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Aren’t All Churches The Same?

Why Catholic – Testimony of Steve Ray

Peter, the Rock, the Keys, and the Chair – Steve Ray

 
 
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WELCOME TO GOD’S ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH!

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Reflection
Mark’s Gospel begins by introducing us to John the Baptist, who prepared the way to Jesus by calling people to acknowledge their sins and receive a baptism of repentance. Are we prepared to welcome Jesus into the world? To do so properly, we need to acknowledge our sins and receive forgiveness for the wrong we have done. As we celebrate today’s liturgy, let us keep in mind our failings and resolve to keep Jesus in our minds and hearts as we interact with others.

“A PREACHER’S JOB”

John the Baptist could be the main focus in today’s homily. He prepared the minds of people in his circle to welcome the bringer of salvation. That is how God seems to work: sending the message of salvation and meaningful living to us through each other. St Paul once asked two vital questions, “How can people know about God if they have never heard? and how can they hear if nobody is sent to them?” So the vocation to proclaim or preach religious truth is vital, if God is to be known and loved. Jesus found his first disciples among the circle of the Baptist’s followers. It was John who showed them the value of self-control and of prayer, who urged them to listen to the inner voice of God, with a contrite and faithful heart. The high point of John’s short ministry was meeting with Jesus. Not only did he baptize Our Lord but he sent some of his own followers to join the Jesus movement. Through him, Andrew and his brother Peter, and Philip and Nathanael became apostles.

God still wants us to help help other people to know and love him. If we were more committed as Christians, maybe we could do more to influence others towards faith in God. Parents can introduce their children to God, with words about trust and prayer. But their words will only be effective if built on the example of their actual life. In all sorts of way, people are in position to influence others, for good or ill. This is clearly so for those who work in the communications media, press, radio and T.V. But ordinary people doing ordinary jobs can also influence the views and values of those they interact with. In light of today’s portrayal of John the Baptist, does our way of speaking and behaving help others to share our values, or do we confirm their suspicion that this world is a selfish and cynical place?

What about promoting vocations to the priesthood or other ministry, or any form of service to the church of Christ? The future of our church as an organized, priest-served community handing on the prayer-life and values of Jesus is under serious question today. But if enough people open their hearts to God’s work, like John the Baptist and those first disciples, Andrew and Philip and Peter, then a way will be found to keep the world aware of the saving message of Christ. In the process, our bishops may need to be urged by many practicing Catholics to open up the priesthood to well motivated, devoted married people, as well as to the traditional but diminishing cadre of the voluntarily celibate.

Gospel: Mark 1:1-8

“John the Baptist Prepares the people for the coming of their Savior

 

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’”

John the baptizer appeared in the desert, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 
 

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