Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Most Basic and Important Act of Life

 

Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Jan. 24, 2021. Reading: Jonah 3:1-10. Theme: The Most Basic and Important Act of Life 

Today’s first reading from the Book of the Prophet Jonah carries a very important, indeed- lifesaving message for us, and it’s this in a nutshell: Never forget what life on planet Earth is really all about. Never forget who placed you here. Never forget that one day it will all come to an end. Never forget that you will return to the One from whom you came to receive from him the destination of eternal life or eternal death. 

This reminds me of the old-school catechism lesson back in the day which many older Catholics learned as children. It puts the basic theme of this important message into two simple questions-and-answers: First, Who made you? God made me. And second, Why did God make you? God made me to know, love and serve Him in this life and then be happy with Him forever in the next. But sometimes - ok to be honest, probably most of the time - we forget about the temporary nature of our earthly lives and we act as if they will never end. Sometimes, we need to be shocked back into reality. 

You might remember that on Sat., Jan. 13, 2017, the people of Hawaii received this shock when they were informed that a hostile ballistic missile had been launched directly at them. They were told to seek shelter immediately. For a short but frightening amount of time they did not know that this news had been a mistake. But in the meantime, there were, of course, varied reactions to this life-shaking announcement. The reactions of Catholic Hawaiians to this Jonah-like warning - which have been preserved for us in diocesan papers - provide us with a lesson that we should take to heart and never forget: that the most basic and important act of life is to prepare to go to God from whom we came and enter eternity. 

Those few who could reach shelter quickly did so. But most could not. Those who could not say that they took their children with them into their living rooms where recited the Act of Contrition since they could not get to Confession, and then began to pray the rosary. Now keep in mind that most were not people who usually prayed this way very often, but when push comes to shove, they knew to whom they should go. They recalled that the most basic and important act of life is to prepare to go to God from whom they came and enter eternity. 

On that Saturday morning, a group of deacons along with their wives were on an isolated retreat and without their cell phones so they were unaware of what was happening. They were suddenly surprised to see their Bishop running into their gathering wearing only a t-shirt and a pair of shorts! He quickly informed them about the alert and then gave them General Absolution, which is an emergency form of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, when there isn’t time for everyone to individually confess their sins. There had been no time for the bishop to waste by dressing up with formality, because he knew what the most basic and important act of life is, so he rushed over to the chapel to help the deacons and their wives to prepare to go to God from whom they came and enter eternity. 

Later that same evening, even though the missile alert had been revealed as a mistake, priests tell us that confession lines were out the door and around the block and continued to be so throughout the night. All the next day, which was a Sunday, the parishes reported churches packed to standing room only. Now most were not people who usually went to confession or attended Mass very often, but they had been shocked and when push comes to shove, they knew to whom they should go. They knew what the most basic and important act of life is to prepare to go to God from whom they came and enter eternity. 

It’s too bad that it often takes the shock of trauma to shake us up and wake us up. But maybe that’s a positive way for us to look at our present and seemingly endless COVID pandemic. If we have spiritually-tuned-in ears to hear it and spiritually-tuned-in eyes to see it, then COVID delivers to us the same message that Jonah spoke to the people of Nineveh: Never forget what life on planet Earth is really all about. Never forget who placed you here. Never forget that one day it will all come to an end. Never forget that you will return to the One from whom you came to receive from him the destination of eternal life or eternal death. Never forget the most basic and important act of life.



Sunday, January 17, 2021

What Are You Looking For?

 

Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Jan. 17, 2021. Gospel of St. John 1:35-42. Theme: What Are You Looking For? 

Today we have our first Sunday Mass in Ordinary Time. I find it extremely fitting that our spiritual journey for 2021 starts off with the very first words of Jesus that are recorded in the Gospel of John: “What are you looking for?” Our belief that Scripture as the Living Word of God tells us that he is speaking these words today, right now, to both you and to me. He is asking each one of us right now: What is it that you are looking for? In other words, what is it that you most ardently desire? What are you truly searching for in life? 

And I think that the one basic thing which we are all looking for, each one of us in our own way is what every human being is really desiring, always looking for: love. Real, authentic, genuine unconditional love. We all yearn to be known for who we really are and not for who we pretend to be in order to win the esteem of others. We all thirst deep down to be wanted, to be accepted for who we are, for what we are and as we are. 

