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Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Truth Will Set You Free


“The Gospel of Christ isn't about  about ‘tolerance.’ It cares about truth.”

These words caused me to look up from my Bible Gateway app where I was reading along with selected scriptures. Matt Short, missions pastor at One Community Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, had just uttered from the pulpit a profound reality that, regrettably, we hear far too infrequently from this millennial generation (or any generation for that matter).

After several weeks of having worshiped with this young church body, I’ve been repeatedly shocked, and pleasantly so, that, under the headship of lead pastor Paul Dudley and, clearly, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, this group of faithful 20 and 30-somethings does not sidestep truth, in love, as concerns transcendent issues that in today’s politically correct and postmodern culture (to include much of Christianity) are considered highly controversial.

Pastor Short judiciously stacked his words ­ words that blossomed from the very Vine of Truth Himself ­ upon that elusive sweet spot in the tense continuum between truth and grace: two central features of Christ’s nature that are neither mutually exclusive nor at odds with one another.


“There is nothing new under the sun,” we are reminded in Ecclesiastes 1:9.

Indeed, by today’s secular-progressive standards ­ and, more vexing yet, by the standards of lukewarm Christians and ministries that, under the intense thaw of postmodern paganism, fall away from the berg like vast chunks of ice ­ Christ Jesus Himself would, like so many of his followers today, be slandered as an “intolerant bigot” and crucified all over again.

To be sure, under the contemporary misconception of “tolerance,” which supposes that one must not only tolerate sin of every stripe, but refuse to call it even that, Christ was (and is) intolerant indeed. Rather than admonishing the adulterous woman to, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (see John 8:11), postmodernism, to include the moral relativist yeast that leavens the body of Christ, demands, at once, that our never-changing Lord change the unchangeable: “Go now and continue your life of sin.”


This is not true grace.

It is cheap grace.

And it is apostasy.

While it is true that none of us is without sin (I’m the first to drop my stone in the sand for this reason), we are nonetheless commanded to repent of our sins: “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will likewise perish (Luke 13:3).”

The first step to repentance is recognizing sin for what it is and rejecting deceptive attempts to sanitize it by calling it something else (i.e., “choice,” “sexual orientation,” “she’s not my wife, but we’re soul mates” and the like). Alas, ’tis true: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

Indeed, far too many “seeker friendly” and mainline Christian denominations do just that. They call evil good. They intentionally omit the central “repent and go and sin no more” elements of the good news (or otherwise affirm sin altogether) for fear of driving away would-be fish in the net ­ those slippery little buggers (aren’t we all?) who prefer whirling about in a toxic sea of temptation, rather than surrendering to the ultimate Fisher of Men.


Pastor Short, to his credit, did no such thing. In fact, he went on to address Paul’s rebuke of the church in Galatia. Much like today’s “nicer than Jesus” set, they, too, for different reasons perhaps, adopted a false gospel that, in their eyes, made them more “relevant” and palatable to the world around them.

Sound familiar?

Wrote Paul: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you,let them be under God’s curse!” (Galatians 1:6-8)


Not very tolerant.

But grace, tempered with truth, nonetheless.

“As we have already said,” Paul continued, “so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:9-10).



And so, according to Paul, those who shrink from the “full counsel of God,” are not only out of line, they are under “God’s curse.” The fall he took on the road to Damascus clearly knocked free his ability to skate the thin ice of political correctness.

Still, like the Galatians, far too many in today’s church are more concerned with not offending others, most especially those who are without Christ, and, rather than being fearless “servants of Christ,” instead have busied themselves with “trying to please people.”

And, like the Galatians, they have created a false gospel to that end.


Pleasing the world is not taking up your cross and suffering for Christ. Pleasing the world is a cakewalk. “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19).

Does the world hate you?

It should.

We can’t belong to the world and to Christ.

We must choose.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Stories from an RN Nurses About Lessons Before Dying



"I was working ICU and caring for a patient with breast Ca who was dying, minimally responsive for days (this was a long time ago when we actually kept dying patients in ICU). Anyway, she suddenly awoke and was very lucid, asking for some water.....I was a little stunned but got her water for her. 
After she drank she said,  

"Do you know what Jesus just asked me?" 

 Of course I got chill bumps all over and asked...
"No, what?" 

"He asked me if I had done everything with love."

