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JONAL ENTRY 1633 | SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22 2014

Today's Scripture: I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may promote the knowledge of all the good that is ours in Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you - I, Paul, an ambassador and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus - I appeal to you for my child, Onesimos, whose father I have become in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will. Perhaps this is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand, I will repay it - to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping through your prayers to be granted to you. Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchos, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

From St. Paul's letter to Philemon, chapter 1,
from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
See the homiletical thought below. 
«

Today's diary - life in the Republic of Malta

I published a photo of the first nice display of Christmas lights I saw in Belfast about this time last year, and this is the most elaborate one I've seen thus far in Malta. Though two colors of lights are used, they are so similar that the difference hardly shows in the photo. There are perhaps three dozen of these identical light displays over Republic Street in downtown Valletta. They are mostly raindeer surrounded by some flourishes, or gilding. I think I've been more impressed by a few shops I've seen decorated in what I would call a "total Christmas look," with nothing but Christmas displays throughout, and many multi-colored lights, tinsel, and other decorations. I have seen those only through the windows of the buses thus far, but will look to get some pictures of them later.

Last night I decided to have some social life, even if I have to settle for my own "society," and went to a movie theater but there was nothing worth watching, so looked for a restaurant. I found a nice Japanese restaurant in San Julian, and Japanese cuisine is probably my favorite in a general sense. I chose an appetizer ("starter," they call it here and in the UK) of gyoza, which is a Japanese version of the more familiar Chinese appetizer, pot stickers. And if you still don't recognize them, they're white dough dumplings filled with pork or other meat, or a vegetarian substitute. I opted for the pork. They were tasty, but the outside was browned and crisp. I think the other Japanese restaurants where I've had them have made them crisper than Chinese-style (which is doughy), but these were as brown as a croquet. Not bad, but not the best I've ever had. My main course was a hot chilly spicy beef noodle dish, odon, which was very hot-spicy, and very filling, with generous slices of medium braised beef; very good.

The weather continues to be as perfect as anything I've known in California at this time of year, and yes (in comparison to the earlier week of rain Malta had) California occasionally has heavy rains in November as well, though perhaps no one living there remembers that now, after years of continuing drought. «

A closer look
Links to news, features, and opinion pieces. See caveats, below.

Dad of Michael Brown urges protesters to remain peaceful

Leading Democrat donor charged with sodomy with 15-year-old boy

Writer recounts his close encounter with profanity in a tight space

Pope chooses singer of 'Jesus Died for Someone’s Sins, But Not for Hers'

'Dumbstruck' Bob Schieffer cays Gruber should repay $400K Obamacare earnings

Austin Ruse: Vatican right to avoid being labelled liberal or conservative

Wives earn more than husbands in one-third of American families

Scientist tells gathering: 'Global warming is a $22 billion scam' «

Christian worldview - envy
(This department alternates with Writing stuff)

Envy, one of the seven deadly sins, is a form of judging our brothers or sisters, probably the most dangerous form to our spiritual well-being; the elder is certainly right that it destroys our peace. We see something good come to one of our neighbors and judge him or her unworthy or undeserving for such favor in life. That often takes the form of thinking, "I've done more to deserve that kind of special treatment or reward than s/he has." And that sets into motion a whole chain of judgments we find to lodge against him or her, which sometimes leads to plots to punish your rival to even the score of her or him having something better than what you have more, obviously, deserved.

This scenario is exactly what led to the first murder in recorded history, that of Cain against his brother Abel, who got the approval of God by sacrificing an animal from his harvest after God disapproved of Cain's sacrifice of grain from his harvest. It's the same type of jealousy that led Joseph's older brothers to sell him into slavery into Egypt, and countless other incidences of people coveting another's good fortune and doing wicked deeds to "even the score."

If you think yourself better or more deserving than someone else, you're always wrong, for such thoughts in themselves are sins. There's only one cure for it: repent, apologize for any wrongs you've done to get even (or that you've plotted to do), and ask the forgiveness of the one you've wronged. Ask God to forgive you as well and ask for His assistance, then don't ever do it again. «

Today's video

 «

Chuckle

 «

Today's quotes

 «

Happy is the man in whom there is love for God, for he bears God within himself.

— St. Ephraim the Syrian «

At this very moment you and I are either committing [selfishness], or about to commit it, or repenting it.

— C.S. Lewis «

Homiletical thought: Today's epistle passage is addressed by Paul to an individual, Philemon, whose slave, Onesimos, had crossed Paul's path, became converted to the Gospel, and was encouraged by Paul to return to Philemon to receive full release from his slavery and be accepted as a brother in Christ, a full member of the church. It was a risky gambit, but Paul knew that if Philemon's conversion was genuine, so would be his generosity toward Onemimos and his desire to welcome his former servant and obey his bishop, Paul. The fact that the epistle, which went from Paul's hands to Philemon and has survived as one of the signal teachings of the early churches (on slavery) is all we have, or need, to know how Philemon received it and his new brother in Christ, Onesimos. «

§     §     § Return to top

Caveats on "A closer look"; links to articles on current issues—news, features, and opinion that may signify how the cultural winds are blowing. Note that most 'news reports' are not 'objective' and if some are 'neutral' it's because the writers and editors are disinterested (could care less about the topic). Neither are 'news reports,' in general, highly accurate or unbiased; try to discern the bias of any report's source; always read aware and at your own risk. «

Unless specified otherwise, none of the message memes used in this blog are the creation or property of the author, but are reposted here from the social networks. «

Quotations usually have not been vetted (and thus may be falsely attributed). «

Videos used here are embedded from video websites (most frequently YouTube), and occasionally these are removed from the sites from which they were embedded, or permissions on those sites change, causing them to "disappear" from these pages. This is also likely to happen to links to articles outside this site. This is beyond the control or remedy of this blog. «

Comments: Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page. «

§ I have now uploaded over 3,000 photos and videos, mostly from my recent 19-month visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), some photos of the family, and some new ones from Malta on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.

For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onhttps://www.facebook.com/jon.kennedy.94617, and Twitter (click on either icon to go to the site).

Google+ works more automatically, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there. Feedback: Please comment on anything in today's blog on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to jrk@nantyglo.com.

Feedback is always welcome.

§     §     §

Please pray for my mission to Europe. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is Room 215B, Robert Mifsud Bonnici str, Lija, LJA 1405 Malta. Mobile, (Not yet available, please check later blogs for update).

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 

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This blog is just
an attempt to communicate
between an American lay missionary in Europe, his friends there, his friends in his home parish in Silicon Valley, California, and his friends in his native coalfields of Western Pennsylvania, and any others interested. When time for deeper reflection is lacking, this may consist mainly of reposts of things from online networks that seem to resonate with members of his circles.

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