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Catholic Church in England and Wales Celebrates Peace Sunday

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The Catholic Church in England and Wales is celebrating Peace Sunday (today on January 17). The celebration occurs yearly on the third Sunday of January to reflect on the Pope’s message for World Peace Day.

Meanwhile, resources for parishes, young people and schools are provided by Pax Christi, part of the international Catholic movement for peace who, on the occasion, also collects offerings and donations from the parishes to support its year-round work for peace and against military spending and nuclear weapons.

Peace Sunday this year is focusing on Pope Francis’ Message for the 54th World Peace Day, celebrated on January 1st on the theme “A culture of care as a path to peace”, in which he called on government leaders and those of international organizations, business leaders, scientists, communicators and educators, to take up the principles of Catholic Social Teaching as a “compass” to achieve “a more humane future”, particularly in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlighting the connection between social injustice and violent conflict, the message urges everyone to become “a prophetic witness of the culture of care” to overcome social inequalities, which can be done only “through a widespread and meaningful involvement on the part of women, in the family and in every social, political and institutional sphere”.

 

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Religion

Does God Hear Prayers?

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God hears your prayer. He delights when we come to him and ask him to help us. He wants to give us the things we need, not the things we think we need. Sometimes the answers we get to prayers aren’t what we want or expect or they take longer than we think they should. But, none of that is the absence of answers.

God hears every prayer no matter what method of praying you use: speaking, singing, or thinking. Even our actions can be a prayer to God.

God is waiting to hear from us. Psalm 34:15 reminds us, the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.

He never sleeps and is always available to hear our prayer. We must humble ourselves and seek Him.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers of the people offered in this place. (II Chronicles 7:14-15)

In I Chronicles 5:20, we are told that God answered the prayers of the people because they trusted in Him.

Believing that God will answer our prayers, trusting in His ability to hear and answer is important.

The book of Psalms is full of David’s petitions to God and his thoughts on prayer.

In the sixth chapter he says, “the Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.”

Many places in the Bible site similar conditions for prayers to be heard: living well, trusting in God, being humble.

In other words, the prayers that are heard are those that come from a person who has a relationship with God, someone who believes that his or her prayers will be answered by a loving heavenly Father.

How do you develop a relationship with God? Just like you do with friends and coworkers.

By getting to know them, spending time with them, talking to them. So it is with God.

Spend time with Him and get to know Him and you won’t have to ask this question anymore. You’ll know without a doubt that He is there.

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Religion

More Protestants Know God’s 10 Commandments Than Catholics

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Protestants can name at-least four of the ten commandments compared to their Catholic counterparts, according to a poll conducted by Newsweek magazine.

According to this magazine, only 49 percent of all Protestants and 44 percent of all Catholics could name even four of the Ten Commandments.

In Exodus 20:2, God said, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

God had already redeemed His people and brought them out of slavery. And now that they were out there on their own, He was giving them the rules that would govern their lives.

Since the Garden of Eden, man has rebelled against God. To help free humanity from this propensity to sin and help each of us to lead our best lives, God handed down the Ten Commandments as a code of moral laws for us to live by.

The Ten Commandments — also called the Decalogue — represent God’s personal interest in bringing out the best in His children so that we may live life to the fullest (John 10:10).

The Commandments set God’s people apart, identify right from wrong, and uphold the ultimate importance of love for God and neighbor in promoting peace in this life and salvation after.

The First Commandment

“You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3; Matthew 4:10; 1 Timothy 2:5). This instruction makes clear that God is the one true God and that we are to worship Him only.

In ancient times, this law steered people away from the many false gods worshipped by various cultures.

In modern times, this Commandment is a warning against elevating money or other worldly things to god-like status in our lives.

The Second Commandment

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below” (Exodus 20:4; 1 John 5:21; Acts 17:29). This is a prohibition against worshiping or bowing down to anything instead of God.

The Third Commandment

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:7; James 5:12; 1 Timothy 6:1). The proscription here is against using the name of God disrespectfully or in disregard of its holy nature. We are to speak and use God’s name only with the highest reverence.