  "And what did you say"

 "I told him that I had tried," 

I told her that most likely that is all any of us are capable of doing. I turned her with some pillows and she fell asleep and died about 10 minutes later. Needless to say, this affected me greatly, I want to be able to give the right answer when Jesus asks. 


 


The second incident, we had an older man with a massive heart attack, lots of other problems and he ended up on the ventilator. He was the meanest old coot ever. His granddaughter worked at the hospital and apologized for his behavior and told us he had always been quite a rounder. 

He would bite, kick, spit, and had to be restrained to keep him from pulling every line he had out. We coded him three times during his stay. 

After the third time, his demeanor changed and he became much more cooperative. We explained the change as a bit of ICU psychosis that had resolved. The gentleman became a "frequent flyer" in our ICU, coming in multiple times with CHF and becoming a regular at our outpatient CHF clinic. 

Suddenly, he became a favorite, always smiling, joking, a dear man. One day he asked me...

"Do you remember the first time I was here and how awful I was." 

I assured him that I did indeed remember. He said...

 "Do you know why I changed?" 

I replied that I didn't but just thought that his meanness was related to his illness. He said...

"No, it wasn't that....the last time you guys brought me back when my heart stopped....I woke up all alone in a very dark place....it was awful, beyond terrifying Though, it was totally black the heat was staggering and there was this awful over powering smell of sulfur and rotting meat. Then, there was a sense of dread, like something bad was coming for me, something REALLY bad.  The sense of impending doom kept getting stronger and stronger. I just knew any second my worst nightmare was going to appear.  I was so scared, I called out and called out and no one answered. Then, by the grace of GOD you were able to start my heart and bring me back to life!

Afterwards, I remembered hearing that when people die and then come back a lot of them see a light and a lot of other "good" stuff. I NEVER saw a light and I knew that if I did not want to go back to that place that I had to change." 

He lived a couple more years after telling me his story and when he finally died in our ICU, I had a feeling that he saw the "light" because he died with a smile on his face.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

In Hell There are Only Screams

In the year
1707, St. Francis of Jerome was preaching, as was his want, in the neighborhood of the
city of Naples. He was speaking of hell and the awful chastisements that await obstinate
sinners. A brazen courtesan who lived there, troubled by a discourse which aroused her remorse, sought to hinder it by jests and shouts, accompanied by noisy instruments. As she was standing close to the window, the Saint cried out:  
 
"Beware, my daughter, of
resisting grace; before eight days God will punish you."
 
 
The unhappy creature grew only
more boisterous. Eight days elapsed, and the holy preacher happened to be again before the same house. This time she was silent, the windows were shut. The hearers, with dismay on their faces, told the Saint that Catherine -- that was the name of the bad woman
-- had a few hours before died suddenly. 
 
"Died!"  he repeated, 
 
"Well, let her tell us now
what she has gained by laughing at hell. Let us ask her." 
 
He uttered these words in an
inspired tone, and every one expected a miracle. Followed by an immense crowd, he went
up to the death chamber, and there, after having prayed for an instant, he uncovers the
face of the corpse, and says in a loud voice, 
 
"Catherine, tell us where art thou now."
 
At this summons, the dead woman lifts her head, while opening her wild eyes, her face
borrows color, her features assume an expression of horrible despair, and in a mournful
voice, she pronounces these words: 
 
"In hell;For All eternity, without hope,without any end, forever and ever till the stars burn out; I am in hell." 
 

Her visage, eyes gray an ashen, her skin shrunken tight like leather around her skull; frame a face whose expression is one of sheer terror.  Without warning Catherine's jaw creaks open unnaturally wide and from it, slowly at first, then building shrill and high, accompanied by lesser sounds; rips a mournful wale torn from the deepest pit of hell.  

"I'm in HELL! Oh my GOD why didn't I listen? Why didn't I answer the call of Christ?  Better that I was never born..."

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

3 TESTIMONIES ABOUT HEAVEN AND HELL


The Bible (God's only trustworthy Word for the human race) tells us: All of us were born with a sin nature. We inherited it from the sinful bloodline of Adam and Eve – the first two created people - because of their disobedience (sin) to God. Jesus Christ paid for everyone’s spiritual pardon come Judgment Day by taking their punishment by dying a cruel death on the cross -- that means YOUR punishment.

Jesus paid the ransom payment for your ETERNAL SPIRITUAL FORGIVENESS – YOUR FREE PARDON FROM ETERNAL SPIRITUAL DEATH.


