Your New Life in Christ


From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop A new creation in Christ

I speak to you who have just been reborn in baptism, my little children in Christ, you who are the new offspring of the Church, gift of the Father, proof of Mother Church’s fruitfulness. All of you who stand fast in the Lord are a holy seed, a new colony of bees, the very flower of our ministry and fruit of our toil, my joy and my crown. It is the words of the Apostle that I address to you: Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh and its desires, so that you may be clothed with the life of him whom you have put on in this sacrament. You have all been clothed with Christ by your baptism in him. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor freeman; there is neither male nor female; you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Such is the power of this sacrament: it is a sacrament of new life which begins here and now with the forgiveness of all past sins, and will be brought to completion in the resurrection of the dead. You have been buried with Christ by baptism into death in order that, as Christ has risen from the dead, you also may walk in newness of life.

You are walking now by faith, still on pilgrimage in a mortal body away from the Lord; but he to whom your steps are directed is himself the sure and certain way for you: Jesus Christ, who for our sake became man. For all who fear him he has stored up abundant happiness, which he will reveal to those who hope in him, bringing it to completion when we have attained the reality which even now we possess in hope.

This is the octave day of your new birth. Today is fulfilled in you the sign of faith that was prefigured in the Old Testament by the circumcision of the flesh on the eighth day after birth. When the Lord rose from the dead, he put off the mortality of the flesh; his risen body was still the same body, but it was no longer subject to death. By his resurrection he consecrated Sunday, or the Lord’s day. Though the third after his passion, this day is the eighth after the Sabbath, and thus also the first day of the week.

And so your own hope of resurrection, though not yet realized, is sure and certain, because you have received the sacrament or sign of this reality, and have been given the pledge of the Spirit. If, then, you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your hearts on heavenly things, not the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.

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How to gain heaven’s blessings for you and your family


*curated information

Since you have been raised up in company with Christ, set your heart on what pertains to higher realms where Christ is seated at God’s right hand. Be intent on things above rather than on things of earth. After all, you have died! Your life is hidden now with Christ in God. When Christ our life appears, then you shall appear with him in glory.

Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desires, and that lust which is idolatry. These are the sins which provoke God’s wrath. Your own conduct was once of this sort, when these sins were your very life. You must put that aside now: all the anger and quick temper, the malice, the insults, the foul language.

Stop lying to one another. What you have done is put aside your old self with its past deeds and put on a new man, one who grows in knowledge as he is formed anew in the image of his Creator. There is no Greek or Jew here, circumcised or uncircumcised, foreigner, Scythian, slave, or freeman. Rather, Christ is everything in all of you.

Because you are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.

Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect. Christ’s peace must reign in your hearts, since as members of the one body you have been called to that peace. Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness.

Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you. In wisdom made perfect, instruct and admonish one another. Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs. Whatever you do, whether in speech or in action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Give thanks to God the Father through him.

From the letter of the apostle Paul to the Colossians

3:1-17

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The Easter praise of Christ


//curated information….

From an Easter homily by Melito of Sardis, bishop

The Easter praise of Christ

We should understand, beloved, that the paschal mystery is at once old and new, transitory and eternal, corruptible and incorruptible, mortal and immortal. In terms of the Law it is old, in terms of the Word it is new. In its figure it is passing, in its grace it is eternal. It is corruptible in the sacrifice of the lamb, incorruptible in the eternal life of the Lord. It is mortal in his burial in the earth, immortal in his resurrection from the dead.

The Law indeed is old, but the Word is new. The type is transitory, but grace is eternal. The lamb was corruptible, but the Lord is incorruptible. He was slain as a lamb; he rose again as God. He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, yet he was not a sheep. He was silent as a lamb, yet he was not a lamb. The type has passed away; the reality has come. The lamb gives place to God, the sheep gives place to a man, and the man is Christ, who fills the whole of creation. The sacrifice of the lamb, the celebration of the Passover, and the prescriptions of the Law have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Under the old Law, and still more under the new dispensation, everything pointed toward him.

Both the Law and the Word came forth from Zion and Jerusalem, but now the Law has given place to the Word, the old to the new. The commandment has become grace, the type a reality. The lamb has become a Son, the sheep a man, and man, God.

The Lord, though he was God, became man. He suffered for the sake of those who suffer, he was bound for those in bonds, condemned for the guilty, buried for those who lie in the grave; but he rose from the dead, and cried aloud: Who will contend with me? Let him confront me. I have freed the condemned, brought the dead back to life, raised men from their graves. Who has anything to say against me? I, he said, am the Christ; I have destroyed death, triumphed over the enemy, trampled hell underfoot, bound the strong one, and taken men up to the heights of heaven: I am the Christ.

