Friday, September 30, 2011

The Lost Sheep

This months's blog will be my shortest because Jesus is very clear in this parable:

Luke 15:1-7: Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."

Always remember this scripture as Christians. There are many lost sheep out there that we can choose to ignore through the world's acceptance of the fallen world or we can decide to try to guide them towards the light of God's love and blessings.

All I can say is from my own experience, anyone who leads someone towards God and saves someone from the fallen world will receive a multitude of blessings.

Peace be with you,
Michael J. Cox

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Understanding the Holy Trinity

One of the least understood concepts is the Holy Trinity---the triune nature of God---three persons in one divine nature. Some of the best ways to understand the Holy Trinity involves a comparison using the sun and a coin. The sun = The Father, the sun rays = The Son (Jesus Christ) and the warmth felt from the sun = the Holy Spirit.

Another way to explain the Holy Trinity is with a coin. The heads portion of the coin is equivalent to The Father, the tails portion is equivalent to The Son (Jesus Christ) and the rim of the coin is equivalent to the Holy Spirit. All three sides make up the coin and the coin would not be a coin without all three. And the composition of sides of the coin are all made up of the same material.

The common question for those who doubt the validity of the Holy Trinity: If Jesus was God, why did he pray to God in the garden of Gethsemane?

First, Jesus was fully God and fully man. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to the Father as found in Mark Chapter 14:

Mark 14:32-36: They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

I believe Jesus prayed to the Father from his human nature to show humility. He prayed this same prayer three times.

How do we know the Jesus was God? Well, you have to believe all scripture or none of it.

John 1:1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us

How did Thomas greet Jesus after he had arisen from the dead?

John 20:28-29: Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

A few Christian denominations, who do not believe in the Holy Trinity, baptize in the name of Jesus Christ only. But scripture tells us we should be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Peace to you,

© Michael J. Cox

Friday, July 1, 2011

Father Corapi

A few weeks ago, Father John Corapi resigned as priest over the process of having to be indefinately suspended from ministerial priesthood due to allegations of misconduct from a former co-worker who he claims was a woman he tried to help. Many admirers are saddened and upset with Father Corapi's decision. Some prominent Catholics members of the media have voiced rather strong opinions questioning Corapi's decision and his integrity--even if he is innocent of the charges of misconduct.

This is big news as Father Corapi has become sort of the "Billy Graham" of the Catholic world. So I felt the need to speak up on the issue and wanted to wait until I could reflect a bit before commenting.

First, many Catholics feel that Father Corapi needs to show obedience as Padre Pio did during his life as he was falsely accused of sexual misconduct and internally attacked within the church over the validity of his stigmata. Padre Pio's faith and obedience eventually made him a saint. Many feel that Father Corapi should demonstrate the same obedience with the following scripture in mind:

Romans 13:1: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Many have quoted the following scripture that once someone is ordained a priest it leaves an indelible mark on one's soul that cannot be undone just as our baptism does, so once a priest, always a priest:

Psalm 110:4: The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

My feelings are that we need to not get caught up in all the details. Everything happens for a reason, some of which we may not understand at the time. Just like Christ's crucifixion, bad things happen to bring a greater good out it. Bad things happen to test our faith. The greater good that can come out of this is that this humbling experience will give us an even greater Father Corapi and the whole process of dealing with allegations against priests can be improved. When unproven allegations can put a priest on indefinate adminstrative leave and effectively shut down someone like Father Corapi, can anyone see here how Satan wins?

This issue has caused ill-feelings and some division within the Catholic faithful. Remember God loves Father Corapi and his accuser. He loves us all. When our world gets turned upside down, we need to look up and not horizontally looking to blame or for avengement.

We also need to remember that we are not Father Corapi. His greatest charism is preaching and teaching, not necessarily administering the sacraments like your parish priest. The Catholic faith is one of the most misunderstood religions and Corapi is a brilliant theologian that is needed in the media to help others understand our faith and lead others in the fallen world to Christ.

It has been said that there are no bad people in the world, only people with bad ideas. We are all made in the likeness of God. So when you are ready to judge Father Corapi and his decision, remember what Jesus said about getting caught up in the law:

Matthew 23:23: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

God's law is higher than any state or federal laws. None of us are Father Corapi or God. Ultimately, Father Corapi answers to God just like the rest of us. So trust that God is control here and pray for everyone involved. Even though Satan's influence is at the heart of this whole ordeal, there is no doubt in my mind that God allowed this to happen for a reason. Trust that Father Corapi knows what his situation best and what he was called to do and that he will receive an even greater blessing from God at the end of it all. That is the loving God that I know.

And remember: All fall short of the glory of God but by being closer to God, we experience His glory.

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Anxiety and Fear

I think we all having been consumed with anxieties and fear at some point in our life. We all probably have known a few worry warts. It is OK to be concerned about something but Worry is a sin. Why? Because it is something that does not come from faith:

Romans 14:23: But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

Worry is forbidden

How should we handle our anxieties?

Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Jesus Instructed Us Not To Worry

Matthew 6:25-27: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:34: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

A few good quotes about worry:

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy. ~Leo Buscaglia

Do not be afraid of tomorrow; for God is already there. ~Author Unknown

Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway. ~Mary C. Crowley

As the Bobby McFerrin 80s hit song says: Don't Worry, Be Happy!

And pray more...

Because all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26)

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Monday, May 2, 2011

Seeing Jesus In Others

I was once asked what I meant in an older blog titled "Important Questions Jesus Asked About Himself." Specifically the ending question you should ask yourself regarding your spouse or spouse-to-be of: "Do you see Jesus in them?"

I felt like this deserved its own blog as it needs to be explained. In essence, as Christians, we are supposed to love others as thyself:

Mark 12:31: The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

If we cannot see Jesus in someone, we probably are going to be emotionally detached from them and not able to love them very well.

In a prayer written by Mother Teresa, I found an excerpt from that prayer to be very fitting here in the grand scheme of seeing Jesus in everybody:

Jesus is the Hungry - to be fed.
Jesus is the Thirsty - to be satiated.
Jesus is the Naked - to be clothed.
Jesus is the Homeless - to be taken in.
Jesus is the Sick - to be healed.
Jesus is the Lonely - to be loved.
Jesus is the Unwanted - to be wanted.
Jesus is the Leper - to wash his wounds.
Jesus is the Beggar - to give him a smile.
Jesus is the Drunkard - to listen to him.
Jesus is the Little One - to embrace him.
Jesus is the Dumb - to speak to him.
Jesus is the Crippled - to walk with him.
Jesus is the Drug Addict - to befriend him.
Jesus is the Prostitute - to remove from danger & befriend her.
Jesus is the Prisoner - to be visited.
Jesus is the Old - to be served.

As Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “How can you love the one you cannot see, if you don’t love the one you can see?”

As a Christian when we go out into the world, there is an old saying that is appropriate here:

"You may be the only bible someone ever reads."

You may also be the only way someone will ever see Jesus. You may be the only one to show them true love, forgiveness and hope in a world consumed with self and oblivious to sin.

Love starts with loving God and then loving those closest to us. You can see Jesus in anyone. But to others, seeing Jesus in you is the love necessary to transform the world.

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

One of the things that always seemed kind of twisted and morbid was calling a day of remembrance of Christ's crucifixion---Good Friday. Good Friday? What is so good about it? Jesus was taunted, spat on, mocked, beaten, whipped, stripped of his dignity and then had to carry the heavy cross that he would be nailed to and die on with a thorny crown pressed into the scalp of his head.

As Father Corapi has said, when we look at The Cross--we see the greatest evil and the greatest good. That the creature kills The Creator but The Creator dies for us out of love. Christ suffered a brutal death so that our sins could be forgiven and so that he could understand any pain and suffering we might ever go through in our lives.

This is why Good Friday truly was Good Friday. Sometimes we fail to understand or see the goodness and love of God. For just as in his crucifixion, often times bad things happen to bring a greater good out of it. The greater good here is Christ leaving us with the ultimate example of love.

And remember Christ died out of love for us so willingly. When he was about to be betrayed by Judas with a kiss on the cheek to identify him to Roman authorities looking to arrest him--What did Jesus say to Judas?

Matthew 26:50: "Do what you came for, friend"

Easter should remind of us of many things. But probably most important:

Friend, do what HE came for--LOVE

We sometimes get too caught up in the everyday minutiae of life that we forget to love.

Peace to you,

© Michael J. Cox

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day--a special day for romance that was created to honor Saint Valentine, the patron saint of love, young people and happy marriages. One can't help but think of Romeo and Juliet in this instance. For those who fall into the "Love Stinks" camp, Saint Valentine was eventually beaten, stoned to death and beheaded for marrying young Christians and spreading Christianity.

Romeo and Juliet's romance ended tragically as well. Romeo, thinking Juliet was dead when she was asleep, committed suicide by poisoning himself. Juliet, upon waking up and discovering Romeo had killed himself, took her own life too with a daggar to the heart.

Jesus loved like no other on this earth and he was beaten, humilated and nailed to a cross.

What is the moral of the story here?

That Love stinks? No.


Saint Valentine had love and faith. Christ had love and faith. Those who persecuted them did not.