Imagine being in a court room, and the Judge has just sentenced you to death for the crime you committed. Also imagine Jesus Christ being your lawyer. Jesus Christ says to the Judge (or in other words, God the heavenly Father): “Your honor, I want to serve my client’s sentence and pay the price for his/her wrong-doing by dying instead so my client can go free from the crime he/she has committed.” Can you imagine someone doing such a thing for you?!  JESUS DID IT!


Of course you may be saying to yourself also at that moment: I haven’t done anything to be sentenced to die! I’m being falsely accused! “What have I supposedly DONE, God?!” Here’s your answer: God gave 10 commandments for people to keep in the Old Testament Bible. Anyone who breaks just one of those commandments must be punished for breaking them against God. Where does it say THAT?! It says that in Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 

Have you ever lied? Lied just one time? Everyone of us has lied at least once. Number 9 of the 10 commandments says: Thou shalt not lie (bear false witness). 

 

You know what that makes us? A disobedient sinning liar against God’s moral law – His 10 commandments. (Revelation 21:8 also tells us what God thinks of lying). 

 

  You just read above what God says about our disobedient sinning against Him by breaking just ONE of His moral laws: The wages of doing so is DEATH. Emotional - spiritual death. Total separation from God and agonizingly suffering for our sins for all eternity -- totally void of any love, peace, hope, joy or forgiveness from God ever again (otherwise known as hell).

BUT HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS! We can receive forgiveness for all our disobedience against God the Father and our sin against others RIGHT NOW and have certainty RIGHT NOW that on the Judgment Day, our sins WON’T be held against us! HOW CAN THAT BE?! By asking Jesus Christ to forgive us for our sins and trusting that He HAS forgiven us of them simply by our asking and trusting! Jesus will do it!  1 John 1:8-9 says: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thus if we make Jesus our personal Lord and Savior … every time we sin – we have every right to ask Jesus Christ to forgive us of our sin(s) – cleanse us as though we never sinned – so that when our heart stops beating, we can be assured that we won’t have to suffer eternal damnation for our sins. 

 

Jesus Christ did what no other human being has ever done or ever could do. He was the ONLY person on this planet who has never sinned. And because He never sinned, He is the only acceptable sacrifice God the Father would accept to pay ransom payment for each of our sins.

None of us know when our heart will stop beating, do we? Be HIGHLY encouraged to make peace with God the Father through Jesus Christ this very moment. Pray and tell Jesus you are sorry for your sins against God. Ask Him to save you from your sins.  

 

Daily put Him FIRST in everything you think, say and do. As soon as possible, be water baptized, and ask Jesus to fill you with the Holy Spirit so you can be empowered by the Holy Spirit to enjoy reading the New Testament Bible (God's LATEST covenant Word to the human race), and obey the commands God has recorded for followers of Jesus Christ to obey (You will be rewarded for doing so!).  

 

Join with other Christian believers who can help answer the many questions you probably have, and who will pray for and encourage you.  Asking Jesus Christ to be your personal Savior, and making Him Lord of your life is THE WISEST DECISION YOU WILL EVER MAKE.  

 

It will bring you eternal joyous rewards ... and God will be so pleased that you have NOT wasted the eternal purposes God has planned for you!  God never created you to be a wasted creation of His - never forget that - but it is up to YOU to let Him work in your life - daily.  

 

He won't force you.  He must always be invited. (Intimate relationship is never sustained indefinitely with another person without effort; nor so with God. It requires ACTIVE pursuit of the most special person in your life.  God desires YOUR active pursuit of Him more than anything else in your life.  He wants FIRST place - never second.  And in your so doing ...  

 

NO ONE to Him is more desirable than YOU!  He so eagerly desires you to come to that realization, dear one. He truly does.  This life is your starting point with your loving Creator that will last for eternity.)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Don't Cheat on Your Wife

 
The Following is a interior locution given to Maria Valtorta...

 Jesus Christ speaking... 

"Be patient, My dear soul, with regard to the double work.  This is a period of endurance.  You know how tired I was in My last days?!  You see it.  When walking I lean on John, on Peter, on Simon, also on Judas... Yes. And although miracles emanated from Me, even by simple contact with My clothes, I was not able to change that heart!  


