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EPISODE #246
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: BEING CALLED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Join Deacon Steve Greco as he welcomes his daughter Laura to the weekly broadcast. She shares her amazing journey of “faith, hope and love” in dealing with a surprise diagnosis of lung cancer.

It also acts as a clarion call to ALL of us to listen to the Holy Spirit and His influence on our daily lives.

If you or someone you know is impacted by cancer, please listen and encourage others to do the same!

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 6/7/2020

EPISODE #209
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: HOLY SPIRIT AND DIVINE MERCY

Join Deacon Steve Greco as he welcomes a very special guest to the studio, Fr. Augustine Puchner.

Fr. Augustine is a Norbertine priest, and he is pastor at St. John the Baptist Church in Costa Mesa, CA.

They discuss among other things the Norbertine order, The Holy Spirit, Divine Mercy and aspects of truly living an integrated Catholic life.

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 8/25/19

HOLY SPIRIT ‘BRINGS ORDER TO OUR FRENZY,’ POPE SAYS

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a world of conflict and division and a culture of insult, people need to live filled with the Holy Spirit, who is the only one capable of bringing harmony and unity to diversity, Pope Francis said.

“Those who live by the Spirit … bring peace where there is discord, concord where there is conflict,” he said during a Pentecost Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

“Those who are spiritual repay evil with good. They respond to arrogance with meekness, to malice with goodness, to shouting with silence, to gossip with prayer, to defeatism” with a smile, he said during his homily at the Mass June 9.

“In today’s world, lack of harmony has led to stark divisions. There are those who have too much and those who have nothing, those who want to live to be 100 years old and those who cannot even be born,” and there are those who, the more they use social media, the less social they become, he said.

“We need the Spirit of unity to regenerate us as church, as God’s people and as a human family,” he said.

“There is always a temptation to build ‘nests,’ to cling to our little group, to the things and people we like, to resist all contamination. It is only a small step from a nest to a sect: How many times do we define our identity in opposition to someone or something,” the pope said.

It has become “fashionable” to hurl “adjectives” and insults at people in what has become “a culture of adjectives,” which forgets the person or thing beneath the surface and responds to differing opinions with insults, he said.

“Later we realize that this is harmful, to those insulted but also to those who insult. Repaying evil for evil, passing from victims to aggressors, is no way to go through life,” he added.

With today’s “frenzied pace of life,” he said, people are pulled in too many directions, running the risk of “nervous exhaustion” and reacting badly to everything.

“We then look for the quick fix, popping one pill after another to keep going, one thrill after another to feel alive.”

“But more than anything else, we need the Spirit: He brings order to our frenzy. The Spirit is peace in the midst of restlessness, confidence in the midst of discouragement, joy in sadness, youth in aging, courage in the hour of trial. Amid the stormy currents of life, he lowers the anchor of hope,” he said.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t make life easier, nor does he sweep every problem or hardship away. He makes Jesus live in those hearts that open up to him, “raising us up from within,” and makes people realize “that we are beloved children” of a tender, loving God.

“Filled with his peace, our hearts are like a deep sea, which remains peaceful, even when its surface is swept by waves. It is a harmony so profound that it can even turn persecutions into blessings,” the pope said.

The Holy Spirit is a “specialist in creating diversity, richness” while also bringing harmony and unity to this diversity; “Only he can do these two things.”

On June 8, the vigil of Pentecost, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica with the faithful of the Diocese of Rome.

He asked that people open their hearts and listen to the cries of others.

“To be able to hear the cry of the city of Rome, we too need the Lord to take us by the hand and make us ‘descend,’ come down from our positions” or pedestals and be with the people to hear their cry for salvation — a cry the Lord hears, “but we usually don’t.”

“It is not about explaining things” in an academic and intellectual or political and ideological manner, he added, saying it upset him “when I see a church that believes it is faithful to the Lord by renewing itself when it seeks purely functional paths, paths that do not come from the Spirit of God.”

A church that cannot “come down” from above and have its eyes, ears and heart open among the people is not being guided by the Holy Spirit, he said.

