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“The Lord is my Shepherd” Jesus Knows His Own Sheep and We Know Him: This is the Heart of the Bible
The fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally known as Good Shepherd Sunday.
We sing the most famous psalm, Psalm 23, a Psalm that gives thanks for a God who takes care of us like a wise and loving shepherd . Then, in verse 14 of today’s gospel, Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd..
The picture of the shepherd is found many times in the stories and images of the Bible:
Abraham was a shepherd,
Moses was a shepherd,
The young David who wrote Psalm 23 was a shepherd before he beat Goliath and became ‘the” King David.
There is a deep reason for understanding God as a shepherd that we need to see to figure out why this Gospel is so important.
Remember that part of Israel looks like Arizona’s desert with much of it hilly, rough and stony (alittle bit like our lives sometimes?:-). North Galilee is a greener region with fields where Jesus grew up.
But the main part of Judæa in the South of Israel is gashed with canyons which make agriculture very difficult. Olives and vines and fig trees are grown on hillsides here and there; otherwise it is a land for sheep and goats. Throughout the Bible period, the shepherd was a familiar figure near the most ancient towns of Jerusalem and Hebron, where the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are buried with their wives, and where these patriachs used to bring their flocks..
The life of a shepherd was very hard then and still is. There is little grass. Flocks must be forever on the move to find it. The edges of the narrow plateau dip sharply into desert below. No flock may ever graze without a shepherd to watch it.
The shepherd therefore was never off duty. His task was unremitting and dangerous: his sheep were prey to wolves, bears and lions in Bible times, to thieves and robbers, and in the wet season to flash floods and land slides.
Vigilant, fearless, patient, caring - that was the shepherd of Bible times. He lived, not for himself but for his flock.
God is revealed in the Old Testament to His Chosen people, the Israelites (also called Hebrews, or Jews) as a shepherd:
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." (Psalm 23:1)
"Give ear, O shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock." (Psalm 80:1)
"He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep of His hand." (Psalm 95:7)
"He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." (Isaiah 40.11)
"Thus saith the Lord God: I, I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them to lie down. I will seek the lost ... and bring back the strayed ... and bind up the crippled and strengthen the weak; the fat and the strong I will watch over." (Ezekiel 34.15)
Jesus, son of God, was born in Israel. He speaks of Himself as a shepherd. His disciples describe him as a shepherd in the New Testament’s 4 Gospels and the Letters
“Jesus is the Good shepherd”. John 10:11_
“He is the shepherd who will risk his life to seek and to save the one “sheep that has strayed.” Matthew 8:12
“He has pity on the crowds because they are as sheep without a shepherd. “Matthew 9:36
“His disciples are His little flock.” (Luke 12:32)_
“When He, the shepherd, is smitten the sheep are scattered. “ (Mark 14:27)
He is "the great shepherd of the sheep." (Hebrews 13:20)
We may easily miss how important this is. When the gospels call Jesus of Nazareth a shepherd, this means that the writers recognize Him as the true God. the God of Israel
Jesus called Himself a shepherd in the land H ewas born where the shepherd was the image of the true God: LOVING, CARING, HUMBLE, MEEK for those He is caring for.
In other words, the King of the Universe, the King of Kings is Love and Mercy (forgiveness), He is never arrogant, but presents Himself as a humble, caring shepherd to us.
This is what is truly unique to what the Bible teaches us about God.
1. Who enters by the door into the sheep pen?

2. Who climbs over the fence to get into the sheep pen?
3. Who are the thieves and robbers?

4. How do the sheep recognize the shepherd?

5. How do we recognize Jesus' voice?

6. Why did Jesus come to earth?

7. Jesus says “I AM … ” at least twice in this gospel. What are the two things He says He is?

8. The name of God in Hebrew, the Jewish language of the land of Israel, and thus of Jesus means “I AM” and is pronounced Yahwe.
Replace the word “I AM” in the two sentences in 6 with the word God. What is Jesus telling us about God in these two sentences?

9. List all the things that are listed in Psalm 23 that God does for us his sheep?
*†ç I have not been well enough to post in the past few months, but Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday are calling us back into the New Life in Christ more strongly than any ill, so here but for the Grace of God I go :-)!

May the Divine Mercy of our Beloved Resurrected Lord bathe your entire being, body, mind, heart and soul, in His Healing Rays of Light and Forgiveness, and nourish and strengthen your soul all the days of your life until you enter in His Everlasting Joy!

It is to the Divine Mercy that this blog has been dedicated since its inception.

On the eve of World War II, a poor, uneducated, Polish third tiers nun ("third tiers" means a sister dedicated to menial tasks such as draining the potatoes in the refectory), labored in the very active Order of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity founded by the celebrated Saint Vincent de Paul. She was quietly serving neglected and abused girls in various Houses of Charity in Poland, and the needs of the more educated and well-to-do sisters who were teaching them. She was a kitchen worker, a porter sister, a gardener. Her life was entirely dedicated to the Seven Works of Charity (also called the Seven Works of Mercy) based on the scripture that Saint Vincent de Paul chose to exemplify by his life, work and legacy.
Matt 25:36-37 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36
naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' 37

On February 22, 1931 Sister Faustina had a vision of the Lord. Under order from her confessor, Father Sopocko, Sister Faustina wrote down in a dairy the accounts of all the visions and the words as spoken to her, by Jesus. (note: He asked her to be "the Secretary of My Mercy")

JEZU UFAM TOBIE (Jesus I trust you) Diary I (18)
47:" Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus I Trust In You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and throughout the whole world."
48: "I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory."

Getting permission to have this image painted took some time. Meanwhile in May 1933, Sister Faustina made her perpetual vows. The original image known as "The Image of Divine Mercy" was painted by artist E. Kazimierowski under the guidance of Sister Faustina in the town Vilnius (Wilmo in Polish), now in Lithunia, which at the time was a Polish town where Faustina was sent.
The painting was completed in June 1934, even though Faustina was not pleased with the outcome of the artist’s work . But Jesus told her
"Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this Image, but in My grace" (313)

On September 13, 1935, Faustina had a vision of a city about to be destroyed. The city has been identified with Krakow, and the destruction eerily similar to the damage WWII was about to inflict on Polish cities such as as Warshaw. Faustina then received another revelation that would go hand in hand with the image, known as the Divine Mercy. The revelation came in the form of a prayer, imploring God's Divine Mercy through the sacrifice of His Son. In Sister Faustina's vision, as she almost unconsciously recited the words coming to her lips the city was spared from destruction, just Krakow was during WWII, unlike Warshaw.
Jesus asks us through her to pray especially at 3 o'clock in the afternoon the Stations of the Cross, at the very hour He died, which He called the Hour of Divine Mercy, when He offered it for the whole world, as Blood and Water gushed for from His Heart in atonement for the sins of all the world.
The water represented in the pale ray in the image is the water of baptism and the water of grace, while the blood represented in the red ray is the wine of the Eucharist and the fire of the Spirit we receive in the Sacraments. The prayer that came to Sister Faustina and saved the city in the vision is as a follows:

Diary I (197) 475: "Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.."

476: "This prayer will serve to appease My wrath. You will recite it for nine days, on the beads of the Rosary, in the following manner: First of all, you will say one Our Father and Hail Mary and the I believe in God. Then on the Our Father beads you will say the following words: "Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ for our sins and those of the whole world. On the Hail Mary beads you will say the following words: "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world." In conclusion, three times you will recite these words: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world."

Diary II (50) 584: "When you reflect upon what I tell you in the depths of your heart, you profit more than if you had read many books. Oh, if souls would only want to listen to My voice when I am speaking in the depths of their hearts, they would reach the peak of holiness in a short time."

Diary II (229) 848: "Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this chaplet: the very depths of My tender mercy are stirred for the sake of those who say the chaplet. Write down these words, My daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them."

The first public exhbition of the Image of Divine Mercy, was on Mercy Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter, when the gospel story of doubting Thomas is read, and Jesus stated in John 20:22-29 "And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."
The location was the famous Ostra Brama (High Gate) in Vilnius, Lithunania. This church, dedicated to the mother of Mercy was originally a bridge on which Franciscan friars displayed for the crowds precious icons. Over time, they built roofs and windows to protect them. In the Spring of 1935, the image of Divine Mercy was seen by 100,000 through the celebrated windows of the Ostra Brama, where an icon of the Virgin is normally displayed. Hisotrical Vilnius also survived the war intact, just like Krakow.

Look carefully in the church window above the bridge - what do you see...?

[Lithuania, like Lebanon and Israël was war-thorn many, many times too - Napoleon, Russia, Germany (x 2), USSR, from 1815 to 1945. Yet, hope never faded at the Ostra Brama, the Sharp Gate so many times burned & flooded by warring armies. This church on a bridge, with a synagogue compassionately hidden underneath it during WWII shines on a hill, precisely because words written on it echo the acts of Mercy that are a source of Hope & God's favor for all faiths. Mercy. Miséricorde. Misericordia. Milosierdze. Barmhartigheid. Barmhertzigkeit. Genade. Live on, arise in Hope, Lebanon, Israël and all nations - pray for Peace thru the paths of Mercy.]

Suffering from an ill-defined illness, looking like asthma and tuberculosis Sister Faustina’s health began to deteriorate. She suffered greatly from the fact in her own words, that at first, her fellow Sisters felt she was lazy and faking on account of her unexplainable fatigue and symptoms without clear diagnostic. On April 21, 1938 her superiors decide to send her to the hospital in Pradnik. On August 24, 1938 Sister Faustina writes her last letter to Mother General begging pardon for all the faults of her whole life. Finally she ends with the words: "Till we meet in Heaven."

On October 5, 1938 Father Andrasz, S.J. arrived and Sister Faustina made her last confession. At 10:45 pm Sister Mary Faustina after a long suffering, passed away.

Note: The many visions written down in these diaries as she was instructed were compiled and published in Polish under the title "Divine Mercy In My Soul". John-Paul II personnallly supervised the translation from Polish while he was archbishop of Krakow in the 70ies, correcting previously faulty translations.

"To read "Divine Mercy In My soul" is quite an undertaking. It totals 697 pages. However, it is one of the most moving and inspirational books, I have ever read. While reading this book I felt I could almost hear and see Jesus speaking to Sister Faustina. I also felt I shared in her pain and sufferings when she was tormented by the evil of satan."

Jesus commanded, "Love your neighbor." When asked to define "neighbor," Jesus expanded the traditional meaning of the word--defining our neighbor as anyone who is in need, including social outcasts: "But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed." (Luke 14:13)

"MY JESUS, Grant that I may have love, compassion and mercy for every soul without exception. O my Jesus, each of Your saints reflects one of Your virtues; I desire to reflect Your compassionate heart, full of mercy; I want to glorify it. Let your mercy, O Jesus, be impressed upon my heart and soul like a seal, and this will be my badge in this and the future life. Glorifying Your mercy is the exclusive task of my life (1242)."

JESUS, make my heart like unto Yours, or rather transform it into Your own Heart that I may sense the needs of other hearts, especially those who are sad and suffering. May the rays of mercy rest in my heart (514).