Let Me lean on you, little John, to repeat the words which I spoke in the last days to those stubborn dull-minded people who heard the announcement of My torture without being affected by it.  And let the Master preach for hours in the sad plain of the Clear Water.  And I shall bless you twice: for your fatigue and for your pity.  I count your efforts, I gather your tears.  For your efforts on behalf of your brothers you will be rewarded as those who wear themselves out to make God known to men.  The tears shed for My suffering during the last week will be rewarded with Jesus' kiss.  Write and may you be blessed. 


Jesus is standing on a kind of platform made with boards in one of the large rooms, the last one, and is speaking in a very loud voice, near the door, so that He may be heard by those in the room and also by those in the shed or on the threshing floor, which is flooded by the rain.  The people standing there in their large dark coarse mantles, which are proof against water, look like so many lay brothers.  The weakest people are in the room, the women under the shed, the strongest, mainly men, are in the yard, in the rain. 


Peter, barefooted and wearing only his short tunic and with a piece of cloth on his head, comes and goes, and is always in a good humor even if he has to paddle in water and take unexpected showers.  John, Andrew and James are with him.  They are cautiously transferring from the other room sick people and are guiding or supporting blind or lame people.
Jesus is patiently waiting for them all to be settled.  He is only sorry that the four disciples are wet like sponges dipped into a pail of water. 


"It is nothing!  We are like pitched wood.  Don't worry.  We are getting baptized again and the baptizer is God Himself." replies Peter to Jesus' commiserations. 


At last they are all settled and Peter thinks he can go and put on a dry tunic.  And he goes away with the other three. 


But when he comes back again to the Master, he sees the large grey mantle of the veiled woman appear round the corner of the shed and he goes towards her without considering that to do so he must cross the yard diagonally in a heavy shower of rain which is getting heavier and heavier, while the water of the pools splashes up to his knees.  He takes her by the elbow, without displacing her mantle, and pulls her towards the wall of the large room, out of the rain.  He then places himself beside her, as stern and still as a sentry. 

Jesus sees him and He smiles bending His head to conceal the brightness of His smile.  He starts speaking. 


"Those amongst you, who have been coming to Me regularly, must not say that I do not speak orderly, and that I skip some of the ten commandments.  You hear.  I see.  You listen.  I apply My speech to the pains and the sores that I see in you.  I am the Doctor.  A doctor calls first on those who are more seriously ill, on those who are closer to death.  He then visits those who are not so dangerously ill.  I do the same." 
 
"Today I say to you: "Do not commit Adultery!"

"Do not look round endeavoring to read the word "lustful" on somebody's face.  Would you love anyone who read that word on your face?  No, you would not.  Well, then, do not try to read it in the worried eyes of your neighbor or on his forehead that blushes and bows to the ground.  And then... 

Oh! tell Me, especially you MEN.  Which of you has not tasted the sin of Adultery?  It is a bread made with ashes and excrement, this is it's vaule to your Soul.  Love is NOT sexual lust.   And is lust only what carries you for one hour between the arms of anohter man's wife or a prostitute?  Does not lust also  desecrate the Divine union between a man and his wife, desecrated because it is vice which pollutes.  Does NOT getting caught evade its consequences?
 

"Marriage means procreation, trust, and love. The very act is a union between two Souls joined by GOD in HIS favor. Otherwise it is immoral and act of lust which has many unintended consequences.  You must not soil and befoul your nuptial bed.   And that is what it become if it is soiled by lust during the act of Adultery.  The sacrament of marriage is consecrated faithfulness and the divine gift of maternity.  The earth does not reject the seed, it receives it and makes a plant of it.  The seed does not escape from the furrow after being laid there.  But it takes root at once and it strives to grow and bear fruit, that is the vegetable creature born of the union between soil and seed.  


Man is the seed, woman is the soil, the fruit is the offspring.  It is sinful to refuse to bear fruit and scatter strength in vice.  It is Adultery is NOT performed on the nuptial bed, and in no way differs from the other prostitution, on the contrary it is aggravated by disobedience to the commandment that says:

 "Be one flesh and multiply by bearing children. Always be faithful to your wife, to your vows, to your promise to GOD."

"Do you not consider that pleasure outside of marriage is a poison that contaminates every mouth that tastes it?  


Adultery burns with a dark fire that seems to satisfy, instead it falls out of the fireplace and devours, more and more insatiable, leaving a sour taste of ash on the tongue as well as disgust, nausea and contempt both of oneself and of the partner committing Adultery. 

