Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hebrews 12

This is the first reading from yesterday's Mass readings. When I read it, I thought of you. In particular, all of the questions and comments you've posted about suffering seemed to resurface. So many of us might question why following Christ and living the Gospel entail hardship and suffering. Why does God's love involve the Cross? How can trials be seen as God's love for me? Verses 4-7 of this passage do not answer all of these questions. But, they can bring great peace and consolation because they reveal the truth that God is a loving father who knows what is best for us even if it's not always what is easiest for us.

Heb 12:4-7, 11-15:

Brothers and sisters:
In your struggle against sin
you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.
You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:
My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.
Endure your trials as “discipline”;
God treats you as his sons.
For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?

At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.
So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed.
Strive for peace with everyone,
and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God,
that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble,
through which many may become defiled.


At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you not get scandalized by things that are happening around you and just concentrate on strengthening your spiritual life?


At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, Father Greg, thank you for sharing this scripture today. God bless you.

From one who has been disciplined by the Lord, suffered, endures trials, receives consolation.

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous kevin h. said...

From Kevin H.

Hi FG. My English teacher says that Catholics believe you can only get to heaven by doing good deeds. She says other christians believe that you get to Heaven just by believing in Jesus. Like what's the truth?

Heaven and hell. How does God decide who is going to Hell? What is Hell like?


At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is Hell like?

Very Warm

At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever been yelled at in confession? I have some pretty big things and, well, I am sure I am going to shock the priest or get yelled at. The thought of even going to confession scares me.

At 10:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is nothing to be afraid of. Go to confession it will make you feel a lot better afterwards. The priests are there to help and guide you towards Christ. I used to feel the same way as you do and take it for me if I can go to confession then ANYONE can.

Btw, you might make the priest amused by what you say-I seem to always do that.

What we think is so big and terrible is not that bad at all. Go to confession and feel lightweight afterwards!

At 10:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never been yelled at in confession, and if anyone has been a prime candidate for a major verbal thrashing it has been me. Mostly what I've received is kindness and generosity of spirit and forgiveness from the priests. They really want to help us get over what we've done and avoid repetition of our sins. By all means go to confession very soon; you will be glad you did. I can guarantee you will leave the church feeling much lighter and better than when you went in.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Tom said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:52 AM, Anonymous Marion (Mael Muire) said...

Kevin H wrote, "My teacher says that Catholics believe you can only get to heaven by doing good deeds. She says other Christians believe that you get to Heaven just by believing in Jesus. Like what's the truth?"

Hi, Kevin. I'm sure Father Greg will be able to answer your question better than I, but I found your question interesting, so I thought I would research it.

I found an article on EWTN by Sal Ciresi that addresses exactly what you're talking about. The URL is

Christians have always believed that salvation is through our faith in Jesus Christ, and that the person who has faith in Him will also do good. The two go together - if you truly believe, you will also strive to avoid sin and do what is good. James 2:24,26 says, "a person is justified by works and not by faith alone . . . For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."

So, the real answer would be: For a Catholic, your faith in Jesus needs to be the real deal . . . and if you really believe in Him, you'll have a record of good deeds to back that up.


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