Romeo and Juliet had tremendous romantic love but they were weak in faith in the end.

"Where there is love, there is God also"

-- Leo Tolstoy

Great love requires great faith. If you want the love that can move mountains, it requires the faith that can move mountains. No matter how good and well-intentioned one is, we are all human and we will eventually disappoint and hurt the ones we love. Having a strong faith will give us the necessary forgiveness and patience. And being a true follower of Christ will guide in love because He was the greatest example of the love we will ever know.

Finally, love is not an emotion or feeling, love is a decision. God gave us free will, we can choose to love or not. A person's level of faith will be the greatest determinant of their ability to love. Apostle Paul told us the importance of love.

  • Corinthians 13:13: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
  • Corinthians 13:2: If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

Love can be fatal as the examples noted above. But there are many other things that one can die from. Just remember who will be remembered most.

Have a Happy Valentine's Day

© Michael J. Cox

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Riding The Storm Out

There is a blizzard here in Missouri as I type this. During our life, we will go through many storms. It reminded me of a story someone emailed me awhile back.

One day a young lady was driving along with her father. They came upon a storm, and the young lady asked her father, "What should I do?" He said "keep driving". Cars began to pull over to the side, the storm was getting worse. "What should I do." The young lady asked? "Keep driving," her father replied.

On up a few feet, she noticed that eighteen wheelers were also pulling over. She told her dad, "I must pull over, I can barely see ahead. It is terrible, and everyone is pulling over!" Her father told her, "Don't give up, just keep driving!"

Now the storm was terrible, but she never stopped driving, and soon she could see a little more clearly. After a couple of miles she was again on dry land, and the sun came out. Her father said, "Now you can pull over and get out."

She said "But why now?" He said "When you get out, look back at all the people that gave up and are still in the storm, because you never gave up your storm is now over."

This is a testimony for anyone who is going through "hard times." Just because everyone else, even the strongest, gives up. You don't have to...if you keep going, soon your storm will be over and the sun will shine upon your face again.

Jesus Calms The Storm

A good companion scripture for the above story can be found in Matthew Chapter 8:

Matthew 8:23-27: Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”


Just remember, after every bad storm, there is usually a Rainbow. It is God's promise that he will never destroy us and the earth again. Genesis 9:11

In troubled periods of your life, have faith and trust in God.


"Don't miss all the colors of the rainbow looking for that pot of gold."

Peace be with you,

© Michael J. Cox

Thursday, January 13, 2011


One of the fruits of the spirit is peace. We spend a lifetime in pursuit of joy and happiness. I am sure that most of us have been guilty at one time or another of placing too much emphasis in finding our happiness in things of the world. I know in my youth, I placed a lot of emphasis on material possessions, sports, hobbies and achievements in search of happiness. These things did bring temporary happiness.

But with any created, worldly thing, if you try to make it your god and the focal point of your life, the happiness these things bring eventually fade and/or you will reach burn out. Then you will be moving on to trying to find the next "god" and that may lead to a mid-life crisis and depression.

God has to come first in your life. His love is the only thing that is proven to stand the test of time. Jobs come and go, children leave the nest, family members, friends and spouses unfortunately pass away, sometimes tragically at the most unexpected times. The only thing we are assured of is God's love and his promise of eternal life.

If you desire peace, you have to have the right order in life and if you are married, it should be: God, Spouse, Family and Career. Your spouse is the one who you've made a lifetime covenant to and they hopefully will be the last person left in your home when you get older and retire. Your spouse should be more than a lifetime companion, they should also help you keep strong in faith so that you reach the final destination of heaven and eternal life. Marriage and staying together is a true testament of your faith because it requires you to be Christlike and forgiving, over and over, in order to succeed.

If you have children, it is your responsibility to teach and guide them to be prepared for the world when they become adults.

Your job is important for providing for your family.

  • 1 Timothy 5:8: But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

However, it is not God's desire to for you to sacrifice necessary time with your spouse, children and God Himself, to earn more materialistic things in life. And you don't go to heaven by "Keepin' up with the Jones," or due to your career accomplishments. God cares nothing about your career accomplishments or possessions, He only wants your love and to honor him as an obedient child.

Peace and being at peace with yourself is where true happiness comes and the source and summit of love and true sustained happiness is in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ never said, "Happiness to you" or "I leave my joy to you."

When Jesus healed 0r forgave someone, he usually told them that their faith has healed them and to "Go in peace."

The night before Jesus was arrested, he said this to his apostles:

  • John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

    When the Risen Jesus came back from the tomb and saw the apostles, how did he greet them?

    • John 20:21: Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

    Joy comes through the Holy Spirit and being at peace with oneself.

