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Conversion Discipleship Faith Formation Ink Slingers Jesus Is Lord Jesus Is Lord course Martina Series

Jesus Is Lord: Repentance – Recognize and Receive {Week Four}

REPENTANCEchrist-king3Welcome to the Jesus Is Lord series! This is the fourth installment of the Jesus Is Lord course offered for adults at St. William Catholic Church in Round Rock, Texas.

If this is your first time visiting this series, I encourage you to take a few moments and read through the series introduction that will give a clear picture of the purpose and content of the Jesus Is Lord course. The introduction post not only outlines the course, but goes over the motivation to share in this class on the internet. 

Today’s class is about Repentance – Recognize and Receive. Last week’s class was about Salvation – God’s Solution for SinIf you would prefer to watch this class, please scroll to the bottom. Keep in mind the recorded classes are not from our current class and contain testimonies from different people presented in the text below. Check back next week for Confession and then the following installment which will cover Holy Spirit – Going from the Seat to the Feet

TEACHING

Begin with prayer.

Noe starts the evening by sharing that repentance has two components – recognizing and receiving

EXAMPLE.  He gave his daughter the car, but there was something wrong with the suspension. The mechanic recommended putting new wheels on the car, too, and suggested another company to do the work. Fixing the alignment without putting new tires on it wouldn’t truly fix the alignment. It would just be a matter of time before the alignment was off again. 

And so it is with true repentance. We need to both recognize and receive in order to have true repentance. We are going to explain in detail how to receive God’s forgiveness.

  1. We have to take responsibility for our sins. The blame is mine.
  2. We need true contrition. I feel sorry for what I’ve done.
  3. We need to take an active role in avoiding the near occasion of sin. My intention is to not sin again.

Father Uche Andeh spoke to the group about Repentance: Recognize and Receive. The following is a summary of his talk:

We continue in our journey – the next phase – thanking the Lord for His special mercies and favors. So far we have talked about God’s Love, Sin and Its Consequences, and Salvation and God’s Solution for Sin. The process of “cashing the check” was written by the work on the Cross. We started talking about the Kerygma – the original message by the apostles – the message included repentance. It did not start with the apostles, but Jesus Himself as we see in

Mark 1:15 “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

The message Jesus preached then still applies. It is what He is telling you TODAY. The right time has come. The ball is in your court. You need to turn away from your sins and believe in the Good News. When He talks about turning away from sin – and Pope John VI hammered this point – He is talking about metanoia {literally repentance or penance} When you turn your back on God, God is saying turn back – 180 degrees. Bishop Fulton Sheen says when we turn away from God through sin, it’s like you turn away from the sun – what do you see when you turn away from the sun? You see your shadow, your fears, the things that give you fear, and as you walk away from the sun, the shadow gets longer. But, when you turn towards the sun, the shadow is behind you and the closer you get to the sun, the shorter the shadow is. It’s forgiveness from all the worry and anxiety we place on ourselves. But we first have to turn towards God.

CONTRITION IS AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT

Not because we fear Him, but because we love God. It is not the only thing needed in Catholicism. It is contrition and ALSO avoiding the near occasions of sin. The Catholic understanding of repentance is not “oh, I’m sorry” only.

Example. An alcoholic encounters Jesus – he knows it destroys the family. He wants to turn his life around, so he is sorry for drinking. He knows that hanging out with his friend Louie will lead to drinking…excessively. Avoiding the near occasion of sin means telling Louie the new state of affairs and ask Louie to change, too. If his friend does not, he knows spending time with his friend is an occasion of sin and he knows he will fall into the same behavior again.

Repentance is saying I’m sorry

and I’m going to make an effort to avoid situations that cause me to fall

Repentance has to involve both components. Avoiding the near occasion of sin is being as shrewd as serpents and as simple as doves. If you intentionally put yourself in the path of sin, you are just like a child playing with fire.

When Jesus called His disciples – they left everything {metanoia} and they follow Him. That’s what we’re supposed to do as Christians – old things have passed away and new things are here now.

CONTRAST this with

John 6:66 As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

Following Christ means changing everything – your attitude, motives, thoughts, behaviors, etc. You are a completely new creation in Christ Jesus.

CCC 1431  Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one’s life, with hope in God’s mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart).

Turning away from evil, sin, wrongdoing, and from ruining your life is the point at which we STOP being the boss of our own life. We turn it over to Jesus. Two conflicting options will always be present, though. We can choose what we want to do instead and not what God wants us to do due to lack of trust. What we are striving for is returning to a life of obedience.

Turning away from sin has consequences and will come with some pain.

