Fr. Jose Poch

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


           I have to confess that I don’t fully understand what this movement is all about. Perhaps someone can help me understand its goals and purposes. I know that it gets its impetus from "the Arab Spring" - demonstrations in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya that toppled oppressive political regimes in their countries. Their movement, I understood. Their goals were clear and achievable. I also understand that people and especially young people are angry and concerned for their future.  They are angry at the rate of unemployment and the prospect of not finding better jobs in the near future. They are angry with the government for not finding solutions for our economic disaster other than bailing out big corporations and banks (the culprits in the first place). They are angry at the 1% of the wealthy whom they feel are getting richer and richer while the rest of us, the 99%, are not sharing in the wealth. I understand the outcry at the financial inequality in our country and the world, what else is new? This is the way it has always been everywhere, thus the desired Robin Hood  story, take from the rich and give to the poor. Isn’t this what Socialism and Communism in theory is all about? Didn’t I live this in Cuba to the detriment of my country? Is Fidel Castro a Robin Hood type? God forbid if he is the example to follow in this country!
          So what is the clear, reasonable and achievable goal of the Occupy Movement other than causing chaos and disruption and raising their voices (which they have very effectively done)? Clearly some are taking advantage of the situation and the movement for their own purposes. Last night I heard in the news about marijuana smoking individuals inclined toward Socialism and Communism who are clearly enjoying the situation for political gain. What are the clear, reasonable and achievable goals that we can respect and look forward to? What are the positive changes it seeks to bring to our country? Help me understand.
          Lets blog!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


This morning I received news of a California Appellate Court decision in the case of an illegal immigrant who alleges discrimination in the workplace by the employer. Although I will not take the time to research the particulars of this case, especially when I am not a lawyer but a Christian pastor, I was alarmed by the decision.

Here is the decision:
 In Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., the California Court of Appeal held that an employee not authorized to work in the United States could not pursue discrimination and retaliation employment claims.  The court reasoned that the undocumented worker had no recourse for alleged losses tied to an employment position for which he is not lawfully qualified.  In addition, the court found that it would be inequitable to provide the plaintiff with any relief in light of his misconduct in the form of misrepresenting to his employer his ability to lawfully work in the United States.

I am not in favor of illegal immigration. I myself am an immigrant but I entered this country legally and in accordance with the laws of this country. I am now an American citizen. I am not going to discuss the multiple reasons, and there are many, too many to number, why people find the necessity to leave their countries of origin and go and live in a different country. I am also not going to discuss here why some people enter this country in an illegal fashion. It is enough to say that not all illegal immigrants are criminals or drug dealers.

I repeat what I said at the beginning of the above paragraph, I am not in favor of illegal immigration. I believe all nations in this world need to protect their borders, especially when illegal immigration threatens the stability of that country. However, if I interpret the above decision correctly, the Court has just opened the doors to abuses of all kinds (no fair pay, no pay at all, no vacation time) against men and women by their employers. Perhaps they should not have been employed in the first place; perhaps these employers should be heavily penalized for breaking the law themselves, but once employed these workers should be protected against abuses on the simple basis of them being human beings.

As a Bible believing Christian who accepts the entire Bible as the Word of God, I find that God calls us to treat all people with kindness and the same respect we would want ourselves to receive from others and this includes the immigrants whether here legally or illegally. I know there is much to be said about this subject but I would like to hear from you on the Court's decision only. How do you read it? How would you like to be treated by your employer? Should not others deserve the same protection under the law once hired?  

 Let’s blog!


Or is it here already, at least in some places?

Florida school suspends 'Teacher of Year' over his support for natural    
marriage - August 22, 2011
This kind of flagrant, unconstitutional and  unconscionable anti-                    Christian bigotry must not be allowed to stand.

 A Florida teacher has been suspended and removed from the classroom in Mount Dora, Florida, for comments made on his Facebook page against homosexual "marriage." Liberty Counsel will be representing the teacher in court. 
 In response to New York's passage of a same-sex marriage bill, Jerry Buell criticized the new law in a pair of Facebook posts. He wrote, "If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don't insult a man and woman's marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool of whatever. God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?" Just minutes later, he added, "I will never accept it because God will never accept it. Romans chapter one."

This reference to Scripture and man-woman marriage has now  been labeled as a "code ethics violation" by school officials. Mr. Buell is currently subject to an Inquisition-type investigation. The school will not let him back into the classroom, says a school official, "until we do all the interviews and do a thorough job of looking at everything - past or previous writings." 