The Spirit turns things upside down, not to make people start over from the very beginning, but to take up a new path, a new way of seeing, hearing and living, he said.

People are asked to look for God’s plan and serve him by serving others, he said.

POPE: WITHOUT HOLY SPIRIT, DIOCESES CAN BECOME WORLDLY BUSINESSES

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A diocese that cares more about being an organized workplace rather than announcing the good news can fall prey to clericalism and distance itself from Christ, Pope Francis said.

In creating a “functionalist diocese,” the pope said, local churches are in danger of transmitting a “new ideological colonization that seeks to convince others that the Gospel is wisdom and doctrine but not an announcement, not a kerygma.”

Pope Francis addressed over 1,000 diocesan leaders, both clergy and laity, May 9 at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome.

The pope listened to several people — a young woman, a couple and a priest — who recounted the various joys and challenges they face in their work within the Roman diocese.

Speaking for nearly 50 minutes, Pope Francis warned diocesan leaders that with so many difficulties facing Catholics, such as loneliness, poverty and the dangers of drugs and alcohol, there is a temptation for parishes and the diocese to try “to put things in order.”

When things seem unbalanced, he said, “we are called to take this imbalance with our hands, we cannot be afraid of imbalances.”

To explain his point, the pope recalled the Gospel account of the disciples imploring Jesus that it was late, and he should dismiss the crowds who were listening to him preach.

“‘Lord, send them away,’ they tell him. This is the temptation ‘church people’ have of balance. I think that’s where clericalism began,” he said. “Perhaps that is where clericalism started because clericalism (means having) a good balance, to try to put things in order.”

Pope Francis said that this “clericalism and functionalism” reminded him of an unnamed diocese that “is completely functionalized: It has a department for this, a department for that and each department has four, five or six specialists who study things. That diocese has more employees than the Vatican!”

“That diocese today,” he continued, “distances itself more and more from Jesus Christ because it worships the harmony — not of beauty — but the harmony of worldly functionality.”

Pope Francis said that when dioceses fail to announce the good news, they instead “invent synods and more synods that aren’t really synods, just more reorganization.”

“Why?” the pope asked. “Because if it were a synod, the Holy Spirit would be present. The Holy Spirit kicks the table over and starts from the beginning.”

“Let us ask the Lord for the grace of not falling into (becoming) a functionalist diocese,” he said. “But I believe that from what I have heard (in this diocese), things are well-oriented and we are going forward.”

EPISODE #53
TRENDING WITH CHRIS & TIMMERIE: THEYBIES

Father Tim Grumbach joins Timmerie discussing what could truly be called an ‘insane’ trend.. to raise theybies (gender neutral children). They will also discuss how society seems to be trending towards “virgin shaming” people such as Colton Underwood from the Bachelorette and former Chargers football player.

What’s the answer to the challenges of modern culture? Living a sacramental life and growing in virtue. Let’s discuss the practical side. Our hosts cover growing in the theological virtues and working on some of their favorites fruits of the Holy Spirit: chastity, gentleness, generosity, and goodness.

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 8/5/18

 

EPISODE #149
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Today’s show is high energy from start to finish! Whenever Deacon Steve gets together with his good friend, Deacon Doug Johnson, that’s just the way it goes..

Today’s topic is all about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Tune in and encourage another to do the same!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 6/3/18

EPISODE #147
EMPOWERED BY THE SPIRIT: POWER OF PENTECOST

Deacon Steve’s guest, back for the 2nd consecutive week, is A-LOB (aka Andrew Laubacher).

Today’s episode is all about PENTECOST – one of Deacon Steve’s favorite church celebrations of the year. Among other things, we’ll talk today about how the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles as “tongues of fire…”

HAPPY PENTECOST!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 5/20/18

BAPTISM OPENS DOOR TO HOLY SPIRIT’S ACTION, POPE SAYS

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Parents who prefer not to baptize their children in the hopes that they will “understand and ask for baptism” as adults lack faith that the Holy Spirit will act in their child’s life, Pope Francis said. 