The website for the Order of Divine Mercy orginally founded by St Faustyna in Poland is

http://www.faustyna.eu/ (in Polish with 6 translations including English and French)

Note that anybody can join as a third order Apostle of Divine Mercy by committing to the devotion in (1) deeds, (2) words and (3) prayers, with all 3 being Acts of Mercy.

A site where one can get a copy of the original image of Divine Mercy explains what "devotion through an image means"

TODAY’S GOSPEL John 9: 1 – 41 Jesus Heals a Blind Man on the Sabbath

Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath and teaches us to beware of blindness of the heart, which is a lot harder to heal.

One more time, Jesus drives the Pharisees crazy by healing on the Sabbath, the day on which no work of any sort is to be done, so that people can spend one day each week in prayer and worship, concentrating only on God.
Blindness not only restricted life terribly for people of that time (there were no seeing eye dogs nor any sort of technology to help people), but Jesus was always aware of spiritual blindness. There are none so blind as those who will not see, and Jesus used his healing of the blind to point out that fact.
The disciples asked Jesus who was to blame for his blindness - the man or his parents. For Jesus it is never about blame; it is one more opportunity to show the goodness of God.
And again we see a ritual washing away of sins, which reminds us of baptism.

1. How does Jesus heal the blind man? What does He do and what does he tell the blind man to do?

2. Who does Jesus say he is?

3. On which day did Jesus heal the blind man? What was special about that day?

4. How did the blind man know that Jesus came from God?

5. Who did Jesus say had sight but could not see?

6. The first verse of the hymn "Amazing Grace" reminds us of this gospel passage. Why? Here are the words:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I'm found,
Was blind but now I see.
What kind of blindness does the song talk about?

7. How can you keep from going through life "blind" to the reality of Jesus and his love in your life?

8. How will you stay alert to really see and care for those who need Jesus' healing touch?
TODAY’S GOSPEL Mt 4: 1 – 11 & THE MATCHING GOSPELS are Luke 4: 1 – 13, Mark 1: 12 - 13.

“The Temptations of Christ” Jesus also was tempted to sin but He shows us what to do to resist: Fast, pray, know and understand the Word of God.

Immediately after his baptism, Jesus withdrew into the wilderness to fast and to pray, the first of many times that he would leave the crowds behind so that he could have time alone for prayer.

Jesus called the devil (which means slanderer in Greek, someone who deliberately tells lies in order to ruin another person's reputation) "the father of lies."

In this story the devil tempts Jesus to attract crowds of followers in easy ways: by feeding them (turning the stones into loaves of bread) and by amazing them by spectacular feats of magic (leaping safely from the top of the Temple).

But Jesus chose to change people one by one, one heart at a time, just like his Father in heaven, by preaching, teaching, and healing.

We also see Jesus the scholar here, as he answers the devil with three Bible verses ( Deuteronomy 8: 3, Deuteronomy 6: 13, and Deuteronomy 6: 16) instead of speaking his own words.

1. Where did Jesus go right after his baptism

2. How long did Jesus stay there?

3. How did the devil ask Jesus to prove he was the Son of God?

4. What did the devil promise Jesus if he would worship him?

5. What was the second way the devil asked Jesus to prove that he was the Son of God

6. How did Jesus answer the devil?

7. Did Jesus do anything the devil asked him to do? How did Jesus resist him? Give three things that Jesus used to fight temptation
*†ç Yesterday was the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple of Jerusalem. Each firstborn Jewish boy was dedicated to God, Who shares His gift of Life with us by enabling us to have children.

Something special happened when Jesus was presented. Two elderly, devout people, Simon and Hannah, recognized Him as the Messiah, the salvation & light of the world. Therefore, the Feast used to be celebrated by a procession with candles from the 4th century AD, and the old English name for it is Candlemas. Candles, the only source of light before the 19th century, were blessed on that day.

Today is Sunday of the Beatitudes. These 8 great sayings or blessings of Jesus are the stepping stones to holiness, which we are called to work on during Lent. Lent starts this Ash Wednesday, February 6, 2008, the day after Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday reminds to turn away from what is distracting us or leading us astray, so we can grow in holyness during Lent :

8 Beatitudes: 8 stepping Stones for us to Holiness & Lent
After his time of fasting and praying for 40 days (the origin of our Lent) in the Wilderness, Jesus began to teach in the Jewish meeting places, called synagogues, in Galilee. He encountered both early failures and great successes:
- after his bad experience in the synagogue of his hometown Nazareth,
- after the crowds who followed him became too large to fit into any Jewish public building (he would not have been allowed to teach about the One God in the Roman theaters and forums),
Jesus took his ministry outdoors. Large crowds of people followed him from place to place to listen to him and to be healed of their troubles. He continued to add disciples to his core group, until he had chosen twelve men.

The most famous version of this sermon is found in Mt 5, where it is called the Sermon on the Mount.

1. Which people will God bless?

2. What will God do when people hate you and insult you?

3. Who has a hard life ahead of them?

4. List the 4 blessings and the 4 curses found in Luke

• 5. Match in the images below the 8 beatitudes found in the gospel of Matthew, and write (in small) each of the beatitudes you can match in red ink next to the images.
(Explain in parenthesis why something in the images made you think of one of the beatitudes you wrote). Make an arrow in red connecting each of the beatitudes you wrote to the images. (The child who finds the most beatitudes connected will win a prize)

• 6. Why do you think the other gospels talk about a sermon on the plain and Matthew talks about a sermon on the Mount?

Large Crowds of People Follow Jesus
People came from all over the Middle East to hear Jesus teach, hoping that he would heal them from their sins. Practically the only form of transportation people had in those days was to walk. How far would we walk to listen to Jesus?
Look at the map that covers the three neighbouring countries of Israël (called Palestine at the time of the Romans) Syria and Jordan in the time of Jesus.