You have to be willing and able to deal with that pain in exchange for the peace that God gives you. 

Turning towards God is about falling in love. What happens when people fall in love? They do things they wouldn’t normally do. Without the falling in love part, you will feel like you are being punished. Love makes it a little bit easier to bare – not easy, but easier to bare.

Being lukewarm is no longer an option.

Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

We have to make up our mind.

God has courted us all these years and now you have to decide.

You can’t stay in no-man’s land. 

It takes action.

Mark 9:43-49 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ “Everyone will be salted with fire.

What does Jesus mean? He’s not talking about actually mutilating yourself, but rather some of these things we do – sins – we need to cut them from our lives. We are as attached to our sins as our hands are to our body. In other words, cutting ourselves off from our favorite sins can be as painful as cutting off our hand or foot.

Example. You are with someone who wants to gossip all the time. Something has to give…sin can become so engrained in us that it becomes second nature – it’s impossible for us to separate from it. God says bring your addiction to Me and we will remove/operate/cut that aspect off so that you can start the healing process.

God gives you a simple proposition at this point in your journey. Are YOU willing to take this step with Him? This 180? Sometimes we doubt, but if you do your part, God will do His part because He is always faithful.

He is challenging you today – if you do your part, He will do His. He will see you through.

DURING THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION. Whatever sins you forgive are forgiven – and that confession is principally between you and God. So that you can make a good confession, do not focus on the priest, do not worry with what he might think of you. Think of the priest as the phone you would use to talk directly to God. Confession is complete when you do penance.

Based on Psalms 51:10, play this song and use the music as meditation to allow it to be an administration of the Holy Spirit to you. Use the words to respond to God and make it a prayer to Him.

SCRIPTURE

Below is a summary of the Scripture that Noe used to break down Father Uche’s talk.

Sacrament

Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

When we get rid of the obstructions in our lives through the sacrament of Confession, the light of Jesus will touch people.

EXAMPLE. Noe uses a flashlight to demonstrate how we are a light for others. Facilitators turn off the lights, but…

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…darkness. The light doesn’t work!

The flashlight should have lit the whole place! It’s a Catholic flashlight! I saw it going to confession! The light of Jesus should have shown.

Examination of conscience

We need to let the Holy Spirit show us our sin. The more sin we allow Him to show us, the better our confession is and, the more we confess, the brighter our light can shine.

An examination of conscience is like reading through the Texas driver’s handbook – you might know some of the rules, but not all of them. A good examination of conscience will help you go over all the rules, not just the ones you know. The one above is based on the Ten Commandments.

::Please click AFF Examination of Conscience to retrieve the examination of conscience used for this class::

EXAMPLE.  I am the Lord, your God, you shall have no other gods besides me. Looking over the first commandment, our first reaction may be no, I don’t break that one! I don’t bow down to tree stumps or have golden calves in my living room. So, we look to the italicized questions that further break down each commandment. It says I am the Lord your God. God is in charge and it is He who tells us what to do. Consequently, no other gods should be before Him. 

So, how do I find out what God wants me to do each day?

I report for duty…through prayer.

If I don’t pray, I don’t get my marching orders and I end up doing my own thing.

Not praying everyday is bending the first commandment.

EXAMPLE.  If you’re going to write on your examination of conscience, don’t write your name on it. Noe put his name on his EoC booklet – certain parts were highlighted. He used his booklet so often that one time he went to confession – and it was devastating. He had his list and was waiting for the line to get smaller. He left his booklet in his haste, but when he went back to church, it wasn’t there and didn’t see it again until an old lady gave it to him. Noe jokes the woman probably knew him better than anyone else!

Let the Lord tell you what you need to take to confession and you will make a good confession. 

EXAMPLE. You shall not desire your neighbor’s goods. 10th commandment – Do I trust that God will care for all my material and spiritual needs? Noe spoke about his car and transmission that fell out in Denton, TX. He gave the mechanic a hard time. He was angry that the mechanic couldn’t get the car fixed and he refused to pay the mechanic who had already put in 20 hours labor. All of this came back to Noe as he reflected on that question. His answer was no, I don’t think God can fix a Honda. And that’s why I’m acting so rude and unfair. Noe repented and confessed – called mechanic to apologize for how he spoke to him. He agreed to pay for the 20 hours.

The next day the car was running. 

Don’t think the Holy Spirit isn’t going to use your experiences to help you make a better confession.

EXAMPLE. Noe, opens the flashlight and sees there were some sins the flashlight didn’t confess – pornography, lying, deliberately missing Mass {and he has little flashlights who are following his example!}.