A video accompanying this story can be found at https://youtu.be/e_yNbnr-iI8

While some believe that there is no need to “baptize a child that does not understand” the meaning of the sacrament, the pope said doing so would deny the chance for “Christian virtues to grow within that child and blossom.”

“Always give this opportunity to all children: to have within themselves the Holy Spirit that will guide them in life. Do not forget to baptize your children,” the pope said during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square April 11.

Arriving in the square under cloudy skies, Pope Francis once again picked up several children who rode around in his popemobile while he circled around to greet thousands of pilgrims. 

After dropping them off, the pope made his way toward the stage when he was greeted by some unlikely guests at the audience: three llamas. 

According to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the three llamas — named Buffon, Shaquiri and Tiento — along with their owner and his two traveling companions, began their pilgrimage to Rome in February. The pilgrims traveled over 650 miles on foot from the northern Italian province of Bolzano to meet the pope. 

The names of two of the llamas seemingly reference two soccer greats — Gianluigi Buffon and Xherdan Shaqiri — while Tiento is also the name of the 1930 World Cup soccer ball.

The pope greeted the pilgrims and smiled as he saw the llamas, which are indigenous to South America. 

In his main talk, Pope Francis reflected on the sacrament of baptism as “the foundation of Christian life.”

As the first of seven sacraments, he said, baptism “is the door that permits Christ the Lord to make his dwelling in us and allows us to immerse ourselves in his mystery.”

While being immersed in water is a common ritual “in various beliefs” that signifies the passing from one condition to another, Pope Francis said Christians must never forget that just as the body is immersed in water at baptism, so is the soul “immersed in Christ to receive forgiveness from sin and shine with divine light.”

“By virtue of the Holy Spirit, baptism immerses us in the death and resurrection of the Lord, drowning the old man — dominated by the sin that divides us from God — in the baptismal font and giving birth to the new man, recreated in Jesus. In Him, all the sons of Adam are called to new life,” the pope said. 

The pope, who often tells people to look up the date of their baptism, called on those who don’t remember the date to ask their family and to celebrate it like a birthday and “give thanks to the Lord because it was on that day when Jesus entered” in their lives.

“We should all know the date of our baptism. It is another birthday, it is the day of our rebirth,” he said. 

Although baptism occurs only once in a Christian’s life, Pope Francis said, “it illuminates our entire life, guiding our steps until (we reach) the heavenly Jerusalem.”

“No one deserves baptism, which is always a gift for everyone, adults and newborns. But like what happens to a seed full of life, this gift takes root and brings forth fruit in a land nourished by faith,” the pope said.

OUR BODIES, HIS TEMPLES

Saint Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17: “Do you not understand that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, lives in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy them, for the temple of God is holy and so you as His temple, are holy. 

“Do you not know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives within you, whom you have received as a gift from God? You are not your own. You were bought with a price purchased by Jesus’s blood. Therefore, glorify God in your body and in the Spirit, which belong to God.” 

As Catholics we recognize that our flesh will one day die, and we will be given a new, resurrected body in Heaven. While on Earth, however, we must honor God by honoring our bodies.  

Paul warned against sexual immorality, but there are numerous other pitfalls we must avoid to honor our physical selves. Self-respect and respect for God means that as adults we need to refrain from destructive actions such as heavy drinking, overeating, unsafe driving and extreme risk-taking. As children, we need to be taught personal hygiene, including bathing, brushing our teeth and wearing clean clothing.  

Still, parents know that it’s hard enough to get small boys to bathe, let alone believe that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.  

Yet while complete understanding of this complex concept comes only with time, even the youngest children are capable of learning to respect themselves and others – and that includes cleaning up to be presentable to others at school and play. 

God teaches us to flee from sin and immorality. It follows, then, that we must teach our children that wherever they go, God goes, too, and that means they must take care and be safe.  

Respecting one’s body may be a difficult concept for kids to comprehend, but in church and at home, parents, teachers and religious leaders can explain easily why we all need to be good stewards and choose carefully what goes into, onto and through our bodies.  

