Saint Joseph.

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Joseph, a righteous man and bridegroom of Mary.

With the birth of Jesus Christ, it was like this: His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph. But before they started living together, it turned out that she had conceived from the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to shame, therefore he intended to release her secretly » Mt 1, 18-19.

We continue our reflections on the figure of St. Joseph. Today, I would like to take a deeper look at his designation of “righteous” and “betrothed to Mary”, and thus convey a message to all engaged couples and newlyweds. Many events associated with Joseph are told in the apocryphal gospels, i.e. non-canonical ones, which also influenced art and various places of worship. These writings, which are not in the Bible – they are stories that Christian piety created for themselves at that time – respond to the desire to fill the gaps in the narrative of the canonical gospels, that is, those that are in the Bible and that provide us with everything essential for Christian faith and life .

Evangelist Matthew. This is important: what does the Gospel say about Joseph? Not what these apocryphal gospels say, which are not bad or ugly; they are beautiful, but they are not the word of God. However, the gospels, which are part of the Bible, are the word of God. Among them is the evangelist Matthew, who calls Joseph a “righteous” man. Let’s listen to his story: «The birth of Jesus Christ was like this: His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph. But before they started living together, it turned out that she had conceived from the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to shame, so he intended to release her secretly” (1:18-19). Because the fiancé, if the fiancée was unfaithful or if she became pregnant, was supposed to betray her! And in those days women were stoned to death. But Joseph was righteous. He says, “No, I won’t. I will be silent”.

To understand Joseph’s behavior toward Mary, it is helpful to recall the wedding customs of ancient Israel. Marriage was understood in two precisely defined phases. The first was the official betrothal, which already meant a new situation: especially the woman, although she still lived in her father’s house for a year, was actually considered the “wife” of the betrothed. They weren’t living together yet, but it was like she was his wife. The second act was the transfer of the bride from her father’s house to the groom’s house. This was done in a solemn procession that consummated the marriage. And the bride’s friends escorted her there.

Based on these customs, the fact that “before they started living together, it turned out that she had conceived”, exposed the Virgin Mary to the accusation of adultery. And this guilt was punished by stoning according to the ancient law (cf. Dt 22:20-21). Anyway, in later Jewish practice, a more moderate concept prevailed, which imposed only the act of repudiation with civil-law and criminal-law consequences for the woman, but not stoning.

The Gospel says that Joseph was “righteous” precisely because he obeyed the law like any pious Israelite. However, his love for Mary and his trust in her suggested to him a way to save the observance of the law and the honor of his bride: he decided to give her the deed of release secretly, without fuss, without exposing her to public humiliation. He chose the path of discretion, without judgment and compensation. How great is the holiness in Joseph! We, as soon as we hear some “colorful” or unflattering news about someone, we immediately go to gossip about it! Josef, on the other hand, is silent.

However, the evangelist Matthew immediately adds: “As he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus; for he will deliver his people from their sins”” (1.20-21). God’s voice intervenes in Joseph’s discernment and through a dream reveals to him a meaning that is greater than his own righteousness.

And how important it is for each of us to cultivate the right life and at the same time feel that we still need God’s help! So that we can broaden our horizons and assess life’s circumstances from a different, broader, point of view. Many times we feel prisoners of what happened to us: “Well, look what happened to me!” – and we remain prisoners of something bad that happened to us; but it is precisely in front of some life circumstances that initially seem dramatic that Providence stands, which takes shape over time and sheds meaningful light on the pain that has struck us. The temptation is to close ourselves in this pain, in thoughts about the unpleasant things that happened to us. And that is not beneficial. It leads to sadness and bitterness. A bitter heart is so grumpy.

I would like us to stop and think about a detail of this Gospel story that we often overlook. Mária and Josef are two betrothed who probably cultivated dreams and expectations about their life and future. God seems to intervene as an unexpected event in their lives, and both, although with initial difficulties, open their hearts wide to the reality before them.

Dear brothers and sisters, our life is often not what we imagine it to be. Especially in relationships of love and feelings, it is difficult for us to move from the logic of falling in love to the logic of mature love. And it is necessary to move from infatuation to mature love. You newlyweds, think carefully about this. The first phase is always marked by a certain fascination that forces us to live immersed in an imaginary world that often does not correspond to reality. But just when falling in love with her expectations seems to end, true love can begin. To really love does not mean expecting the other person or life to conform to our ideas, but above all it means deciding in complete freedom to take responsibility for the life that is offered to us.

That is why Joseph gives us the important lesson that he chooses Mary “with open eyes”. And we can say that with all the risks. Consider that in the Gospel of John there is a rebuke that the scribes address to Jesus: “We are not sons who come from there”, alluding to prostitution. But because they knew how Mary became pregnant, they wanted to defame the mother of Jesus. To me, this is the dirtiest, most demonic passage in the Gospel. And Joseph’s risk gives us this lesson: take life as it comes. Did God intervene there? I take it. And Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: After all, the Gospel says: «When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife. But he did not know her until she gave birth to a son; and gave him the name Jesus” (Mt 1:24-25).

