Sunday, March 18, 2018

Stephen Hawking's First Conversation With God

I wonder what Stephen Hawking, the great scientist, said to God when he entered Heaven. I've been thinking about that since Stephen Hawking recently died and I was watching a special about him and his theories last evening.
Did he say to God, "I'm sorry." Or "I should have known that there had to be a First Cause, something which ignited the Big Bang and sparked the creation of the Universe. " As he said on the TV special last night, that I watched, (I'm paraphrasing) "After the Big Bang there was 'cosmic luck'." Hmmmm....very interesting, our ever expanding, mathematically exact Universe, our magnificent Milky Way galaxy and all the other millions of stars and galaxies were formed by "cosmic luck." I don't think so.
And then he attributed the forming of the galaxies to gravity and then some failures so the Universe could expand. There had to be failures he said. There couldn't be perfection. No, actually there had to be perfect, intelligent design, complexity, genius, mathematical exactness, there had to be God designing, propelling, creating his masterful work. God. Somehow that escaped the brilliant mind of Stephen Hawking.
Great philosophers have always asked, "Why is there something instead of nothing?" And physicists have asked, "Why did the Big Bang happen at all, what sparked it to explode?" After the Big Bang, why did atoms form and why did the Universe keep expanding? And how is it that I sit here, typing on my computer, billions of years later, believing what my faith and my experiences have led me to believe. God exists and though God will always be incomprehensible mystery, there can never be a doubt in my mind, that God is the Creator and God deserves credit for this magnificent Universe, which we are all a part of.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Praying For The People of North Korea and the Conversion of Kim Jong-un

Months ago when I saw a documentary about North Korea, it started to weigh heavy on my heart of how deprived the North Koreans are. Not only because, in many cases, they lack food and other basic necessities but also because they are not able or allowed to worship God. I felt for them because they were "forced" to hang pictures and photographs of the erratic North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un in their houses and businesses.  If they failed to do so, there could be dire consequences. I thought about the lack of freedom of religion in North Korea and how people were unable to pray openly or attend any kind of religious services or have religious articles.  So sad.
So I started praying for the miraculous conversion of Kim Jong-un. Wouldn't it be wonderful, I thought if he had a dramatic conversion experience and became a believer and gave people the freedom to worship God openly. I know that would take a miracle but why not pray to help the North Koreans. It seems as good a prayer as any. Imagine a picture of Jesus hanging in North Korean homes alongside their leader. "With God all things are possible!"
I hope that talks between President Trump and Kim Jong-un do happen and diplomacy prevails. That would be good for the world and a step towards world peace.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Parkland Shootings-Cardinal Cupich Encourages Us To Listen To Young People About Guns

I read an excellent article at America Magazine online titled, "Chicago's Cardinal Cupich: Listen To Young People About Guns," by Michael O'Loughlin. It seems people are listening, even corporations with large retail stores, such as Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart are listening and acting. The time for change has come and I hope and pray the 17 teenagers and adults who died in Parkland, Florida will not have died in vain. Their tragic, violent deaths coming on the first day of the holy season of Lent must be the last blood spilled in a school from gun violence.
As Cardinal Cupich put it, "The youth of our nation are shaming the adult world into action." The young people have the wind at their backs and public opinion is on their side. Reasonable people want stricter gun laws and universal background checks. Military weapons have no place in our society. This is not an attack on the 2nd amendment, its people crying for needed change, change that should have happened after the horror of Sandyhook.  This was an avoidable tragedy. Those poor parents who lost children, in such a violent, unexpected way, have to live with this everyday of their lives. It's unimaginable what they have to suffer. 
So the Church should speak out on this issue. Members of the Church should join with the teenagers when they march for sensible gun law changes. Young people everywhere are passionate about this issue right now and they would welcome the Church's involvement and encouragement. 
As Cardinal Cupich wrote, "The time for words is over, our children are telling us. What is now required is action."

