Palm Sunday: A Catholic Reflection

Palm Sunday Reflection

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For Catholics Holy Week begins this Sunday, called Palm Sunday. We recall the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, which begins the Road to Calvary. As Catholics we travel this road with Christ all the way to the cross. This time is solemn and a time to reflect on just how much Christ loves us. Understanding that Christ knew exactly what was ahead (so much so that He was actually physically distressed and sweat blood in the garden at Gethsemane) but still submitted Hisself to the will of The Father. He still entered Jerusalem and looked into the eyes of those who would soon call for His death. There are no human words that can reflect the depth of LOVE that God has for us and how far He will go to assure that we know that LOVE.
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12

The Entry into Jerusalem.

Matt 21: 1-9
1 When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples,
2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her.* Untie them and bring them here to me.
3 And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, ‘The master has need of them.’ Then he will send them at once.”
4 This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
5 “Say to daughter Zion,
‘Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.
7 They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them.
8 The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road.
9 The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David;
blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.”

In Christ,

Latrell

Poem- King of Kings

Oh for the pain of heart,

that tears this world apart.

That fear of having no control,

& never meeting all our goals.

Money has no enemy,

but weary hearts that long to be free.

Freedom lies not in gold,

but in a manger in the cold.

There is but one star worth following,

it hovers over the King of Kings.

By Latrell Castanon

Preparing for Advent: The Lord is on the Way

The Advent Season is a time for us to prepare our hearts for the coming of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, on Christmas Day. It is a time of hope, love, joy, and peace. It’s a time to reflect on the story of the birth of Christ and what it means for us, individually and to the world. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, he brought her news that she, a young girl of only 14 years or so, would birth the Savior of the World. “Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women…..fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And his kingdom shall have no end.” Luke 1:28, 30-33.

Mary certainly thought this to be a strange greeting as she was a lowly girl, living a humble life in Galilee. Because of her response to the unimaginable, we received through her, a Savior. Mankind would no longer be enveloped in the darkness of sin, because Christ, our light, was on the way. God’s plan from the beginning was to save us, and that plan was in full swing. Jesus will return again, and our preperation for Christmas should lead our hearts to preparing for his second coming. The greatest gift of Christmas isn’t the toy or gadget or clothes that we wish for. It is Jesus. I am looking forward to reflecting and pondering the mystery of the incarnation. God coming in flesh to dwell among his people. This is the most precious gift.img_20171130_210409_1441715433717.jpg

Sharing Advent, Jesse Tree, and Salvation History.

So ready for the season. For one, it’s an easy excuse to drink my cafe mocha with peppermint sticks. More than anything else though, I love the opportunity to share the Story of Salvation history, our history, and the good news of the Birth of Our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ, to a Virgin named Mary, of the house of David, with my Grandchildren. We will begin our Jesse Tree soon and I will share our journey through the OT into the NT. Journey with us in unwrapping the greatest gift to mankind!

#Unwrappingthegreatestgift
@AnnVoscamp
#Advent2017
#adventcoming
#JesseTree
#CelebratingChristmasRight
#JesusChrist

I’m Published! “Weak Bones, Strong Wills.

Well I’m published!  In the first ever book with stories of lives affected by XLH (X-linked Hypophosphatemia). My very brief short story about life with XLH Bone Disease is on pg 29-31 and 67-69. I am hoping that this will help to increase public awareness of the disease and in turn early diagnosis & increased interest in research and treatment for children and adults. Thank you to the XLH NETWORK for all the work & support of patients and families affected by this disease. All proceeds go to The XLH Network. https://xlhnetwork.org Screenshot_20171012-220123Order Now!!!

Our Lady Of Fatima 100th Anniversary & First 5 Saturdays Devotion- Holy Spirit Catholic Church

Holy Spirit is participating in the First 5 Saturdays Devotion in response to the Call from Our Lady in Reparation for the offenses against Her Immaculate Heart. The Essential, hidden part of message given to Sister Lucia was the call from Our Lady to complete the First 5 Saturdays Devotion. “On December 10, 1925, the Most Holy Virgin Herself appeared,…

Biblical View of Women and the Socially Disadvantaged Israel

Women of the Bible by Frymer Kensky

In the Bible’s Old Testament we are able to see a connection between the individual stories and the deeper overall  meaning. Frequently the stories can be seen as pointing to a broader, deeper teaching that the author wants us to understand.