Sinful pleasure consumes the man who betrays his martial vows.  When a Godly man's conscience revives, and it does revive between the acts of Adultery, he can but feel such deep inner-contempt for himself, because he has willingly lowered himself and his nuptial bed below the level of beasts and animals. 


"You shall not fornicate" 

 A great deal of the carnal actions of men are fornication.  And I do not take into consideration the inconceivable.


 But after mentioning the duty of husband and wife in marriage, which is no longer holy when it becomes barren through malice, I am going to speak of the true and proper fornication between man and woman performed out of reciprocal vice or for compensation in money or in gifts." 


"The human body is a magnificent temple that contains an altar.  God should be on the altar.  But God is absent when there is corruption present due to Adultery.  

The act of polluting the wedding bed makes man an impure temple, a desecrated altar absent the presence of God.  

Like a drunken person who wallows in filth and mire, sleeping in his own vomit, man lowers himself in the brutality of lustful fornication and becomes worse than the most impure worm and beast." 


"Tell Me, if among you there is anyone who has perverted himself to the extent of dealing with his body as one deals in animal droppings?  For momentary lust which benefit did he gain?  Take your hearts in your hands, examine them, question them, listen to them, note their wounds, their pangs and then tell Me: 

Was the rotted stinking fruit of Adultery so sweet to inflict such pain upon ones soul?   Not only one Soul but two Souls, the heart and Soul of your wife, the mother of your children?  

Was the momentary lapse of faith worth  blackening a heart that was born Holy and Pure?   Was the act of adultery worth living in an impure body devoid of the light of GOD your Father in Heaven? 

 Tell Me: are you so perverted that you do not sob secretly, hearing the voice of a child calling: "Daddy" or thinking of your wives lost to you for one act of lust.  In the act of Adultery, cheap pleasure you have in your heart run away from home or having been found you, driven out of them. All for the rotten fruit which WILL contaminate with its oozing rottenness all that is good and Holy in your life.  Think of yourself if in the future when you are caught.... You, dying alone and broken-hearted, having to say: 

"I gave birth to sin which tore my house apart! It was my Adultery which shattered my happy, comfortable life.  My partner in sin simply laughed at me when my lies came tumbling down upon my head. Her words to Me...Serves you right Cheater..." 


"Do you not feel your hearts shudder with shame, when you meet an old solemn looking man because of his white hair and you consider that you have soiled your fathers' heads with handfuls of mud and have exposed them to the scorn of their native country?" 

"Do you not feel your entrails writhe with regret when you see a happy wife or an innocent virgin and you have to say: "I have given up all that and I will never be like that again!?" 


"But, above all, Be terrified of the Just Judge Who created you and is waiting for you to ask you:

 "What have you to say of yourself?  Did I not bless you and your household with happiness, trust, and fidelity.  How dare you come to My presence, you nest swarming with worms and putrefaction?  You have had everything of what was your god: Adultery and Lust.  Go! Into outer-darkness to the place of eternal malediction and Hell fire!" 

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Jesus Drives the Merchants out of the Temple



Jesus Drives the Merchants out of the Temple.
 
     I see Jesus entering the enclosure of the Temple with Peter, Andrew, John, James, Philip and Bartholomew.  There is a very large crowd both inside and outside the enclosure.  Pilgrims are arriving in flocks from every part of the town.
     From the top of the hill on which the Temple is built, one can see the narrow twisted streets of the town, swarming with people.  One gets the impression that a self-moving, many-colored ribbon has been laid between the white houses.  The town looks like a rare toy indeed, a toy made of gaily-colored ribbons between two white threads, all converging on the point where the domes of the House of the Lord are shining.


     Inside it is a real market.  The concentration of a holy place has been destroyed.  Some run, some call, some contract for lambs, shouting and cursing because of the extortionate prices, some drive the poor bleating animals into their enclosures (rough partitions made of ropes and pegs, at the entrance of which stand the merchants or owners, awaiting buyers).  Blows with cudgels, bleatings, curses, shouts, insults to the boys who are not prompt in gathering together or selecting the animals, abuses to the purchasers who haggle over prices or who go away, graver insults to those who wisely brought their own lambs.


     Near the benches of the money-changers, there is more bawling.  It is obvious that either always, or at Passover time, the Temple functioned as a stock exchange or black market.  There was no fixed rate of exhange.  There must have been a legal rate, but the money-changers imposed a different one, making whatever profit they fancied, for exchanging the money.  And I can assure you they were not joking in their usury transactions!... The poorer the people were and the farther they came from, the more they were fleeced: old people more than young people, those coming from beyond Palestine more than the old folk.


