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January 12 2017 By dvirtue THE QUESTIONS JESUS ASKED: What is this I hear about you? (Luke 16:1-15)

While we may be saved by grace through the Cross of Christ, we are still to be judged on how we have lived our lives. Jesus said, "The Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done" (Matt.16:27). It is not our salvation, but our judgment, which will be according to our use of what has been given to us.

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January 10 2017 By dvirtue PRAYER: 'By God's will...'

The purpose of prayer is emphatically not to bend God's will to ours, but rather to align our will to his. The promise that our prayers will be answered is conditional on our asking 'according to his will' (1 Jn. 5:14). Consequently every prayer we pray should be a variation on the theme, 'Your will be done' (Mt. 6:10).

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January 04 2017 By dvirtue THE QUESTIONS JESUS ASKED: Why Are You So Afraid? (Matthew 8:23-27)

When tornados strike without warning there is a swath of destruction throughout the community destroying homes and lives. When earthquakes occur the buildings shake uncontrollably throwing cabinets off the walls, smashing windows, cracking foundations and roads are blocked by the earth rupturing and fissures forming. When wildfires race across country driven by winds they devour forests and homes that stand in their way.

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December 29 2016 By dvirtue QUESTIONS JESUS ASKED: Why do you worry? - Matthew 6:24-34

Soren Kierkegaard in his six expositions of this passage in the Sermon on the Mount defined anxiety as "the next day". Jesus said, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." He urges us to get rid of the "next day." All earthly anxiety is about the next day. We must get free of the next day -- let it look after itself.

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December 25 2016 By dvirtue Christmas: The Feast of the Nativity

I never tire of the prologue to St. John's Gospel. This is the Gospel for the first Mass of Christmas, which is also the last Gospel of almost every High Mass. These words are hakadesh hakadeshim - the holy of holies - in all of scripture. Even We cannot hear it too much. It cannot become tiresome though we were to read it daily. In fact, listen to the words of our hymns this day.

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December 21 2016 By dvirtue The Christmas Message: What is Essential to Being a Christian? - 1 John 1:1-4

Christmas celebrates the fact of God's entry into history. Christianity is not the message of some abstract doctrine about Jesus, or the importance of preaching about Jesus, it is the story of the creative self-expression of God, by whom the cosmos was made. The Word of life gives the universe coherence and purpose. He who existed from limitless eternity entered time and space and took up residence here on earth. This appearing in history was not imagined.

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December 13 2016 By dvirtue THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE

The uniqueness of Mary's pregnancy contributes to the uniqueness of the baby born. He is presented as both truly God and truly Man. Such a thing is naturally impossible and cannot be proven. Therefore it requires faith in God who can do impossible things, like creating the world out of nothing. Siegfried Sassoon has a poem entitled, The Unproven.

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December 08 2016 By dvirtue THE MOTHERS OF JESUS: Matthew 1:1-17

Keller remarks that their inclusion recalls "some of the most sordid, nasty and immoral incidents in the Bible." Tamar initiated an immoral relationship with Judah her father-in-law and bore him two sons: Perez and Zerah. Jesus was descended from Perez. The Messiah came out of that dysfunctional family.

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December 01 2016 By dvirtue THE CHANGE-AGENT: Matthew 3:1-12

But how much can a person change? When you pray for people to change, you believe that God can do what seems to be impossible. Nevertheless, patterns of attitude and behavior are so ingrained that change seems to be unlikely. The tree that does not produce good fruit is more likely to be cut down and thrown into the fire than produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Jeremiah prophesied of the people in his day, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?

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November 23 2016 By dvirtue The Coming of The Son of Man: Matthew 24:36-44

His coming affects all of us. "The flood came and took them all away." Death is universal. We must learn to talk about death and dying in the church and not outsource end of life issues to healthcare systems. In medicine, death is the ultimate enemy, and we expend much effort to stave it off. This is why we put everyone on life support the moment any organ begins to fail, and why we offer chemotherapy to patients dying of widely metastatic cancer.

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