For younger children, have them color with a blue crayon the cities and in yellow for regions, and show with red arrows on the map how far people came to listen to Jesus on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
- The three cities mentioned in today's lesson are Jerusalem (the capital of Israël), - where Jesus was presented as a baby in the Temple -, and Tyre and Sidon (both in modern Lebanon).
The regions are Judea, Galilee, the Decapolis (the region surrounding the ten Roman cities that followed Greek ways), and the eastern side of the Jordan River (the modern country of Jordan.)
Older children might want to calculate actual miles walked for those coming from the furthest cities, count how many cities are shown around the Decapolis, and how many borders Jesus' listeners crossed to hear him.

Lent Homework Questions:
1. On what day does Lent begin? And what does the name of that day mean?
2. Lent is the time of preparation before what Feast ___________?
3. How many days does Lent last – count the days with and without Sundays?
4. Why does Lent last this very specific number days? What are the two events it reminds you of?
5. What are the three things we are to do during Lent?
6. During Lent we fast. What does fasting mean? Are they other ways we can fast? Think about physical and spiritual ways we can fast (=stay away from) and why they can be good for you
7. Does eating between meals break the physical fast?
8. Does drinking liquids between meals break the physical fast?
9. At what age do Catholics start fasting?
10. If you are six years old, do you fast during Lent?
11. If you are 16 years old, do you fast during Lent?
12. Should your parents fast during Lent?
13. What days do Catholics have to fast?
14. During Lent, Catholics do abstinence. What is abstinence? (think of the meaning of the word “carnival” which is the Italian/French name for Fat Tuesday)
15. On what days are Catholics not to eat meat?
16. At what age do Catholics not eat meat during Lent?
17. If you are 16 years old, do you do abstinence during Lent?
18. If you are six years old, do you do abstinence during Lent?
19. Should your parents do abstinence during Lent?
20. What can we eat that is not meat?
21. Do we fast and do abstinence every day during Lent?
22. When does Lent end?
23. What is the liturgical color for Lent? What is the spiritual meaning of that color?
24. What day does the priest or other minister make the Sign of the Cross on your forehead with blessed ashes? What does he say when he does the Sign?
25. Why is the shape the blessed ashes put on your forehead a cross?
26. On what day during Lent is there no Mass celebrated?
27. What are the ashes made from?
28. What is penance?
29. What are five possibles names of the day just before Ash Wednesday? (They each tell us something about the spiritual meaning of that day and the purpose of Lent_
30. The Church gives us how many weeks of Lent to prepare for Easter?
31. Easter celebrates the _________ Mystery, the mystery of our dying to sin and rising with Christ to the new life of grace. (
32. What is almsgiving?

Finally, remember to write

- on your little purple paper what you are committing to fast from this Lent and

- on your yellow sheet your weekly prayer intentions.

We will nail the purple papers on the cross next Sunday, and fold and attach the prayer paper in a Lily shape the week before Easter.
*† ç Welcome back to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Bible Study on this Second Sunday of Advent, December 9 2007, after what we hope was a lovely Thanksgiving break for all of us.

May a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude reign in our hearts not just for that one day, but all the days of our life, as we learn more about the riches God has bestowed on us - not only a precious earth to tend tenderly like the little mustard seeds of faith, but the priceless gift of His Mercyful Love, expressed every day in our children's love, that of our family and friends.

Let's now examine today's gospel. It is about Jesus' cousin, John the Baptist. A good title for today's reading would be:

John the Baptist Speaks Out!

This passage is so important that John the Baptist's testimony is found in all four Gospels: Mt 3: 1 – 12, Mk 1: 1 – 8, Jn 1: 10 – 28, Lk 3: 7 – 18.

Let's first discuss a little bit his background ....

John the Baptist, the son of Zechariah the priest and his wife Elizabeth, fulfilled the angel’s prophecy to his father and his own father's predictions. He prepared the people to listen to Jesus. The nickname Baptist is also translated Baptizer, someone who washes away sins.

John prepared the Pharisees and Sadducees (remember them?) for the changes to come: he preached about repentance. To repent is more than to be sorry for your sins: it is to boldly turn away or turn around, to firmly change your ways and not do, say, and believe bad things.

John baptized & preached in Bethany (who else lived in Bethany?), east of the River Jordan. He showed people the harm of their ways, told them that Jesus would come NOW to save them from their sins.

John the Evangelist begins his gospel by saying that Jesus is the living Word of God, the Bible come to life in human form. Saint Mark begins his story with the appearance of John the Baptist. Saint Matthew begins with Jesus' genealogy from Abraham through David.

But they all tell the story of John the Baptist in their first or second chapter.

Can you find the differences?

1. What did the priests from Jerusalem ask John the Baptist? And why?

2. Who did John say he was not?

3. Which prophet did John quote? (What is a prophet, by the way?)

4. What did John say about the one who would come after him?

Now here are some more worksheets and ressources to do some extra-credit work on this important Season of Advent.

Here are the Mass worksheets for 7-10 year olds and 11-14 year olds.

(You can "glide" your cursor on the links here below before clicking so you can see what the pdf looks like. You can post your answers as comments to this entry, but anonymously. Thank you)


Coloring pages for pre-schoolers - 7th grade.

Here are three extra readings on the birth and life of Saint John the Baptist with a link for each to a little workbook (coloring, word puzzle, cross-word, multiple choicr questions) Have fun!!! See you next Sunday :-)

LUKE 1:5-25

LUKE 1:39-80

LUKE 3:1-22

Nov. 22nd, 2007

IN YOUR BIBLE FIND TODAY’S GOSPEL Luke 21: 5 –19 & READ IT J In Times of Trouble, Jesus Gives Us Words of Wisdom: : “Do not be afraid (Lk 20:9) (This teaching of Jesus is described in 3 of the 4 canonical gospels. You can check it out in Luke 21: 5 – 19, Matthew 24: 1 – 14 & Mark 13: 1 - 13

Is anyone here afraid of snakes? How about the dark -- is anyone afraid of the dark? Are any of you ever afraid during a thunderstorm? Well, the fact is, we are all afraid of something. Even the rich and famous have their fears. Listen to a few of them.
I'm sure you have probably heard of Johnny Depp. He was the star of "Pirates of the Caribbean." Do you know what makes this brave pirate shake in his boots? Spiders! He is afraid of spiders. Are any of you afraid of spiders? I know that many spiders are harmless, but even if a spider won't hurt me, it can make me hurt myself trying to get out of its way!
One day Jesus was with his disciples in the temple. The disciples were commenting on how beautiful the temple was when Jesus began to tell them about some things that were going to happen. He told them that the temple would one day be destroyed and that there would be wars, earthquakes, and people starving. He also told them that they were going to be hated and persecuted and even thrown into prison. Those are pretty scary things, aren't they? It would be understandable for the disciples to be afraid, but Jesus told them not to be afraid. He promised that he would be with them and that not a hair on their heads would be harmed if they put their trust in him.

Jesus has also promised to help us when we are afraid. Every one is afraid of something, and fear can be a good thing, but we should not let our fears keep us from enjoying the life that Jesus wants us to have. After all, he has promised to help us when we are afraid.
What a good day to sing today’s Psalm; Psalm 17” ,”Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of thy wings “
Notice that with the holiday of Thanksgiving, we begin the New YEAR of the church which starts with the special month of preparation of Advent . We remember the “first coming” of Jesus, Christmas, the birth of Jesus, the son of God, as a little baby, just like each and every one of us. We remember with Christmas, the beginning of our time and we learn about last things, which like the month of Advent, prepares us the second coming of Jesus Christ. And we end this church year 2007 by again looking at the last things.
In today’s lesson, Jesus prepares his disciples for his death, the coming destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the hard times they will go through because they are his followers.
Many scholars see Jesus' references to the Temple as references to his own body and his own death on the cross, which came soon after this discussion. But the Temple itself was also destroyed soon after Jesus' death, in 70 AD and it has not been rebuilt to this day.
Even though hard times were coming, Jesus did everything he could to give his disciples courage. And he quotes God's words to Moses: I made your mouth; I gave you wisdom (Exodus 4: 11 -12).

1. What does Jesus say will happen to the Temple of Jerusalem?

2. What are some physical signs of the last days? (= the end of the world as we know it)

3. What is a famine? Do you know a place where there is a famine right now?

4. What does the word “Christian” mean?Explain

5. What does the word persecution mean? Do you know a place (or several places in the world) where people and families are persecuted because they are Christians (Catholics, orthodox, protestants are all Christians) or of a different faith than other (Jewish, Muslim.etc.. )

6. Do any of these signs mean that the last days are here- or will many of these things happen off and on?

7. What are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to (1) worry or (2) are we supposed to stay calm and stick to what is right even if it gets difficult?

5. 8. Does Jesus tells us we will be safe no matter what? Find two verses where He explains how He will protect us with the help of the Holy Spirit

6. What does Jesus say will happen to SOME of his followers?

7. What does Jesus will keep us safe from harm even if there are wars, famines, earthquakes, persecutions?

*†ç OLMC Family Bible Study - 11/11/07 Jesus tells us about Heaven when the Sadducees (“Sad–you-see”) ask Him a riddle because they do not believe in life after death, the Resurrection. (They are sad, you see?)

You know what a riddle is, don't you? It is a word puzzle -- a question that makes you think. Sometimes riddles are funny. I'm sure you have probably heard this one. "Why did the chicken cross the road?" The answer is, "To get to the other side." Here are a few of my favorite riddles.
Q: Mary's father has 4 children; 3 of them are Nana, Nene, & Nini. Whot is the 4th child?
A: Mary!
Q: How many months have 28 days?
A: All of them! (Some may have 30 or 31, but all have 28!)
Q: What is full of holes but can still hold water?
A: A sponge!
Riddles have been around since the time of Jesus, 2000 years ago. Maybe longer than that. One day, Jesus was approached by a group of Sadducees — religious leaders who did not believe in the resurrection. They were trying to trick Jesus into agreeing that there was no resurrection. They asked him to answer this riddle: “The law of Moses says that if a man dies, leaving a wife but no children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name. Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children. So the second brother married the widow, but he also died. Then the third brother married her. This continued until all seven brothers had married the same woman. Finally, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be after the resurrection since all seven were married to her!”
My, that is a tricky riddle, isn't it? Listen to Jesus' answer.
Jesus replied, "Marriage is for people here on earth. But in the age to come, those who are raised from the dead will not marry or be married. Not only that, but they will never die again. They will live forever as the children of God."
Jesus went on to say, "Even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' He is not the God of the dead, he is the God of the living."
After Jesus answered their riddle so wisely, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Now, you and I know that Jesus promised us that if we love him and trust in him, we will live forever in heaven with him. Isn't it sad that some people do not believe there is a a resurrection and eternal life in heaven? Oh, that reminds me of one more riddle!
Q. Why were the people in today's Bible lesson called Sadducees?
A. Since they didn’t believe in the resurrection or the happiness of heaven, they were "Sad, you see!"
Dear Father, we are happy today that you have promised us eternal life in heaven. Amen.
amount he owes on the paperwork?

1. What or who is “Mammon”?

2. What are the important truths Jesus is trying to teach us with this parable? (Hint: Pope Benedict XVI reminded us of one of these truths this week in the news)
A: All of them! (Some may have 30 or 31, but all have 28!)
Q: What is full of holes but can still hold water?
A: A sponge!
Riddles have been around since the time of Jesus. Maybe longer than that. One day, Jesus was approached by a group of Sadducees — religious leaders who did not believe in the resurrection. They were trying to trick Jesus into agreeing that there was no resurrection. They asked him to answer this riddle: “The law of Moses says that if a man dies, leaving a wife but no children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name. Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children. So the second brother married the widow, but he also died. Then the third brother married her. This continued until all seven brothers had married the same woman. Finally, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be after the resurrection since all seven were married to her!”
My, that is a tricky riddle, isn't it? Listen to Jesus' answer.
Jesus replied, "Marriage is for people here on earth. But in the age to come, those who are raised from the dead will not marry or be married. Not only that, but they will never die again. They will live forever as the children of God."
Jesus went on to say, "Even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' He is not the God of the dead, he is the God of the living."
After Jesus answered their riddle so wisely, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Now, you and I know that Jesus promised us that if we love him and trust in him, we will live forever in heaven with him. Isn't it sad that some people do not believe there is a resurrection and eternal life in heaven? Oh, that reminds me of one more riddle!
Q. Why were the people in today's Bible lesson called Sadducees?
A. Since they didn’t believe in the resurrection or the happiness of heaven, they were "Sad, you see!"
Dear Father, we are happy today that you have promised us eternal life in heaven. Amen.

Here is a coloring page showing Heaven. Find (1) ” A wolf laying with a lamb?” (2) “A little child leading”

For older children and adults – a little quiz on the Sadducees and what Jesus teaches us about Heaven.
And they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection. Luke 20:36 (NIV)

Choose the word that best matches the definition.

1. The act of rising from the dead or returning to life
A. children B. widow C. resurrection D. marriage

2. A woman whose husband has died and who has not remarried
A. brother B. wife C. marry D. widow

3. A male who has the same parents as another person
A. wife B. brother C. woman D. widow

4. Offspring
A. widow B. wife C. brother D. children

5. Read the first reading of Mass today from the Old Testament: 2 Maccabiah (or Maccabees) 7: 1 - 2, 9 – 14.,
This reading is about the martyrdom of devout Jews about 300 BC (300 years before Jesus was born).
It is one passage iin the Old Testament that discusses clearly Jewish beliefs about the resurrection and life after death. The Jews had to worry about choosing life in sin or death at that time. The Greek army had just conquered Israel, They had even renamed it Palestine (How would like it if a foreigner changed the very name of your own country?).

The Greeks also tried to convert by force the Jews away from worshipping the one true God, Our Father in Heaven.

They forced them to worship idols and eat pork (God had revealed to the Jews that to preserve their health and body for the resurrection, they should abstain from pork – Israel has a warm climate like our Arizona, and they were no fridges in the time of Jesus and before). Not eating pork was also a way to show devotion to God by giving up a goodie) Read the story - how many Maccabees brothers were put to death?
A. eight B. seven C. five D. nine

6. An adult female human
A. brother B. widow C. woman D. children

7. To become husband or wife
A. widow B. resurrection C. marry D. brother

8. The opposite of dead
A. marriage B. widow C. living D. brother

9. Final Discussion:

a) Do you see now where the riddle story from the Sadducess (sad-you-see) came from?

b) WHO was one other religious group that Jesus talked to besides the Sadducees in the Temple in Jerusalem? (their name start with a P and end in “ees”

c) Did these two groups agree on the resurrection or not?

d) One of Jesus’s disciples was called “Simon the Zealot” to differentiate him from “Simon-Peter” (one of the reason Jesus called him Peter is to avoid confusion). The Zealots were a third religious group among Jews who believed in violence to get rid of the Romans and would constantly attack them in “suicide attacks” (doesn’t this sound familiar?)

e) The Essenes were a fourth group of celibate (un-married) men living in community and poverty, and preserving the manuscripts.

Additional Explanations about the words and expressions used by Jesus in Luke Chapter 20:27-38

Verse 36 - "Children of the resurrection" A Jewish idiom, here in contrast to "children" in v34 and equivalent to "children of God."

Vs 37 - "Dead are raised" Jesus makes clear what He means by resurrection. He leaves no room for ambiguity for the mistaken Sadducees

Vs 37 - "Moses ... calleth" Here Jesus quotes from the Book of Exodus Chapter3 Verse 6. Moses spoke to the God of "children of the resurrection." We know that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died many years before the time of Moses, thus when Moses spoke of them as "children of the resurrection" they had to be among those who would be raised to eternal life.

Vs 38 - "God ... of the living "He is God of the righteous � those who "live unto Him."

Those whose lives are not committed to Him have other gods, whether self, or materialism, or idols, or whatever they place above the true God. He sent Jesus to offer eternal life (See John 3:16).

Those who refuse, receive eternal death ( Ezechiel 28:18, Ecclesiastes 9:6). Thus, from an eternal perspective, Our God is the "God of the living."

"They are like angels." [Luke 20:27-38]
Submitted by Fr. Larry on Sat, 11/10/2007 - 22:49.
The Sadducees were a more secular party than the Pharisees in ancient Judea. They didn't believe in the resurrection, while the Pharisees did. St. Paul was able to exploit this difference when he went to trial before the Sanhedrin, and said, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees; (I) am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead." [Acts 23:6] For some unknown reason, the Sadducees decided to challenge Jesus on this very point. The argument they presented to Jesus bears a curious resemblance to the type of argument used by secularists today. They attempted to present an unsolvable paradox.

Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone's brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her. [Luke 20:28-33]
To take a more modern example, a secularist, today, might pose a question like "Can God create a stone that's so big he can't roll it?" Other examples abound. The point is that these types of questions all tend to be rather silly, reflecting the fact that the asker does not take God very seriously.

Although we do not see Jesus react to this silliness in the Gospel of Luke, we find him reacting to it in the Gospel of Matthew. "You are misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God." Jesus wastes no further time setting them clear on this.

The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called out 'Lord,'
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive. [Luke 20:34-38]
And we find that Jesus' answer satisfied the other listeners, even if it did not satisfy the Sadducees.

Some of the scribes said in reply, "Teacher, you have answered well." And they no longer dared to ask him anything. [Luke 20:39-40]
It is verses 34-36, however, that interest me most here. It raises a very important theological question. Why is there marriage in this age, but not in the age to come, following the resurrection of the dead? Jesus' answer is that those who rise can no longer die, for they will be like the angels.

First, we must ask, what does Jesus mean when he says "they will be like the angels?" It seems to me that he means they will be powerful spiritual beings. In particular, they will have capacities that human beings do not have in this age. St. John addresses this issue in his 1st letter.

See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God's children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.
John tells us that the world did not know God. This is the very same thing that Jesus tells the Sadducees in Matthew's Gospel. When John tells talks about the world not knowing the followers of Jesus, he's talking about the divine origins of the Christian community. People who do not know God do not see the divine origins of the Christian community. They do not see God's dynamic presence in that community.

We can say the same thing about how people view the Church today. Just as importantly, we can see the same thing in how people view marriage. They do not see God's dynamic presence in defining and shaping marriage. They especially do not see the legitimate role of the Church in interpreting how God has defines and shapes marriage.

People who do know God see something very different. It would be very difficult to find people who know God better than Mother Teresa and John Paul II did. And, yet, they too had a very different view of God's presence in the Church and in the family than today's secular society. I would like to speak of that difference here.

We cannot hope to understand what Jesus is talking about when he says that people marry in this age, but not in the age to come, unless we understand what marriage is and what it is for in this present age.

The Church says that marriage is a lasting partnership of love and life, a partnership intended to bring husband and wife progressively closer together, a partnership whose creative purpose prominently includes the begetting and rearing of children.

In another place, when the Pharisees ask about the lawfulness of divorce, Jesus reminds us that God's intention in defining and shaping marriage was that "the two shall become one flesh." This is clearly an image of husband and wife acting together as one. The marital act is itself an image of this very communal closeness; it is a primary sign of that greater partnership of marriage as a whole. Marriage, itself, is an image of the communal closeness that God intends for all of humanity in the age to come, the communal closeness that is already shared by the Communion of Saints, the communal closeness that was always intended to participate in the perfect communion of the Holy Trinity.

In speaking of that communion, Jesus told us in the Gospel of John, "The Father and I are one." [John 10:30] The communion of the Trinity is so perfect, they have one intellect, one will, one divine power, even though they are three divine persons.

It is no accident that this communion of the saints, a communion that is created and shaped by the power of the Holy Spirit, is depicted as a heavenly banquet. A loving family that gathers for the evening meal shares life and intimacy to an extraordinary degree. That loving sharing is developed in a human family out of the closeness of shared meals between a man and woman who are betrothed to each other. While the body feeds on food, the soul feeds on the Holy Spirit that comes through the love of each partner.

That sharing in the life to come is so profound that it is imaged very truly by the marital act, but it is not the same. It is much more like the banquet, only more so than any banquet in this life, except for the Eucharistic banquet. Unfortunately, we are not disposed to receive the fullness of divine life in the Eucharist. Indeed, it may seem to us to be as nothing, as unimportant as the few calories found in a tiny wafer of unleavened bread.

The same is true of marriage in this life. When we are not properly disposed to enter into the communal nature of marriage, we experience, instead, a sense of isolation, even alienation, a sense of having been cheated. Divorce rates have skyrocketed in recent decades. We try to overcome this emptiness through the use of artificial birth control measures, so that we can engage in the marital act with greater frequency and with fewer … side effects. In relying on these artificial means we have cast aside the means given us by God. We have even begun to cast marriage itself aside. Even in the context of marriage, as we render the act sterile, we render the relationship itself sterile, and, as a consequence, we render our lives sterile.

In rendering our lives sterile, we increase the sterility of the culture we live in. It is no accident that developed and developing countries have increasing rates of sterility, so much so that birth rates in Europe, Japan and China have fallen well below replacement level. The decline in America's fertility rate is not far behind.

Rather than being life giving, marriage in much of the world has become life taking, so much so that abortion rates are at record levels world wide. Many countries are finding that they will be unable to support their aging populations without a vast infusion of immigrant peoples. Meanwhile, we are robbing ourselves of the very creative energy we need to fulfill God's will. Instead of filling the earth and subduing it, we will contract, and the earth will subdue us.

Meanwhile, we are casting aside the very purity that the epistle of St. John tells us is a sign of getting to know God. We are casting aside the purity that can enable us to look beyond the flesh to see the presence of the Holy Spirit in our relationships. Instead of allowing God to shape our lives and our relationships, we are redefining them and reshaping them according to our own increasingly impure visions.

In such a case, what hope to we have of becoming like the angels?
In the Eastern Orthodox & Greek-Catholic Churches,
the Gospel story of Zacchaeus is read on the last Sunday before Lent.