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. 
(2 Corinthians: 1:3-4)

The Lord is compassion and love.......(Ps. 103:8)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Courageous Students Demand Change After Horrific School Shooting in Florida

It was suppose to be a day to celebrate love-Valentine's Day and also it was Ash Wednesday 2018 and the beginning of Lent. After returning from Mass that afternoon, with a large ash cross on my forehead, I soon realized this was going to be a very sad day. It would be a Lent from hell for some families from Parkland, Florida, who heard the unthinkable and tragic news that day. Their precious children and some adults would be gunned down in what should be a safe place, their high school.
That a deranged and hate-filled teenager could buy an assault rifle so easily even though he had clear mental issues is a disgrace.
And now the students say, "enough is enough." Adults in power have failed them. They want to be the voice of the dead, who can no longer speak for themselves. Those who have no voice now should not have died a violent death in vain. Their friends and fellow students are demanding change. And lots of people are behind them.
Today, a week from that dreadful day, President Trump had a listening session at the White House and he heard from distraught parents who have lost children in deadly school shootings and students who witnessed them. Let's hope he acts wisely.
Where is the hope? The hope is that students across America want change and are demanding change. They want sensible gun laws and more serious background checks for those who want to buy guns.
I'm hopeful that, over time, they will make a difference. They're eloquent and brave and are impressing a lot of people, including me. My prayers are with them.

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past, let us accept our own responsibility for the future. 
President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lent 2018 Begins on Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day

The holy season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday which also falls on Valentine's Day in 2018. Interesting. The greatest love story of all time,  the remarkable story of how much the Creator is in love with His Creation, how God loves each of us unconditionally and knows us personally,  how the Son of God gave his life for each of us, how we are baptized into the Divine life of the Trinity at baptism, all because of love.
So in Christianity, it always comes back to love.
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, that everyone who has faith in him may not die but have eternal life. It was not to judge the world that God sent his Son into the world, but that through him the world might be saved. (John 3: 16-17)
It always comes back to love.
The whole New Testament could be summed up in one word- "love."
The Great Commandment, a call to love-"Love God with your whole heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as you love yourself."
The saints tell us that God loves each of us,  as if there were no other soul but us. It's very personal. It's very intimate. That's how God loves us. An amazing and remarkable truth, that is difficult for the human mind to grasp.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

End Of The World A Bit Closer? Hope Not!

On January 26th an article appeared in the New York Times titled, "End of the World Is A Bit Closer; Scientists Fear" by Sewell Chan. To be honest, when very smart people (atomic scientists) start getting nervous about the current global situation, that concerns me.
I quote, "The Doomsday Clock, a potent symbol of scientific concerns about humanity's possible annihilation was advanced by 30 seconds on Thursday to 2 minutes to midnight, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced in Washington. The last time the clock was moved so close to midnight was in 1953 during the Cold War."
What is concerning the scientists so much? They believe that world leaders are not doing enough to respond to threats from nuclear war and climate change. They cite problems with North Korea's nuclear program, tensions in the world and the build up of nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India. The scientists sound very serious, "To call the world nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger and its immediacy." Just writing this blog post is making me anxious. I probably should have chosen another topic!
But anyhow,  all the dangers they noted, should concern everyone and be taken seriously, yet the one I find most alarming is-"the speed of technological change." That's a big risk. (From other articles I've read, artificial intelligence (AI), is something that can get out of control very quickly.)  They especially mentioned, "the hacking of computer systems that control financial and energy infrastructure; the development of weaponry that can make 'kill' decisions without human supervision, the misuse of synthetic biology......" Scary stuff. (I definitely should not have written this before bedtime!)
So what is a believer to do? Of course pray for the future of humankind. Pray for the conversion of leaders. Hope that pride and ignorance doesn't cause human beings in power to destroy, harm or do something irrational. (Also note that, The Doomsday Clock and the expert panel does have its critics, not everyone believes it.)
But since Lent is fast approaching, seems like a good idea to pray and fast for the global situation to improve. I pray the "speed at which technology advances" is good for humankind and is a blessing, not a curse. We shall see.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Pope Francis in Chile And the Joy of Indigenous People

As I watched the Masses celebrated by Pope Francis in Chile on TV, I thought it was wonderful that the indigenous people of Chile were given the chance to express themselves, at the Masses, in such a creative, authentic way. Their exuberance, music and song was joyful and a pleasure to watch.
The Church needs to be relevant in the modern world, and embracing multiculturalism and the natural gifts of indigenous people is certainly a step in the right direction.
Good music is so important in liturgies and good homilies that help people apply the gospel message of hope to modern problems and situations. We all need to hear the reassuring message that Christ continues to offer through Scripture....that God is with us, that God gives us courage and life-giving water and life-giving food for our souls. The modern world is desperately in need of the gospel message, most especially young people. Also, I think often of people in parts of the world where people cannot worship God freely or openly. I pray that all should hear the word of God and be open to the gospel message of hope. I pray that all people on the earth will....."with joy draw water at the fountain of salvation."

God indeed is my savior, I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord...With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation.