Friday, May 22, 2015

Beware of Doors to the World of Evil Spirits

Any contact with the world of evil spirits can open up doors to evil spirits in our lives. A woman I know asked for prayers for her twelve year old granddaughter who is suicidal. The girl’s mother is very involved with psychics. It’s good for us to be reminded from time to time of those tools satan uses to get hold of people’s lives, both for ourselves and for others we know. Stay away from: astrologers, channelers, charters, clairvoyants, crystal healers, fortune tellers, mediums, the New Age Movement, occult seers; palm, tea leaf, or tarot card readers; psychics; santeros, spirit guides, witches, Voodoo, séances and divination, Ouija boards, horoscopes, occult games of all sorts; curses, hexes, spells. Scripture passages: Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Leviticus 20:6; Isaiah 47:13-15; 2 Kings 23:5; 2 Kings 23:24a; John 14:6

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"Follow Me"

It can be helpful to see that Jesus' first followers were sometimes caught up in their all too human concerns. Jesus has just told Peter to follow him when Peter asks about John (John 21:21). Jesus instructs Peter not to be concerned about John's role and again says, "Follow Me." We need to stay focused on how we follow Jesus. Concentrating on another's path will be a detriment to our vocation. (Keeping the Seasons, May 23, 2015)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Do Most People Go to Heaven When They Die?

I have found there is a widespread misconception that just about everybody goes to Heaven after they die. Many people seem to think that as long as you aren't very bad, like murdering someone, being a serial killer or some other horrific crime, you will go to Heaven. When I attend wakes or funerals, I find that often the priest or minister talks as if the deceased is already in Heaven, looking down on us or actually praying for us.
  This false belief flies in the face of God's revealed word in the Bible. St. Paul wrote to the Romans: All men have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.  Roman 3:23.  In Mark 7:21-23 Jesus says: Wicked designs come from the deep recesses of the heart; acts of fornication, theft, murder, adulterous conduct, greed, maliciousness, deceit, sensuality, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, and obtuse spirit. All these evils come from within and render a man impure.  St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians: Make no mistake about this: no fornicator, no unclean or lustful person...has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with worthless arguments. These are sins that bring God's wrath down on the disobedient;.... (5:5-6) There are many other Scripture passages, too numerous to list here, which reveal to us that we are all sinners, unable to save ourselves and unworthy of eternal life. We all need a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus Christ.
  The whole New Testament was written to show us the way to Heaven. I think the most compelling evidence for the need of a Savior is the cross. If all "good" men go to Heaven, then why did Jesus have to suffer and die. He could have just come to earth, taught us about God's love and what He expects of us, and then been taken up to Heaven. Many good men died before Jesus was born but there is nothing in Scripture about them going to Heaven. No, Jesus had to suffer and die a horrible death to make it possible for us to go to Heaven after we die. He said: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me. John 14:6.  He also said: I solemnly assure you, no one can enter into God's kingdom without being begotten of water and Spirit. John 3:5.
  You may say, then what about those of the Jewish faith or Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists who have been faithful to their religion. What about those who have never heard about Jesus? Will they all be sent to Hell? The Catholic Catechism says: "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do His Will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience--those too may achieve eternal salvation." (CCC 847) The key word is "may". We can know who is saved; we don't know who is not.