For you this week:
- Reflection for Saturday: A Crazy Case of Christian Identity
- Inside the Ministry: More prayer warriors needed
- This week’s WordBytes faith-builder: Persisting through the Pain to Find Healing
- This week’s recommended video: The Hidden Value of Persistent Prayer
This week’s Trivia Challenge: Did an evil spirit ever call Jesus “holy”? (Check your answer at the end of this newsletter.)
Saturday January 21, 2023
Hebrews 9:2-3, 11-14
Psalm 47:2-3, 6-9
When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” (From Saturday’s Gospel reading)
Reflection for Saturday:
A Crazy Case of Christian Identity
This Saturday’s Gospel reading is very short. So short that it begs the question: What is the point God wants to make?
Well, Jesus was called “crazy” and now we’re living through crazy times. Has anyone ever said that you are “out of your mind” for saying and doing what is right and just and holy?
Well, rejoice! This has united you to Jesus. It’s disheartening to be disbelieved because of your faith, but Jesus considers you to be a very dear friend.
As you know, over the past several decades, evil has gradually upped its game. “It’s not really a sin if it feels good,” the devil says. “You decide for yourself what’s right and wrong.” It’s the belief that morality is based on a person’s feelings rather than the unchangeable truths in the Bible.
Of course the devil is lying. He really does not want anyone to think for themselves. Beneath it all, he is saying: “Believe my lies and I will tell you what’s right and wrong. Good is evil and evil is good. Hehehehe.”
The devil’s propaganda techniques have worked so well that now anyone who vocalizes the truth is “out of his mind” and is even to be hated, attacked, and silenced. It’s become so “normal” that it’s been given a label: the “cancel culture”.
In the midst of all this, if we want to meaningfully live the sacrament of our baptism, we serve as prophets of the Kingdom of God. (Baptism anoints us to be priests, prophets and kings in imitation of Christ our Savior.) Here’s the best definition of a Christian prophet that I ever heard:
Prophets are gifted by God to see what others cannot see. Once we are aware, we are compelled by the Holy Spirit to help others see it too because we recognize the importance of it.
How well are you responding to this call? It takes passionate love of Christ and concern for others to stand firm in the truth, willing to be rejected and criticized (“he’s out of his mind”).
I’m here to remind you: “No you are not crazy. It’s the world that’s gone crazy. The fact that you can see the dangers of evil means that you have a prophetic calling. Keep doing what you’re doing for the Lord. You are not alone.”
Inside the Ministry:
More prayer warriors needed
As a prophet on the front lines of the battlefield, my life is not easy. By sheer love of Christ and concern for you, I’m writing this even under a strong temptation to go to bed and cater to fatigue.
The reason why I’m telling you this is to let you know how important your prayers are for Good News Ministries. Last Sunday night when I laid my head on my pillow and prayed for a deep and healing sleep, a sudden vision filled my mind. I “saw” a friend on her knees praying for me and Jesus was delightedly receiving her prayer. I thought, “That’s so wonderful!” Tears came to my eyes but immediately I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Look — there are also others praying for you.”
As he said it, I saw more people and heard an undecipherable mingle of voices and languages. Their prayers were like wide light beams going to Jesus and he was sending his love back to them on the same rays. It was an exchange of love!
All of us at Good News Ministries need prayer support for the protection and advancement of what we are called to do. We have a very important support team called the 7 Warriors of the Cross. And evidence from the past several months indicate that we need more members.
To belong to this elite team, you only need to choose a day of the week to spend an hour with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration (whether he is inside or outside the tabernacle, it doesn’t matter), praying for me and for Good News Ministries. Members are added to a private, weekly e-list for special communications from me about the battlefield that needs to be covered in your next “victory hour.”
To find out more and to join, please go to gnm.org/7-warriors-of-the-cross.
This week’s recommended faith-builder:
Persisting through the Pain to Find Healing
Why do some people follow the path of healing and then stop the process? Why do they make good progress and then slide backward and keep heading backward into old wounds, self-defeating behaviors, addictions, co-dependent attitudes and the unhealthy beliefs that they had previously overcome?
These questions were brilliantly asked many years ago by one of GNM’s most long-time members, Nancy Viola. She discovered that the difference between those who keep moving forward and those who stop is that those who keep moving have no vision of outcome, whereas the quitters can’t get their eyes off the end results.
Does that sound strange? It’s the opposite of what motivational “experts” teach. To read what Nancy discovered, visit wordbytes.org/suffering/persisting-to-find-healing.
WordBytes is a library of Catholic faith-building articles by Good News Ministries. Come on in and explore! Visit WordBytes.org today.
The Hidden Value of Persistent Prayer
What yearning do you have that you’ve been covering in prayer for a very long time? Should you quit praying it, as a sign of your trust in God? No, Jesus says we should persist in it. Faith means persistent prayer. Why?
In 2016, I made a short video answering this using the parable of the fig tree. I said:
Persistent prayer, long-term prayers are a good reminder that we cannot accomplish what we want without God’s help. They illustrate our dependence on God. The devil tries to make us conclude that God doesn’t care and that’s why our prayers aren’t being answered. But the truth is God cares so much, he’s cultivating our soil while we’re waiting to see the fruits of our prayers. But not only that! He cares so much about the people that are involved in our prayer requests that he is also cultivating their soil.
Want to know more about this? Watch the video @ gnm-media.org/hidden-value-of-persistent-prayer. You can also download the transcript at this link.
Answer to this week’s Trivia Challenge:
Did an evil spirit ever call Jesus “holy”? Yes; it happened while Jesus was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. The demon, who was possessing a man there, called out to Jesus, “Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are — the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent….” (See Mark 1:21-28.) This incident shows us that demons know the truth about Jesus but they will never repent. They are forced to obey him but they will never honor him. Remember this: Jesus in you still has the authority to silence demons. You can increase your holiness by commanding, in the name of Jesus Christ, any temptations to be silent and go away.
God bless you!
Every morning, I lift up in prayer everyone who helps Good News Ministries in any way (donors, volunteers, prayer supporters, etc.) and all the prayer requests posted on our site. What can I cover in prayer for you? Post your prayer request.
How else can the team and I serve you today? Visit our homepage.
Let’s connect in GNM’s own SmartCatholics community, called Good News Faith Builders. I’m available to interact with you there.
Thank you for reading this newsletter.
Your servant in Christ,
Terry Modica, Executive Director
Good News Ministries
Find this and past issues at gnm.org/newsletter. Please share what will minister to others.
Please share this with others by inviting them to visit this page. You may also print this for your personal use and you may share the print-out with others.