 And St. John is telling us that all these things can be ours in Jesus. There is something about this Man when we encounter him. He simply needs to make himself known and people suddenly drop everything to follow after Him like Andrew and Peter in today’s Gospel. Why? Who is he? And why does he possess such charisma and power? St. John answers these questions for us by telling us right here in the beginning of his Gospel that Jesus is the Lamb, the Messiah, and the Teacher. The rest of his Gospel will show us what these mean and why Jesus alone is the one who can satisfy the longings of our hearts. 
 
John reveals that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes upon himself the guilt of our sins, which is the reason why we so often feel unworthy of love. Contained in this title is the awesome truth that when this Lamb was sacrificed upon the altar of the cross, the sins of all who would come to trust in him were also crucified, put to death. And when this Lamb rose triumphantly from the grave, those crucified sins stayed behind, dead and buried. They exist no more and so cannot hold us back from reaching out and accepting God’s love. So give your sins to the Lamb of God, through your prayer and your confessions, so that they might be annihilated by the power of his cross and resurrection and you can be set free! 

John also informs us that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Glorious Liberator of God’s People. The coming of the Messiah was the hope of every Jewish heart. He was to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind and freedom for the enslaved. But this is just not something for past times, because we ourselves so easily become slaves of greed or anger or lust or various destructive behaviors. St. John is reminding us that we are all without exception spiritually blind and enslaved and so we all stand in need of God’s Messiah- Liberator. He will open our eyes to see that we are loved beyond all measure by God. He will break open the chains that shackle our hearts from reaching out to accept Christ’s invitation of friendship and discipleship. 

Finally, today’s Gospel calls Jesus “Rabbi” which means “Teacher”. The remainder of John’s Gospel will lay out before us the most important lessons we need to learn in the school of this Rabbi if we truly want to be freed from our sense of internal emptiness and spiritual wandering. Jesus the Teacher will instruct us in how to live our everyday lives and interact with others in a way that brings us deep inner peace and satisfy the longings of our hearts. So, if this is what we truly desire, then we must read the Gospels often and reflectively so as to learn the lessons of Rabbi Jesus and put them into practice. 

But now here is the thing: precisely how these desires can be met and satisfied within us is different for each one of us. And so, each one of us needs to make known to Jesus our own particular desires, our own unique needs. St. John is directing us to approach Jesus ourselves, one-on-one like Andrew. We must spend time with Christ and go apart with him, wherever that might be – in church before the Blessed Sacrament, in our room at home, on a solitary walk – whatever it takes for us to spend time with him like St. Andrew in today’s Gospel. 

We Christians call this intentional time with Jesus prayer. Or more precisely, prayer of the heart which is very different from simply reciting many prayers. Prayer of the heart is a conversation carried out in quiet and solitude, so that we can be undisturbed in our time with Jesus and listen for his voice. And with experience and patience, we will indeed hear it echo within us, with words or ideas that suddenly come to mind. We will come to recognize that it is him speaking because his Word gives us a sense of inner conviction and serenity. 

Start this prayer of the heart with Jesus today. And be faithful to it daily. Book it into your schedule. It’s the most important time that you will invest in your life. Tell Jesus what kind of happiness you are desiring deep down in your heart. Don’t be afraid to ask for anything, whatever it is, because He is more than willing to give it to you… as long as you are more than willing to honestly answer his question: What are you looking for?


John the Baptist was standing with two of his disciples and as he watched 
Jesus walk by, he said,“Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what 
he said and followed Jesus.Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Baptized with Jesus

 

Homily for the Baptism of the Lord Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Gospel of St. Mark 1:7-11. Theme: Baptized with Jesus 
 
On this feast of the Baptism of the Lord, our Church Season of Christmastime comes to an end because the baby in the manger has grown up to become a man. It’s time for us to move on from Bethlehem like the shepherds who returned to their fields with a new song of praise to God on their lips. It’s time to journey back to ordinary everyday life like the Magi, as spiritually changed people who bear the Gift of the Newborn King in our hearts. 

In today’s liturgy, Jesus comes to us as an adult. We encounter him at the Jordan River approaching his cousin, St. John the Baptist, in order to begin the public stage of the mission for which he was born. At his Baptism, God the Father’s voice affirms Christ’s identity and God the Holy Spirit descends upon him, anointing him to preach and teach the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Jesus goes forth from the Jordan River to combat evil, to heal the lame and cure the sick, to forgive the trespasses of sinners and restore wholeness to the broken. 