Christian couples are called to bear witness to the kind of love that has the courage to move from the logic of infatuation to mature love. And that is a difficult choice that, instead of imprisoning life, can strengthen love to withstand the tests of time. The couple’s love continues in life and matures every day. Betrothed love is – let me tell you – a bit romantic. You’ve already lived through it all, but then mature everyday love, work, and the children that will come begin. And sometimes the romance fades a little. Well, is there no more love? Yes, but mature love.

“But you know, father, sometimes we quarrel…” This has been happening since the time of Adam and Eve until today: husbands quarreling is our daily bread. “But shouldn’t there be arguments?” Yes, yes, there can be. “And father, but sometimes we raise our voices” – “It will happen”. “And also sometimes saucers fly” – “It happens”. But how to ensure that it does not damage the life of the marriage? Listen well: never end the day without reconciliation. We argued, I cursed you, my God, I said bad things to you. But now the day is ending: I must reconcile. Do you know why? Because the cold war of the next day is very dangerous. Don’t let the day after start with war. Therefore, reconcile before going to bed. Always remember: never end the day without making peace. And that will help you in your married life. This path from falling in love to mature love is difficult, but we must follow it.

Saint Joseph, you who loved Mary freely and decided to give up your ideas to make way for reality, help each of us to be surprised by God and to accept life not as something unpredictable to be protected from, but as a mystery, which hides the secret of true joy. Ask all Christian spouses for joy and radically, but always keeping in mind that only with mercy and forgiveness is love possible.

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German synodal journey.

Both the blessing of same-sex unions and the sermons of the laity were given the green light. Rome is on the move

The raised finger from the Vatican only partially worked. The Church in Germany continues on its way.

Both the blessing of same-sex unions and the sermons of the laity were given the green light.  Rome is on the move

Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference Georg Bätzing and head of the Central Committee of German Catholics Irme Stetterová-Karpová on March 9, 2023, in Frankfurt. 

Pope Francis received a “gift” from Germany on the tenth anniversary of his pontificate. Over the weekend, the local church finished the fifth and last session of the so-called German synodal journey (different from the worldwide synod on synodality), which has been causing controversy and controversy for the past three years.

Pope Francis also addressed the German Synod critically and ironically, saying that there is a very good evangelical church in Germany and we don’t need two.

The reform of the Catholic Church in Germany from Thursday to Saturday in Frankfurt am Main by 210 delegates, including German bishops and representatives of the Central Committee of German Catholics and other delegates appointed by these bodies. About 20 foreign observers were also present at the conference center.

The leaders of the process are the Bishop of Limburg and the Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzing, and the Chairman of the Central Committee of German Catholics, Irme Stetter-Karp.

The assembly voted on several sensitive issues, and although it did not cross the “red line” that was clearly defined by the Vatican in the area of ​​approving the so-called synodal council, some other agreed steps are clear proof that the German Catholics did not back down. Vice versa.

As reported by the Austrian Catholic agency Kathpress, the synodal assembly in Frankfurt spoke in favor of the Pope re-examining the mandatory celibacy of priests. In other topics, the assembly decided on specific reforms for the area of ​​the German Bishops’ Conference.

For example, women and non-ordained men should be able to preach at Catholic services in the future. Blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples were given the green light, and in the church, the behavior of people who consider themselves transgender or who do not consider themselves male or female should be more respected.

It was also decided to further tighten the standards for dealing with perpetrators of sexual abuse and for the prevention of such crimes.

The last text adopted was a vote calling for the opening of the diaconate to women throughout the Catholic Church.

Blessing of homosexual unions: opposed by nine out of 58 bishops

Delegates in Frankfurt approved that the Catholic Church in Germany will officially bless the unions of same-sex couples from March 2026.

According to the DPA agency, out of 202 members of the synodal assembly, 176 voted for the proposal, 14 were against and 12 abstained. The necessary two-thirds majority was thus achieved, while according to the participants, a clear distinction must be made between blessing and marriage. The liturgical format of the ceremony with the participation of the bishops is to be worked out in three years from the time the change takes effect.

Only nine out of 58 bishops were against the proposal, while 11 bishops abstained. During the discussion, Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau, Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke of Eichstätt, and Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, a close friend of the late Pope Benedict XVI, spoke.

Members of the KFD group, which represents Catholic women in Germany, protest before the start of the fifth synod session in Frankfurt am Main. They demand equal rights for women in the Catholic Church. 

Bishop Bonny and other bishops in Belgium introduced the blessing of same-sex couples as early as September 2022. The bishop of Antwerp told synod delegates in Frankfurt that during the Belgian bishops’ ad limina visit in November 2022, Pope Francis neither approved nor rejected the blessing, but said he was going for the pastoral domain of the Flemish bishops, as long as they are all united.

The Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith declared in 2021 that the blessing of homosexual partnerships is not permitted.

Five reasons why the church cannot bless a homosexual union

How to understand the latest position of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which once again caused stormy reactions in the world.

Transgender resolution: seven bishops against

The other approved text is titled Addressing Gender Diversity and was approved with the support of 96 percent of the 197 voting delegates. It was also supported by 38 bishops and only seven members of the episcopate were against it. Thirteen bishops abstained from voting.

The approved material calls for “specific improvements for intersex and transsexual believers,” including changing baptismal records to match a person’s self-determined gender, banning gender identity in pastoral roles, and mandatory training for priests and church staff to “deal with the topic of gender diversity’.

