The Real WORD

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The Ways We Kill

by Brandon Jubar

Remember “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me”? Isn’t that the silliest thing you’ve ever heard? Since when does name-calling and ridiculing not hurt? Whether people want to believe it or not, words can kill.

Anyone who has ever spent time in junior high or high school can tell you that sticks and stones feel much better than the verbal attacks that so many teens endure. Words can hurt. The stones we throw with our mouths can cause serious damage, which can sometimes last a lifetime. Looking at it that way, it should come as no surprise when I say that using words that harm others is a violation of the Fifth Commandment.
“You shall not kill.” (Exod 20:13)

“Killing” doesn’t only refer to the taking of a life. My dictionary tells me that “kill” means, “to put an end to; to extinguish; to destroy a vitally essential quality in.” When we read the Commandment with that in mind, doesn’t it change the meaning dramatically? If this isn’t just about taking a life, what else does it include?
“You shall not put an end to friendships.”

If “killing” means putting an end to something, what does that imply when I ruin a friendship by spreading rumors and gossip about a person? When I break a confidence and tell my friend’s secrets knowing that word will spread quickly, have I violated the commandment? Have I “killed”?
“You shall not extinguish creativity.”

If “killing” means extinguishing something, what does that imply when I snuff out the spark of inspiration shown by someone in my youth group? When I say, “That’s a lame idea,” or “We tried that once and it didn’t work,” have I violated the commandment? Have I “killed”?
“You shall not destroy confidence.”

If “killing” means that an essential quality in something has been destroyed, what does that imply when I say things to destroy someone’s confidence? When I laugh at my younger siblings and make fun of their clumsiness in sports, have I violated the commandment? Have I “killed”?
Be Careful With Your Words

Words can “kill.” Words can end, extinguish, and destroy people and things. Words are weapons and we need to use them wisely. If not, you may just find yourself breaking a commandment.



What’s Up with That?

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How to Give Life

by Brandon Jubar

Life isn’t just about being alive. It’s about living — dreaming dreams, setting goals, and doing what’s right. It’s about who we are and who we might become. Take that away from someone, and you may have broken the Fifth Commandment!

The Bible commands, “You shall not kill.” That seems like a fairly easy commandment to keep — if murder is all that it covers. The unjust taking of an innocent life is pretty clear, and most of us will never come close to doing it. But what if “killing” is more than that?
Killing the Spirit

When we do things to hurt others emotionally, we are violating the Fifth Commandment because we are killing their spirit. It’s impossible to separate our bodies and souls in order to treat them differently.

So, when we kill the soul of another, we may as well be taking their life. In fact, losing one's soul is even worse than bodily death. People who commit suicide have often had their spirits crushed to the point where death seems to them like a better alternative than living.
Giving Life

We have the power to hurt people, but we also have the power to help them heal. Instead of killing the spirits of people we know, why not take steps to give them life?

Step 1: Stop tearing people down. Almost all of us hurt others, even though we think it is all in fun. Being the butt of a friend’s joke can still hurt.

Step 2: Build people up. Instead of making a wisecrack, give a compliment. It feels good to know that someone appreciates you and the things you do.

Step 3: Don’t stop with yourself. When you see people hurting the spirit of another, stop them. It may be uncomfortable to confront at first, but it’s important to step up when we know a wrong is being committed.

It’s a simple three-step process, but it just may make all the difference in the world to someone. Imagine how much fun life would be if people stopped killing each others’ spirits and started taking steps to give life instead!



Spiritual Fitness

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Putting the Pieces Together

by Jim Corder

Being in love is something all of us look forward to. When you spend time with that special person, it can be a great thing. The only problem is that sometimes we fall too fast or put too much into one relationship, and the pieces don’t seem to create a pretty picture. Ashlee Simpson’s newest song, “All the Pieces of Me” can help us look at what it’s like to be in a healthy relationship.

On a Monday I am waiting
On Tuesday I am fading
And by Wednesday I can’t sleep
Then my the phone rings,
I hear you
The darkness is a clear view
I see you’ve come to rescue me…

Don’t Look for a Savior

Sometimes we expect far too much from a relationship. We shouldn’t search for a savior when looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend. “I see you’ve come to rescue me,” though it may sound romantic in the song, is not really a line we should ever have to say. When looking for Mr. or Miss Right, it is important to remember that we don’t need to rely on a boyfriend or girlfriend to rescue us. Jesus is our only Savior.

Ohh..
Seems like I can finally
Rest my head on something real
I like the way that feels
Ohh..
It’s as if you know me better
Than I ever knew myself
I love how you can tell
All the pieces, pieces, pieces of me
All the pieces, pieces, pieces of me

Look for a Friend

When we start going out with someone, we usually begin to discover many things about each other. Most of the time we can learn a lot; but other times the person only reveals to us what they think we will like. It’s important to avoid that trap. When people are in a relationship, they should know as much as possible about each other. It is a great feeling to know that another person sees both the good and not so good, and still loves us! Love is best when the two people are very real with each other, and they love each other because of their qualities and quirks, not in spite of them.