Come, then, all you nations of men, receive forgiveness for the sins that defile you. I am your forgiveness. I am the Passover that brings salvation. I am the lamb who was immolated for you. I am your ransom, your life, your resurrection, your light, I am your salvation and your king. I will bring you to the heights of heaven. With my own right hand I will raise you up, and I will show you the eternal Father.

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Eternal Life is NOW if you BELIEVE in Jesus


//curated homily…

By Fr. Tommy Lane

The raising of Lazarus was Jesus’ greatest miracle and like all of Jesus’ miracles what was important was Jesus’ teaching that accompanied it. In this case Jesus’ teaching is,

I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25-26)

Martha professed her faith in the resurrection of the body on the last day, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day” (John 11:24) But Jesus is saying eternal life is not something reserved for you in the future after you die. Eternal life begins now if you believe in him. Of course, the raising of Lazarus anticipates Jesus’ resurrection which teaches us about the resurrection of our own bodies at the end of time but what Jesus says just before he raises Lazarus emphasizes that eternal life begins with him here and now.

I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25-26)

For one who believes in Jesus, there is a continuum between life now and life after death, “whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” Jesus did not just say he is the resurrection; he said he is the resurrection and the life. Eternal life begins now for anyone in relationship with Jesus. This is not the first time in the Gospel of John that we hear Jesus teaching this. It is obvious earlier when Jesus said, “whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life.” (5:24) Already in this life one who hears Jesus’ word and believes his Father had passed from death to life. We have heard the phrase, “hell on earth.” Jesus says there is eternal life on earth if you believe in him.

Many times throughout this Gospel Jesus taught how to begin enjoying this eternal life with him even now. To the Samaritan woman who came to draw water from the well, Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14) That water begins welling up to eternal life in us at baptism. Many times in chapter 6, Jesus emphasizes his eternal life in us through the Eucharist. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (6:51) “[U]nless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” (John 6:53) “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” (6:54) Jesus is saying eternal life is not something reserved for you in the future after you die. Eternal life begins now for those who believe in him.

I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25-26)

The pastor of an urban parish in continental Europe who did his graduate studies in Rome at the same time as me has told me of the difficulty in helping people now to enter into relationship with Jesus. In the past, he said, when you would mention Jesus it would mean something but now mentioning Jesus means nothing to them; it produces no emotional reaction. But Jesus did not come just to save us when we die; he came that we might have his life now. Eternal life begins now if you are in relationship with Jesus. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (6:56) During the Last Supper, Jesus emphasized to the apostles the necessity of abiding in him; “I am the vine and you are the branches.” (15:5) “Remain in me, as I remain in you.” (15:4) Jesus gives that teaching to the apostles in Mark from the very beginning of their calling as apostles. In Mark, when Jesus called the twelve apostles out of all the disciples we read that they were to be with him and to be sent out to preach (3:14) Their first duty was to be with Jesus. Then they were to go out to preach.

Jesus’ request for relationship with him – to abide in him (using the words of John), to be with him (using the words of Mark)- has meaning for all but in particular for seminarians. Jesus calls you to intimacy with him. Jesus wants you to spend time with him, to abide with him through the Eucharist, Holy Hours, spiritual reading, through reading Scripture both when we pray the Breviary apart from praying the Breviary, through the Rosary and all your other prayers and devotions. The first thing Jesus wants is you to give him yourself completely. Before you try to win souls for Christ, he wants to win you completely to himself, 100%. What is the point in trying to win souls for Christ if you are not willing to give him yourself completely? Jesus wants you before he wants the others whom you will bring to him. He called you because he wants you. If God is calling you to be his priest, think of how privileged you are. God chooses you. This is God loving you. Yes, God needs laborers in the harvest but God chooses you because he loves you. The call from God to us is God loving us in a very special way. Jesus calls you because he wants you. He wants you to enjoy his eternal life now.

Eternal life begins now for those in relationship with Jesus. Jesus is saying eternal life is not something reserved for you in the future after you die. Eternal life begins now for those believe in him.

I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25-26)

© Fr. Tommy Lane 2017

This homily was delivered in Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

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The Lord descends into hell


From an ancient homily on Holy Saturday

The Lord descends into hell

Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

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The Power of Christ’s Blood


From the Catecheses by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop

The power of Christ’s blood

If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. Sacrifice a lamb without blemish, commanded Moses, and sprinkle its blood on your doors. If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.