    Inner Peace

    We all go through life, sin and make mistakes. How we deal with these sins and mistakes determines our overall happiness and self-esteem. The degree to which we have Inner Peace determines how well we deal with stress and anxieties in everyday life.

    Inner Peace is defined as: the state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress.

    The spirit of people who have not rectified their past and turned it over to God will be continually haunted by it and this will adversely affect their inner peace. This is where sacrament of confession can become very powerful, to release the baggage that we carry around with us from our past and the shackles that keeps bogging us down from being the true light of the world that we are called to be and a calm, happy spirit on a day-to-day basis.


    Reconciling your sins and forgiveness is essential in retaining the Holy Spirit and being at peace with oneself. You will be forgiven to the extent you forgive. I wrote a blog on our daily battle as Christians and forgiveness that goes into better depth HERE.


    Jesus left this world being an instrument of peace but when he entered this world, he said:

    • Luke 12:51: "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division."

    But Jesus was trying to divide the world from the "eye-for-an-eye" Old Covenant and leave the world with a New Covenant of Love and Forgiveness. Satan is the master at dividing with anger, pride, revenge and hard-heartedness. Christ came into the world to show us love and forgiveness to unite the whole world in peace.

    Peace be with you,

    © Michael J. Cox

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    I Remember

    Things I remember:

    I remember flunking my Freshman Chemistry class at mid-term and my college chemistry professor telling me that maybe I wasn't cut out to be a pharmacist, that he wanted to be a physicist but he couldn't get past Freshman Physics. Well, I retook his class and got straight A's in Chemistry 1 and 2. I graduated from pharmacy school 6 years later and have been a pharmacist ever since for 22+ years.

    An old saying: "Quitters never win, winners never quit."

    I remember my cousin Daniel who was a cute kid growing up and had a smile that would light up any room he entered. At a children's Christmas play this past December, an elderly lady was struggling to find a seat and Daniel saw her and helped her sit down next to him. Daniel said something like, "Don't you go to such-and-such church that my mother goes to?" She did. Sadly, just 11 days later, Daniel needlessly took his own life over a relationship squabble with his girlfriend. Ironically, the older lady who Daniel helped to her seat, was a choir singer and sang a beautiful version of "Ave Maria" for his funeral.

    A Gracie Allen quote that seems fitting here:

    "Never place a period where God has placed a comma."

    I remember happy, young marriages of family or friends being destroyed by affairs and hard-heartedness. I remember women I loved and/or tried to help, only for the relationships to end painfully due to pride, the blame game or an absence of love.

    Another old saying: "Faith makes all things possible. Love makes them easy."

    They say that nobody remembers the team who lost in the Super Bowl, that they only remember the Super Bowl champion.

    It is true with anything in life, it is not how you start, but how you finish that everyone will remember.

    And no matter how well or poor you start off, it is also important to remember what Jesus told us:

    • Luke 18:27: “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

    My parish priest, Father Taranto, brought up the fact in his homily this Sunday that he has had requests from people who have fallen away from God ask to be re-baptized. But only one baptism is necessary as scripture tells us (Ephesians 4:5). It is just a start and it is up to us to carry out our baptismal promise from that day forward.

    And this proves a point. Many of us all start off well and good-intentioned in our intiation into Christian life at the time of our baptism. But that is the day-to-day challenge to remain Christlike and not fall off.

    Remember our savior?

    • John 19:29-30: A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

    When Jesus said "It is finished" shortly before he gave up his spirit on The Cross, He left a legacy of unsurpassed love so that sins could be forgiven. All the while, going through humiliation, ridicule, pain and suffering so that he could understand anything we may go through in life.

    Who remembers Jesus Christ well?

    Those closest to Him and those He touched. And even one, Peter, who He loved but denied him three times.

    So remember this in your everyday life. The most important people in our life will not remember us by how many material things we possess, how much money we made, how many degrees we earned, how successful we were in our career or by any of our career accomplishments.

    We will be most remembered by those closest to us for the love and forgiveness we leave behind. We will be remembered how we finish, not how we start.

    A famous quote:

    “For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'.” --John Greenleaf Whittier

    I also remember the Tennessee Titans came within one yard of the end zone on the final play of the 2000 Super Bowl against the St Louis Rams. A touchdown would have made the Titans Super Bowl champions. I am sure that the Titans look back and wonder if they could have done one or two minor things differently and won the game.

    As with the more important things in life, whether it be parenting, your marriage and with your salvation, don't live a life that you'll regret later, just try as hard as you can every day to love and live as Christ did.

    Peace be with you,

    © Michael J. Cox