The text also prohibits “external sexual characteristics” from being used as a criterion for “accepting a man as a candidate for the priesthood,” which could open the door to attempts to ordain women.

Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports that during the debate, a minority of bishops spoke out against the measure, stressing that the church should improve its pastoral care for people who identify as transgender.

Auxiliary Bishop Stefan Zekorn of the Bistum Münster diocese said he could not support a text based on gender ideology, while Paso Bishop Stefen Oster said the document did not emphasize that a Christian’s primary identity should be rooted in Jesus Christ.

According to Julianna Eckstein, professor of theology at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, the book of Genesis is an insufficient basis for the questions of sexual anthropology.

And Viola Kohlberger, a young woman from Augsburg, told the audience that there is no “norm” for gender and that the tradition of the Catholic Church is holding back progress. “And I would like to break it today,” she said.

When the vote on the transgender resolution passed, delegates stood and applauded, while some hoisted rainbow flags, the German news agency CNA added.

Lay people can preach, celibacy is to be “reconsidered” by the Pope

Only ten of the 58 bishops voted against the measure, which calls on German bishops to promote the issue of women’s sacramental ordination at the continental and universal level of the church.

The proposal adopted by the assembly replaced the call to establish a “sacramental diaconate of women” with a call to “open the sacramental diaconate to women”. According to the CNA, the difference clearly shows that the German synodal path promotes the inclusion of women in already existing sacraments, an idea that the church has repeatedly affirmed as impossible.

People living in same-sex unions, as well as those who left the church, will be able to work for church organizations in Germany.

Delegates in Frankfurt also adopted another proposal that adjusted priorities regarding the all-male priesthood and called for the practice to simply be reviewed at the universal level of the church, rather than ended.

Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx said the proposal was necessary to “reach consensus” for changes in the church’s dogmatic teaching on the priesthood.

Several female delegates were seen in tears after the vote, saddened that the text did not more explicitly require that priests be also women. “Discrimination against someone because of their gender must end in the Catholic Church,” CNA quoted delegate Susanne Schumacher-Godemann as saying.

In the adopted text entitled Proclaiming the Gospel to the Laity in Word and Sacrament, the Frankfurt Assembly states that bishops “entrust pastoral workers with preaching during the Eucharistic celebration” as part of their ecclesiastical mission “so that they can exercise their preaching ministry officially and in the name of the church”.

In the future, lay people – women and men – should be able to preach at Catholic services.

The “German Synod” also approved a measure asking Pope Francis to “reevaluate the connection between the granting of priestly ordinations and the obligation to observe celibacy.”

The measure was supported by 44 out of 60 bishops, eleven abstained and only five members of the episcopate voted against it.

The warning from the Vatican took effect. Partially

In addition to agreeing on the aforementioned controversial issues, the German assembly did not cross the “red line” defined by the Vatican.

It is about the establishment of the so-called synodal councils at the national, diocesan, and parishlevelsl. According to the Vatican, such a model of synodal councils, which includes the joint management of the church by bishops and lay people, is not by Catholic ecclesiology.

As NCR explains, in the German proposal the laity could even override the bishop, or the bishops at the national level, with a two-thirds majority.

Even before the synod meeting in Frankfurt, the church in Germany received a kind of warning. Apostolic Nuncio Nikola Eterović reminded German pastors at the plenary meeting of bishops in Dresden (which preceded the Frankfurt event) that they are not authorized to establish synodal councils.

Subsequently, the president of the bishops’ conference, Bishop Bätzing, wrote a letter to the three curial cardinals – Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith Luis Ladario, and Prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops Marc Ouellet. They wrote to Germany back in January, and Bätzing assures them in his reply that the German bishops take the “concerns” of the Holy See seriously.

At the same time, he states that as soon as possible after the synodal meeting in Frankfurt, he wants to go to Rome to talk about the dispute about the “German synodal road”. As reported by the Italian ACI Stampa, in a letter to the cardinals, the bishop of Limburg spoke about the project, which could last for another three years.

Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop of Limburg Georg Bätzing at the opening press conference in Frankfurt. 

Georg Bätzing thus takes his time on this controversial topic of the synodal council. The raised finger of the Vatican may have made sense since the delegates in Frankfurt did not approve the creation of synodal councils, but took another step towards an “unauthorized” body or bodies.

The so-called the synodal committee, which in the next three years is supposed to work on the preparation of the establishment of a permanent synodal council at the national level, elected twenty members – 19 laymen and one auxiliary bishop. They will join the 27 bishops and 27 members of the Central Committee of German Catholics who are already active in the synodal committee.

Bätzing is satisfied, but Stetter-Karp wanted more

The president of the bishops’ conference, Georg Bätzing, said at the final press conference in Frankfurt that the results give the bishops a mandate to make some changes in Germany now while pushing for broader reforms. “The church is visibly changing, and that’s important,” Bätzing said.

The president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, Irme Stetterová-Karpová, said that the results show that the synodal journey in Germany will continue.

“It doesn’t end here. It’s just the beginning,” she said, according to Kathpress, admitting that she wished for more. According to her, it was not possible to “really change the structure of the Catholic Church in Germany”. At the same time, however, she emphasized that this is a great success and that all-important decision-making issues are now on the table.