     Some poor old men looked over and over again at the money they had saved in a whole year, I wonder with how much hard work, they took it out and put it back into their purses dozens and dozens of times, going from one money-changer to another and at times ending up by going back to the first one, who avenged himself for their original desertion by increasing the premium for the exchange.  And the big coins passed from the hands of the sighing owners into the clutches of the usurers and were changed into smaller coins.  Then a further tragedy would take place with vendors over the choice and payment of their lambs, and the poor old men, particularly if they were half blind, were fobbed off with the most wretched little lambs.


     I see an old couple, man and wife, come back pushing a poor little lamb which must have been found faulty by the sacrificers.  They cried and begged the vendor, who, far from being moved, replied with nasty words and rude manners.

     "Considering what you want to spend, Galileans, the lamb I gave you is even too good.  Go away!  Or if you want a better one, you must pay five more coins."

     "In the name of God!  We are poor and old!  Are you going to prevent us from celebrating this Passover which may be our last one?  Are you not satisfied with what you wanted for a poor little lamb?"

     "Go away, you filthy lot.  Joseph the Elder is now coming here.  I enjoy his favor.  God be with you, Joseph!  Come and make your choice!"

     The man whose name is Joseph the Elder, that is Joseph of Arimathea, enters the enclosure and picks a magnificent lamb.  He passes by, stately and proud, magnificently dressed, without even looking at the poor old people weeping at the gate, that is the enclosure entrance.  He almost bumps into them when he goes out with the fat, bleating lamb.


     But Jesus also is now nearby.  He also has made His purchase, and Peter, who probably bargained for Him, is pulling a fairly good lamb.

     Peter would like to go at once where they offer the sacrifices.  But Jesus turns to the right, towards the dismayed, weeping, undecided old couple, who are knocked about by the crowds and insulted by the vendor.

     Jesus, Who is so tall that the heads of the poor old souls reach only up to His heart, lays one hand on the shoulder of the woman and askes her: "Why are you crying, woman?"

     The little old woman turns round and she sees the young, tall, stately man, wearing a beautiful new white tunic and a snow white mantle.  She must think He is a doctor because of His garments and His aspect and is greatly surprised, because doctors and priests pay no attention to the poor, neither do they protect them from the stinginess of merchants.  She explains to Jesus the reason for their tears.


     Jesus addresses the lamb vendor: 

 "Change this lamb for these believers. It is not worthy of the altar, neither is it fair that you should take advantage of two old poor people, only because they are weak and unprotected."

     "And who are You?"
 
     "A just man."

  "By Your way of speaking and Your companions', I know You are a Galilean.  Can there be a just man in Galilee?"
 
     "Do what I told you and be a just man yourself."

     "Listen! Listen to the Galilean who is defending His equals.  And He wants to teach us of the Temple!"  

The man laughs and jeers, imitating the Galilean accent, which is more musical and softer that the Judean, at least I think so.
     Many people go near them and other merchants and money-changers take their companion's part against Jesus.

     Amongst the people present there are two or three ironical rabbis.  One of them asks: "Are You a doctor?",  in such a way that even Job would lose his temper.

     "Yes, I am."

     "What do You teach?"

     "This I teach:  to make the House of God a house of prayer and not a usury or a market place.  That is what I teach."

     Jesus is formidable.  He looks like the archangel posted on the threshold of Eden.  He has no flashing sword in His hand but the beams from His eyes strike the impious mockers like lightning.  Jesus has nothing in His hands.  All He has is His wrath.  And full of wrath, He walks fast and solemn between the benches, He scatters the coins which had been sorted out so meticulously according to their values, He turns over the benches and tables, and everything falls on the ground with great noise, in the bustle of rebounding metals and beaten wood, angry cries, shrieks of terror and shouts of approval.  He then snatches from the hands of the stable-boys some ropes with which they were holding oxen, sheep and lambs, and He makes a very hard lash, in which the slip-knots are real scourges:  He lifts it, swings it and strikes mercilessly with it.  Yes, I can assure you:  mercilessly.


     The unforseen storm hits heads and backs.  The believers move to one side admiring the scene;  the guilty ones, chased as far as the external wall, take to their heels, leaving their money on the ground and abondoning in a great confusion of legs, horns and wings, their animals, some of which run and fly away.  The bellows, bleatings, and fluttering of turtle doves and pigeons, added to the burst of laughter and shouting of the believers at the escaping usurers, overcome even the plaintive chorus of lambs, slaughtered in another yard.

