Does Satanic worship that mocks Catholic beliefs enjoy the protection of law?

For the past several years a group known as Dakhma of Angra Mainyu has been offering satanic rituals in various venues. Several attempts to hold them at college campuses resulted in angry protests which caused the services to be canceled. In Oklahoma City, however, they have had success. The powers that be there have determined that satanic worship is protected by the First Amendment, thus they permit the service, and will be holding another one this Monday, August 15th, the same day as the Catholic Church celebrates the 1c - satan-widescreen-hd-wallpaper-backgroundSolemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I know many people who don’t like satanic worship will nonetheless believe it is defended by the First Amendment and will criticize any attempt to stop it. Whi
le that certainly seems reasonable, I do not agree.

I believe we can make a strong argument that the Freedom of Religion established by the First Amendment was intended to protect the rights of those looking to worship God as they understand him and not Satan. Absolute tolerance is never possible; there are always inherent limits to any freedom, and none of our freedoms is absolutely unrestrictable. For example, Freedom of Speech does not protect the right to libel or slander, nor does it protect the right to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater. Similarly, any religion that seeks to worship not God but Satan and advocates obscenity (check out the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu website – it will shock and disgust you) does not, I believe, enjoy the protection of the First Amendment. Similarly, the so-called “Separation of Church and State” that so many people invoke to prohibit prayer in public places and to prevent religious organizations from using public facilities cuts both ways. This satanic worship does not merely worship Satan. Rather, it blatantly mocks Catholicism. Consider this:

During their service ojesusn August 15th, they will hold what they are calling the “Consumption” of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They will decapitate a statue of the Blessed Mother, remove a previously-placed pig heart from it, and eat it. This, they claim, symbolizes the Blessed Mother being cast into hell! Of course, it coincides with our feast of the Assumption of Mary. The timing of this insult for the same day and using a parody of the name of our feast is no accident. Neither was it an accident when the last one mocking Mary was held on Christmas Eve. This is not freedom of worship but hate speech. If public facilities cannot be used to support religion, then neither should they be used to mock it.

In solidarity with Archbishop Coakley of Oklahoma City and his request for all people of good will to join in a day of prayer and fasting in reparation for this horror, here at St. Ann’s we will hold Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 9:00 AM until 8:00 PM in the chapel. A Holy Hour with recitation of the rosary will be held at 7:00 PM.

I urge all people of good will of whatever religion or of none whatsoever to join in solidarity with Catholics whose beliefs are being mocked and desecrated. An attack on one religion is an attack on all!

 

I don’t believe everything the Church teaches. Am I a hypocrite?

christian or hypocriteSomeone recently told me that he was having a discussion with a few people who were very much trying to follow the Lord, but they felt like fake Catholics because they don’t agree with the Church on some of the “hot button” topics today, and they wanted to know if that means they’re not good Catholics and are instead hypocrites. It’s an excellent question and I was very glad that these young people were considering it. There may be many others reading this who have the same feeling. Should you be considered a fake Catholic or a hypocrite if you don’t follow everything the Church teaches? My answer is, “not necessarily.” There is more information that needs to be looked at before anyone could judge himself and accuse himself of being fake or a hypocrite.

