Saturday, September 2, 2017

Join Host Michael Hernon, panelists Dr. Regis Martin and Dr. Scott Hahn, and special guest Steve Ray, Founder of Footprints of God Pilgrimages and Producer of “Abraham: Father of Faith & Works”, as they discuss “Father Abraham” and his role in Salvation History.

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Our topic is “Father Abraham” since our recent Footprints of God documentary is entitled “Abraham, Father of Faith & Works.

Airdates:

Sunday, September 3, at 10 pm ET
Thursday, September 7, at 5 am ET
Saturday, September 9, at 4 pm ET

For a preview, watch the short YouTube video below.

You can learn more about our Footprints of God movie Abraham, Father of Faith & Works here. The documentary was filming in Iraq, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinian West Bank. It is a deeply theological study of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but it is a rollicking lot of fun too!

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We know where Jesus was baptized. It was on the Jordan side of the Jordan River. The site is called Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan as mentioned in John 1:28. This is a nice little 2 minute video about this site.

You will also see this site in great detail in our upcoming documentary on Elijah & Elisha – and you can see it in person in Jan-Feb 2018 and Sept 2018 when we take two pilgrimage groups to this exact spot.

Sorry for the stupid 30 second advertisement that pops up first – argh!

For my previous blog post on this site from when we were last there with maps, pictures, etc., click here.

Come, meet Jesus on Jordan’s bank
By Jordan Tourism Board NA | September 1, 2017

From Aleteia On-line: Visiting Jordan, you walk in the footsteps of Joshua, Elijah, John the Baptist, and Christ Himself.

There is a place on earth where the heavens opened, not once, but twice. When you stand here, on the banks of the Jordan River, the sun on the water dazzling your eyes and the wind stirring the leaves and grasses of this oasis, you are not alone. You stand in the company not only of your fellow pilgrims and travelers, but of thousands of wanderers and seekers across the millennia. And you walk in the footsteps of Jesus Himself.

Listen. You can hear the splash of wilderness-weary feet entering the stream. Not far from where you stand, Joshua assumed the leadership of the Israelites after Moses’ death, and led the people at last across this very river into the Land of Promise.

In the 4th century, the wealthy pilgrim Egeria stopped here. She noted in her diary, “Setting out from Jerusalem and journeying with holy men, with a priest and deacons from Jerusalem and with certain brothers, that is monks, we came to that spot on the Jordan where the children of Israel had crossed when holy Joshua, the son of Nun, had led them over Jordan.” Egeria and her companions stood on this holy ground and prayed, as pilgrims have been doing for centuries before and after her.

Listen. Can you hear the roar of a whirlwind? Very near here, the prophet Elijah struck the river with his mantle and the waters rolled aside, so he and his follower Elisha could cross on dry land. Here Elisha asked for a double share of Elijah’s spirit, and then the heavens opened for the first time:
As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” (2 Kings 2:12-13)

Now, listen. Hear “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the ways of the Lord, make his paths straight!’” In this very spot John began baptizing sinners. You stand in the crowd, you hear him say, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” And as John’s Gospel recounts, “This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.” (John 1:26-28)

Bethany beyond the Jordan, where Christianity was born

In this place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Jesus humbled Himself to be baptized by John. And the sky — the sky above you right now — opened once more, and the Blessed Trinity was revealed:

And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:15-17)

Here, Jesus’ public ministry began. Here, in these waters, Christianity was born.

Pilgrims renew their baptismal promises where Jesus was baptized by John.

The evidence of centuries of pilgrimages, brought to light by archaeological finds as recent as 1996, confirms it. From coins that may have been carried by those who came out to the desert to see John the Baptist, to the ruins of early prayer houses marked with baptismal crosses, from monks’cells cut into the banks to the remains of Byzantine churches that flourished even after the Islamic conquest, Bethany beyond the Jordan speaks eloquently of the presence of the Divine.

Bethany beyond the Jordan — in Arabic al-Maghtas, “the Place of Baptism” — is just the beginning of the many spiritual, historical, and cultural wonders offered by a Jordan pilgrimage. North Americans are often unaware of Jordan’s modernity, gracious hospitality, and deep dedication to preserving and sharing the land’s diverse yet common religious roots.

Writer Peter Jesserer Smith shared his experience of a 2016 #HolyJordan trip with the National Catholic Register. “Jordan is arguably the safest and most secure country in the Middle East,” he wrote. “The kingdom is at peace with all of its neighbors and has a unique Arab society. Wherever I went, I encountered a welcoming culture of hospitality, a warm fraternity of Christian-Muslim coexistence, and an abiding love of their ancient sites and heritage.”

Christianity flourished in Jordan from its beginnings, and still does today.

A visit to Bethany beyond the Jordan, as to all of Jordan’s holy sites, is not simply a visit to a bygone past. Christianity flourishes here today. When Pope Francis visited this place in February 2016, he was welcomed by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, whose flock includes Jordanians. His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal extended a welcome to all, saying: “We invite the Christian world to visit this site and learn more about our roots and our ecclesial life. For many, this river is a border. For the Latin Patriarchate … it is more a bridge that unites, a call to communion and unity.”

Imagine yourself standing on the banks of the Jordan, on the ground where Jesus walked. You cup the water in your hand and cross yourself in the Name of the Trinity, renewing your own baptismal vows. Around you stand the Israelites, the disciples of John the Baptist, the first Christians and their pilgrim descendants — and the vibrant, living Church of today. The water, the stones, the ruins, the sky all speak to you of how your life changes in this moment, in this place.

To join Steve Ray on one of his two trips to Jordan in 2018, visit www.FootprintsOfGod.com.

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It’s possible to stay faithful to the church’s teachings without turning away millions.

By Cardinal Robert Sarah, Wall Street Journal353 COMMENTS

The Catholic Church has been criticized by many, including some of its own followers, for its pastoral response to the LGBT community. This criticism deserves a reply—not to defend the Church’s practices reflexively, but to determine whether we, as the Lord’s disciples, are reaching out effectively to a group in need. Christians must always strive to follow the new commandment Jesus gave at the Last Supper: “Love one another, even as I have loved you.”

To love someone as Christ loves us means to love that person in the truth. “For this I was born,” Jesus told Pontius Pilate, “to bear witness to the truth.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church reflects this insistence on honesty, stating that the church’s message to the world must “reveal in all clarity the joy and demands of the way of Christ.”

Those who speak on behalf of the church must be faithful to the unchanging teachings of Christ, because only through living in harmony with God’s creative design do people find deep and lasting fulfillment. Jesus described his own message in these terms, saying in the Gospel of John: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Catholics believe that, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the church draws its teachings upon the truths of Christ’s message.

Among Catholic priests, one of the most outspoken critics of the church’s message with regard to sexuality is Father James Martin, an American Jesuit. In his book “Building a Bridge,” published earlier this year, he repeats the common criticism that Catholics have been harshly critical of homosexuality while neglecting the importance of sexual integrity among all of its followers.
Father Martin is correct to argue that there should not be any double standard with regard to the virtue of chastity, which, challenging as it may be, is part of the good news of Jesus Christ for all Christians. For the unmarried—no matter their attractions—faithful chastity requires abstention from sex.

This might seem a high standard, especially today. Yet it would be contrary to the wisdom and goodness of Christ to require something that cannot be achieved. Jesus calls us to this virtue because he has made our hearts for purity, just as he has made our minds for truth. With God’s grace and our perseverance, chastity is not only possible, but it will also become the source for true freedom.

We do not need to look far to see the sad consequences of the rejection of God’s plan for human intimacy and love. The sexual liberation the world promotes does not deliver its promise. Rather, promiscuity is the cause of so much needless suffering, of broken hearts, of loneliness, and of treatment of others as means for sexual gratification. As a mother, the church seeks to protect her children from the harm of sin, as an expression of her pastoral charity.

In her teaching about homosexuality, the church guides her followers by distinguishing their identities from their attractions and actions. First there are the people themselves, who are always good because they are children of God. Then there are same-sex attractions, which are not sinful if not willed or acted upon but are nevertheless at odds with human nature. And finally there are same-sex relations, which are gravely sinful and harmful to the well-being of those who partake in them. People who identify as members of the LGBT community are owed this truth in charity, especially from clergy who speak on behalf of the church about this complex and difficult topic.

It is my prayer that the world will finally heed the voices of Christians who experience same-sex attractions and who have discovered peace and joy by living the truth of the Gospel. I have been blessed by my encounters with them, and their witness moves me deeply. I wrote the foreword to one such testimony, Daniel Mattson’s book, “Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay: How I Reclaimed My Sexual Reality and Found Peace,” with the hope of making his and similar voices better heard.

 These men and women testify to the power of grace, the nobility and resilience of the human heart, and the truth of the church’s teaching on homosexuality. In many cases, they have lived apart from the Gospel for a period but have been reconciled to Christ and his church. Their lives are not easy or without sacrifice. Their same-sex inclinations have not been vanquished. But they have discovered the beauty of chastity and of chaste friendships. Their example deserves respect and attention, because they have much to teach all of us about how to better welcome and accompany our brothers and sisters in authentic pastoral charity.

Cardinal Sarah is prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

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“Call No Man Your Father”

September 2, 2017

Why do Catholics call their priests “Father” when Jesus said, “Call no man your father.” If you haven’t heard this question yet, some day you certainly will. We must understand what Jesus was saying and why he was saying it in order to understand his words. I was asked this question again and here is […]

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