If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.

There flowed from his side water and blood. Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit, and from the holy eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam. Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh! As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.

Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.

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Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Looking for Lingerers’


//curated information:

Relationship with Christ is vital for seeing our culture transform. It is vital that the body of Christ embrace authentic passion for His presence. Religion is not the remedy. Religion has this way of trying to do damage control when alabaster vessels are cracked open. Religious people refuse to linger because they carry dead men’s bones. When they see lingerers and the anointing, they perceive a mess instead of discerning intimacy.

What religion does not consider is that the fragrance follows the oil. When you linger in His presence, He will change you. When you choose to lean on your beloved, your heart shifts. The church does not need more programs or printed bulletins. We have a surplus of whitewashed tombs. The church needs to get intimate with the bridegroom, seeking His heart and His ways. We are called to carry His fragrance, and it begins with intimacy and a lifestyle of lingering in His midst.

Read more why it is the better part.

http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/prophetic-insight/32388-prophetic-word-the-lord-says-i-am-looking-for-lingerers?utm_source=Prophetic%20Insight&utm_medium=email&utm_content=subscriber_id:885406&utm_campaign=Prophetic%20Insight%20-%202017-04-12

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The lamb that was slain has delivered us from death and given us life


From an Easter homily by Saint Melito of Sardis, bishop

The lamb that was slain has delivered us from death and given us life

There was much proclaimed by the prophets about the mystery of the Passover: that mystery is Christ, and to him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

For the sake of suffering humanity he came down from heaven to earth, clothed himself in that humanity in the Virgin’s womb, and was born a man. Having then a body capable of suffering, he took the pain of fallen man upon himself; he triumphed over the diseases of soul and body that were its cause, and by his Spirit, which was incapable of dying, he dealt man’s destroyer, death, a fatal blow.

He was led forth like a lamb; he was slaughtered like a sheep. He ransomed us from our servitude to the world, as he had ransomed Israel from the land of Egypt; he freed us from our slavery to the devil, as he had freed Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. He sealed our souls with his own Spirit, and the members of our body with his own blood.

He is the One who covered death with shame and cast the devil into mourning, as Moses cast Pharaoh into mourning. He is the One who smote sin and robbed iniquity of offspring. He is the One who brought us out of slavery into freedom, out of darkness into light, out of death into life, out of tyranny into an eternal kingdom; who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen to be his own for ever. He is the Passover that is our salvation.

It is he who endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him. In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonored in the prophets.

It is he who was made man of the Virgin, he who was hung on the tree; it is he who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb, the lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of his was broken; in the earth his body knew no decay. He is the One who rose from the dead, and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.

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10 Dangerous Signs of Prophetic Abuse


//curated information:

The prophetic gift can especially be very dangerous if left unchecked, since people think the words spoken are directly from God and will often obey them without question or the use of discernment. Based on all my years of operating in the prophetic, as well as mentoring, nurturing, overseeing and hosting many prophetic ministers, the following are 10 signs of prophetic abuse and manipulation.

I write this not to discourage prophetic function but as a guide to increase the level of discernment and true edification in the body of Christ. All sincere prophetic people should welcome these warning signs. If they are truly endeavoring to serve the Lord, they will welcome correction and or desire more discernment in the Church.

Read more.

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/the-pulse/64150-10-dangerous-signs-of-prophetic-abuse?utm_source=In%20the%20Line%20of%20Fire&utm_medium=email&utm_content=subscriber_id:798896&utm_campaign=Blogger%20-%20Michael%20Brown%20-%202017-04-10

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Where Was Christ While ISIS Murdered Christians Yesterday?


//curated information:

Suicide bombers attacked two Coptic churches in Egypt yesterday, killing 44 people. It was the deadliest day of violence in the country in decades. ISIS has claimed responsibility for both bombings.

The first attack was in the northern city of Tanta at St. George’s Church. The explosion killed 27 and injured 78 others. The explosive device was planted under a seat in the main prayer hall close to the altar. Shortly afterward, at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, 16 people were killed and 41 were wounded in a suicide bomb attack.

Where is God when such atrocity strikes?

Find out where He is. Read more.

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/64176-where-was-christ-while-isis-murdered-christians-yesterday?utm_source=Charisma%20News%20Daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=subscriber_id:650261&utm_campaign=CNO%20daily%20-%202017-04-11

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