God’s rescue-and-restore mission that was begun in a hidden way in Bethlehem, has now burst into the public scene. But it would be very wrong for us to think that the ministry of Jesus as Messiah and Savior is just an event of the past! This mission of Jesus continues even today in every part of planet Earth, including Marin County, through those of us who have become united with him through faith. Through each one of us, in a marvelous mystical way initiated at Baptism, the Risen Lord Jesus wishes to still speak and touch and heal and reconcile others to God. 

Jesus was baptized, not because he had any sins to be washed away, but to show us by example that baptism is our first step in becoming part of his rescue-and-restore mission. And what happened to him at his baptism is both a sign and a promise of what happens to each one of us at ours. By reflecting on this event, we can discover that the Sacrament of Baptism destines us for Heaven, fills us with the Holy Spirit, and makes us beloved children of God. In other words, it starts us off on a life of becoming more and more like Jesus. 

The first thing we hear about after Jesus comes up out of the water is that heaven was opened. And this is precisely what Baptism does for us. It re-opens the way to Heaven which was closed to us by the original sin of Adam and Eve. Recall that in the beginning of our history, the first humans were given the choice of living in obedience to their Creator or of living life on their own terms, separated from God. They freely chose to turn their backs on their Creator and refused eternal life with Him in Heaven. And this was the deficient spiritual inheritance they passed on to all their descendants, that is, to all of us humans. But Jesus came to undo what they had done, and to give each one of us a chance to choose God and Heaven for ourselves. And the first step in making this choice is baptism.  

The next marvelous thing we see at the Jordan River is the Holy Spirit coming down upon Jesus under the appearance of a dove. Now, we might wonder why God choose to appear in the form of a dove? Well, because the dove is a universal human and biblical symbol of peace and innocence. By the waters of baptism, we are made innocent through the forgiveness of sin and we make our peace with God. This innocence and peace remain within us as long as we chose to live the promises of our baptism: to reject sin and Satan, to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and to believe and live what He teaches us through the Gospel and his Church. 

Finally, the gospel tells us that God the Father’s voice was audibly heard declaring Jesus to be His Beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. And this is exactly what God the Father says about each one of us who have become spiritually one with Jesus in Baptism: we are His beloved children in whom He finds delight! The Scriptures assure us that God delights over you, delights over me, delights over each one of us personally. And it’s this personal love of God that transforms us from the inside out, giving us the desire, the grace, the spiritual power, to live and love and delight in Him in return. 

So, maybe we can better see now why the feast of the Baptism of Jesus starts off the new year. It’s not so much because of what it says about Christ per se, but more-so because of what it says about us, or more precisely, what is says about the marvelous and awesome things that God does for us through, with and in our beloved Brother and Lord, Jesus.



Saturday, January 2, 2021

Epiphany: The Fourth Magi?

 

Homily for Epiphany Sunday, January 3, 2021. Gospel – Matthew 2:1-12. Theme: The Fourth Magi? 

Today is the great feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, second only to Christmas Day as a major celebration of the season. Epiphany is a Greek word meaning manifestation, a realization that something that had been hidden from us is now being made known. In Christianity, epiphany means the revelation that in Jesus we behold our Lord, God and Savior come to us in person, come to us in the flesh. Throughout the life of Christ, from Christmas to Easter, various expressions of this epiphany are present in one form or another. The full identity of Jesus is made known at his Baptism, at the Transfiguration, through his power over nature and demons, by his miracles and healings, and most of all in his glorious Resurrection. 

And the questions that the epiphany always asks of us are primarily two: First, how do I, personally, respond to the revelation that Jesus Christ is God-with-us, God-become-one-of-us? And second, what effect does it have or can it have on my life? Everyone who encounters Jesus must face these questions sooner or later, there is no getting around it. It seems to me that we can find in today’s Gospel story three possible responses to this epiphany or revelation about Jesus Christ. 

