Holidays/Feast Days

I’m a Skeptic, but I DID See the Dancing Sun

by Steve Ray on May 13, 2017

We DID see the dancing sun!

It was several years ago at a Marian Shrine on a May 13 on the Island of Cebu in the Philippines

I’m a skeptic and I don’t always trust even what my own eyes see…

…so I asked my wife Janet and my daughters what they saw…

I’ll try to write more about this in a day or two once we arrive in Fatima.  But I am a believer!

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Fatima and the Modern World – St. JP II

by Steve Ray on May 13, 2017

Fatima and the Whole Modern World

In 1982, Pope John Paul II visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima to commemorate the first anniversary of the attempt on his life and the sixty-fifth anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition there. He delivered the following homily.
St. John Paul II on Our Lady’s message at Fatima: “The call to repentance is a motherly one, and at the same time it is strong and decisive.” Hail, Mary!
And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” (Jn 19:27)
These are the concluding words of the Gospel in today’s liturgy at Fátima. The disciple’s name was John. It was he, John, the son of Zebedee, the apostle and evangelist, who heard from the Cross the words of Christ: “Behold, your mother.” But first Christ had said to his Mother: “Woman, behold, your son.” This was a wonderful testament.

As he left this world, Christ gave to his Mother a man, a human being, to be like a son for her: John. He entrusted him to her. And, as a consequence of this giving and entrusting, Mary became the mother of John. The Mother of God became the Mother of man. . . .in John every human being became her child.

            Mary’s motherhood in our regard is manifested in a particular way in the places where she meets us: her dwelling places; places in which a special presence of the Mother is felt.

There are many such dwelling places. They are of all kinds: from a special corner in the home or little wayside shrines adorned with an image of the Mother of God, to chapels and churches built in her honor. However, in certain places; the Mother’s presence is felt in a particularly vivid way. These places sometimes radiate their light over a great distance and draw people from afar. Their radiance may extend over a diocese, a whole nation, or at times over several countries and even continents.

In all these places, that unique testament of the Crucified Lord is wonderfully actualized: in them man feels that he is entrusted and confided to Mary; he goes there in order to be with her as with his Mother; he opens his heart to her and speaks to her about everything: he “takes her to his own home,” that is to say, he brings her into all his problems, which at times are difficult. His own problems and those of others. The problems of the family, of societies, of nations and of the whole of humanity.

Click here to read the rest of St. John Paul’s homily (lightly edited) . . .

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joseph10Today is the Feast day of St. Joseph the Worker!

There are some pictures of Joseph I don’t appreciate so much. They present him almost as soft, effeminate like he just came out of a beauty parlor. It appears he never worked in the real world and has not a wrinkle on his clothes or a speck of dirt on his hands and feet.

I understand why artists paint Joseph this way and why churches have statues and images of the flowery, dainty, “European” Joseph with his fair hair. It is because art tries to reveal the inner qualities. This soft art tries to show the righteousness, holiness, kindness and love of a man who cared so deeply for God and his family.

308f4d06baa56b279ed41a7a1b86e31eBut Joseph was anything but a fair-haired, effeminate man with soft skin. Joseph was a manly man. His hands were calloused, his face was brown and creased from the sun, his arms and legs were like iron from walking, lifting and working. Quite the opposite of how he is often portrayed.

We are told that Joseph was a carpenter. The word for carpenter in the Greek of the New Testament is tekton which means one who works with hard materials like wood, stone or metal. 

In short Joseph was a laborer, a redneck, a rock mason. Someone had to quarry the rocks near Nazareth; someone had to chisel them with hammers to shape them for walls, houses, etc. Most historians believe Joseph and Jesus were construction workers helping build the city of Sepphoris.

You see here a few of my favorite pictures of St. Joseph, probably better representing the way he and Jesus really looked. Rough hands, brown face, tussled hair, coarse clothing and dusty feet. Imagine a construction worker, a farmer in the field, a lumberjack or a ditch digger.

tissot-the-anxiety-of-saint-joseph-737x587x72When I first showed this picture of Jesus standing in the wood shavings and dust to a friend with a devotion to St. Joseph he was scandalized. He shouted, “That is NOT St. Joseph!” He had been meditating on the soft, effeminate Joseph, not the rugged working Joseph of the rustic town of Nazareth.

Nazareth was a backwater village with a network of about 25 caves. Very rustic living – no plumbing, no showers, to toilets, no refrigerators, microwaves, washing machines or air conditioners. How would such a life affect you? (In the picture to the right you can see Mary arriving from the well with a jug of water on her head.)