First of all, what does it mean to be a hypocrite? Hypocrites are not people who don’t understand or who don’t agree: hypocrites are people who claim they are doing God’s will and yet turn around and end up doing precisely the opposite of what God wants. I will give you an example of where I have found hypocrisy recently in some people in the church: Usually on my blog and in other places I find myself battling the liberal people who want the Church to change her teachings, but recently I have found myself in a strong battle against people on the extreme right who are condemning Pope Francis. I found myself in a conversation on a rather reactionary conservative site that is accusing Pope Francis of abandoning the faith in his new apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. They seem to have ignored all of the strong things the Pope said about the value of a traditional marriage and the things for families to do in order to keep their marriage strong and have focused their attention on a footnote in one comment about Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. In the exhortation the Pope clearly reiterated the Church’s teaching that divorced and remarried Catholics who have done so without an annulment are in an irregular situation and cannot licitly present themselves to receive Holy Communion. In a footnote to that the Pope mentions that under certain circumstances some people may be able to be admitted to Communion. That has always been the teaching of the Church. For example, couples who are invalidly married but willing to live as brother and sister-meaning they refrain from any sexual activity-may present themselves for Holy Communion after confession provided no scandal to the faithful exists. Unfortunately, these reactionary people read only the footnote and seemed to be convinced beforehand that Pope Francis, by not just bashing people over the head as sinners, is somehow altering the Faith and has changed the Church’s teaching on the matter. I put a comment on a question board on this site asking people, “please someone showed me the quote where Pope Francis changed the Church’s teaching on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics?” The reactions I got back from that were vile and obscene! While some very politely accused me of living in a naïvely Pollyanna world where I did not want to see the “serious danger of the Pope’s new teaching,” others told me I was doing the devil’s work and they were praying for my soul because I was in danger of being condemned for all eternity simply because I did not condemn Pope Francis! Another one said he would listen to tradition and not “the evil teachings of this evil Pope”. When I asked him where he found the justification to judge the Pope, he said to me “God has given me the right to judge the Pope!” Mamma Mia! That sounds like Martin Luther all over to me! That’s precisely what the Protestant reformers had said: they felt that the Pope had broken from Tradition and they had a God-given duty to correct the Pope and even broke away to “reform” the Church into what they thought it was supposed to be! I wrote a note to the editor of that website saying that I would no longer participate on the site because of the self-righteous and sanctimonious statements of some of the readers that they are attracting. I told him they are attracting people who believe they speak for God and when even the Pope says something they don’t like they believe the Pope is wrong and they are right; in other words, their minds and their thoughts are the ultimate judge of truth, and in their self-righteousness they have repeated exactly what the Pharisees did in condemning Jesus. The Pharisees were convinced they were defending God and attacking an evil person when they sent Jesus to his death, and I told the editor I would have no part of such an attitude! That to me is hypocrisy; the “I-am-right-and-anyone-who-disagrees-with-me-is-a-condemned-sinner” attitude.

As for others who don’t believe they agree with the Church, we must remember that Jesus during his lifetime made some very provocative statements and he challenged people. Lots of things that he said went against the grain. Sometimes people rejected him without hearing him through and understanding why he taught what he did, and so they ended up not following Jesus and not experiencing the salvation he could offer them. That is a mistake. Take for example the situation when Jesus gave the Great Discourse on the Bread of Life, telling everyone they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to have eternal life (cf John 6). For Jews that was a horror! Contact with human blood made you unclean, and so it violated everything they believed in. In addition, Jesus did not tell them he was going to turn bread and wine into his body and blood, and so they must have thought he was talking about cannibalism. St. John tells us that after this many of Jesus’ followers abandoned him and would no longer be his disciples. He turned to the apostles and asked them if they too wanted to leave him, and Peter replies, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Peter didn’t understand any more than the others did, but he was so convinced in whom Jesus was that he accepted something that made no sense to him simply because Jesus said it and he knew Jesus could not be wrong. What Peter said is what Jesus was looking for: trust in him completely, so that even things that did not make sense to us we would accept because Jesus said it and then look for the answer and the explanation as to why Jesus said what he did. The apostles found that; those who left him did not.

So to people who accuse themselves of being fake Catholics because they reject the Church’s teaching on any number of issues, I ask them to ask themselves this: have you carefully looked at why the Church teaches what she does on this particular issue? Many times we reject something without understanding why it’s taught in the first place. Remember that we, thanks to Original Sin, are rewired in a faulty way whereby what is God’s will and what advances us on the spiritual journey to salvation is not natural to us. Because of that, our natural inclination is not to embrace the things that lead us to heaven but what makes us happy here on earth. Sometimes meeting a need here on earth would compromise our call to salvation. But we don’t see that, especially when to follow the Lord’s teaching would be to cause us inconvenience or even suffering here and now, and we end up rejecting the teaching because we only want convenience now and don’t see the high price we have to pay for that convenience.

So have we thought everything through and gotten complete and sufficient information to know that something that would satisfy our desire now will compromise our call to salvation, and then chosen to reject the teaching? If so, then I would say we are not authentic Catholics. But for most people we simply have our own opinions that have come from the world around us which we have openly accepted without even thinking through, and ended up rejecting the Church’s teaching without really thinking it through. So I’m not saying for a moment that it’s okay for someone to reject the Church’s teaching! At the same time, however, I don’t think it’s fair for anyone to accuse either himself or another of being a hypocrite or a fake Catholic simply because he has not completely come to understand why the Church teaches something it does. So before you condemn yourself, do research and find out why the Church teaches what she does on certain issues. If you are of honest faith and a desire to follow Jesus, chances are when you do, you will find yourself understanding the teaching better and perhaps even accepting it. Only if someone has completely understood the teaching and chosen to reject it should he say that he is not a faithful Catholic.

Is there any hope for the world?

Someone recently asked me a question that I found to be quite profound: “Father, do you think there is any hope for the world?” (This question actually came from a young man who came with his fiancée to make arrangements for their marriage.) I was floored by such a deep question at a wedding interview. I told him, “Well, any hope we have can only be found in Christ. It won’t come from Washington!” In the midst of a presidential election year, we will continue to hear many promises from all the candidates for President until Election Day. We will listen, and we will ultimately Earth-clip-art-8each vote for the person we feel offers the most hope for America. But you know what will happen? No one we elect will deliver 100% of what he or she promises. We know all too well that much of the time candidates say what they know we want to hear in order to get our vote. At other times they promise things that they firmly believe they will be able to provide, yet once they get into office and face the reality of the situation, they realize they can’t fulfill the promise, and sometimes they even espouse the very opposite position to what they promised. Rarely do they actually make good on their promises. I don’t mean this as a blanket condemnation of all politicians but as an observation of fact: it is very hard for even the most honest politicians to keep the promises they make. That is because we are all fallen individuals and do not have all knowledge of reality. Only one person does – Jesus – and yet too often we listen to everyone but Jesus. For some reason that we’re hard pressed to explain, we dismiss the Gospel of Jesus as too “pie-in-the-sky” and unrealistic but we listen with devotion to politicians. We tend to see the Gospel as something that would be nice in a perfect world but which is not practical here and now. Dismissing the Gospel because the world is not perfect is like being lost and having a GPS but not using it because you’re lost! Does that make any sense? The Gospel is precisely the way to make the world the place we long for it to be. So why don’t we listen to Jesus. There is a plethora of reasons people will offer, but underneath them all is one common denominator: we are not in love with Jesus. We don’t trust him because we don’t really know him. We believe in him, but without falling in love with him, we don’t make him the foundation of our lives. I am convinced that we will only know true peace when we come to love Jesus with all our hearts and make him the center of our life. We cannot make the world love Jesus overnight, but we can learn to love him ourselves and change our own lives to have the meaning and purpose for which we always yearn.

Here at St. Ann’s we are introducing a new program entitled “Christlife.” it is a seven-week retreat series that will take place on Thursday evenings from 7:00 PM -9:30 PM in Fr. discovering-christAnthony Hall. Our first session entitled “Discovering Christ” will talk about precisely these things. We will not dwell on specific beliefs nor enter into catechetics or any hard sell of Jesus. Instead, we will talk about what life is all about and why we need a Savior, specifically Jesus. You will be fed a great meal and then we will have discussion about life and the role Jesus should play in it. Our team has people of every age from 15 through elderly adults, both male and female. If you live near Yonkers, come to Christlife! It may change your life! If you don’t live in our area, look for Christlife where you live. Catholic parishes are offering it all over the country. Make a commitment that will pay off for the rest of your life and into eternity! Come to know Jesus, and you will come to know yourself!

Is it Morally Permissible to Attend a Gay Marriage?

When the Supreme Court legalized marriage in all 50 states of the union this past summer I knew it would be inevitable that people would be asking whether or not they could attend the marriage of a same-sex couple. May we attend or should we politely bow out? Before we answer, let’s set a foundation.

By attending an event we implicitly show that we are giving approval to the event. Imagine, for example, if we were to show up at a celebration by the Ku Klux Klan. There would be no way we can claim that we were just showing up for the event but not approving of the Klan. Similarly, how could we show up for a marriage celebration that violates what we believe without giving tacit approval to the event? As a rule, therefore, those who oppose gay marriage should not attend a same-sex celebration. Naturally, there will be an awkwardness involved in turning down the invitation. Sometimes someone may feel that they are so close to someone, especially an immediate family member or very dear friends, that they feel it would harm the relationship by not attending. If that is the case, the only way we could attend without implicitly approving would be to clearly let the individuals know beforehand that our presence should in no way be interpreted as approving of what they are doing. I know thMale and femaleat many people will find that a difficult thing to do, but sometimes in life we must do things that are awkward or difficult in order to remain faithful to our beliefs. Others may feel that they are judging the individuals by not showing up; in fact, that is precisely what the gay-rights community has been doing to us: making us believe that we are judging them by not approving of their activities. Nothing of that sort is taking place at all. Do not let individuals put you on the defensive and make it sound like you’re judging them. Actually, there is a breach of charity on their part if they should do that. Charity dictates that we should never deliberately place anyone in a situation where their presence would violate their beliefs, religious or otherwise. Would you invite an animal rights activist to attend the opening of a new fur salon and expect them to attend and be supportive? That would be uncharitable. Similarly, same-sex couples should not invite to their wedding someone they know does not approve of gay marriage. To do so would be insensitive on their part. Same-sex couples may have won the legal right to marry, but they must understand that not everyone approves of what they’re doing and for them to put anyone in a situation whereby they would be forcing them to choose between their relationship with them and their religious beliefs is unconscionable. I find that the onus is on a same- sex couple to be sensitive to other peoples’ feelings and not put them on the spot. If they worry that someone would be offended by not being invited, I would suggest adding a note with the invitation that says, “You are a very important person in my life and so I welcome you to take part in my celebration; however, I realize that this may cause awkwardness for you, and if you feel you cannot in good conscience attend I will understand.” Similarly, it would behoove a same-sex couple to understand if someone says, “listen, you’re very important to me and I love you but you know what you’re doing violates my religious beliefs and I cannot in good conscience celebrate with you.” If they are people of integrity, they will understand. If not, they are merely trying to use their marriage as a means to force you to accept their beliefs, even at the risk of violating your own, and that is wrong of them. They should not turn their celebration into a moral battleground. Let them celebrate with those who support them and understand that some cannot. So if you are invited to a same-sex ceremony, very politely inform the person that you cannot attend because it violates your religious beliefs and you’re sure they understand that and know you mean them no ill will. If you feel you absolutely must attend the event, make it clear to the person beforehand that under no circumstances should they interpret your attendance as approval of what they are doing.

Listen to Pope Francis, not the media!

pope-francis-2-300This week Pope Francis begins a historic visit to the United States. It will be the first time in history that a Pope addresses the joint sessio
ns of Congress, and in New York he will address the General Assembly of the United Nations where it is six estimated that as many as 90 heads of state will be present to listen to him. The highlight of his trip will be presiding over the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, which is a Congress sponsored by the Vatican every three years in a different city worldwide to defend traditional family life. This is the first time the World Meeting of Families is being held in the United States.

Many people are wondering what the Pope will talk about during his time in the United States. The Pope has not released the context of his talks, so it’s anyone’s guess. But whatever he speaks about I caution people to listen very carefully to what the Pope actually says, and not what people claim that he said. The media coverage of Pope Francis since his election has been rather skewed at times. Sometimes it is certainly innocent, such as when somebody does not understand all the nuances of the issue that talking about. Case in point is the response to when the Pope talked about granting all priests the permission to forgive the sin of abortion and remove any excommunication that may have been connected with it during the year of faith which is beginning on December 8. For us here in New York and in most parts of the United States it doesn’t affect us because we’ve always had that right. Church law allows regional conferences the right to decide whether or not to permit individual priest to forgive serious sins or withhold it to the Bishop. In most dioceses of the United States the bishops have automatically given that right to priests. It is a right I have always had for 25 years, so it doesn’t affect us here in New York. Only in areas where the Bishop has reserved this right to himself that the Holy Father is saying for one year he by his own authority is overriding the bishops and the bishops’ conferences and allowing every individual priest to have that right.