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Now that he has confessed those sins, let’s try the flashlight again.
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Confession helps us better shine the light of Christ!

TESTIMONY

54:03 is where the testimony starts.

This testimony is taken from another semester, but is the same person who shared for the Fall 2013 Repentance: Recognize & Receive class.

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION

  • PRAYER
  • QUESTIONS
    1. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE DAY OF THE HOMEWORK? {read and share why}
    2. ANY COMMENTS ON PRAYING FOR YOUR PARTNER?
    3. WHAT STRUCK YOU ABOUT THE PRESENTATION?
  • STUDY:  Read John 14 and Acts 2

SUMMARY

Homework is to be done daily – reflect on Scripture and Repentance: Recognize & Receive through the week. If you are in a group, pair up two or three and commit to pray daily for your prayer partner. Small groups come together for a few minutes of question and answer in the large group. If you have any questions, please leave a comment in the combox below so that we can help in any way possible.

CONCLUSION

Prayer of Abandonment

Father,
I abandon myself into Your hands;
do with me what You will.
Whatever You may do, I thank You:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only Your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into Your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to You with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into Your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for You are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld

OPTIONS: If you would like to watch the class, please visit the St. William Adult Faith Formation page to watch the previously recorded class on Repentance: Recognize & Receive. The testimony is given by the same person, but is from a different semester, OR you can watch the video below of the same class given by Father Uche in Spring 2013. The testimony portion begins at 49:40 on the video shown below.

 

 

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Conversion Discipleship Faith Formation Ink Slingers Jesus Is Lord Jesus Is Lord course Martina Series

Jesus Is Lord: Salvation – God’s Solution for Sin {Week Three}

SALVATIONchrist-king3Welcome to the Jesus Is Lord series! This is the third installment of the Jesus Is Lord course offered for adults at St. William Catholic Church in Round Rock, Texas.

If this is your first time visiting this series, I encourage you to take a few moments and read through the series introduction that will give a clear picture of the purpose and content of the Jesus Is Lord course. The introduction post not only outlines the course, but goes over the motivation to share in this class on the internet. 

Today’s class is about Salvation – God’s Solution for Sin. Last week’s class was about Sin and Its ConsequencesIf you would prefer to watch this class, please scroll to the bottom. Keep in mind the recorded classes are not from our current class and contain testimonies from different people presented in the text below. Check back next week for the fourth installment which will cover Repentance – Recognize & Receive

ITEMS NEEDED: Crucifix, basket, rocks {enough for all participants} – place the basket of rocks in front of the crucifix.

TEACHING

Father Uche Andeh spoke to the group about Salvation – God’s Solution for Sin. The following is a summary of his talk:

Begin with prayer.

We continue to explore the story, but first things first. What did you remember from last week?

::take a few moments to discuss and review last week’s content::

  • Sin is an abuse of freedom,
  • distrust of God.
  • Sin affects all of us.

God & Man

creation-of-adam-michelangelo

Adam and Eve cast out of the garden

adam-and-eve-cast-out-of-paradise-after-eating-from-the-tree-of-knowledge-in-the-garden-of-eden

There are things in the world that are so messed up beyond our control; but, there are things we do have control over. In our broken world, it is difficult to depend on anybody else.

What is God’s solution for this situation?

Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death. There was a price that had to be paid.

What did God do to remedy the situation?

What did he do to bring us back into a right relationship with Him?

He didn’t snap his fingers to immediately rectify the situation even though He could have.

The God who created us could have decided to save us in the moment. He didn’t choose the easiest route. Instead, He sent His Son to die on the Cross for us.

The CRUCIFIX – we have had a tendency to make it glamorous. It was actually the height of public disgrace and shame. He was 100% naked and did not have a loin cloth like we see in pictures, statues, etc.

What Jesus did on the Cross – He saved us from the lie, the doubt that was sown into us by the devil. He saved us from the distrust we have in God by becoming one of us. The crucifix shows us the horror of sin, and shows us what our sin does to God, but also it shows us how much God loves us. Because Jesus is God, He could have wished away His pain. He instead chose to feel the pain and agony.

Psalms 22My God, my God, why have You abandoned me?

The Crucifix shows us the depths of God’s love for us – there is always the temptation for us to think that when we look at our lives, our sins, our history – that we can atone for our past sins. {being active in the pro-life movement, we think we can save ourselves}. The truth is that there is nothing we can do in this life to be able to pay back for our sins. That’s why Christ did it for us – we are incapable of doing it ourselveswe were in need of a Savior.

You are required to believe that Jesus Christ who died on the Cross was not a phantom, a ghost. How is it He died on the Cross if He is God? we might think to ourselves. He is 100% God and 100% man. Jesus is not “god-lite” –

…the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God, begotten, not made,
consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.