     Priests, rabbis, and Pharisees rush to the spot.  Jesus is still in the middle of the yard, on His way back from the chase.  The lash is still in His hands.  

     "Who are You?  How dare You do that, upsetting the prescribed ceremonies?  From which school are You?  We do not know You, neither do we know where You come from."        
    
     "I am He who is Mighty.  I can do anything.  Destroy this true Temple and I will raise it to give praise to God.  I am not upsetting the holiness of the House of God or of the ceremonies, but you are perturbing it, allowing His House to become the center of usurers and merchants.  My school is the school of God.  The same school as the whole of Israel had when the Eternal God spoke to Moses.  You do not know Me?  You will know Me.  You do not know where I come from?  You will learn."


     And turning towards the people, without noticing the priests any longer, tall in His white tunic, with His arms stretched out like an orator at the most important part of his speach, He says:  

"Listen, Israel!  In Deuteronomy it is said: 

 "You are to appoint judges and scribes at all the gates... and they must administer an impartial judgement to the people.  You must be impartial; you must take no bribes, for a bribe blinds wise men's eyes and jeopardizes the cause of the just.  Strict justice must be your ideal, so that you may live in rightful possession of the land that Yahweh your God is giving you."


     "Listen, Israel.  In Deuteronomy it is said:  "The priests and scribes and the whole of the tribe of Levi shall have no share or inheritance with Israel, because they must live on the foods offered to Yahweh and on His dues;  they shall have no inheritance among their brothers, because Yahweh will be their inheritance."

     Listen, Israel.  In Deuteronomy it is said:  "You must not lend on interest to your brother, whether the lack be of money or food or anything else.  You may demand interest on a loan of a foreigner;  you will lend without interest to your brother whatever he needs.."

     The Lord said that.

      But now you see that in Israel judgements are administered without justice for the poor. They are not inclined to justice, but they are partial with the rich, and to be poor, to be of the common people means to be oppressed.  How can the people say:  "Our judges are just"  when they see that only the mighty ones are respected and satisfied, whereas the poor have no one who will listen to them?   How can the people respect the Lord, when they see that the Lord is not respected by those who should respect Him more than everyone else?  Does he who infringes the Lord's commandment respect Him?  Why then do the priests in Israel possess property and accept bribes from tax-collectors and sinners, who make offerings to obtain their favors, while they accept gifts to fill their coffers.?


     God is the inheritance of His priests.  He, the Father of Israel, is more than a Father to them and provides them with food, as it is just.  But not more than what is just.  He did not promise money and possessions to His servants of the sanctuary.  In eternal life, they will possess Heaven for their justice, as Moses, Elijah, Jacob and Abraham will, but in this world they must have but a linen garment and a diadem of incorruptible gold:  purity and charity, and their bodies must be subject to their souls, which are to be subject to the true God, and their bodies are not to be masters over their souls and against God.


     I have been asked on what authority I do this.  And on what authority do they violate God's command and allow in the shade of the sacred walls usury on their brothers of Israel, who have come to obey the divine command?  I have been asked from what school I come from and I replied:  "From God's school."  Yes, Israel,  I have come from and I will take you back to that holy and immutable school.


     Who wants to know the Light, the Truth, the Way?  Who wants to hear once again the voice of God speaking to His people, let him come to Me.  You followed Moses through the deserts, Israel.  Follow Me, because I shall lead you through a far worse desert, to the true blessed Land.  At God's command, I will draw you to it, accross an open sea.  I will cure you of all evils lifting up My Sign.


     The time of Grace has come.  The prophets expected it and died waiting for it.  The Prophets prophesied it and died in that hope.  The just have dreamt of it and died comforted by that dream.  It is now here.

     Come.  "The Lord is about to judge His people and have mercy on His servants",  as He promised through Moses."
     The people crowding round Jesus stand open-mouthed listening to Him.  Then they comment on the new Rabbi's words and ask His companions questions.


     Jesus goes to another yard, separated from this one only by a porch.  His friends follow Him, and the vision ends.

Excerpted from POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, Volume 1, pp. 285-289

Father Richard and the Angel Raphael



A devout priest in Maryland reported that on the feast day of Guadalupe an angel appeared during Mass in front of him and about 200 congregants.