I am moody and messy
I get restless and its senseless
And you never seem to care
When I’m angry,
You listen
When you’re happy it’s a mission
And I won’t stop till I’m there

Solving the Puzzle

The truth about relationships is that they are all messy and difficult at times, yet most people are loved regardless of the fact that they have some unlovable qualities. When we find that special someone, it is a great feeling — but it should be more than that. The relationship should also make us stronger, kinder, and more grounded.

In the song, Ashlee shows how to really open up by acknowledging many of her weaknesses. She also sings about how the other person is patient and a good listener. These are two things that we need to focus on in our own relationships. They are important elements of the relationship puzzle, and without them it’s almost impossible to put the pieces together.

Life Applications:

What qualities do you like in other people?
Why is it important to be open in a relationship?
How do you know that you can trust someone?



Reality Check

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Have you ever been so angry at someone, and nurtured that anger for so long, that you grew to hate that person? No matter what anyone said positive about that person you couldn't see it. If that person was in peril, would you warn them? Would you wish them ill?

You see the person that you have grown to hate with a car coming at them, so you:

a) keep walking, it's not your fault
b) tell someone else to warn her/him.
c) reluctantly yell out a warning.
d) yell “Watch out!” and move to get them out of the way.

Analysis:

Let's look at these responses from Jonah's perspective. You remember Jonah. He was the prophet in the Old Testament. A parable was written in the Bible with Jonah as the main character. In chapter one of Jonah it starts out pretty much with “once upon a time.” No date is mentioned. No king of Israel is mentioned either. That's usually a clue in Biblical writings. The scribes were very careful to note the context of an historical event with who was king at the time. This parable was written to communicate something very important that God wanted the Israelites to know.

ACF17CEIn chapter one, Jonah's response was (a) God wanted Jonah to warn the Ninivites of their doom and call them to repentance. Jonah didn't want to because they were his enemies. So he kept walking. Jonah walks off and is riding on a ship in the sea in order to escape God's call. There is no (b), no one else to do God's bidding, to warn the Ninivites.

In chapter two, the big fish comes and swallows up Jonah. Jonah cries out to God and God has the fish spew Jonah out. Jonah has relented and in chapter three, Jonah, less then enthusiastically, goes to Niniveh to warn the Ninivites. They repent and are saved from doom.

Now, in chapter four, Jonah goes off angry that God saved the Ninivites.
They were still his enemy and he wanted the worst to happen to them, much like reply (c). Jonah still didn't get it. So, there he sits in the hot sun and a plant grows and gives him shade. Jonah is happy. But then the plant dies and Jonah is angry that the plant died. God points out to Jonah that Jonah had nothing to do with the creation of the plant yet Jonah is angry at it's demise. Yet, Jonah cannot understand why God would care for the people of Niniveh that God created.

God is the author of all life.
No matter how much we may resent or hate someone God still made them. They are made in God's image. Whether it's someone on death row, in their mother's womb, in a Third World country, or an enemy of our country, God still made them and cares deeply about them. We are all called, like Jonah, to care for all life. We may feel like Jonah sometimes. Why should we care about someone who we don't know or have never seen? But everyone matters.

There are many issues that we face today: capitol punishment, abortion, poverty, world hunger, euthanasia, pornography. They are all examples of our failure to recognize the value of every human life. We are called to preserve life and the quality of life. Jesus put it best when he said “What you do to the least of these you do to me.” Let us be among the sheep and not the goats. Let us care for one another, no matter who, no matter how we feel. Peace!

Love in Jesus,
Pat Rinker



In the Know with Father Joe

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Dear Fr. Joe: What is a mortal sin? If I commit one, do I automatically go to hell?

Well, to explain this one, you need to join ARF. ARF stands for Acronyms R Fun. OK, long stretch for what is basically a pretty lame joke, but I assure you, my intentions were noble.

For something to be a Mortal Sin, you need to remember the acronym CIA. That stands for Circumstance, Intention and Action. We'll take it one at a time.

Circumstance: you have to be free to commit something or not commit something. For example, killing is normally a mortal sin, but if someone were holding a gun to your head and ordered you to kill, that is different than if you were to kill someone “for the thrill of it.”

Intention: here you need to intend offense to God or not care if it does offend God. You need the knowledge that it is wrong and a lack of proper concern that it is wrong.

Action: the action has to be of “grave matter,” meaning a serious issue. Cheating at solitaire, for example, probably could never fall into mortal sin because it's just not an important issue. Unless, of course, you were trapped by an evil (pronounced E-ville) doctor who was forcing you to play solitaire in a twisted, but well thought out plan at world domination which begins and ends with your game of solitaire and you play your guts out, but no matter what happens, you find yourself thwarted at every turn by the insidious …

Sorry. Got a little carried away there. Back to your question.

So, in a nutshell, if you are in a situation where you know that what you are doing is wrong and of a serious matter, and you are free to not do it and you do it anyway, you have put your soul in jeopardy.

In this situation, you need to get yourself to confession as soon as possible, and certainly before you receive Holy Communion.

Enjoy another day in God's presence!

Send your Questions to:
“In the Know with Fr. Joe”
FAITH Magazine
300 W. Ottawa, Lansing, MI 48933
Or: JoeInBlack@priest.com



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