According to her, another success is the new culture of discussion. She also expressed the hope that further changes and reforms will take place.

The session was also accompanied by demonstrations in front of the hall. Some activists demanded equal rights for women in the church, and others warned with banners of “heresy and schism”, writes Kathpress.

According to the NCR,  none of the measures taken on the synodal road have a binding effect in German dioceses without being implemented by the local ordinary.

But observers believe the measures are likely to be introduced in most dioceses, in some cases because bishops support them, while in others because of intense pressure on bishops from church staff, Catholic media, or even other bishops.

In 2026, the next synodal assembly is to discuss whether and how the resolutions have been implemented.

This time a public vote.

The “German synodal journey” is criticized from various sides. For example, during the event in Frankfurt, the former personal secretary of Pope Benedict XVI gave an interview with the Augsburger Allgemeine. Archbishop Georg Gänswein.

“If the synodal path continues with the declared goals unchanged, the Roman Catholic Church in Germany will say goodbye to the unity of the universal church,” explained Gänswein.

He pointed to the ad limin visit of the German bishops in Rome last November, as well as to the mentioned letter of the three cardinals, which Pope Francis, according to him, “expressly approved”. According to Gänswein, this letter made it very clear what “it was about”. However, the majority of German bishops do not want to perceive this.

A different view of synodality, sexual morality or the consecration of women.  What about the Vatican?

Critics from among the bishops blocked changes to sexual morality, but subsequently, a text was adopted on the revision of the teaching on homosexuality.NCR and  CNA Deutsch, which belong to the same media house EWTN, also criticized the voting method. They point to the rejection of a secret ballot by the leadership of the bishops’ conference and the synodal presidency, as agreed in the statutes after the ballot failed for a blocking minority of bishops.

Namely, at the previous synodal assembly in September last year, the text on changes in sexual morality narrowly failed to pass, when 22 out of 55 bishops voted against it. IForthe text was to be accepted, not only two-thirds of the members present but also two-thirds of the bishops present would have to vote for it, according to the statutes of the synodal journey.

In response, the organizers changed the procedural rules to make voting public, which has continued even now in the fifth assembly.

On the website of the Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost, after the weekend, a comment with the headline ” Failed party conference ” appeared. In the text, the gathering in Frankfurt is referred to as an emotionally charged and not very argumentatively successful party conference, where the fight was fought partly by unfair means.

“The delegates staggered from compromise to compromise under great time pressure. Tears, accusations, and invocations replaced valid arguments. Some bishops felt blackmailed. The minority of bishops faithful to the Magisterium sometimes seemed to be outright resigned,” writes Die Tagespost in a comment.

Indeed, only a significant minority of bishops opposed the controversial material. In some votes, nine German shepherds were against it, in other times seven. There were only three German bishops who voted against all problematic proposals from last week’s so-called synodal journey.

We will see what Rome will say about these facts.

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Watch your pride. Do not judge your neighbor.

When was the last time you asked Jesus for something? Maybe when we committed some sin that gnawed at our conscience. Let us not despise the sinner, but let us not love his sin. “Because they thought they were righteous and despised others, he spoke this parable” (Luke 18:9).

This parable is intended precisely for the Pharisees. To each of us. The Pharisees belonged to the higher group of people who had a great influence on the social situation in the country, and thus had a certain position in society. And this could lead them to exalt themselves above others. They often abused this position to their advantage. There are two people in the parable. The first, which represents the Pharisee, thinks he is righteous. Let us notice his prayer. In it, he describes himself, what he will do, and what he can renounce. By doing so, he points out to himself how perfect he is. What he claims is true, but that truth is from his point of view. In the prayer, he begins to point out the publican and his bad qualities. Toll collectors are nowadays employees of the tax office. The parable also features a tax collector who is aware of his sinfulness and regrets what he has done in his heart.

Will you agree that even today there are such Pharisees and publicans among us?! They are. And it may even happen that I am a Pharisee. Let’s try now, each of us inside, to consider which category I would fit into, a tax collector or a Pharisee?! I pray daily, I go to church regularly, and I go to confession every first Friday, maybe even more often, when I go to confession, I say to myself “I don’t have such serious sins, I pray the rosary every day, maybe some devotions, I read the Holy Scriptures I didn’t hurt, I don’t steal, I don’t cheat, I try to get along with everyone on good terms”….etc., simply – I’m not that bad, I live a spiritual life. So I probably won’t be a Pharisee.

How many times do I catch myself talking about others, but not in the good, but in the bad, and especially about his bad qualities? I notice who goes to church, how he dresses, how he behaves, whether he goes to communion, how he lives in a family, whether he argues with his wife, maybe he gets drunk, overpays, cheats on his wife, or a man’s wife, can’t get a job,… ..etc. And right here can be the problem that Jesus points to and that problem is pride. The same as the Pharisees. “I tell you, this one went home justified and not that one.” That is, the publican was justified and not the Pharisee. St. Paul writes to the Corinthians: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands to take heed lest he fall. ” This means if I think that I am managing to lead a spiritual life anyway, and I do not commit as many sins as others, I should thank God for this grace that He gives me. St. Peter and James state in their letters: ” God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” That means pride is an obstacle. 

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Fourth Sunday of Lent.

Jesus returns his sight (Jn 9:1-4
Have you ever met someone very happy because he confessed years later? And have you ever encountered the indifference that the nearest didn’t care? And you certainly know people who distort morality, and Christian ethics and look at sin in the wrong way. Yes, it happens. It is right when we can find time and listen to a homily on such a topic, and not only listen but apply its words correctly and to our benefit and benefit in our lives.

We should not overlook the words of Jesus: “I came into this world to judge: that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind” (Jn 9, 39).

These words are spoken by Jesus at the end of a long passage about the healing of a man blind from birth, who not only gains sight but also faith in Christ. The Pharisees took a different attitude towards Jesus, to whom Jesus says: “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But you say: “We see.” And so your sin remains” (John 9:41). The man blind from birth whom Jesus meets does not ask for healing, nor does Jesus ask him if he wants to see. The blind man in the gospel is simply there to show the power of God on him. It is necessary to realize how gradually a seeing person turns into a believer. At first, he simply obeys Jesus, although he does not understand why Jesus tells him: “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam,” which translates as Sent. He went, washed, and returned seeing” (Jn 9:7). Then in its simplicity the spirit acts. He knows nothing about the man who healed him. When questioned by the Pharisees, he calls the one who healed him a prophet. And while his parents are afraid to confess the truth in front of the Pharisees, the healed man is not afraid to ask the Pharisees: “Do you also want to become his disciples” (Jn 9:27)? And because of his behavior, which does not suit the Pharisees, he is banished. Here he meets Jesus, who heals him. Jesus introduces himself to him, and subsequently, he is healed and bows down to Jesus.
The closer Jesus gets to his death on the cross, the more intense his relationship with his enemies, the Pharisees. So it is with this miracle, one of the seven that Jesus performed. The event happened on Saturday, that’s why there is so much opposition from the Pharisees towards the healed man. However, a courageous person is healed. He sees the hostile attitude of the Pharisees towards Jesus, and despite this, he takes the side of Jesus, although he has to leave the synagogue. Man is the type ofpepperswho believes in Jesus, even if they cannot justify their faith with rational evidence. The words of Pascal apply to them: “The heart has reasons that reason does not know.” The parents of the blind man cannot be said to be brave. Precisely because of the exclusion from the synagogue, that they may lose their property, they let their son speak for himself: “He has his years, let him speak for himself” (John 9:23). Jesus foretold to the disciples that times would come when when “they are expelled from the synagogue” (Jn 16:2). The behavior and attitude of the Pharisees towards Jesus is permeated with hatred. They close their eyes to the truth. Neither cursing, nor insulting the opponents, and finally not even their violence will help them to win their truth. A lie is always a lie.
In the event of the healing of the blind man, we find more truths: Jesus is always faithful to the person who remains faithful to him. Another truth is that faithfulness always brings enlightenment. It may also cause the persecution of bad people, but the reward of faithfulness is always an intimate friendship with Jesus and a deeper knowledge of his person and his love.
Every encounter with Jesus is connected with judgment, namely, our attitude towards Jesus is our judgment of ourselves. When we see nothing in Jesus that we should love, and admire, then we condemn ourselves. If we see in Jesus someone worthy of admiration and love, then we are on the way to God. We see our weaknesses, but we have eyes that we can open even more and penetrate deeper into the truth. If we are not aware of our weaknesses and shortcomings, we are truly blind. He who begins to realize his weaknesses can become strong. It follows that only the person who is aware of his sinfulness can receive forgiveness. It is necessary to live with the knowledge that we are responsible for the talents of God. The Pharisees were not brought up in ignorance, and therefore they are condemned. They knew about the Messiah, and yet they did not accept him. A reminder of responsibility for the privileges we have.
The event of the healing of the blind man and subsequent events point to the words: “Light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than light because their deeds were evil” (John 4:19). People live in darkness when their deeds are evil. Whoever turns his face away from Christ, chooses darkness, does what God does not like. Whoever wants to live in sin seeks darkness, and flees from the Light – Christ, “so that his deeds are not revealed” (John 2:20). Sin can so blind the eyes that a person loses the concept of beauty, goodness, hardens, becomes alienated from people and himself, and especially from God. He who loves the filth of his sins cannot love Christ. He flees from Christ because the Crucified One disturbs him and reminds him that man must be a child of God and not of the devil. Every sinner is blind because he does not see where good, and happiness is, and the smell of mud is more fragrant to him than the smell of a flower.
On the contrary, whoever turns his face to Christ, heals him from eventual blindness. That is why let us become apostles, Christians, brothers and sisters who are not indifferent to the soul of a brother or sister from the neighborhood, who are in sin and are blind. Our prayers, a personal example, but also conversations and tough, serious ones, must be used to help the blind soul to meet his Redeemer – Jesus.

They lived together for twenty-five years. They trusted each other. They were both attractive. She was sure that she was still his love. He had a position that made him lead a double life. When he was in his fifties, she got hold of evidence of her husband’s infidelity. She couldn’t handle it mentally. From treatment, he writes a letter to his cousin, who is a practicing Christian, asking for advice and help. In response, she read: “I see a solution. Stop limping on two sides. Make a decision for God once and for all, find a priest to whom you can open your heart and listen to what he tells you.” She followed the advice. She recovered, and the marriage was restored, but since then they no longer build their security on human foundations. She found Christ. Today she knows where she made mistakes and unhealthy compromises. She only cares about being with her man in eternity. She doesn’t blame him for infidelity, she started living again and differently.

