other creations. We use the word “animal” as an insult, calling the most depraved among us “animals” when it is we “enlightened” humans who consciously and willfully lie, steal, insult, hurt, scheme, plot, plunder, and murder for profit or pleasure. Then to top it off, we use the intelligence that God gives us to justify our deeds with elaborate rationalization.

Saint Bonaventure called animals “creatures without sin” for, unlike humans, they are not born with “the mark” — fomes peccati, tinder for sin.

Saint Francis saw the “humanity” in non-human creatures. He talked to birds and animals, and even preached to them.

Take a look at these pictures. Do you not see their “humanity”? — of intelligence, loving “tolerance” of another species, parental love, unspoken friendship, and quiet companionship . . . .

And then there is their sheer, breathtaking beauty, which no human can match:

Did you know that animals have empathy? — that attribute on which human morality is founded (“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” -Matthew 7:12), but which human narcissists and psychopaths lack. See:

H/t FOTM‘s MomOfIV

~Eowyn

SNL And That Sick Feeling


For many years I have felt sick any time I allowed myself to watch an episode of Saturday Night Live. As I recently began to re-read Psalms from the beginning, I noticed that the very first verse of the very first psalm addresses that sick feeling. SNL may sometimes be funny, but their humor is always scornful. So when I watch SNL I am sitting “in the company of mockers” and my spirit is sending me a clear warning.
“They that have ears to hear, let them hear.”

Psalm 1

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.”

 

Sunday Devotional: The Chosen People

1 Peter 2:9

You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people of his own,
so that you may announce the praises” of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

So many Christians give their uncritical, absolute support to Jews, no matter their acts and character, in the peculiar and mistaken belief that Jews are still God’s chosen people. In so doing, these Christians not only ignore Jesus’ own words at the Last Supper, they render moot and purposeless our Lord’s sacrifice of Himself for humanity:

Luke 22:14-15, 19-20

When the hour came,
he took his place at the table,
and the apostles with him.
He said to them, “I have eagerly desired
to eat this Passover with you before I suffer….”
Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks,
he broke it and gave it to them, saying,
“This is my body, which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
And he did the same with the cup after supper saying,
“This cup that is poured out for you
is the new covenant in my Blood.”

As St. Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews 9:15, makes clear about Jesus’ mission:

He is mediator of a new covenant.

And:

Hebrews 8:13

In speaking of a new covenant,
He makes the first one obsolete.
And what is becoming obsolete and growing old
is ready to vanish away.

Indeed, 1 Peter 2:4-5 is explicit on who “the chosen race” are with whom Jesus has made a new covenant — they are those who believe in and follow Him:

Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings
but chosen and precious in the sight of God,
and, like living stones,
let yourselves be built into a spiritual house
to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Finally and definitively, Christ Himself is unambiguous about the identity of those with whom He has made a new covenant:

John 14:5-6, 9

Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him,
I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me….
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”

The new chosen people with whom God has made a new covenant is different from the old chosen people whose covenant is obsolete — dated, bygone, dead and gone.

The new chosen people are not a race or a particular ethnicity, but comprise people from all races who are not so much chosen as choose. Nor are the new chosen people special or superior; the “chosen people” is not a narcissistic, self-glorifying label. In Christ’s own words, they are “whoever believes in me,” “do the works that I do,” who love Him by keeping His commandments (John 14:12, 15), and who “deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: ‘I am the good shepherd’

John 10:7-11

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.
I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

On Christmas Day, December 25, 2016, my pastor began his homily by asking the question pondered by so many learned and brilliant theologians through the centuries:

Why did God become man, to be incarnated as a lowly human being born in a humble manger, only to suffer and die for us?

Below is my reconstruction of his homily.

The Parable of the Farmer and the Geese

There once was a farmer who, though a decent man, was an unbeliever because he could not understand why God would become man, only to be crucified to death, abandoned by his friends.

The farmer loved all animals, but especially loved birds.

One morning, news came of the imminent arrival of a terrible snow storm. Anxious to protect his flock of geese from the coming blizzard, the farmer put his heavy coat on and went out to get the geese into the shelter and safety of the barn.

He first tried coaxing the geese, gently shooing them into the barn. But the geese, being geese, refused to be coaxed.

He then tried luring the geese into the barn. He got a bag of grain and left a trail of seed from the outside into the barn. The geese ate the seed but stubbornly refused to enter the barn.

Meanwhile, the wind began to howl, and heavy snow began to fall . . . .

Now desperate, the farmer thought he would try scaring the geese. So he took a hammer and banged on a metal pan, so that the loud noise would frighten the geese into the barn. But the geese again refused to budge.

So the farmer gave up and retreated into his house.

In the warmth of his living room, he stood helplessly at the window, watching the blizzard descend on the geese. He knew they would surely die in the freezing storm.

In despair, a thought came to the farmer: “If only I could become a goose, then maybe the geese might listen to me and follow me into the barn . . . .”

At that, the farmer finally understood.

Falling on his knees, sobbing and choking with tears, he said: “Forgive me, Lord. I know now why You became man.”

1 Peter 2:24-25

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.

May the peace and joy of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

The One Thing

    The Only Thing Is
Love

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13

1 Corinthians 13:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.