When Paul used the word ‘temple’ to describe the Spirit’s dwelling, he conveyed the idea that our bodies are the shrine, or the sacred place, in which the Spirit not only lives but is worshiped, revered and honored. So Christians must choose deliberately to do what is right, good and pleasing to God. 

Our bodies are not our own, Paul notes, and they were purchased not with silver or gold, but with the unblemished blood of our Lord and Savior. 

Thus, how we behave, think and speak, and what we let into the temple through our eyes and ears becomes critically important. Every thought, word and deed are in His view. In Ephesians 4:30, Paul tells them to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Jesus Christ forgave you.” 

Indeed, Paul tells us in Galatians 5:16, when we live by the Spirit we will no longer gratify the desires of our sinful natures.  

WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT COMES KNOCKING

You’re a hard-working, church-going family man.

On a whim, you buy a lottery ticket and win $50 million.

You’re set for life.

One of your church friends, a single mother of two who runs the parish youth group, goes to her doctor for a routine checkup and learns she has Stage IV cervical cancer.

She’s a goner.

Two people, two very different fates.

When good and bad things happen to the faithful, is it just by random chance? Or is it the Holy Spirit working in some mysterious way? And if so, how can we recognize the Holy Spirit in our daily lives?

“These questions raise the age-old tension between God’s will and our own free will,” said the Rev. Msgr. Arthur A. Holquin, episcopal vicar for Divine Worship for the Diocese of Orange and pastor emeritus at Mission San Juan Basilica in San Juan Capistrano.

“While God, who is all knowing, possesses divine foreknowledge of what may unfold in the course of our lives, does God determine that?”

Holquin and other biblical scholars believe that while God may know what may happen in the course of our unfolding lives, he doesn’t predetermine it. That’s because God implanted into the human heart free will — which, of course, can be both a blessing and a curse.

The Bible is full of passages about how the sinful nature of man and the choices we make can lead to really bad things.

Here’s just one:

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God (James 4:1-10)

Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 311) has to say about free choice:

Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it.

Msgr. Mike Heher, pastor of St. Anne Catholic Church in Seal Beach, recently wrote in a parish bulletin about the need for Catholics to “test all spirits” because not all spirits come from God.

So, Msgr. Heher asks, how does one test spirits effectively?

“Saint Ignatius of Loyola called it trying to interpret the ‘motions of the soul,’” he writes. “As a young man, he centered his life on all the intricacies of courtly love. In 1521, he was gravely wounded in battle. Bored during his recuperation, he read [about the ] rather mediocre lives of Jesus and the saints but his soul was touched deeply and he came to recognize that courtly love was not what God had in mind for him.”

Msgr. Heher adds about spirits: “Most of the time, a good spirit brings you love, joy, peace and the like. An evil spirit does the opposite: it brings confusion, doubt and disgust. But if you are leading a seriously sinful life, a good spirit may visit you with depression and disgust so you’ll want to change your evil ways.”

So how do Catholics know if what we are doing is in accord with God’s will or not?

Msgr. Holquin cites St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians (5:22-23):

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

“Discerning the will of God is invariably connected to reflecting on whether our actions and choices have produced in our heart and mind one or several of the fruits of the Spirit,” Msgr. Holquin said.

“If not, then there’s a very good possibility that the choice we have made may not be in accord with God’s will, but rather a manifestation of a decision that is contrary to the Lord’s intention for us.”

Writing in Christianity Today, Dawson McAllister reminds us of the importance of remembering that the Holy Spirit will not prompt us to do anything that goes against Scripture.

“We need to make sure we’re listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, not the voice of our own desires,” McAllister writes. “And we know which is which by checking this voice against the truth of God’s Word.”

As for why God lets bad things happen, Gary Zimak, writing for Catholic Stand, notes that tragedies result in people helping one another.

“We also see an increase in prayer,” Zimak writes.

Tragedies also give us an opportunity to trust God, he says.

“It is during the dark times that we must truly “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7),” Zimak writes. “When skies are blue, it’s a lot easier for us to trust than during storms. However, storms often give us the best chance to grow closer to the Lord.”