Through us, as his instrument of love, Jesus calls us to lend a hand to those blinded by sin and help them find the right path. If the physically blind needs a helping hand, the one who has lost God in his heart through sin needs it even more. He who is in sin is blind because he does not see good. God will also allow the cross to fall upon us because then we become more receptive, ore and earlier we find time for God, for prayer. It is in the cross that many regain their sight. Let us receive those who return to Christ as the prodigal son with understanding and love as a father from the Gospel and not as an older brother.

If we are healthy, if our soul sight is not diseased, we still live in the awareness that we are threatened and should be vigilant. We must not expose ourselves to the loss of sanctifying grace, let us experience friendship with Jesus more and more with joy. When we do not underestimate prevention in the area of ​​bodily health, it is all the more right that we pay attention to the prevention of the soul from any sin.

Ján already knows today that he mustn’t tell himself that nothing bad can happen to him, that he doesn’t need God or anyone to advise him, help him, confess his transgressions to someone for a happy life, even more so he doesn’t need priests, confession, a church. He was, they say, a strong man. Admired. Flighted. This was the reason why he did not estimate as much as he can, what he can afford, what is the limit of possibility, and later also the limit of decency, etiquette, ethics, morals, and lity. Today he knows that he is not a friend as a friend. He was disappointed especially by those who tapped him on the shoulder, who ran up to him, who only saw his body, who mocked him, who took advantage of him, and when they gave him something, it was just another step into the mire of human indignity and betrayal of God’s sonship. Today he thanks God that those he called parasites of society, dark people, and sanctimonious people took care of him. Today he is one of us, and yet with rich experience,
We also have many similar experiences. That is why even today we feel in Jesus’ words: “I came into this world to judge: that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind” (Jn 9:39), the relevance of today’s society and us personally.

That is why we give thanks for every sacrament of reconciliation, where Christ – the doctor of our souls – gives us a healthy perspective on life. That’s why even today we don’t want to stay only with the words we heard, but already at mass we pray for the light of the Holy Spirit: what, where, and how to act in faith

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Let’s learn true love, let’s keep the love of Jesus.

All of us who have to fight for true love, because we know daily the attacks of the temptations of the flesh, the world, and the devil, long to be strengthened to resist and persevere in true love. Jesus’ words are clear: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength… You shall love your neighbor as yourself!” There is no other, greater commandment than these” (Mk 12:30-31).

The Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) noted the importance and need for the commandment of love. Already in the Old Testament in the Book of Deuteronomy (cf. 6:4-5), this command was not understood as something restrictive, but as the greatest wisdom. Whoever knows this command of God, God’s advice, or guideline for life should accept it as the greatest wealth. The lawyer asks Jesus the question: “Which commandment is the first of all” (Mk 12:28), it cannot be understood as a provocation or a bad intention. The lawyer listens to how Jesus correctly answers the questions of the people from the crowd.

The Jews had 365 positive and 248 negative commandments. Such a number can confuse which order is the first, the most important, and the most essential. Jesus answers. Two commands that do not stand next to each other in the Old Testament, Jesus connects, so to speak. It is essential for us that Jesus not only combines these commands but also interprets them: “There is no other, greater commandment than these” (Mk 12:31). Jesus combined two commands, which no one had done before him. He teaches that one commandment without the other cannot be separated. One commandment without the other would be incomplete. To love God and not to love your neighbor is not true love. The truth is that God wants to be loved in a twofold way of love: indirectly through people and directly through devoted gratitude of faith.

The commandment of love leads us to follow God, who is love. The view of the world teaches us the love with which God loved a man before he created him. The whole world is a song about God’s love. Jesus expressed his love with words and confirmed it with his death. Could we have received more from God than we received in the Eucharist, the mystery of love, when we have the living and true God present among us in this sacrament?

The world does not want to hear about God’s love. We need it all the more. What can be expected from the world without love? Murder, not only in wars but also in unborn children, murder of conjugal love, sibling, neighborly, friendly love… Whoever does not love his brother or sister does not even love God. A Christian loves God in another person and himself. Whoever hates himself, his neighbor also hates God. Only man is capable, from created things, of true love. Let us renounce any part of the commandment of love and cease to observe it, we cannot speak of true love.

The fight for love reminds us of St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians (cf. 1 Cor 13:1-13). And it would be beautiful if we used the words from 1 letter of St. John the Apostle (4.7-5.4), which begin with the words: “Let us love one another, for love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 Jn 4.7).

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The devil is not a fairy tale character. The devil is a representative of the power of evil.

Nowadays, we should not laugh at the word devil, the devil, and similar names. These are not fairy tale creatures. They say about Jesus: “With the help of Beelzebub, the prince of devils, he casts out devils” (Luke 11:14).