Father Uche said please do not ask me about the chemistry of the situation – it’s a mystery for a reason!

Catholics profess this about Jesus – it is not optional – that is why He is able to pay the debt of your sin, and every sin from the beginning to the end of time. His life was so incredibly valuable because He is fully God and fully man.

The break between God and man was restored through the work on the Cross.

Hebrews

4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.

Jesus was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin.

God did not create anything bad – the flesh was always good, but needed redemption. Most would have looked at the brokenness of humanity and thought it was not worth saving, but God always saw the good in us.

God understands our suffering when things happen to our children because He saw what happened to His own Son.

2:10-11 For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers,”

He who sanctifies and we who are being sanctified come from the same Father – and that is why He is not ashamed to call us his brothers and sisters. He has come to take that which is fallen and rotten. Jesus is on the right side of the Father, interceding for us always.

2:17-18 therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

He had to become like us in every way so that He could pay that debt. If Jesus was not like us, that means God was “gaming the system – cheating the system.”

The wages of sin was death – and it was not paid by Adam and Eve. He would become like us in order to change everything.

He did not restore us to the time of Adam and Eve, but to something more than paradise. He catapulted us to a level that was way above what Adam and Eve took away from us through their sin.

The Lord’s descent into hell

_thumbRNSJESUSHELL040212a“What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.

Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam’s son.

The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: ‘My Lord be with you all.” And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

‘I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.

‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.

‘For you, I your God became your son; for you, I the Master took on your form; that of slave; for you, I am above the heavens came on earth and under earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden, I was handed over to Jews from a garden and crucified in a garden.

‘Look at the spittle on my face, which I received because of you, in order to restore you to that first divine inbreathing at creation. See the blows on my cheeks, which I accepted in order to refashion your distorted form to my own image.

‘See the scourging of my back, which I accepted in order to disperse the load of your sins which was laid upon your back. See my hands nailed to the tree for a good purpose, for you, who stretched out your hand to the tree for an evil one.

‘I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side healed the pain of your side; my sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades; my sword has checked the sword which was turned against you.

‘But arise, let us go hence. The enemy brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.

‘The cherubim throne has been prepared, the bearers are ready and waiting, the bridal chamber is in order, the food is provided, the everlasting houses and rooms are in readiness; the treasures of good things have been opened; the kingdom of heaven has been prepared before the ages.”

~A reading from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday

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Your history has been deleted if you give your life to Jesus – He paid it for you and there is nothing you can do to earn it.

 

Amen?

SCRIPTURE

Below is a summary of the Scripture that Noe used to break down Father Uche’s talk.

John 

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

verse 14 And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.

Who is the Word?

Jesus. Fully God. Fully man. He came to pay a debt He didn’t owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay. And when He paid it, there were two reactions.

verse 10 He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.

1) The first reaction was that folks didn’t recognize He was God. Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Doesn’t he live on Maple Street? They couldn’t go beyond His humanity – they couldn’t recognize Him as God. The only proper response is to recognize He is God and to surrender to Him. There is hesitation sometimes because we want to do things our own way.

verse 11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

2) The other reaction was folks did not accept Him. I don’t need your forgiveness, I don’t do wrong, I don’t kick the dog, I don’t rob liquor stores, etc. but go a couple of blocks down the road – THEY need your help. My mother-in-law lives there! Some people can’t see the sin in their own lives and can’t repent and therefore can’t receive the good news.

verse 12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,

Everyone is a child of God, but not everyone has the power, right, privilege to live as a child of God. If you have not received God’s forgiveness through repentance, you aren’t able to love as God loves you.

TESTIMONY

Hi, my name is Cindi . I’m married to my husband Ross, and we have two grown sons. I’m a cradle Catholic. My Father was Catholic and Mom converted when they were married.  I went to Catholic schools all my life, not because my family was religious but because I have bad hearing and the classes at the Catholic school were much smaller than the public school. My parents thought I would do better in the smaller classes. We always started our day with Mass before classes. We wore plaid skirts and white blouses and it was a very traditional Catholic school taught by mostly nuns.  I really loved it and my teachers. I also went to a Catholic high school after that.  By then it was late 60’s – early 70’s and the Vietnam war was going on. At the time, it seemed like the world was changing (Im not sure if it was my age or the world) and when I’d get home from school, my parents would be watching the news. I would see lots of college kids at universities who were protesting the war (the draft was going on then). There were hippies and flower children, and it seemed like lots of them were experimenting with drugs and free love. I never did that stuff, but I still thought the Church was old fashioned and just behind the times and everything was changing.  At home, my parents didn’t really talk about God. We went to Mass on Christmas and Easter, sometimes, and my Mom would take me and my brother and sister to Mass on Sundays sometimes, very sporadically. It never bothered me if we didn’t go. My best friends were neighbor kids who all went to the local public school. They never mentioned God and my best friend started experimenting with drugs and hanging out with the local hippies.