In her book, Reading the Women of the Bible (2002), Frymer-Kensky related the socially disadvantaged and subordinate position that women found themselves in, to the powerless position that Israel found itself in, while both maintain equality and worth.  The Bible describes the created male and female in a way that denotes human equality and does not give any justification of maltreatment or prejudice related to sex. Not to say that men are not different than women but, for example, they were never described, in the Biblical text, in a way that was derogatory or demeaning, when compared to the descriptions of men.

The women in the Bible did not ever attain “political power”, none the less, they show great resilience and tenacity.  They are able to show power and influence circumstances, through strategies and methods that are no different than their male counterparts (xv).  Biblical stories with women as the main character are divided into 4 categories, according to the author.  The Categories are “Women as Victor,” “Women as Victim,” “Women as Virgin (Bride-to-be),” and “Women as Voice (of God).”

Two stories that the Frymer-Kensky (2002) uses as examples are, first, the woman named Rehab, from the “Women as Voice (of God)” category, who announced that God has given Israel the land showing that the marginalized can be chosen.  Second, the women in the books of Judges and Second Samuel, from “Women as Victim” category.  These women’s stories can be said to indict the political system in which they were victimized.

The position of all the women in the Bible, whether they were weak and powerless, or heroic, directly correlates to understanding the moral and social political state of Israel at that time.  Like the women of the bible, no matter the state that Israel found itself in, its worth in God’s eyes was never diminished.

 

 

The Religious Experience of Exodus 1-15

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The book of Exodus is an epic within the story of Salvation History.  The Israeli people of Exodus are in the midst of Egyptian oppression.  Exodus starts where Genesis left off, listing the Genealogies of the Sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob. Two particularly amazing religious experiences that stand out are the revelation of the name of God by the appearance of “the Angel of the Lord” to Moses in a burning bush (Genesis 3:2), and the Passover (Genesis 12:1), which included the lamb sacrifice that God ordered Moses and Israelites to offer as a perpetual ordinance. These experiences and principles contained within them are significant for the Christian today and can help to guide the lives of the faithful through difficulties of our modern life.

Moses and the Name of God

After Moses fled from Egypt he settled in the land of Median.  He defended the daughters of a Priest of Median named Jethro, and was eventually invited to their home to “break bread”.  Moses ultimately married one of the daughters, named Zipporah (Exodus 2:21).  He was keeping the flock of Jethro and had led them to the “mountain of God”, called Horeb. The “Angel of the Lord” appeared to him out of a burning bush.  A voice from the bush called him by name and spoke to him: “I am the God of your father; the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God Jacob” (Exodus 3:6).  God revealed to Moses that He had heard the cry of His people and had come to deliver them. God instructed Moses that he must go to Pharaoh himself and tell him to let the Israelites go. Moses, uncertain of his worthiness, questioned God and asked him how he could confront Pharaoh with such a request. God reassured him that He would be with him.  Moses asks God what he should call Him, when the Israelites ask for God’s name. “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God then says to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). The appearance of God within a flaming bush was something that was certainly astonishing to Moses, as the Israelites were afraid to even look toward the presence of God.  His presence was seen as so powerful that it could kill them. This was an extraordinary occurrence: God gave the people His true name and told Moses that it shall be His name forever.

The deliverance of Israel

The Israelites migrated to Egypt at the end of the book of Genesis and initially were welcome because of Joseph’s position of authority over Egypt.  After Joseph’s death and then the death of those who knew Joseph, the Israelites were no longer in a position of favor and became slaves to the Egyptians.  God heard their cry and called Moses (as was previously mentioned), along with Aaron (Moses brother), to confront Pharaoh and ask for the release of the Israelites, that they may Worship God in the wilderness (Genesis 3:1-4:17). When Pharaoh refused to let the people go, God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh and the Egyptian people. For the tenth plague God sent the Spirit of Death on the Egyptian first born, to kill them.  God instructed Moses to complete the Sacrifice of the Passover Lamb.  The sacrifice included the instruction for the Israelites to sweep the blood of the Lamb over their doorposts in order for the Spirit of death to Passover them, and therefore spare the lives of their first born (Genesis 12:1-29). The Passover Lamb, when looking at it through the eyes of the Church and the New Testament scriptures, can now be seen as a foreshadowing of the Crucifixion of Christ, the final blood sacrifice for our salvation.  To the Israelites the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb would be a celebration, through many generations. The deliverance of their people from the bondage of slavery.  Eventually we would learn that the plan of God was our complete deliverance from that which truly binds. The bondage of sin.

Principles of Exodus Religious Experience and Significance for the Modern Reader

The principles we learn from the experiences of the Israelites can and do have significance for us today.  We are constantly in turmoil due to modern technology and the constant noise and fast pace of our lives. The people of Israel lived very different lives than we are accustomed to in the modern world, yet they had the same hopes and dreams for their people as we do for our families today.  The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the same God that came down to dwell among us and wants us to know Him.  The same God came so that we may have life, and “have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).  God personally introduced Himself to Moses in the burning bush and this was the beginning of the personal relationship that He wishes to have with us all.  His love was shown by is continual attempts to reestablish a connection to the Israelites, though they broke that connection over and over again. Now we can see the same thing in happening in our lives and the lives of those around us.  God reaches out to reestablish His relationship with us and no matter how many times we break that connection, He continues to wait for our return to communion with Him.  The religious experience of the Israelites, saved from the Spirit of Death so they may escape the bondage they were in (which significantly included their consumption of the Passover meal), is the experience we should have every time we consume the Eucharist. No matter the place we find ourselves in, whether illness, job loss, or other problems we may face, the religious experiences of the Exodus show us that the God is with us. He loves us, and He wants us to be with Him. We, like the Israelites, are freed from the bondage of sin and death, and have been given a gift of the true presence of our Lord and Savior in the Eucharist. Ultimately the plan of God is for us to be one with Him. This is where we find our hope.

Essay: Paul on the Eucharist and Community

         In the first letter to the Corinthians, The Apostle Paul wishes to convey to the Christians there, the importance of Unity within the Body of Christ.  The Apostle speaks of the need for the community to be concerned for one another, and to assure that when they come together, that all are welcomed equally.  First, he discusses the…

Essay on The Arts as “Other Foundations” of Catholic Theology

  From the beginning of time, people have used the arts to teach and express beliefs.  There are many forms this has taken, but the two I will focus on in this essay are Music and Literature.  Both Music and Literature are wonderful Theological teaching tools. The Church in her wisdom has always incorporated music into teaching and expressions of…

My Favorite Communion Song!

My favorite Communion song is Matt Maher’s “Remembrance”!  If you haven’t heard it then you must!!  This song describes perfectly my experience of the Catholic Liturgy and the Eucharistic Celebration.  When Christ tells His people “Do this in Remembrance of Me”, He is inviting us to be united to Him in body and spirit.  Christianity is about our response to…

The Catholic Liturgy through the Eyes of a Convert

When someone asks what your experience is of the Catholic Liturgy, the first thing that may come to mind is the Eucharist, and then you may recall your favorite hymns or Psalms. Of course you’ll begin to think about the smell of incense and the beauty of the vestments and the Altar; the People blending voices to sing Holy, Holy,…

The Violence of Planned Parenthood

I had only, until just now, read the articles regarding the #7thVideo of ‪#‎PlannedParenthood‬, and I was angry. I am now, completely devastated! I could not stop myself from weeping! What the women in the video describes the doctor doing to the baby, while still alive (heart beating), is nothing other than horrific… it’s torture.  I understand that there are people in…

Woman Desperate to Have Baby Used IVF to Conceive, Then After a Natural Pregnancy She Aborted

Woman Desperate to Have Baby Used IVF to Conceive, Then After a Natural Pregnancy She Aborted. This is just so difficult for me to comprehend.  First of all…Snickers Bars and Babies: not the same!  I wonder how you explain to your children later that you killed their brother or sister, because you had enough of those kids and were over…

3 Things That Say the Most About Your Compatibility – Verily

I just love Verily Magazine! It is so great to have a fashion lifestyle magazine for young women of faith! Check out some of their articles covering relationships, fashion, beauty, entertainment, romance, culture, news health and more! https://verilymag.com/2018/02/marriage-preparation-compatability-gottman

God’s Mercy!

How often do you contemplate God’s unfathomable Mercy? God so wanted to connect to us, that He humbled Himself and came down in the weakest and most gentle way. In the womb a Virgin named Mary. How often do you think about how much He loves YOU? If it’s not every second of every day, its not often enough!

In Christ,

Latrell

#Repost @nccw01
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Mercy is the greatest attribute of God- St Faustina #wednesdaywisdom #repost

“Perfectly Yourself”, My Lenten Reading.

I have enjoyed reading Matthew Kelly books in the past and this time is no exception. If you looking to improve yourself during Lent, this or any of the other books by Dynamic Catholic should be on your list. I will try to share future books that I read during lent in the next few weeks before Holy Week. Until then read “Perfectly Yourself” and may the rest of your Lenten Journey draw you closer to Christ and prepare your heart for the Resurrection!

In Christ,

Latrell

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