The priest, Father Richard Scott, 41, of St. John the Evangelist Church in Clinton, Maryland, 
 started the day asking Our Lady of Guadalupe for confirmation pertaining to a special request he had made.



Originally from Peru, Father Scott, who says he has a special devotion to the angels ("in the Catholic sense, nothing at all New Age") and recites the litany of angels every day, and conducts healing Masses at a church dedicated to the Archangel Raphael, recounts that at about 6:45 a.m. he was praying to the Virgin.



"Blessed Mother, I know you are Our Lady of Guadalupe," he had said. "You know that I love you very much. You are also Queen of Angels. I know I am not worthy, but because of the merits of your Son Jesus and His Divine Mercy, I humbly beseech you to send me St. Raphael to give me a sign that what I have heard in my heart is from your Son."



That night Father Scott celebrated a Mass in honor of the Guadalupe Virgin at 7:30 p.m. He says that he had gone through the day without much further thought as to his request. "I forgot about it," he says, "but God didn't.


"I was saying the prayer of the faithful and I had closed my eyes and I opened them and looked up to see the people that I was praying for and I was indirectly praying for my special intentions and also praying for a man with cancer -- and for our bishops that they always be filled with the Holy Spirit and faithful to the Holy Father -- and just as I was saying that all together, I looked up and in the back of the church, I saw this Hispanic woman who works in the parish preparing the little kids at the time of the offertory, bringing the gifts -- they were going to present roses and carnations to the Blessed Mother 

-- and right next to her I see this young man in his twenties with light brown hair with a big picture, a big painting in a frame, with a radiant face and around his body like an aura. He looked different -- but completely human, nicely dressed, with corduroy pants, a shirt, a sweater, and like a suede jacket.



"He was radiant -- the most penetrating loving eyes. They exuded love, and he had a huge smile, as if he was my best of friends, surprising me. He walked like he was on a mission to fulfill what God wanted him to do. He walked up the aisle reverently but quickly.



"He was in control. Nothing would stop him. He just came down, but he didn't do it in a way that was pompous. He didn't float. He walked like a normal person, but quickly with this big painting on his right side and it was like there was a light, a spotlight on him, like an aura around his body, even though his body was normal, and throughout the whole thing his eyes were in contact with me. 

He gave reverence to the Eucharist and to me as a priest.

"He genuflected near the tabernacle and presented this painting. He laid it against a lectern on the left-hand side. He was not far away from me. He went up two steps and laid it against the lectern and he said to me, 'You have to bless it.' I did say as he was approaching, is there anything I can do to help you. 


I was shocked. Even as he said, 'You must bless this,' his facial expressions never changed.

"There was complete love and tenderness but he was there on a mission. I couldn't walk up to him. I couldn't  move. Something kept me from moving. I couldn't speak. All I could do was observe and receive. Afterwards he turned around, once again genuflected to the Blessed Sacrament, and then he went again somewhat fast down the aisle, turned around, once again looked at me, raised up his arms to heaven, and said with a smile, as if he was exuberantly happy, 'Amen, alleluia!'"



It is an angel story as there have been many angel stories but with this twist: Father Scott actually saw the mysterious stranger disappear. Most who have angel encounters describe a stranger who then was nowhere to be seen, but the Maryland priest actually saw him vanish.



"After saying, 'Amen, alleluia,' he put his arms down and I don't know how the wooden doors opened, but as he was going down the steps, before he got outside -- there is another set of glass doors -- I saw him disappear. He went down five or six steps and disappeared. 


I saw him disappear. He disappeared just before he got to the glass doors. I did not see the glass doors open, and from the altar I can tell when people leave Mass early."



Of course, we leave this all for your discernment. So far we have no reason to doubt it and if true we find it tremendous -- a Christmas gift.



It confirmed something major for the priest, who says that painting was a replica of the famous Michelangelo masterpiece, "The Creation," in which God is touching the finger of Adam. He said there was a man in a car who had been out front through Mass waiting to drive a relative, and the man later testified that he saw no one enter or leave. Those attending Mass were equally shocked at the mysterious visitors actions and way of walking.



Father Scott believes the mysterious stranger was the Archangel Raphael. He says the painting was expensively framed in wood with cardboard protectors on the corners. The priest left the painting in the church for four days, waiting to see if anyone would claim it, which no one did.

 
Excerpted from http://www.spiritdaily.com/Marylandangelarchived.htm