******

After graduation from high school, I went to college for a while but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and I drifted away from the Church. I remember thinking I had gone to Mass every morning for years and so I had done enough. When I graduated from high school, I graduated from all that going to Church. I remembered God and would pray to Him sometimes. One day, I did go sit in the back of my Church and tried to decide my future. What was my life to be like? What did I want? After sitting there for a while I knew I wanted to be a wife and mother and that was my direction I would point my life.  I avoided my old friends and went to beauty school with an older cousin who was attending and who I had always looked up to. I hung around with a different group of friends there and through them I met my husband. I knew when I saw him that he was the one!! It was like I recognized him although I had never seen him before. We dated for two years and then we had a big wedding and got married in my Church.  Ross was baptized a Methodist but he didn’t go to Church, but neither did I hardly ever by then. He was in college and I was working in a beauty shop. Finally, he graduated, had his degree and got his first job when we had to move away from my family and friends. In our new little town, I did go check out the local Catholic church there once by myself, but I felt so lost there. It was the first time living away from where I grew up.  After a few months, I found out I was pregnant. I was really looking forward to finally starting our family. When our son Matthew was born it was about the happiest day of my life! Then, two years later our second child Andy was born. We moved around quite a bit with Ross’s job for a few years and

******

Life got really busy raising our family.  After a while, we were transferred to Texas.  I registered here at St. William in 1985 and would try to take my boys, who were in elementary school by then, to Religious Education and Mass occasionally, but they fought me so much because they didn’t want to be go. Their dad wasn’t going, so neither would they.  My husband at that time was a workaholic and on his day off he wasn’t about to go to church, even though we would try to go on Christmas and Easter. While my husband was gone at work all the time, I tried to make myself happy by buying things. It seemed like everything I ever thought I wanted in life I had – a husband and family, but still something was really missing.  As the boys were growing up, I would try to go to Mass occasionally, because I vaguely remembered I should be going to Church, but I usually forgot it was Sunday or if I did remember to go, I would become sad because I would see all the families there together and I couldn’t get my family to go with me.

******

The boys grew up and went to college and then in 2000 our youngest son Andy informed me he didn’t believe in God. I just felt sick about it and I knew his soul was in danger.  I told my husband about it and he was very upset, too, and we had a conversation about our beliefs and God, which we had never talked about before. I decided to try to talk Andy out of being an Atheist but the more I debated with him the more I knew I didn’t have the answers I needed to have. I didn’t know enough and he had made up his mind. I decided I needed to learn more about God and I started to try to read the Bible. I remembered some of the stories in the Bible were familiar from my childhood but, I only read as far as Numbers.

******

In 2001 The 911 terrorist attack happened and Ross told me he wanted to go to church. They were having a special Mass because of the attacks. I was so glad he wanted to go! Then, we kept going back every week because he wanted to keep going. He liked hearing the priest’s sermons. Week after week, we went on Saturday night, listening to the sermons, and then we would go out for dinner. One day after Mass Ross told he wanted to start looking for a new house. It was something he had heard in one of the sermons. That sounded great to me and we started our search and found what we wanted and moved. It was there I met a new neighbor who wanted to go walking.  She lived across the street and had just moved in, too. We started walking together for our exercise and she asked me one morning

******

“Are you saved?”