Another grave error was made in the discussion of what the Pope said about annulments. Pope Francis is not a fan of bureaucracy, and he wants to try to streamline the annulment process, cut through the red tape, and make it easier for people to receive a decision on their annulment. Some people in the press, however, took that to mean that the Pope was easing the reasons for getting an annulment or changing our teachings on it, even to the point that one reporter tried to claim that this was the first step in the church recognizing divorce and remarriage! Totally ludicrous! The Pope never said that! All he said was he wanted to speed up the process. But some in the media decided to create a conflict where there never was one.  A few cardinals were a little skeptical of the and stated their disagreement with it, and one news source online ran an article entitled “Dissent in the Vatican” and had a picture of St. Peter’s Basilica with a giant lightning bolt over it, as if the church was an open rebellion! Having a difference of opinion is normal in every aspect of human life and hardly constitutes dissent. Dissent would come into play if the Pope officially declared something and several cardinals said they refuse to follow it. That would be dissent!

But while some of the differences have been due to honest misinformation, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that many have deliberately distorted the Pope’s words to try to have them meet their own agenda. A classic example of this was the famous “who am I to judge” statement that the Pope made coming back from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. We don’t even know what question was actually asked of the Pope to which he was responding, but his response was “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” But many in the media plucked the line “who am I to judge” out of context and passed it off as if Pope Francis was now approving of gay marriage. Even just last week a recent pew research polls that shows that of Catholics who support gay marriage, 49% of them mistakenly believed that Pope Francis also does. The only place they ever have got that impression was from that quote that was deliberately taken out of context by the media. I’ve been thinking of what would’ve happened if the media had been present when the Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus who’d been caught committing adultery and when they told him according to the law of Moses such women were supposed to be stoned to death and want to know what he thought about it, when he just wrote on the ground and they persisted in their questioning, he stood up and said to them “let he who is without sin cast the first stone at her.” The Pharisees disappeared one by one leaving the woman alone with Jesus. Jesus then said to her “woman where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” She responded, “no sir, no one!” Jesus then responded, “neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” If the media had been there that day they would have undoubtedly just plucked the line “I do not condemn you” and reported in the newspapers that Jesus was now saying that adultery was okay! You can see where problems come in.

All these errors have led a lot of people to believe all sorts of wrong things about the Holy Father. Many in the media are trying very hard to pit him against conservatives in the church and traditional voices, and sadly they’re doing it very effectively. Even today I read an article in our local newspaper about someone referring to Pope Francis as having socialist leanings. This is absurd! They’re trying so hard to paint him as a liberal socialist deliberately to drive a wedge between him and the traditional voices in the church. But do not be misled! There is nothing at all in the statements of Pope Francis that is not 100% Orthodox Catholic teaching. The only difference is that he’s bringing a more personal effort to try to reach out to people and offer God’s forgiveness to them on an easier basis. He cares very much about the poor and he wants to bring people to the loving and forgiving embrace of Jesus. That is not socialist! That is standard Catholic theology of the past 2000 years.

So my friends, when you look at coverage of the Pope this week, listen to what the Pope is actually saying and do not be misinformed by people who either out of ignorance or out of a deliberate bent of their own deliberately distort the Pope’s words to make a message they are hoping he will make. He did not approve of gay marriage, he will not be saying abortion is okay, he will not be changing any church teachings. He will simply be restating what we have always believed and call us and challenge us to see other areas of the gospel that have been lost in the controversy over the major issues, so that all of us can be faithful disciples of Jesus and follow his call to holiness.

The True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Do you believe?

As we prepare to welcome Pope Francis to New York at the end of the month, I would like to ask everyone to view this video about something he was personally involved with that is astounding: the Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires. (I wrote about this in a previous post which you can view here.) This story gives tremendous strength to anyone whose faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is doubtful. It is eight minutes long and very inspiring.

Pope Francis holds dove before his weekly audience at the Vatican

By the way, I will be one of the priests on CBS News in New York alongside Mary Calvi covering the Pope’s visit this month.

view the video on the Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires here

Catholics and the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage “equality”: where do we go from here?

