Monday, December 30, 2019

Two Buses of Families Arrive in Tel Aviv

by Steve Ray on December 30, 2019

This is our annual Holy Land Pilgrimage for families over Christmas break. It’s very smart to bring young people here and immerse them in the land of Jesus to have experiences they will never forget. We do teaching for the young people to help ground them in the Catholic faith. We want the Bible to come alive for them.

It was delightful seeing all the couples and families pouring into the Arrivals Hall from which we boarded them on our brand new buses and drove up to Tiberias. Our Ron Beach hotel is right on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and everyone has a balcony room looking out over the sea.

{ 0 comments }

I just finished writing my book on Genesis to be published by Ignatius Press. This section I wrote was so exciting and ironic I had to share it, especially since this is Christmas when God became Man. Here is a small section of what I wrote:

Satan.jpgBut why didn’t God prevent Adam and Eve from sinning? Didn’t this disobedience ruin everything? Didn’t Satan win a great victory over God? Yes and no. It marred the creation of God for the immediate moment, but God always uses evil to bring about a greater good—remember, he is God!

The Catechism asks the same question: “But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, ‘Christ’s inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon’s envy had taken away.’ And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, ‘There is nothing to prevent human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more”; and the [Easter] Exsultet sings, “O happy fault [of Adam],. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”’” (CCC 412).

Saints1.jpgBecause of the fall God would now become Man, the Ultimate Man who would crush the serpent’s head. And because God became Man, he could now raise Man up to truly be like God! (cf. CCC 460). Peter reminds us that we could now be partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Satan had lied, but because of God’s greatness, he actually fulfilled the empty lie of Satan in a more spectacular manner than could have been imagined. I suspect Satan is more furious than ever — his grand scheme backfired and man actually became what he had promised in his lie.

 Satan had tempted the first humans with the promise of being like God; now God, because of the fall and his infinite love has dramatically “upped the ante” and actually made it possible for us to really be like God!

What an ironic twist to a seemingly sad, but now magnificent story! Could any science fiction writer tell a more remarkable story—truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case much more cosmic, profound, and eternally real!

Meditate on THAT and have a blessed day!

{ 11 comments }