I didn’t know what to say. I told her I thought so, but I wasn’t sure. She always wanted to talk about Jesus. That made me kind of uncomfortable because I had never talked with anyone before who wanted to talk about Jesus so much when we weren’t in Church. She was always bringing her church up. I even tried to avoid her for a while because I thought that was odd and didn’t like her bringing it up so often.  She always brought up her church and Jesus and asked me questions about my religion – I didn’t know the answers. At this point, I realized though that I should be more like her and not afraid to talk about God to others. I really wanted to have a stronger faith like hers and I realized I should not be afraid/uncomfortable about it like I was. I talked to her about it and she said let’s pray. So, we sat at my kitchen table and she said a prayer and I remember telling God I wanted to know Him and be closer to Him. After, we both cried for awhile she went home and I went about my day, but I felt very peaceful all day. The next day I went for a walk by myself because Vicki couldn’t go that day. I noticed it was like I had landed in Oz and all the colors were more vivid and brighter and I noticed the birds singing and I was so full of joy! I didn’t know what had happened but I felt like my “ON” switch had been flipped on.  I had a great urge to learn about Jesus and I wanted to learn what to do to please Him.  For months I read books trying to learn everything I could about God. I went to all the extra things they had at St. William that I thought I could learn something. I read the whole Bible in a year and I joined the Bible study group here at St. William.  Then, I was reading a book that told me about the Eucharist I got so excited when I started to realize what the Eucharist was. I went out to the living room where Ross was and I told him I thought he needed to be able to take the Eucharist!  We had been going to Mass every week since 911 but he couldn’t go to Communion and I guess God had been working on my husband, too, because he mentioned something about maybe going to RCIA. I got a bulletin out from the last Saturday night and RCIA was starting the next week!  I called and signed us up. I went through RCIA with him in 2006. RCIA for the first seven weeks is the same as the Jesus is Lord class so what you are learning now is what I learned.  We sat in the front row every week and as he learned about being a Catholic I learned all about my faith as an adult.  I remember at every class we attended, I learned so much! Even though I had a Catholic education, I was getting all my questions answered. My relationship with Jesus was growing and as I was understanding the Gospel, my love for Jesus was growing just like I had prayed for.  I went to Confession after 35 years and it was so wonderful to feel completely forgiven. When I took the Eucharist then I knew it was the Body and Blood of Christ that I was given. The heavenly manna.  Who can be worthy of this miracle, nobody! Yet, it happens probably every second somewhere around the world in the Catholic Church!  Jesus always is giving us Himself in the Eucharist.

 ******

Now, I have pointed my life in God’s direction.   My life is full of trying to do God’s will and not mine. Well, at least I try.  I know now why I’m here on this earth, what my purpose is… to love and serve God and that following God’s will is the only things that will make us happy because God created us and knows how we work much better than we know ourselves. My husband Ross became a Catholic that year and our faith has brought us closer.  Ross and I both found our faith through RCIA  & Jesus is Lord class, and we continue to be involved in it because it helps us not only stay close to God but we love watching others go through this process.  I think our son still doesn’t believe in God, but I know that someday he will need God because we all need Him. And as he turns to God, I hope to be able to help him to find his faith, too.

SURRENDER TO CHRIST

CRUCIFIX AND ROCKS: Pick a rock – this rock represents you {some rocks may be dirty, pointy, have rough edges, etc.}. Think and reflect on this evening’s talk. As Catholics, we aren’t always afforded the opportunity to “say” yes even though our godparents did so on our behalf. Tonight is our chance to say Lord Jesus, I come to you as I am and I say yes. You can say whatever you like. There is no right way to do it. Say a prayer or meditate on Christ’s work on the Cross while looking at the Crucifix. This is an opportunity to willingly and purposefully give your life to Christ and surrender to His will for your life. It’s not meant to churn emotions, but it’s ok if that happens. We are responding to what Jesus did for us on the Cross. Place rock in the basket after you have finished. Take as much time as you need.

photo-76

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION

  • PRAYER
  • QUESTIONS
  1. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE DAY OF THE HOMEWORK? {read and share why}
  2. ANY COMMENTS ON PRAYING FOR YOUR PARTNER?
  3. WHAT STRUCK YOU ABOUT THE PRESENTATION?
  4. DOES ANYONE WANT TO SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCE WITH THE ROCKS AND THE CROSS?
  • STUDY:  Read Mark 1:1-20; Revelation 3:14-22; Mark 9:42-50.

SUMMARY

Homework is to be done daily – reflect on Scripture and Salvation: God’s Solution for Sin through the week. If you are in a group, pair up two or three and commit to pray daily for your prayer partner. Small groups come together for a few minutes of question and answer in the large group. If you have any questions, please leave a comment in the combox below so that we can help in any way possible.

CONCLUSION

Prayer of Abandonment

Father,
I abandon myself into Your hands;
do with me what You will.
Whatever You may do, I thank You:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only Your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into Your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to You with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into Your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for You are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld

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Conversion Discipleship Faith Formation Ink Slingers Jesus Is Lord Jesus Is Lord course Martina Series

Jesus Is Lord: Sin & Its Consequences {Week Two}

SIN&ITSCONSEQUENCESchrist-king3Welcome to the Jesus Is Lord series! This is the second installment of the Jesus Is Lord course offered for adults at St. William Catholic Church in Round Rock, Texas.

If this is your first time visiting this series, I encourage you to take a few moments and read through the series introduction that will give a clear picture of the purpose and content of the Jesus Is Lord course. The introduction post not only outlines the course, but goes over the motivation to share in this class on the internet. 