The Gospel tells about the collision of the Lord Jesus with his real opponents. These are turning his calcific teaching into the exact opposite. Their reproach is focused on the fact that Jesus is the devil, that he is possessed and works from the devil’s power. The reproach of the enemies against Jesus could not have been more terrible and terrible. Jesus’ answer is aimed at removing the absurdity of the accusation. In the parable of the house of the “strong man,” the answer is expressed in an understandable form. The power of Jesus is manifested by doing good and not evil. The power of Jesus is visible, especially in the healing of the possessed. By this, Jesus proves that his power is disproportionately greater than the power of Beelzebub, the lord of all evil spirits. It is unthinkable that Satan himself would invade his kingdom as a ravager. Jesus’ logic is convincing. Turning Jesus’ fight against Satan into its exact opposite, that is, declaring Jesus’ work as Satan’s work, when it happens despite better knowledge to the contrary, is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It is the ultimate human possibility.

Our times are indeed often mistaken. Although, Satanism is “legal” in the free world as long as it does not violate state laws. Let us remember that we are children of God. At baptism, we renounced evil. We are not alone in our fight against Satan. Jesus promised us: “And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world” (Mt 28,20). Jesus’ word will protect us. Apostle James says: “Submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you” (James 4:7-8). We realize that the devil is real, but Jesus Christ is our strength.

Satanism, as a religion, is as old as sinful human nature. However, no one formulated it into a set of ideas and rituals like LaVey in the sixties of the 20th century. The danger is that Satanism tends to be overrated and underrated. Both attitudes are harmful. Satanism is the opposite of Christianity. In Satanism, it is not only a weakness or a misstep, but a free decision to oppose God. The best weapon against Satanism is loyalty to the Christian community, frequent reception of the sacrament, prayer, and joy of faith. Let’s stand against everything related to Satanism. Apostle St. Peter teaches us: “Be sober and watch! Your adversary, the devil, goes around…” (1 Pt 5:8

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The Cross

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God’s laws are necessary for our salvation.

God does not change laws. Secular power, on the contrary – often. Which law is more perfect? Lord Jesus says in the Gospel: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them” (Mt 5:17).

Matthew teaches that the Law is an expression of God’s will. In this sense, the Law cannot be abolished, but only implemented. The Law and the Prophets mean that God’s commandments rest on the commandment of love for God and neighbor. Therefore, where love is taught, there the Law is correctly explained, and therefore St. Paul says that love is the fulfillment of the Law. We know from the Gospel that Jesus taught us that all commands and laws, as well as regulations in the field of religion, express only one command: To love God and neighbor. Those commands and regulations that lead to this are good and we cannot cancel them, but on the contrary, regulations that move away from love or make it more difficult must be abandoned.

After the Second Vatican Council, many regulations were canceled and changed, to make love a better way of life. Therefore, the traditionalists who reject the post-Council changes are not right, in other words, they do not want to give the Law a new spirit. Let’s remember Archbishop Lefebvre, who in Elkon ordained new bishops without the permission of Rome and the Pope, who, like him, are against the fact that everyone can celebrate the Holy Mass and the sacraments in their own language. He was of thought the Latin language should remain. After all, we see that the Holy Mass in comprehensible language helps us to love the Lord God more. On the other hand, the progressives, who want to change everything in the name of false freedom, and want to abolish the Law, are not right either.

During the Vatican Council, there was also talk of a church regulation that does not allow married priests to celebrate Holy Mass and administer the sacraments in our Roman Rite. That priests should not marry is not God’s law, but the church’s. These progressives want marriage for priests. For now, the law is that Roman priests do not marry. The law of love, because was established by the Church – not for property disputes, as the enemies of the Church teach and say, but so that the priest and own owned and family do not stand in the way of fulfilling his duties as a priest who is supposed to take care of spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ, teachings of love. So neither the strict traditionalists nor the innovators – progressives – are right.

In the Church, Jesus Christ is right, who is represented by the visible head of the Church – the Pope. When the church authority led by the Holy Spirit orders something, we accept it and believe that it will bring the appropriate blessing for us as well. Therefore, let’s all try to fulfill God’s and the church’s commandments so conscientiously and honestly, to spread the love of God in ourselves. We must not cancel even the smallest commandment, or bypass it out of the conviction that it is nothing, because the Lord Jesus tells us: “Whoever, therefore, breaks one of these commandments, even the smallest one, and thus teaches people, he will be the least in the kingdom of heaven.” (Lk 5:19). That is why we want to keep even the smallest commandment to obtain a higher degree of eternal bliss.

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To forgive.

Many of you have surely heard or asked yourself the question: Will God forgive me of my sins? Or they uttered the sentence: God will not forgive me, my sins are great and terrible. In today’s Gospel, Lord Jesus talks about forgiveness, about the dependence between God’s forgiveness and human forgiveness. “So also my heavenly Father will do to you, if you do not forgive each one of his brothers from the heart” (Mt 18, 35). Today’s Gospel begins with the apostle Peter approaching Jesus and asking him: “How many times must I forgive my brother?” Perhaps seven times” (Mt 18:21)? Peter asks this question not because he doubts that it is necessary to forgive, but he wants to know from Jesus how many times he should forgive, what is the upper limit. He probably asked this question because the rabbinical schools of the time taught that it is possible to forgive only seven times. Peter receives the answer from Jesus: “Not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Mt 18:22). If the Jews expressed with the number seven the same thing that we express with the word many, then Peter should have known that the number seventy-seven means that there is no limit, he must and must always forgive.