I see the first type of response in the reaction of King Herod when he learns about the Newborn Messiah. He was a very wicked man whose jealousy and thirst for power had led him to kill one of his wives and several of his sons who were threats to his throne. So, it was no surprise that he would order the slaughter of the young boys of Bethlehem in an attempt to get rid of this Newborn King of the Jews. Herod’s response to Jesus was rooted in selfishness and sin. He thought only of himself and cared only about his own status and situation in life. The treasures of his heart were power, prestige and privilege. His response to the epiphany is rejection of a perceived threat. 

A second type of response can be found in the religious leaders whom Herod called to advise him. They knew the Scriptures very well. They were, after all, professional clergy and scholars of their day. They knew well the prophecies about the Messiah. Yet when the news reaches them they do nothing at all to investigate if this is true. They stay put rather than go to Bethlehem, which is only a few miles away, and see for themselves if their long-hoped for dreams of the Messiah have come true. Their response to the epiphany was a complacent yawn. They were comfortable as they were. Happy with life as they knew it. They didn’t want anyone - not even God himself whom they were pledged to serve - to disrupt their status quo. 

The third type of response to the revelation about Jesus can be seen in the Magi themselves. They were utterly intrigued, captivated, by the quest to find the One whom the star represented. They invested a lot of themselves, their time and energy, in their study of the prophecies concerning the Messiah, in mapping out their route to Jerusalem, in gathering up supplies as well as the precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Their response to the epiphany was the total desire and heartfelt determination to search for God no matter what it required. The goal of their lives was to bow down in homage before the Newborn Divine King. 

Why such different responses to the epiphany of Jesus Christ? I think that the answer is found deep within each one of them, deep within each one of us; in the secret hopes, dreams and treasures of the heart. The Child of the Epiphany would grow up to warn us that these treasures of the heart would either free us to live in God’s Kingdom or enslave us to life of selfishness and misery, here and hereafter. And so, we must honestly ask ourselves: what and where is our treasure? 

Are we like Herod and have our hearts fixed only upon ourselves and see others primarily through the lens of what they can do and be for us? Our culture promotes and even applauds the clever and the powerful who trample on others in order to get what they have. Such people keep alive the Herod-attitude and the epiphany of Jesus to them is a threat to their self-focused lives. 

Others are like the religious leaders and scholars. Life may not be perfect or anything like what they had hoped for, but at least it’s something, and as they say, something is better than nothing. They don’t want to step out of their comfort zone. They don’t want to be disturbed out of their safe and secure routine, not even by the Word of God. Responding to the message of the Epiphany is scary so their hearts are not open to the risk of what encountering the long-hoped for Messiah might mean in their lives. 

But then there are those like the Magi, who acknowledge that it is God and not self that is the center of the universe. They are those who know that a complacent life is not a truly happy life. They have experienced how empty they can be inside, and know that there is something more which they seek. They have hearts that yearn for wholeness and lives that thirst for real meaning. Like the Magi, they are utterly intrigued, captivated, by the quest to find the One whom the star represented and who can answer the deepest questions of the heart. And so, they are willing to do whatever is necessary to find the Christ, the Promised One whom the prophets called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God and Prince of Peace. 

As we celebrate the Epiphany at the beginning of a new year, let’s ask the Lord for the grace to answer this question honestly: what is my personal response to the epiphany, the revelation of Jesus Christ as King, God and Savior of my life? Am I eager and willing to do whatever it takes to truly know him up close and personal? Am I willing to go the extra mile in prayer and service to others to deepen my relationship with him? Is the light of Christ like a bright shining star that guides my steps and enlightens the journey of my life? I guess this could all be summed up in one basic question: Am I eager and willing to become the fourth Magi?



Sunday, December 27, 2020

Holy Family Sunday: Joseph, the Man Closest to Jesus

 

Homily for Holy Family Sunday, December 27, 2020. Gospel of St. Luke 2:22-40. Theme: Joseph, The Man Closest to Jesus
 
We cannot think of Christmas without, of course, thinking of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. And while Jesus is - and must be - the center and focus, Mary is always close at hand, right there beside him. But it seems to me that St. Joseph is too often treated as the "forgotten member of the Holy Family". To some extent I guess it’s understandable given that from a theological point of view, he seems to be out-shined by a wife who is the all-holy Mother of God and an adopted Child who is the very Son of God. But I think that if we look at it from a different point of view, from the practical instead of the theological, we might better appreciate St. Joseph and grow in devotion to this man who was closest to God. 

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, wants to bring St. Joseph out of the shadows and so has declared 2021 to be the Year of St. Joseph. He has asked us to deepen our understanding of this man whom God appointed to be husband and father, provider and protector of the Holy Family. We know very little about St. Joseph. Scripture doesn’t say much about him and not a single word of his is recorded for us in the Gospels. But from what little is said about him, we can learn some basic facts about his life and draw important conclusions about his character. 

We are told that he was a descendant of the great King David of Jerusalem who had lived 500 years before him. But by Joseph’s time the royal family had disintegrated socially and was mixed in among the common people. Thus, we learn that Joseph was among the working class, a tradesman, a laborer, a carpenter. This didn’t, however, change the fact that Joseph was a branch on David’s family tree and the prophets of Israel foretold that the Messiah would be born from this House of David. You see, according to Jewish Law, when a man officially held and named a child at the 8th Day circumcision ceremony, that baby became his very own son and legally inherited his family line. No questions asked. The boy – called “Jesus” by his father – now became, like Joseph, a son of Judah and a member of the House of David. 

Our introduction to him begins with the Gospel of St. Matthew who gives us only a two-word description of the man. But it is a compliment that is of the highest regard according to Jewish standards. Matthew calls him a “just man”. In our modern language, we would translate this as a righteous man, a holy man, a virtuous man, a man who always did the right thing even at personal cost. For example, when Joseph was informed of Mary’s inexplicable pregnancy, he could have made a big deal out of it. He could have played the victim. He could have embarrassed her and her family. But Joseph was willing to let it go and chose the option of a quiet divorce. His self-forgetfulness and compassion is then rewarded by the sending of an angel dream, assuring him that the Child was of God and so Joseph reaffirms his commitment to the bond of marriage. This example of St. Joseph calls us to be people of integrity, people of our word, people who think of others and do the right thing no matter what the personal cost. 

Another thing that I notice about Joseph in the Gospel stories is his contemplative spirit of prayerfulness that allows him to hear and recognize God’s voice. We are told how he was able to receive the Lord’s message in dreams and be so convinced that it was indeed God speaking that he did exactly what they said. He takes Mary as his wife because of a dream. He flees with the Mother and Child to Egypt because of a dream. Years later he returns to Israel with them because of a dream. It seems to me that the only way Joseph could awaken and immediately do what his dreams command is because he had trained himself to hear and recognize God’s voice in prayer. This tells me that he must have spent quality time in silent prayer, prayer of the heart and meditation nurturing a contemplative spirit, a sensitivity to the Divine Presence and Voice. Through this example, I see St. Joseph calling us to also become people of deep personal prayer and silent meditation, people who learn to hear and recognize the voice of God whispering within us. 

Finally, I am deeply moved by the self-sacrificing love that St. Joseph shows for Jesus and Mary which characterized his entire adult life. His plans for marriage took a turn he didn’t expect when Mary conceived Christ. He was most likely simply expecting to live a normal Jewish life, wit a normal Jewish wife, in a normal Jewish village. But such was not to be God's plan for his life.  Joseph sacrificed his sexuality and biological fatherhood, two things deeply dear to every man for the sake of Mary’s unique role as Mother of the Son of God. And amazingly, it was this ordinary and yet extraordinary Joseph of Nazareth, whom God himself chose to become his male role-model when he came to live in the flesh on planet Earth. The generous and selfless heart of St. Joseph invites us to learn from his example what it looks like to truly love and generously serve those who are entrusted to our care. He devoted his whole life to simply being the best provider and protector, the best husband and father for the Holy Family. 

So, during this special Year of St Joseph, let's do our best to grow in our understanding and devotion to him as our Holy Father asks. Let’s ask him to help us become virtuous people, prayerful people, people wholly dedicated to loving and serving those with whom we live, work and socialize. Let’s form the habit of turning to St. Joseph in prayer in our own times of need and with the same confidence that Mary and Jesus had in him. And then just like them, I am sure that we will never ever be disappointed! Pope Francis as shared with us a special prayer that he recites daily for this very purpose. It goes like this: 

Glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph, whose power makes the impossible possible, come to my aid in these times of anguish and difficulty. Take under your protection the serious and troubling situations that I commend to you, that they may have a happy outcome. My beloved father, all my trust is in you. Let it not be said that I invoked you in vain, and since you can do everything with Jesus and Mary, show me that your goodness is as great as your power. Amen.

