In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught His disciples that it is not enough not to kill, but that they must not have anger in their hearts and be reconciled with their brothers. Jesus taught them that it is not enough not to commit adultery, but that one must not look lustfully at others, and that there can be no divorce in lawful marriages. Jesus taught them that it is not enough not to take a false oath, but that they should not swear at all; i.e., they must be truthful to the extent that taking oaths would become unnecessary. (see Matthew 5:21-37)
With these and other teachings at the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus points out that the observance of God’s commandments is more than just carrying out the letter of the law, but that it involves a change in one’s mind and heart that totally changes one’s way of life. And that is the point of the Beatitudes as well – it is not a list of what to do and what not to do, but it is about taking on a new kind of attitude and behavior in life that centers on Jesus Christ.
Many bible-reading Christians are familiar with the phrase “call on the Name of the Lord.” It appears at least 3 times in the bible: Joel 3:5, Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13. Unfortunately, many had been led to believe only its literal sense; i.e., that one is saved simply because they once called on Jesus to save them.
The Book of Joel spoke about the Day of the Lord: It shall come to pass, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions… the sun will darken, the moon turn blood-red, before the day of the LORD arrives, that great and terrible day. Then everyone who calls upon the name of the LORD will escape harm. (Joel 3:1, 4-5)
Peter’s speech at Pentecost, which was directed towards Jews who had come from every nation, pointed out that the Day of the Lord has been fulfilled with the coming of the Holy Spirit, such that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (cf. Acts 2:21).
What does it mean to call on the Name of the Lord?
In Acts, it means: (1) To believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ (cf. Acts 2:36), (2) To repent and be baptized (cf. Acts 2:38), (3) To devote oneself to apostolic teaching, to community life, to the breaking of the bread and to prayer (cf. Acts 2:42), and attending to the poor within the community (Acts 2:45). Repentance is a change of mind and heart toward God which is reflected in the actual goodness of one’s life. Repentance is not something done once or twice, or a few times in the past; it is an ongoing process which lasts a lifetime.
The message of Romans 10 is that having a valid relationship with God depends on having faith in God’s saving action in Jesus Christ, rather than the literal adherence to the Mosaic law. After all, the true meaning of the Mosaic law cannot be understood apart from Christ. Jesus said, “I have come not to abolish the law but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus fulfilled the law; in this context, to fulfill means to make perfect. Jesus perfected the law by teaching that the spirit of the law must be kept in the hearts of believers.
Our church has received several copies of the special edition of the Georgia Bulletin. We are giving them out to our parishioners for free. Please take one home.
All donations made to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal in 2022 will receive a donation statement directly from the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The Archbishop’s Annual Appeal for 2023 has begun; our goal for 2023 is $3,800. For your convenience, you can still make your donations through our church. We are offering this option for parishioners who donate in cash or who would rather not mail a check. If you wish to donate through our church, please make sure your check is payable to HNOJ and write AAA in the memo. Please use the AAA envelopes provided.
Please drop your completed Small Group Forms in the Small Groups drop box located at the main church entrance.
The following Sunday, February 19, is the last Sunday before the Season of Lent, which our church community will celebrate as “Fat Sunday.” Please bring a rich and delicious dish or dessert to share for our potluck.
Attention all Pastoral Council members, our monthly meeting for February will be held today. In order for us to begin the meeting and end on time, please proceed to the conference room immediately after Mass.
The English class with Ms. Madison Pickney is scheduled in the Youth Room after Mass today. All are welcome to attend.
Prayer List: Liang Chenjing, Pan Bohao, Angela Griffin, Wang Dacheng, Long Guorui, Zhang Qiang, Li Kuiying and Xu Taicheng.