Blog

• Tom’s Thoughts on Faith & Life •

Taking Up One’s Cross

     My family and I were on a family vacation for several days in Fort Lauderdale, FL in March 2023. Anytime we are on vacation and one of the vacation days falls on a Sunday, I visit MassTimes.org to find the closest Catholic church to where we are staying. I then attend a Mass at this church. I attended an early Sunday Mass at St Gregory the Great. After the blessing was given to the congregation once Mass had completed, I said a few prayers and then left the church. While I was walking down a set of the church steps, I discovered a very beautiful area in the back of the church where anyone could pray, enjoy fellowship, or take in all of the beautiful surroundings with each of the five senses. There were many benches, statues of saints, Stations of the Cross, and gardens containing very beautiful plants and flowers. When I first glanced at this area, I immediately thought it was a little piece of heaven. Seeing what a wonderful area this would be to sit quietly and pray, I took...

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Jesus’s Miracles Recorded in Scripture

     The list below is what has been recorded in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). It is amazing to read about any one of these miracles that Jesus performed while He was alive. Some or all these Scripture passages are a wonderful idea for a small group study! I included the Scripture passage from John’s Gospel below to indicate that there were probably many more miracles that Jesus performed during His three-year ministry, those of which were not recorded. (John 21:24–25)      “It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.”                                                                Jesus Changes Water into Wine (John 2:1-11) Jesus Cures a Royal Official’s Son (John 4:46-54) Jesus Commands Nets to be Filled with Fish (Luke 5:1-11)...

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I Will Praise You in This Storm

I am a member of the Social Concerns Committee (SCC) at St. John the Evangelist (Yardley, PA). Our main goal is to reach out and help others who are members of our church, those in and around the area where our church is located, and even others in many parts of the world. It is one of the most amazing ministries on the planet! The SCC has two people who lead this ministry. I want to briefly tell you the story of one of these wonderful women and what has transpired in her life just over a year ago. Kathy was given the news that she had cancer. Any person who is given this news reacts to the situation he or she is faced with in a number of different ways. Some of the emotions and feelings that may arise include anger, sadness, resentment, fear, loneliness, guilt, fear, shock, anxiety, or disbelief. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, then you may have felt or experienced one or more of these. I do not know exactly what Kathy went through. I have never experienced having been given...

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The Gift of Your Time

     There are many people in my life who are very special to me - my wife, our children, my parents, my parents-in-law, relatives, high school friends, church friends, and my teaching colleagues. There are many other people who have been very special to me throughout my lifetime. They include teachers, priests, nuns, sponsored children, friends in other countries, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and godparents.      Each one of us, no matter who we are, is special in God’s eyes. We are all children of God. Everyone in history was created in the likeness and image of God. The following is written in Genesis:      “God made every kind of wild animal, every kind of tame animal, and every kind of thing that crawls on the ground. God saw that it was good. Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the...

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Temptations Are Sins Only if We Act on Them

     Jesus is “fully God” and “fully human.” He is God. He was also human like you and me. Because He was human, Jesus experienced many different emotions throughout His lifetime. Also, he was tempted by the devil and others all throughout His life just like we are every day.      Soon after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, it is written in Matthew 4:1-11 that Jesus was led into the desert where he fasted for forty days and forty nights, and He was tempted by the devil. The following temptations took place: 1.     devil: “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.”         Jesus: “It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’” 2.     devil: “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they         will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”         Jesus:...

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We Are All “Perfectly Loved”

I have been listening to contemporary Christian music for just over twenty years. I listen to this genre of music for the following reasons: Deepen my relationship with Jesus Christ. Learn more about what Jesus Christ did for me and how important He is in my life. Deepen my understanding of Christianity. Worship God and give glory to Him. Learn more about what is in Scripture and what God is saying to me. An opportunity to focus on my faith. Take the time to do something which mentally takes me away from everything. I have many favorite Christian songs. One of my current favorites and one that I have listened to many times over the past year is called “Perfectly Loved” sung by Rachael Lampa. Rachael has said, “‘Perfectly Loved’ is about how God’s love is so perfect that we don’t have to fight for it, we don’t have to earn it. It is so perfectly and freely given to us no matter how far we run or hide.” I agree with Rachel one hundred percent. No matter which mistakes you have made in...

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Lent – Prayer, Fasting & Almsgiving

     On Wednesday, February 14, Catholics and many Christian denominations throughout the world will celebrate the beginning of Lent. This day is called Ash Wednesday. The following is stated at Catholic.org: “Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer. Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is chiefly observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too. Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he speaks the words: ‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’ Alternatively, the priest may speak the words, ‘Repent and believe in the Gospel.’”      I have always understood Lent to be a period of time that is devoted to Jesus...

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“Salt of the Earth” and “Light of the World”

     I am Catholic. I attend a Catholic Mass every weekend of each calendar year. A Gospel reading that was read at one of the Sunday Masses in the beginning of last year was Matthew 5:13-16. There are two important phrases that Jesus communicated to His disciples in this Scripture passage. First, “You are the salt of the earth.” What does this mean? Well, in Jesus’s time, salt was a preservative. It helped to keep certain foods fresh. It also added flavor to some foods they ate. Jesus is telling His disciples that they need to go out to others and tell them about His teachings. By doing so they are planting seeds of Jesus’s messages with the hope that those who hear them can learn and share these teachings with others. In a sense, those who do this are preserving Jesus’s teachings for generation after generation. Jesus instructs His disciples to influence the world in a positive way by spreading His Good News. If the disciples did not teach others about Jesus, Jesus’s messages would...

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Inviting Someone to a Mass or Church Service

            There are some things in life that a Christian may find challenging to do. Several of these may include attending a Mass or church service each weekend, praying, reaching out to help others, being a disciple of Jesus Christ, reading the Bible, evangelizing what is in Scripture, being part of a small group community, teaching a religious education class, or inviting a family member or friend to a Mass or service that takes place at your church on the weekend.             There are many more items that can be added to the list of items I mentioned above. I want to focus on the last one, inviting a family member or friend to a Mass or church service. You never know if a person you know will attend a Mass or church service or not unless you invite him or her. The Holy Spirit works through each one of us to invite someone. It is the Holy Spirit who will work through that person to help determine if he or she will attend. It is our responsibility to invite. It is the Holy...

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A Church’s Mission Statement

    If you are a member or parishioner of a Christian church right now, would you be able to recite your church’s mission statement word for word? Does your church even have a mission statement? If your church has a mission statement, does your church follow its own mission statement?      I am not a parishioner of the Church of the Nativity (Timonium, MD), but I have learned so much from various people at this church over the past couple of years. Even though their church is a two-hour drive from my home, I have learned much about Catholicism and Christianity through attending their Masses online, participating in a men’s small group community every Monday night, reading their church’s Lenten and Advent devotionals, watching their small group podcasts, attending workshops and webinars online, and listening to Father Michael’s sermons as part of each weekend’s message series. All of these have helped me remain grounded in my faith and they have helped me with living out my faith on a...

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