Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Who is JESUS?

Who is Jesus?



The Greatest Man in History
Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master.
Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.
Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.
He had no army, yet kings feared Him.
He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.
He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.
I feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us!
If you believe in God and in Jesus Christ His Son ...

send this to all on your buddy list.

If not just ignore it.

If you ignore it, just remember that Jesus said :
"If you deny me before man, I will deny you before my Father in Heaven"

Pope Not Looking Just to Party With Youth

Promotes Deeper Celebration of Meeting Christ
By María de la Torre

ROME, MARCH 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- As young people worldwide prepare for the upcoming diocesan and international World Youth Days, Benedict XVI is sending out the message that he's looking for more than just a party.Monsignor Mauro Parmeggiani, Rome’s diocesan director for youth ministry, explained to ZENIT that the Pope wants to transform the traditional meeting with the youth, “which was a sort of party, into a real celebration, not only an external celebration."The monsignor said the reason to celebrate at a youth day is in reality "an interior one, that of the meeting of man with God, with God’s mercy in his heart; from there Christian joy is born.”

In this context the Holy Father is hosting on Thursday a penitential liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica in preparation for Palm Sunday, which is the day the dioceses of the world celebrate World Youth Day. More than 20,000 young people have signed up for the event, which is also a lead-up to the international World Youth Day, to be held July 15-20 in Sydney, Australia.With this liturgy, Monsignor Parmeggiani explained, the Pope has one objective: “To meet God who loves. The more the sense of God grows, the more the sense of my smallness before God grows, of my impotence before God, of my sin. From this the plea arises: ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, have mercy on me because I am a sinner.’”The priest who works with Roman youth said young people’s attitudes toward confession, “despite what one might think, is positive.”

Facing sin in Confession, he clarified, “is a sacrament where you are confronted with the truth about yourself and your sins, your human misery, with God’s mercy. It is the sacrament that best responds to the need of man today, who has need of mercy, love and to place themselves face to face with God’s justice.”

“We must face life’s many aspects, and life after death,” said the prelate. “It is no wonder that the Pope in ‘Spe Salvi’ speaks of the last things -- death, judgment, heaven and hell -- as something to rediscover.”The difficulty people have, both young and old, with going to confession, according to Monsignor Parmeggiani, “stems from the loss of the sense of sin, the loss of the sense of God.”

And the problem people have with confessing to a priest, he said, is a false one: “In a world where we are all ready to tell everything about ourselves anywhere -- on the radio, on the Internet, in blogs, forums, in text messages -- with all of these ways of communicating, where people communicate very intimate and personal things, I believe we shouldn’t be ashamed to open our hearts to God’s minister, who in that moment represents Christ, Christ who listens to me, Christ who encourages me, Christ who tells me, ‘Rise and walk.’”

The monsignor said another difficulty stems from the lack of firmness in one’s resolutions, which can lead on to say, “It's useless for me to go back to confession.”

“No one is perfectly coherent," he said. "We must continue to have faith, to let ourselves be guided by Christ, and not give up because we make one mistake."We must not give up and think that we cannot be free from this error.”

Scripture Needs to Be Read Spiritually, Says Preacher

Delivers Final Lenten Meditation for Pope and Curia

ROME, MARCH 14, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Scripture is not only inspired by God, but also "breathes forth God," that is, the Holy Spirit inhabits Scripture and animates it, says the preacher of the Pontifical Household.

Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa said this today in the Lenten meditation he delivered to Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel of the Apostolic Palace.
The sermon was the last in a series of meditations the preacher gave this Lent.

The series, titled "The Word of God Is Living and Effective," reflects the theme of the next Synod of Bishops on the word of God, to be held in October.

Father Cantalamessa spoke about the two meanings implied by 2 Timothy 3:16 "all Scripture is inspired by God."

He explained that the more common meaning is the "passive" one, referring to the way that God directed the writers of the holy texts.

The second meaning, the preacher explained, is "active": Scripture, is not only "inspired by God" but also "spirates God." "After having dictated the Scripture, the Holy Spirit is in a way contained within it; he ceaselessly inhabits it and animates it with his divine breath."
Setting him free

Father Cantalamessa then asked, "How do we approach the Scriptures in a way that they truly 'free' the Spirit that they contain?"

He said that "in Scripture, the Spirit cannot be discovered if not by passing through the letter, that is, through the concrete human vesture that the word of God assumed in the different books and inspired authors. In them the divine meaning cannot be discovered, if not by beginning from the human meaning, the one intended by the human author, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Luke, Paul, etc. It is in this that we find the complete justification of the immense effort in study and research that surrounds the book of Scripture."

But, Father Cantalamessa affirmed, there is a "tendency to stop at the letter, considering the Bible an excellent book, the most excellent of human books, if you will, but only a human book. Unfortunately we run the risk of reducing Scripture to a single dimension."

The Pontifical Household preacher pointed to a sign of hope: "That the demand for a spiritual reading of Scripture and one guided by faith is now beginning to be felt by some eminent exegetes."

The Capuchin urged a furthering of this "spiritual reading."

He explained: "To speak of the 'spiritual' reading of the Bible is not to speak of an edifying, mystical, subjective, or worse still, imaginative, reading, in opposition to the scientific reading, which would be objective. On the contrary, it is the most objective reading that there is because it is based on the Spirit of God, not on the spirit of man.

"Spiritual reading is therefore something that is quite precise and objective; it is the reading that is done under the guidance of, or in the light of, the Holy Spirit that inspired Scripture. It is based on a historical event, namely, the redemptive act of Christ which, with his death and resurrection, accomplishes the plan of salvation and realizes all of the figures and the prophecies, it reveals all of the hidden mysteries and offers the true key for reading the Bible."
Toward all truth

Father Cantalamessa said that this "spiritual reading" of Scripture applies to both the Old and New Testaments.