For that reason, this Sunday is known as "Zacchaeus Sunday."
Zacchaeus is chosen to open Lent because

(1) Jesus' call to Zacchaeus to come down from the tree (a symbol of the call to humility),

(2) Zacchaeus' repentance which follows his “coming down”.

Zacchaeus, "Too short" to see Jesus. A Do-it-Yourself Study
The Diagnosis
STAGE 1: Surface Symptoms - "Too short"?
1) Suppose that Luke is using Zacchaeus' short stature, and his climbing a tree to see, as word-plays.

Zacchaeus is not "short" of money.

But what is he "short of" in his life?

2) To answer that question further what can you deduce from his job and the results of that job (verse 2)?

3) See also last line in verse 8. How might that make him too short to "see" the Messiah when he finally comes?

4) He is a "son of Abraham," Jesus says (v.9). How does that fact "up the ante" and makes his "shortness" such a serious shortfall?

STAGE 2: What's going on in the heart? Here we need to use our imagination since the text gives little direct information. Luke says the crowd prevents him from seeing Jesus.
1) What can you imagine was the crowd's overall attitude toward Zacchaeus, especially if he really has been defrauding them as he collects their taxes?

2) What label does the crowd give him in verse 7?
3) Do you think Zaccheus believes their verdict about him? Why?

4) Suppose that he does. Is that good or bad for a "son of Abraham" to do?

STAGE 3: The Root of it all: "Lost"_
When "sinner" is God's last word about people, they are "lost."
Luke uses the word "lost" often for the deepest dilemma of a sinner.
Take a look at the three parables about the "lost" in Luke 15.
Notice there that it is not so much that the sheep, the coin, & both sons get themselves lost, but that by their straying away the shepherd, the woman, the father (=God himself) has lost them.
In what way is that true of Zacchaeus before Jesus comes along--that God has lost him?

STAGE 4: Healing at the Roots: Christ Takes On our Sickness to Heal Us.
Jesus seeks and saves the Lost: Salvation comes to Zacchaeus' House

1) If the sinner's dilemma is as serious as we just saw in Stage 3, why is Jesus getting himself involved in by "going to be the guest of a sinner?"

2) Is there Good News already in Jesus' bidding Zacchaeus come "down" instead of climbing "up" to see Jesus? Why?

3) If Zacchaeus is actually as "lost" as the ones in the parables of Luke 15, what will it finally cost Jesus to go out and save him?

4) In what way will Jesus eventually be "going all the way to the cross" in order to bring "salvation" Zacchaeus?

5) What makes all this "Good News" for this particular sinner?

STAGE 5: Healing in the Heart: "Seeing" Jesus and"welcoming" him gladly.
1) What is the switch going on inside Zacchaeus as he responds to Jesus's invitation to "come down?"
2) Would he "welcome" Jesus so gladly if he still believed the crowd's verdict about him?
3) By welcoming Jesus, does he accept their verdict or ignore it?
4 How does his next action (v.8) answer this question?
5) What has given him the courage to admit his sins and make restitution?
6) What does he now believe about himself?
7) Could you call this "faith?"
Healing the Symptoms:_"Seeing" Jesus and living accordingly. Jesus invites himself into Zacchaeus's life and turns it upside down.
Luke calls this "salvation" Zacchaeus welcomes Jesus gladly.
Call it faith (Stage 5).
1) How does his daily life change as a result?

2) Do you think he gives up his tax collecting?

3) How might a Jesus-disciple survive in such a "dicey" job?

4) He aims to focus on the poor, he says. What was his former focus?

5) What "fullness" now replaces his former "shortness?"


American Catholic Saint of the Day
Peace be with you on All Saints! American Catholic 1,000 Years of Peace Project
Here are some great ressources to learn about the Saints - October is the month of the Saints -

Click on any of these "buttons" above and below and they will lead you to their promise, just as the Saints - through their lives, their intercessory prayers, and their writings - lead us on the path to God, His Eternal Love, His Salvation and our own sanctification.

American Catholic - Mother Teresa
American Catholic - St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Greetings - Send a Free St. Nicholas e-card
St Nicholas, whose Feast is on December 6, is the patron Saint of Children

American Catholic - The St. Patrick You Never Knew American Catholic - St. Anthony Messenger American Catholic - Links for Learners

To research a saint for the party, find out about him/her for your costume, report or poster, check:

1) The catholic index of Saints can be found at

THIS PATRON SAINTS INDEX covers 2364 topics and 5376 saints

2) The catholic index of Saints by TOPIC is at

3) The catholic index of Saints by NAME - ALPHABETICALLY can be found at


4) The Saints's calendar - How to find the Saint whose feast is on a particular day.

In the Middle ages, babies were often baptized on the day they were born, because of their high mortality, and their name was often chosen by simply picking the Saint of the Day on the day they were born.

Until the 1950ies, this custom was still followed in catholic countries, so that a baby would called
- "Noël, Noëlle, Christine(a) if born on 12/24, Christmas Day, in France, Belgium, Spain, Italy & Portugal,
- Ascunsion if born on the Feast of the Ascension in Spain,
- Immaculata if born on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Spain,
- Pierre-Paul if born on June 29, the Feast of the Apostles Peter & Paul, France,
- Angelo/a, Angèle if born on September 29, Feast of the Archangels in France, Spain, etc..


American Catholic - Mother Teresa
American Catholic - St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Greetings - Send a Free St. Nicholas e-card
St Nicholas, whose Feast is on December 6, is the patron Saint of Children

American Catholic - The St. Patrick You Never Knew American Catholic - St. Anthony Messenger American Catholic - Links for Learners

American Catholic - Advent - Christmas - Epiphany Feature

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace" (Numbers 6:24-26)