Says Mr. Buell, "It was my own personal comment on my own personal time on my own personal computer in my own personal house, exercising what I believed as a social studies teacher to be my First Amendment rights.”  It's worth noting that Florida's constitution prohibits recognition of same-sex marriage, the exact view Mr. Buell supports. In essence, he is now being accused of hate speech for expressing a view enshrined in the state constitution.

 When will it become the law of the land? When will it be prohibited to preach, publish on the Internet, speak on the radio or television against protected groups and issues? What happened to the Bill of Rights so defended by the left (ACLU and the like)? Inclusivity is only being inclusive when it is one sided, theirs. 

Let's blog.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I have been following in prayer the famine situation in the Horn of Africa. The pictures and the news interviews are horrifying. The number of dead children is beyond sad, to just completely devastating and discouraging. How do people go through this situation in the 21st Century? And yet they do. I can only imagine what it would be like for our family if in that same situation and yet I know that we can’t even come close to imagining what these people - fathers and mothers and children are going through. We, prayerfully, will never be in their shoes. 

May God have mercy! They deserve all the help we can give them. This must be breaking the heart of God. I want to encourage all of you who read my blog to help in whatever way you can. 

You can imagine the shock that I received and how angry I became when I read the news item below:

“MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Thousands of sacks of food aid meant for Somalia's famine victims have been stolen and are being sold at markets in the same neighborhoods where skeletal children in filthy refugee camps can't find enough to eat, an Associated Press investigation has found.  The U.N.'s World Food Program for the first time acknowledged it has been investigating food theft in Somalia for two months. The WFP said that the 'scale and intensity' of the famine crisis does not allow for a suspension of assistance, saying that doing so would lead to 'many unnecessary deaths.' And the aid is not even safe once it has been distributed to families huddled in the makeshift camps popping up around the capital. Families at the large, government-run Badbado camp, where several aid groups have been distributing food, said they were often forced to hand back aid after journalists had taken photos of them with it. Ali Said Nur said he received two sacks of maize twice, but each time was forced to give one to the camp leader. 'You don't have a choice. You have to simply give without an argument to be able to stay here,' he said."

This is amazing to me. I will not, nor do I want to, discourage any of you from giving or from praying in order to see this situation changed for good and to save as many people as possible. But it is another example of how evil human nature without the love and the instruction of God can be. We become selfish, abusive, and manipulative. God knows how many abuses are being perpetrated by those with power over these men, women and children in need and powerless. The world needs to help, must help, there is no excuse for not helping the Somali people, but we expect the Somalis to help their own people also. God have mercy!

            Let's Blog!

Monday, August 1, 2011


            This past Sunday in church we ‘saw’ Jesus in the general vicinity of Bethsaida, in the northeast side of the Lake of Galilee, looking for a time of rest and retreat with His disciples. Perhaps even getting away from the reach of Herod Antipas who had just beheaded John the Baptist and possibly wondering if Jesus was John resurrected. Upon arriving in the area where He planned to get away for a while, Jesus found a multitude of over 5,000 people (the Gospel of John tells us that the Jewish Feast of Passover was near; this may account for the large multitude). After teaching them and healing the sick among them, Jesus multiplies five loaves of bread (more like five pita bread) and two fish and feeds the large crowd.
            There are three things in this account of the ministry of Jesus (found in all four Gospels) that are worth our attention and our dialogue: First, for Jesus, ministry was the person in front of Him. Jesus abandoned His need for retreat, for rest and for private prayer and time with His disciples so that He could minister to those in need right there before Him. Second, the word compassion (compound word for “With- Passion”) It was Jesus’ compassion for the multitude and their numerous needs, that placed the healing of the sick and the feeding of the hungry over His comfort. And Third, Jesus did not ask His disciples nor does he ask us today for what they and we don't have; He did not ask for that which they didn’t have, but for what they did haveAll Jesus asks is that we surrender to Him what we do have, our time, our talents, our treasure, ourselves and everything else we sometimes hold on to. It is in this surrender that miracles and multiplication of these things take place, if not always in amount, in effectiveness for ministry.
            Are these three things visible in your life? What can we learn from this passage besides the above three things? Are you known for your service to others, as a compassionate person and as a generous person with what you do have?           
            Let’s Blog!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


We truly live in a world that is sometimes crazy. The news this week is saturated with the criminal acts (according to the news an anti-Muslim act) of a deranged man in Norway. Some newspapers have labeled him a Christian, but the reality is that there is nothing of the character of Jesus Christ in this man or in his actions. Over ninety people killed, many others wounded and an entire country in shock and mourning, not very different from the tragedy we experienced on 9/11. In London, we hear of the death of Amy Winehouse possibly due to an overdose of drugs and alcohol although the results of the autopsy are inconclusive and in California the arrest of two men and a woman for the brutal beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow.

What I want to ask you this morning is how do the Parables of the Kingdom of heaven in Chapter 13 of Matthew, from which I have been teaching these last three Sundays, apply or shed light on the condition of our society, our culture and our world? There are seven parables in this chapter, the Parable of the Four Types of Soils, the Wheat and the Tares (weed), the Mustard Seeds, The Leaven in the Dough, the Hidden Treasure, the Pearl of Great value and the Dragnet.

One thing is certain in all of these parables, the Kingdom of heaven is present already in this world, it had a very humble, small and hardly noticeable beginning, the simple birth of a Baby in a manger in Bethlehem of Judea. This Kingdom has been growing and transforming culture and society gradually yet powerfully.  But we must also recognize that when the Kingdom of God grows in our world, then the kingdom of darkness and evil and of everything that is contrary to God’s will and direction will oppose it, attack it and cause destruction. This is also evident in several of the parables. One of the most important things we can glean from these parables is that God is always in control and at the end of time, He will bring about a separation of the wheat from the tares and of the fish that are acceptable from those that are not. There are many other parables that bring out this same message, such as the Parable on the Wedding Feast, the Ten Virgins, the Sheep and the Goats, etc.

The Kingdom of heaven is present now, today, and is available to all who respond to Jesus’ invitation in faith and who follow Him in obedience and yet in the future the fullness of its presence, that is promised in Scripture and present in the parables I have been discussing, will be fully realized 

Let’s Blog!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


It is clear when we read the Gospels and in this case the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus spent a great deal of His time meeting the needs of many and setting free those who carried very heavy burdens. Someone very wisely taught me the profound truth that for Jesus ministry was the person in front of Him. I invite you to look briefly with me at how many people Jesus unburdened of some heavy load in chapter 9 of Matthew and also how many would not allow Him to unburden them (scribes and Pharisees). He healed a paralytic, He saved tax collectors and sinners, He resurrected a dead girl and returned her to her father, He healed a woman who had suffered from a blood disease of some sort, He healed two blind men and cast out a demon from an individual. These are only some of the examples of the cumbersome load that Jesus delivered people from. When you read Matthew 9:35-10:1 even Jesus recognized that He needed help and He asks His disciples to pray for more laborers for the harvest. He then commissions His disciples and gives them the power to meet the needs of a hurting world.

Matthew 9:36 and 11:28 are intimately connected and you should reference them to each other in your Bible. In the former verse Jesus is moved to compassion when He sees the multitudes weary, harassed, stressed and scattered and in the latter verse, although He has just sent His disciples out into the cities and villages as his emissaries of healing and restoration, He still invites all who are weary, stressed, labored and heavy laden to continue coming to Him to find rest. The promised rest is available to us today and becomes our portion through the taking on of His yoke and learning from Him who is gentle and lowly of heart. He says that His yoke is easy and His burden light.

What do these words of Jesus mean to us today? What is Jesus’ yoke and how do we take it upon ourselves with the expectation of rest for our souls? What does Jesus intend to communicate through the analogy of the yoke?

Let’s Blog!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Fr. Jose will be on vacation for the next three weeks hence his weekly blog will temporarily be placed on hiatus. However returning in early July, he will continue to share with you his thoughts about many important topics and add a video component to it. You will be blessed. Keep on the look out!

Monday, May 23, 2011


The entire world was watching with bated breath for the predicted end of the world on May 21, 2011. Some watched with trepidation, others with concern, while still others with skepticism for the end that Harold Camping of Family Radio had predicted.

Late Saturday evening, I called a very dear friend from St. David’s and told her that Maly, my wife, and I had been waiting for her and couldn’t find her. Bewildered that she had forgotten an event she was supposed to be at, she asked, “Where are you?” I responded, “In heaven.” We had the greatest laugh ever; She probably still is laughing.

But the end of the world and the Second Coming of Jesus as the Bible and Jesus Himself prophesized is not a laughing matter. We ought to be ready every day, either for His coming in the clouds or for our meeting him after life here on earth. And as for the day and the hour no one but the Father knows (Mark 13:32). To the list of those who don’t know the exact appointed time Mark even adds “the Son.” As if to reiterate he further writes, “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.”