"Reading the New Testament spiritually means reading it in the light of the Holy Spirit given to the Church at Pentecost to lead the Church to all truth, that is, to the complete understanding and actualization of the Gospel," he said.

The preacher affirmed that spiritual reading both integrates and surpassed scientific reading: "Scientific reading knows only one direction, which is that of history; it explains, in fact, that which comes after in light of that which comes before; it explains the New Testament in the light of the Old which precedes it, and it explains the Church in the light of the New Testament.
"Spiritual reading fully recognizes the validity of this direction of research, but it adds an inverse direction to it. This consists in explaining that which comes before in the light of that which comes after, prophecy in the light of its realization, the Old Testament in the light of the New and the New in the light of the tradition of the Church."

Father Cantalamessa contended, then, that "that which is necessary is not therefore a spiritual reading that would take the place of current scientific exegesis, with a mechanical return to the exegesis of the Fathers; it is rather a new spiritual reading corresponding to the enormous progress recorded by the study of 'letter.' It is a reading, in sum, that has the breath and faith of the Fathers and, at the same time, the consistency and seriousness of current biblical science.
The Pontifical Household preacher ended his reflection with a word of hope regarding a return to a spiritual reading like that of the Church fathers.

The Capuchin said "from the four winds the Spirit has begun unexpectedly to blow again" and we "witness the reappearance of the spiritual reading of the Bible and this too is a fruit -- one of the more exquisite -- of the Spirit."

"Participating in Bible and prayer groups, I am stupefied in hearing, at times, reflections on God's word that are analogous to those offered by Origen, Augustine or Gregory the Great in their time, even if it is in a more simple language," he said. "Let us conclude with a prayer that I once heard a woman pray after she was read the episode in which Elijah, ascending up to heaven, leaves Elisha two-thirds of his spirit.

"It is an example of spiritual reading in the sense I have just explained: 'Thank you, Jesus, that ascending to heaven, you do not only leave us two-thirds of your Spirit, but all of your Spirit! Thank you that you did not give your Spirit to just one disciple, but to all men!'"

Benedict XVI to Youth: Don't Sell Your Soul

Hears Confessions of Young People Preparing for Sydney

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI told youth to be on guard against the possibility of selling or losing their own humanity, and encouraged them instead to stay open to the Holy Spirit.
The Pope spoke with youth Thursday when he presided over a penitential liturgy with young people from Rome in preparation for the 23rd World Youth Day, to be held in Australia this summer. He joined with hundreds of other priests to hear the confessions of the youth.

"At the roots of being Christian," the Holy Father told the young people, "is an encounter with an event, with a Person. This opens a new horizon and, with it, a decisive sense of direction." In order "to favor this encounter, you are preparing to open your hearts to God, confessing your sins and -- by the action of the Holy Spirit and through the ministry of the Church -- receiving forgiveness and peace."

"Thus," he added, "we make room in ourselves for the presence of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Blessed Trinity which is the 'soul' and the 'vital breath' of Christian life. The Spirit helps us to grow 'in an understanding of Jesus that becomes ever deeper and more joyful and, at the same time, to put the Gospel into practice.'"

Hiding an empty life

On this subject, the Pontiff recalled one of his own Pentecost meditations when he was archbishop of Munich and Freising, inspired by the film "Seelenwanderung," in which one of the characters sells his soul in exchange for worldly success: "From the moment he freed himself of his soul, he no longer had any scruples or humanity, providing striking evidence of how the facade of success often hides an empty life.

"A human being cannot throw away his own soul, because it is the soul that makes him human. [...] Yet he does have the frightening possibility of being inhuman, of remaining a person but at the same time selling or losing his own humanity.

"The distance between the human person and the inhuman being is immense, yet it cannot be demonstrated; it is what is truly important, yet it is apparently without importance."

Likewise, Benedict XVI continued, the Holy Spirit "cannot be seen with the eyes. Whether it enters into a person or not, it cannot be seen or demonstrated; but it changes and renews all the perspectives of human life. The Holy Spirit does not change the exterior situations of life, but the interior."

"Let us then," he said, "prepare ourselves, with a sincere examination of conscience, to present ourselves before the people to whom Christ entrusted the ministry of reconciliation. [...] Thus will we experience true joy, the joy that derives from the mercy of God, flows into our hearts and reconciles us to him. [...] Be bearers of this joy, which comes from welcoming the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and witness its fruits in your own lives.

"Always remember that you are 'temples of the Spirit.' Allow him to dwell in you and humbly obey his commands, in order to make your own contribution to the building of the Church and to discern the type of vocation to which the Lord calls you. [...] Be generous, allow yourselves to be helped by using the sacrament of confession and by the practice of spiritual guidance."

A Vatican welcome

Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by recalling how 25 years ago, Pope John Paul II inaugurated the San Lorenzo Youth Center near the Vatican "to facilitate the welcome of young people, the sharing of experiences and the witness of faith and, above all, the prayer that helps us to discover the love of God."

On that March 13, 1983, John Paul II said: "Where can we go in this world, with sin and guilt, without the cross? The cross takes upon itself all the misery of the world, which is born of sin. It is the sign of grace. [...] It encourages us to sacrifice ourselves for others."

"May this experience be renewed for you today," Benedict XVI said. "Look to the cross now, and let us accept God's love which is given to us by the cross, by the Holy Spirit which comes from the pierced side of the Lord and, as John Paul II said: 'Yourselves become redeemers of the young people of the world.'"