Last week – the first class – we talked about God’s Love. Today’s class is about Sin & Its ConsequencesIf you would prefer to watch this class, please scroll to the bottom. This class is NOW currently offered via online video. Check back next week for the third installment which will cover Salvation: God’s Solution for Sin

TEACHING & SCRIPTURE

Father Uche Andeh spoke to the group about Sin & Its Consequences. The following is a summary of his talk:

Knowing that God loves us so much, does that love of God – and where we are – level out all the time? If God loves us so much, why are we so messed up?

Some might ask what do you mean we’re messed up? But, if you pay attention to the news {and even if you’ve given up on the news}, look at what is going on in Syria. Someone decides that it’s ok to use chemical weapons on his own people that he’s supposed to protect so that he can stay in power. And other people in the world see this and want to take him out and replace him with someone else. Another recent example is the shooter who took a gun and killed 13 people in the Navy yard.

How is that not messed up?

Look at your own family. How many people in your own family are not speaking to each other? How many people are you not talking to right now? So, why does God loves us if we are so messed up?

The Church has a name for this reality – SIN.

CCC 386: Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile. To try to understand what sin is, one must first recognize the profound relation of man to God, for only in this relationship is the evil of sin unmasked in its true identity as humanity’s rejection of God and opposition to him, even as it continues to weigh heavy on human life and history.

When asked recently in an interview, who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?, Pope Francis answered after a pregnant pause,

“I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner….Yes, but the best summary, the one that comes more from the inside and I feel most true is this: I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.”

People try to hide the reality of sin. We blame everything but sin – or, what the problem is. We need to be challenged to confront our sin. When was the last time you heard someone preach to you and tell you about your sins – and tell you to repent from your sins? 

In order to understand the impact of sin, we need to go to the beginning.

Genesis uses figurative language to demonstrate exactly how sin entered the world. The details of the fall {in the garden, involving a serpent or a tree with fruit} are not the purpose of the story.

byzantine_adamThe Fall: Genesis 3:1-5

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the Lord God had made. The serpent asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’?” The woman answered the snake: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, or else you will die.'” But the snake said to the woman: “You certainly will not die! God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know – good and evil.” 

CCC 397: Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command. This is what man’s first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

Eve tells the serpent exactly what God had told them of the tree, but the devil sows the seed of doubt in humanity by saying what God told them He didn’t mean it that way. Adam was there silent and listening, but did nothing to protect Eve from harm.

That is how the trust in God died.

Disobedience follows distrust 

all my sins now become distrust in God and disobedience toward Him.

Every sin can be reduced to distrust – lack of trust in Him and disobedience to His commands.

Every sin is an abuse of freedom.

We start by revisiting what we talked about last week – how much God loves us. He gave us something that only divine beings have – freedom. Freedom to choose whatever we want to do.

It is impossible to sin against God without this gift of freedom.

Anytime we sin, each time we sin, it’s like we are spitting in God’s face – I am taking my gift of freedom and here is what I choose to do with it.

Sin is an act of ingratitude against God.

Verse 6 – The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 

You can lie to everyone, but you can’t lie to yourself.

Sin is very attractive. It is the stuff that sends us to hell and the devil packages it in such a way, in such a tantalizing way, that makes it difficult to turn away from. Sin is always an empty promise.

Don’t be naïve about the empty promises.

CCC 398: In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully “divinized” by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to “be like God,” but “without God, before God, and not in accordance with God.”

The devil comes back and tempts Adam and Eve by saying they can become like God, but without God.

Whenever we sin, we are going against ourselves, against our own good. An example of this might be similar to parents saying “don’t do this” to their children. The children can sometimes think you’re just being mean, but you’re doing it for their own good.

You can’t cook or use matches, don’t play with the outlets, etc.

You’re not mature enough to handle this yet, parents reason, for the safety of their children.

At the heart of sin, we have rejected that we are creatures. We are rejecting limits by sinning, and rejecting that the rules are for our own good.

Verse 7-10 Consequences of the Fall: Separation from God

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. When they heard the sound of the LORD God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, – the man and the woman hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. The LORD God called to the man and asked him: Where are you? He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

Verse 17-18 – Separation from Creation

“To the man he said: Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, You shall not eat from it, Cursed is this ground because of you! In toil you shall eat its yield all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles it shall bear for you, and you shall eat the grass of the field.”

Verse 19 – …and Death

By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

CCC 399: In Summary…

Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They became afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image – that of a God jealous of his prerogatives. {Separation from God}

When God asks “where are you?” it’s a loaded question. Human beings are always looking for the divine – god or gods. It is only in Christianity that God looks for human beings. We don’t look for him. The very first question in the bible is God looking for us, out of love and compassion. Adam and Eve, however, hear “where are you?” because they think they will be punished. Their sin has distorted their perception of who God is.

CCC 400: 

{Separation of self}

The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered;

{Separation from the other}

The union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination – the battle of the sexes. 

{separation from creation}

Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subject “to its bondage to decay.” As an act of mercy, God casts them from the garden and removes the tree of life – the world of decay would not be a place to live forever. He stationed the cherubim and fiery revolving sword to guard the way to the tree of life.

{Death: the final enemy}

Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will “return to ground,” for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history

CONSEQUENCES OF SIN

The consequence of sin is a law of nature – it exists whether we like it or not.

Example:

  • Let’s say you like barbecue {or fill in with your favorite tasty treat}. You can’t eat it indefinitely. There is a limit, even if you love it. What happens if you continue to eat it? You get sick – laws of nature are at play.
  • Driving on Interstate 35 – zooming around without care for the laws. Consequences can range from a simple ticket, to hurting or killing yourself or others.

When we sin, those laws of nature come into effect. Whenever you commit a sin that you know is wrong, the pope doesn’t need to write you a letter, your pastor doesn’t need to give you a call. You know in your heart of hearts that you sinned because you aren’t at peace. You know things are wrong. The weight of sin is heavy.

Recall how you feel after a good confession.

Consequences do not just apply in the physical of world,

but in the realm of spirituality as well.

Relational damage – sin is always an offense that touches others. It alters the world and damages. The network of human nature is broken from the beginning. We enter a world that is already a relationally damaged through the effect of original sin.

When we say I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters…we are asking for forgiveness because we recognize that we need forgiveness not only from God, but from our fellow man as well. We recognize that our sin doesn’t just hurt ourselves, our relationship with God, but with each other.

As long as people continue to say we don’t need you, God, we will continue to suffer the consequences of sin.

God made this beautiful world, put us in it, and told us if we follow these laws, we will be happy. But because we have this teenage rebellion in us, we will always fight against the will of God.

TESTIMONY

Noe jokes that both Father Dean and Father Uche picked the worst sinner on staff to talk about how sin affected his life. 😉

The following links are audio of Noe’s testimony. His testimony starts at the 27:00 mark of the first track and goes through the second track.

 

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION

  • Start with a prayer
  • Review and discuss questions during small group time:
    1. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE DAY OF THEHOMEWORK? {read and share why}
    2. ANY COMMENTS ON PRAYING FOR YOUR PARTNER?
    3. WHAT STRUCK YOU ABOUT THE PRESENTATION?
  • HOMEWORK BELOW:
    • Day 1: The “LIAR” is calling God a liar. Like Eve some people believe him. “But the serpent said to the woman: ‘You certainly will not die!'” {Genesis 3:4}
    • Day 2: The “LIAR” continues and implies that God is not only a liar but He is actually trying to deprive us of something good. Like Eve some people believe him. “No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.” {Genesis 3:5}
    • Day 3: Listening to the “LIAR” can confuse us. What is prohibited by God starts to look good. “The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.” {Genesis 3:6}
    • Day 4: Another danger of sinning is that we can become enslaved by sin. “They promise them freedom while they themselves are slaves of destructive habits – for we are slaves of anything that has conquered us.” {2Peter 2:19}
    • Day 5: Sin separates us from God. When we think that God is far away, it might be time to examine our conscience. “…everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence.” {Romans 3:23}
    • Day 6: When we sin we are working and we will get our salary. “For sin pays its wage – death;…” {Romans 6:23}
    • Day 7: It is good to understand the problem of sin, but it is better to know God’s solution for sin. “But by the free gift of God’s grace all are put right with Him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free. God offered Him, so that by His blood he should become the means by which people’s sins are forgiven through their faith in Him…” {Romans 3:24-26}
  • STUDY: This week we will read who Jesus is and How He saves us. Read John 1:1-14 and Colossians 1.

SUMMARY

Homework is to be done daily – reflect on Scripture and Sin & Its Consequences through the week. If you are in a group, pair up two or three and commit to pray daily for your prayer partner. Small groups come together for a few minutes of question and answer in the large group. If you have any questions, please leave a comment in the combox below so that we can help in any way possible.

CONCLUSION

Prayer of Abandonment

Father,
I abandon myself into Your hands;
do with me what You will.
Whatever You may do, I thank You:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only Your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into Your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to You with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into Your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for You are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld

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