I’m sure many of you who are my devoted followers on this blog are eager to hear me discuss my reaction to yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court. I wasn’t surprised at the outcome; in fact, I was kind of expecting it. After the Defense of Marriage Act was shot down the writing was on the wall for this decision. My opposition to allowing same-sex marriage or altering the definition of marriage hasn’t changed since the blog I wrote on Pandora’s box nearly two years ago. For details of that, please see that blog. Just click the link here:The Supreme Court and Pandora’s Box

But what has changed this time?

First of all, I find the language that was used to defend allowing same-sex marriage and overriding the laws of the states to be interesting. They kept referring to the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman only as “discriminatory”, “hate filled”, “bigoted”, and a host of other negative descriptions. But where did this definition come from? It came from God. Therefore, if we are referring to the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman as hate filled and discriminatory and bigoted then  we’re calling God hate filled, discriminatory and bigoted. In effect, yesterday the Supreme Court sat in judgment of God and declared God “discriminatory”, “hate filled”, and “bigoted”. I remember another Supreme Court that sat in judgment over God. That was the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. Caiaphas and Annas and the Sadducees and all of their supporters sat in judgment of Jesus and accused him of blasphemy and they sent God to his death. The United States Supreme Court has done the same thing: they have sat in judgment of God and called him hate filled.

Christ in Majesty2

What is the good news? The good news for us is this: God has already won the victory! Every member of the Supreme Court and every politician and everyone who has been fighting to overturn God’s definition of marriage will have to stand before Christ in judgment when they die and they will hear Christ say to them, “I declared marriage to be between one man and one woman. Who were you to decide that my definition was hate filled?” I’d love to be able to be there that day to see what will happen.

The big question is, “Where do we go from here?” The final remaining question is whether or not the courts will try to force religions to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs. If they do, they will be in clear violation of the First Amendment which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” We will then have every right to be in civil disobedience and open rebellion against the Court should that ever happen because it clearly will have violated the United States Constitution.

As for ourselves, however, while we may not be able to do much to change yesterday’s ruling or what happens in states throughout the nation, what we can change is how we respond to it. Many people have lamented to me about the world we’re leaving to their children and grandchildren. The best way we can protect them from not being affected by this is to teach them clearly from now to follow God and not the social mores of our time. The days of cultural Catholicism are over. We can no longer go with the flow and feel content just to say we went to church on Sunday and did our Easter duty. The time has come for us to be countercultural. It is no longer possible for us to go along with society and remain faithful to God. We must choose one or the other; either we will follow God or we will follow society. In many ways it can be a glorious time for us to be Catholics today, because we are following in similar circumstances that the ancient Christians faced. They had the awesome responsibility of converting the Roman Empire to the faith, and even though the Roman Empire used all of its might to try to fight the new faith, ultimately it embraced as its official religion the very faith that tried to destroy. We today, if we wish to win back our country need to do so by remaining firm ourselves in the faith by being truly dedicated to God not merely on Sunday but every day of the week, that we literally fall in love with Jesus, that we let our life revolve around him and his call to holiness and his truth and unashamedly and unhesitatingly reject anything that contradicts God’s call to holiness. When civil law disagrees with God’s law, God’s law trumps it, and we have an obligation to obey God and not man.

So my dear friends do not panic! Christ has won the victory and we are on the side of that victory. We may feel right now like our opponents have hit a grand slam and are now beating us ten to nothing, but hang in there! At the end of the game we are the victors! Do not jump ship and try to decide that we must change the teachings of the Church to be more popular and fit in with the rest of the world so as to win more people back, as so many people would like us to do. Jesus never called us to be popular; he called us to be faithful. Our job is to teach the truth whether convenient or inconvenient, whether in season or out of season, whether popular or unpopular. If people listen to us, wonderful! We will then have saved their souls. And if they don’t at least we have done our job, and when we stand in judgment before the Lord we will not hear the condemnation that Jesus certainly gave to Caiaphas and Annas and will give to anyone else who has sat in judgment of his law and called it hateful and discriminatory, but we will hear Jesus say to us “Well done brave and faithful servant! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world! As you bore witness to me in the world, so I bear witness to you before my father! Come share in my joy!” May Jesus Christ be praised!