 



Friday, December 25, 2020

MERRY CHRISTMAS! The Promised One Has Come!

 

Homily for Christmas Day. Gospel of Luke 2:1-20. Theme: The Promised One Has Come! 

In celebrating Christmas, we Christians rejoice that the Messiah, the Promised One, whose coming was foretold since ancient times, was born into our world. We bow down in spirit before the manger-crib of the Savior who chose to come among us as one of us, to share our human experience in everything but sin. And we praise God for being a Father who always keeps His promises, especially those that He had made about the coming of his Son as the Liberator of humanity.  

Even though millions of people celebrate the Christmas holiday, enjoying the sights and sounds of the season, the majority I encounter seem to have an historical and religious ignorance about the uniqueness and facts concerning Jesus. They assume that He was simply one spiritual leader among the many who have entered human history.  But, if we take the time to investigate the facts, we discover that God prepared the world his coming for over 1,000 years before it actually took place. He sent prophets who foretold many things about him, from his miraculous conception to His rising from the dead. 

As a matter of fact, the Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament can be called a “book of promises” because they contain over 70 of these prophecies about the Messiah.  This is just one of the many unique things about Jesus. And it is something that is not true about any of the other world religions. There have never been any prophecies alerting the world to the coming of Muhammad (Islam), Joseph Smith (Mormonism), Charles Russell (Jehovah’s Witnesses), Siddhartha (Buddhism) or any of the other figures in the various religions of the world. So, what do these ancient Jewish prophecies foretell about Jesus the Messiah?  

* He would be conceived and born of a virgin and would be Emmanuel, which in Hebrew means “God-with-us”;  
* He would be born in Bethlehem, the city of his ancestor King David;  
* A star would announce his birth and foreigners would coming bearing gifts;  
* Bitter agony would grip the mothers of Bethlehem, which happened with Herod’s slaughter of the Holy Innocents after Jesus’ birth;  
* He would live for a time in Egypt but return to israel and become a resident of Nazareth; 
* His mission would be like a light shining in darkness, with great signs of God’s power and presence; 
* The Messiah would die a sacrificial death on behalf of the people, a death that would heal us; 
* Finally, and marvelously, He would not remain in the grave but would be given glory and praise. 

These ancient prophecies began to see their fulfillment on that very first Christmas in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. This Baby in the manger - whose birth was proclaimed by angels and announced by shepherds - was indeed the Messiah, the Promised One. He alone is the Way to that leads us to Heaven. He alone teaches the Truth that sets us free from spiritual wandering and ignorance. He alone gives us a full and abundant Life that never ends. 

Because of this Baby in the manger we no longer need to live in morally dark places or in spiritual blindness, groping and searching for answers to life’s deepest questions. 

Because of this Baby in the manger we can each be transformed from the inside out, embracing a new way of thinking, a new way of living that leads to a sense of wholeness and to real happiness, both here and hereafter. 

Because of this Baby in the manger, we no longer need to live lives that are so easily dominated and crushed by sin and selfishness. 

Each and every one of us can allow the him to become real in our own lives and carry out his mission as Savior within us, transforming us from the inside out. All we need to do is to trust in Jesus who is mercy and love, and express our desire to have Him live and reign in our hearts always as Brother, as Savior, as Messiah and as King.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Case for Christmas: Conclusion

 

The Case for Christmas: Audio Clip for the Conclusion.  I hope you have both enjoyed the book study course and have grown closer to Christ in the process! We have seen that Jesus is God become flesh, who fulfills the prophecies of the Old Testament and whose words and deeds have been faithfully recorded for us in the Gospels.  Now what remains is for US to become the most important Gospel anyone will ever "read" by the way we act, the words we say and the example we give among those with whom we live, work and socialize. THAT'S a much harder Gospel to produce that one printed on a paper!

I mention a few books in the audio clip that an interested student of apologetics might want to look read. Here are the titles and authors (all are available from Amazon).

A Map of Life, Frank Sheed
Waking Up Catholic, Chad Torgerson
Rediscovering Jesus, Matthew Kelly
Rediscovering Catholicism, Matthew Kelly

May Our Lady bless you with her Child and may St. Joseph be your watchful protector and guide!
Deacon Dave