The Glorious Mission

If you knew you were about to die, what wisdom would you impart to your loved ones in your final moments? What’s most important for them to learn from you?

In the Gospel reading (John 13:31-35), Jesus knows that his time is short. The first thing he says to his friends is words of praise for God (the Father) while equating himself with God. He even calls his friends “children” as if he himself is God the Father! In so doing, he makes it clear that he is one with the Father — so totally that the lines between Father and Savior are blurred. And he does it humbly. He could have said, “Hey guys, in case you’re not sure, I am divine. I am God. Worship me.” But instead, he focuses on the glory of God.

Glory is the radiating light of God’s presence: his love, his joy, his holiness, his peace, his wisdom, his creativity, and everything else that he imparts on those who want to bathe in his glory. When we glorify God, we are reflecting back to him this same glory. How much of this glory is illuminating your life?

After describing the exchange of glory between Father and Son, Jesus imparts to his disciples the highest wisdom of the universe: The key to successfully joining Jesus in the glory of God is to love as he loves.

Love is not love unless it unselfishly gives itself to others. Jesus unselfishly gave himself to us completely, even in death. Followers of Jesus are not true followers, disciples are not true disciples, priests are not true priests, lay leaders are not true leaders, unless they serve with love, in love, and through love.

The glory of God is love that gives itself completely, even sacrificially. Why does the Gospel reading give us a scene from the Passion of Christ while we’re celebrating the season of Easter? The other readings are full of Easter: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5a). And yet here is Jesus preparing for betrayal, torture, and death. Why?

This Gospel reading is Jesus imparting to us today the key to continuing the mission of sharing God’s glory, which Jesus began and now calls us to do. By loving one another in a spirit of sacrifice, we are showing the world that Jesus is real, he is risen, and he is alive in us.

© 2016 by Terry A. Modica

Saint Cyril of Alexandria

Little is known for certain of Cyril’s early life. He was born c. 376, in the small town of Didouseya, Egypt, modern-day El-Mahalla El-Kubra. A few years after his birth, his maternal uncle Theophilus rose to the powerful position of Patriarch of Alexandria. His mother remained close to her brother and under his guidance, Cyril was well educated. His writings show his knowledge of Christian writers of his day, including EusebiusOrigenDidymus the Blind, and writers of the Church of Alexandria. He received the formal Christian education standard for his day: he studied grammar from age twelve to fourteen (390–392), rhetoric and humanities from fifteen to twenty (393–397) and finally theology and biblical studies (398–402).

Recognized as a great teacher of the Church, Cyril began his career as archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt, with impulsive, often violent, actions. He pillaged and closed the churches of the Novatian heretics—who required those who denied the faith to be re-baptized—participated in the deposing of Saint John Chrysostom, and confiscated Jewish property, expelling the Jews from Alexandria in retaliation for their attacks on Christians.

Cyril’s importance for theology and Church history lies in his championing the cause of orthodoxy against the heresy of Nestorius, who taught that in Christ there were two persons, one human and one divine.

The controversy centered around the two natures in Christ. Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, would not agree to the title “Theotokos” or “God-bearer” for Mary. He preferred “Christ-bearer,” saying there are two distinct persons in Christ—divine and human—joined only by a moral union. According to Nestorius, Mary was not the mother of God but only of the man Christ, whose humanity was only a temple of God. Nestorianism implied that the humanity of Christ was a mere disguise.Read More »

#MoralStory: Noodles & Eggs Story from President Xi

China’s President Xi Jinping has created his own political ideology, as the leader of the Communist Party.   “Xi Jinping Thought” were mentioned several times at the Communist Party Congress. Here is the lessons President Xi learned from his father while he was young  and the influence on him.  The lessons about truth, experience and generosity was very well encapsulated in this short story.

“As a child, I was a selfish child. I always think of myself first with good things, never consider the feelings of others. As a result, the companions left me one by one. I am very upset over it, and laid the blame to others.

One night, my father cooked two bowls of noodles. There was a white egg on one bowl and none on the other.

My father asked me, which bowl you prefer?

During then, eggs were very precious food. It was only on a festive or occasion like birthday that we had the privilege having egg in a meal. I would not miss such opportunity and with no hesitation, I chose the bowl with eggs.

My choice was wrong. I was surprised that my father’s bowl actually contained two eggs underneath the noddle. I regretted it and hated myself for being too impatient. Noticed my reaction, my father smiled and said to me:

“Son, you must remember, what is visible to the eye might not be true, one who want to take advantage of others will eventually suffer a big loss.”

The next night, my father cooked two bowls of noodles again. There was still a white egg on one bowl and none on the other. My father asked me to choose. I learned from the previous experience and chose the bowl with no eggs on the surface. The father watched me silently and did not utter a word. I quickly picked up the chopsticks, stirred the noodles to find the eggs underneath it.Read More »

I Am Loved ~ by Mack Brock

*

Just as I am
You welcome me
With open arms
How can this be
My guilt is undone
My past is untethered
I leave it behind
And run to my Father

There is no disappointment in Your eyes
There is no shame there is only pride
I am loved
Father, I’m loved by You

So unreserved
Your heart for me
My fear is gone
I am set free
There’s nothing to hide
There’s nothing to measure
‘Cause I am Your child
And that’s all that matters

There is no disappointment in Your eyes
There is no shame there is only pride
I am loved
Father, I’m loved by You
There is no distance in Your embrace
Over and over again You say
I am loved
Father, I’m loved by You

You are changing everything
You are changing everything
I believe it
I receive it
You are changing everything
You are changing everything
You are…

#ShortNews: Hungarian bishops raise $223M for Syrian hospitals

The Catholic Bishops conference of Hungary organized a donation campaign, in collaboration with the Caritas Syria and AVSI foundation agencies. Over 200 million euros were raised in Hungary and have been used to support the Syrian Open Hospital initiative. The initiative began in 2016 and aims to ensure free access to hospital for some of the poorest Syrian citizens. At present, the initiative supports 3 hospital in the country. Two are located in Damascus while the third is in Aleppo. Already, over 30,000 people have received treatment as a result of the initiatives.

Cardinal Zenari emphasized the serious nature of the ongoing conflict in Syria, noting that “The bloody conflict, the 9-year-long destruction, the death and the endless rows of refugee camps are not over yet. Just think about the bombing and the daily attacks in the North-West and the situation which remains uncertain in the North-Eastern part of the country.”

He went on say that he finds it comforting that brave people of good will follow the example of Veronica, Simon of Cyrene and the Good Samaritan and help the persecuted get to safety.

Source: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2020-01/nuncio-to-syria-writes-thank-you-letter-to-hungarian-church.html

#ShortNews: 260 million Christians face persecution worldwide

Worldwide, the report states, 260 million Christians are facing persecution. This marks a 6% increase from the previous year. The annual report from Open Doors, released Jan. 15, ranked North Korea first on its list of 50 most dangerous countries in which to be Christian, the 18th straight year that the country has received that designation.

There are an estimated 300,000 Christians amidst the total population of 25.4 million in North Korea. Open Doors reports that if North Korean Christians are discovered, the government will deport them to labor camps as political criminals or even kill them on the spot. Meeting other Christians to worship is nearly impossible unless it is done in complete secrecy.

Following North Korea on the World Watch List Top 10 are Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, and India.

Source: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/report-around-the-world-260-million-christians-face-persecution-33304