But why should we always forgive? Jesus answers this question of ours and certainly also of Peter with the parable of the unmerciful servant. The parable is about a big and a small debtor. Why about the big and small borrower? The great debtor was to return ten thousand talents to his Lord. One talent was about twenty-six kilograms of silver, then ten thousand talents was two hundred and sixty tons of silver. It was a huge amount. It is certain that such a debt could not be paid by the servant in question. The small debtor owed his fellow servant a hundred denarii, which was a little more than the average of three months’ earnings. Compared to the previous debt, it could not even be considered a debt. In this case, the promise to repay the debt was indeed real. The Lord took pity on the great debtor. He released him and forgave him all his debt, although it was very great. The big debtor behaved differently towards his small debtor: “He threw him into prison until he paid the debt” (Mt 18:30). But it didn’t help him. “When the Lord found out about it, he not only revoked the forgiveness of the debt, but “handed him over to torturers until he paid the whole debt” (Mt 18:34). In conclusion, Lord Jesus points out: “So will my heavenly Father do to you, if you do not forgive each one of his brothers from the heart” (Mt 18:35). 158 The Gospel parable is clear and impressive. We are great debtors to the Lord God, just like the servant in the parable is to his Lord. Our debt is our sins, which stem from disobedience to fulfill God’s will, to live according to God’s and church’s commandments. That is why we constantly need God’s forgiveness. Many people today are convinced that their sin is very great and God cannot forgive them. But this opinion is wrong. After all, we know from the Gospels that the Lord Jesus forgave even very serious sins. He forgave the public sinner, who committed sins of sexual immorality. He forgave the woman who was caught in adultery and wanted to stone her. He also forgave the criminal on the cross who committed robbery and murder. All these were great and grievous sins. It follows that the magnitude of the sin is not an obstacle to God’s forgiveness. That’s why we are asked, what is an obstacle to God’s forgiveness? The obstacle that prevents God from forgiving us is when we do not forgive our neighbors, when we do not forgive our small debtors. God’s mercy to us is strictly tied to our mercy to our neighbors. Whoever does not have mercy for his brother or sister will not receive God’s mercy, because sinful man has anger in him, and God does not like any anger. Since it is a very important requirement for our life, so that we do not forget it, Lord Jesus included the request in the daily Our Father prayer: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive our trespassers. As we can see, forgiving our neighbor is vital for us, significant for our salvation. That is why the Lord Jesus gave us an example of his forgiveness while he lived here on earth. He lovingly forgave those who wronged him. He experienced the most severe and greatest harm during his crucifixion. He was mocked, spat on, beaten, scourged all over, crowned with thorns, and finally nailed to a cross. Although he suffered in terrible torment, hanging on the cross he prayed for his tormentors: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This great forgiveness shines like a great light before the eyes of all people. And indeed many people throughout history have forgiven their neighbors in the light of Jesus’ example. important for our salvation. That is why the Lord Jesus gave us an example of his forgiveness while he lived here on earth. He lovingly forgave those who wronged him. He experienced the most severe and greatest harm during his crucifixion. He was mocked, spat on, beaten, scourged all over, crowned with thorns, and finally nailed to a cross. Although he suffered in terrible torment, hanging on the cross he prayed for his tormentors: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This great forgiveness shines like a great light before the eyes of all people. And indeed, many people throughout history have forgiven their neighbors in the light of Jesus’ example. important for our salvation. That is why the Lord Jesus gave us an example of his forgiveness while he lived here on earth. He lovingly forgave those who wronged him. He experienced the most severe and greatest harm during his crucifixion. He was mocked, spat on, beaten, scourged all over, crowned with thorns, and finally nailed to a cross. Although he suffered in terrible torment, hanging on the cross he prayed for his tormentors: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This great forgiveness shines like a great light before the eyes of all people. And indeed, many people throughout history have forgiven their neighbors in the light of Jesus’ example. beaten, scourged all over, crowned with thorns and finally nailed to the cross. Although he suffered in terrible torment, hanging on the cross he prayed for his tormentors: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This great forgiveness shines like a great light before the eyes of all people. And indeed many people throughout history have forgiven their neighbors in the light of Jesus’ example. beaten, scourged all over, crowned with thorns and finally nailed to the cross. Although he suffered in terrible torment, hanging on the cross he prayed for his tormentors: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). This great forgiveness shines like a great light before the eyes of all people. And indeed, many people throughout history have forgiven their neighbors in the light of Jesus’ example.

Yes, only love can forgive. Jesus forgave his tormentors based on his infinite love, love for us humans. He offers this love to us too, so that we too have the strength to forgive our culprits, our little debtors. We must remove all enmity from our lives and love everyone in God, because at the end of life we ​​will be judged by love. Today, the world will not change through various global programs, but through the conversion of hearts to love. We will achieve this conversion when we draw from the inexhaustible source of God’s love, from the Eucharist. Let’s look into our heart at this moment. Do we harbor forgiveness, anger towards relatives, neighbors, superiors, towards our neighbor? If so, let us realize that it is an obstacle placed in the way of God’s mercy towards us. Let us realize that the heavenly Father will not forgive us until we forgive. therefore now at this moment, let’s decide to forgive everyone with whom we are angry, so that we can pray the Our Father prayer before Holy Communion with full sincerity: Forgive us our trespasses, as we also forgive our trespassers.

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