The Fourth Commandment

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8). Scripture is clear that we’re to observe the Sabbath as God’s holy day of rest from work and as a day of “sacred assembly” (Exodus 20:8-10; Genesis 2:2; Leviticus 23:3).

This Commandment is not explicitly reiterated in the New Testament, but the Sabbath’s existence at the time of Jesus is referenced (Luke 4:16; 23:55-56).

Despite this, we know that the Christian faith is communal in nature, as evident in Jesus’ teaching us to pray to “our Father,” and not individually to “my” Father, and at Jesus’ assertion that where two or three gather in His name, there is He with them ((Matthew 6:9; Matthew 18:20).

The Fifth Commandment “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2-3; Luke 18:20).

This Commandment tells believers to respect and obey their father and mother. In return, the Commandment promises that if children respect their parents, the children will enjoy a long, successful life.

The Sixth Commandment “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13; 1 John 3:15; Romans 13:9). The word “murder” is operative here, as the Commandment forbids the taking of another’s life unlawfully. Scripture makes a distinction between murder and killing as seen in Paul’s discussion on the right of the government to kill evildoers (Romans 13:1-4).

The Seventh Commandment “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Romans 13:9).

Starting with Adam and Eve, the Bible teaches that once a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, they become one flesh (Genesis 2:24) joined together before God (Mark 10:7-9). Committing adultery adds a third person to the marriage and, thereby, violates the sanctity of the holy union.

The Eighth Commandment

“You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15; Ephesians 4:28; Romans 13:9). This is a prohibition against taking something that isn’t rightfully yours.

The purpose behind this Commandment is not so much to protect our possessions but to safeguard the stability of our society. When theft goes unpunished, people become fearful and resort to potentially violent means to secure and retrieve what belongs to them.

The Ninth Commandment “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16; Colossians 3:9-10; Revelation 21:8). To give false testimony against a neighbor is to knowingly lie about that person in a way that will cause him or her harm, such as in a legal proceeding. The importance of truthful testimony is seen in our modern judicial system, which punishes as perjury false testimony in a legal matter.

The Tenth Commandment “You shall not covet” (Exodus 20:17; Colossians 3:5; Romans 13:9). This Commandment calls for us to control any longing we may have for the belongings of others. This can include a desire for a neighbor’s physical possessions or a longing for people that form part of our neighbor’s life.

In other words, we are not to desire or set our sights on anything that rightfully belongs to someone else.

This particular Commandment stands out because it deals with taking control of our inappropriate feelings.

As Jesus sagely pointed out, sin often originates with a covetous feeling that can lead a person to break one of the other Commandments, such as that against murder, adultery, or theft (Matthew 5:28; Luke 6:45).

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Religion

Jum’ah: The Friday Prayer For Muslims

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Muslims gather for congregational worship during Friday midday prayer time. Prayer is followed by a sermon (khutbah) from an imam or prayer leader. Friday prayer is required only for men, but women may attend.

Friday is called Yawm al-Jum’ah in Arabic, meaning the Day of Assembly. Muslims gather for congregational worship during the Friday midday prayer.

Jum’ah is not a “sabbath” on which no work is done; rather, Muslims take just enough time off from work or school to attend a service at a neighborhood masjid.

The Friday prayer is commanded by God in the Qur’an: “O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (The Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew!” (Surah 62:9, King Fahd trans.)

The Friday prayer is exactly like the ritual prayers, or salat, performed during the rest of the week, except that on Friday the imam or prayer leader delivers a two-part sermon known as the khutbah, with a pause between the two parts of the sermon to allow for a time of personal prayer, or du’a.

Whoever the community considers the most learned person in matters of religion can serve as the imam, since there exists no official “clergy” in Islam.

The imam usually reads and explains Qur’anic verses relevant to community concerns and encourages the congregation to remember their obligations to God and to each other, offering guidance and advice on how to live as a true Muslim in daily life.

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