St. Joseph was a manly man and so was Jesus. They give us a good example of masculine men, working hard for their family. They demonstrated the dignity of hard work and the dignity of family life (CCC 533).

St. Joseph the Worker, pray for us!

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St. Mark: Very Important; Very Little Known

April 25, 2017

To listen to our show about St. Mark on relevant radio: We’re discussing feast of St. Mark at :30 sec mark w/SteveRay@JerusalemJones relevantradio.streamguys.us/MA%20Archive/M… or download hour 1 @relevantradio app St. Mark: Very Important Biblical Guy, Yet Relatively Unknown Let me introduce you to him… “His voice boomed over the crowds in Rome as it had all around […]

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Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live about the Resurrection

April 18, 2017

Questions I Answered on the Resurrection on Catholic Answers Live. You can listen on-line here or download podcasts here.  1.  Why does Paul say Peter was the first to see Jesus when the Gospels say it was Mary Magdalen? 2. Why did you call a priest a heretic? Or, was the resurrection a real physical […]

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My Favorite Easter Painting: Rushing to the Tomb! Anticipation! It is Empty!

April 16, 2017

Anticipation, uncertainty, wonderment, fear, excitement, doubt — but it is TRUE! The Tomb is empty and the angels announce He is not among the dead. He has risen!

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How Long Was Jesus in the Tomb? Another Contradiction?

April 15, 2017

“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:38-40) Skeptics claim to have discovered an error in the New Testament —claiming Jesus was not in the tomb […]

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When Was Jesus Crucified? How Long on the Cross? Do the Gospels Contradict Each Other?

April 14, 2017

Do the Gospels Conflict? How Long was Jesus on the Cross? (See also Was Jesus Crucified Naked? and How Long Was Jesus in the Tomb?) The question intrigued me sufficiently enough that I spent the best part of a day working on it. On the surface there seems to be a contradiction in the Gospels, mentioning different […]

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Extraordinary Streaming Mass for Easter Vigil

April 14, 2017

My parish in Ann Arbor is Christ the King Catholic Church. Presiding at Easter Vigil will be Fr. Ed Fride, the same priest that received our family into the Church over 20 years ago. It is an unusually vibrant parish that has 23 men in the seminary, has produced 10 priests, about 10 religious Sister […]

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Welcoming New People at Mass this Easter – They May Be an Answer to Someone’s Prayers

April 13, 2017

We get busy on during the Easter Season. We don’t have a lot of respect for people who go to church only on Christmas and Easter. We may be irritated that seats are taken and the church is noisy. But, you are praying for your family and friends to come back to church and MAYBE these […]

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Was Joseph the Father of Jesus? Video of Going to Work with Jesus and Joseph near Nazareth!

March 17, 2017

Since March 19 is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, I thought I would share a few things on this great saint!  First, a discussion of whether it is correct to call St. Joseph the father of Jesus. Second, I recently ran from Nazareth to the worksite of these two guys and I invite you by […]

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Forty Frozen Martyrs – we honor them today March 10

March 9, 2017

In my talk Swimming Upstream I usually tell the story of 40 Roman soldiers who chose to freeze naked on a frozen lake in 320 AD rather than deny Jesus Christ. St. Basil, Doctor of the Church, told of the heroic martyrdom of 40 soldiers in a homily. They had been executed fifty years before […]

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St. Polycarp’s name does not mean “many fish”

February 23, 2017

Today is the Feast Day of the Great Bishop and Saint Polycarp on February 23. When we converted to the Catholic Church my son Jesse chose St. Polycarp as his patron saint because of his great heroism. We filmed the whole life of St. Polycarp on location. I feel like I know him. The name Polycarp […]

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Feast of Chair of St. Peter: “Chair of Moses, Chair of Peter” Steve’s Article, YouTube Video and Resources

February 22, 2017

St. Cyprian of Carthage (beheaded 257 AD) one hundred and fifty years before the New Testament writings were collected into one book called “The Bible”: “The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will […]

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Ironic Twist to a Devastating Story; Why Did God Allow Sin?

February 21, 2017

A while ago I wrote the Study Guide for Catholic Scripture Study — on Genesis. 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: But why didn’t God prevent Adam and Eve from […]

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Mass at Lourdes Grotto; Toured Bernadette’s Life ; Two Huge Processions

February 11, 2017

Since today is the Feast Day of Lourdes, I thought I would share our two 15 minute videos we made there so you can share the excitement of being there on this special day. Amazing day at Lourdes – enjoy! First video is our mass and exploration of the Grotto and a tour of Bernadette’s […]

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