The danger with false prophesies such as Harold Camping’s is their striving to know more than Jesus himself; by the way this is his second attempt (Sept. 1994). And the Jehovah’s Witnesses (1914, 1925, 1935, 1975) and others (Dec. 2012) have made similar predictions and more will come undoubtedly.  The scriptural warning: “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect,” implies that people in general and possibly even the “elect” might become complacent and smug; either ignoring Jesus’ warnings or ceasing to believe His word as the Word of God. But be assured that the day will come and lest we are prepared it will surprise us and the loss of lives for eternity will be great.

I don’t know what you think of Harold Camping, who is 89 years old and will be 90 in July, and will one day meet the Lord face to face. He is either a crazy old man (I don’t think he is) or he is a misguided reader of the Bible (I think he knows more about the Scriptures than many that today condemn him). But one thing is certain, he is trying to know more than Jesus and ignoring His warnings, by using numerology and his own human calculations, tries to set dates that he could never possibly know.

I invite you to share your thoughts and fears about the end of the world.

Lets Blog.


Friday, May 20, 2011


At the recently held annual Anglican Men’s Weekend, men from all the congregations in the  Diocese of Western Anglicans, their sons and friends who were invited came together for a time of teaching, fellowship and renewal. This year the key-note speaker was the Most Reverend Greg Venables, Bishop of Argentina and previously the Archbishop of the Southern Cone of South America. His teaching was truly inspiring; you may view them at I had the blessing of being invited to speak to the men in preparation for the Fire Ring, where the men were invited to write the sins they are struggling with on a piece of paper and throw them into the fire, they also received prayers, counseling by clergy and other leaders.

This year I brought to the men the idea that the root cause of many of our sins and sinful behavior is truly our lack of intimacy with God, ourselves, our spouses and our friends. Someone has said that “Modern mankind has removed the fig leaves from our genital areas and placed them on our faces.” We are so open with our sexuality today and yet we cover our eyes which are the windows to our souls and to our hearts.

In this trade off we lose. We lose the intimacy of looking into our Heavenly Father’s eyes and seeing His unconditional love for us, the ability to see His tears and His sorrow for us, we lose the intimacy derived from looking at ourselves and seeing our own brokenness, the causes for our pain, loneliness, emptiness and for our disordered lives. We lose  intimacy with our spouses and we lose intimacy with other men/women to whom we may be accountable and who can help us in our journey of life. Consequently we try to fill our emotional gaps with other alternatives. 

Do you agree with my thoughts on the root cause of our struggles with sin? I invite you to share with us your opinions and thoughts.

Let’s Blog.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Post-Easter Blues

Just as they acknowledge the joy of Lenten preparation for and anticipation of Resurrection Sunday, people admit to feeling somewhat of an emotional letdown after the celebrations of the Season are over. “After Easter, What?” is the overriding sentiment.

Here are some suggestions that I made mention of in my sermon on Sunday.

Every Sunday is a commemorative celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We would be worshipping on a different day if Jesus had not resurrected on a Sunday. Hence make every Sunday, Easter Sunday.

Keep the spiritual disciplines going. If you had devoted time to study the Word this past Lent, continue studying. If you had set aside time to serve fellow humanity, continue to relentlessly serve and if you chose to commune with God in prayer and worship continue to do so. Don’t stop!

Having experienced the resurrection power that is so transformational, decide to become a closer, more intentional disciple of Jesus Christ.  

Expend your time focusing on the coming of the
Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday. Make it your task to study every mention of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament and ask the Lord to prepare you to receive the Holy Spirit.

Focus your attention on the exciting appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ in the heavens at His Second Coming. If you think that Easter was a glorious event, imagine seeing the Lord returning in all of His glory. Keep your eyes on the Lord.

Take Easter out of the Church and into the neighborhoods. Share your Easter experiences and hopes with friends, co-workers and family members. The more you share it the more you yourself will get excited about it afresh.

Please share with me your thoughts and your everyday Easter experiences; and how you will keep the experience vibrant and exciting in your life.

Lets blog!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Tomb is Empty

I trust you had a wonderful and Christ-filled celebration of Easter, wherever you were worshipping. Days like these I am reminded of the many brothers and sisters who cannot worship out in the open and demonstrate their faith with Alleluias and feasting for fear of adversaries who seek to destroy them. I am reminded also of those who will not celebrate because they doubt the veracity of the resurrection account. On Easter Sunday  I presented the congregation with five irrefutable apologetic arguments for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

THE WITNESS OF THE WOMEN - If you had wanted to start a world religion in a highly patriarchal world, you wouldn’t  make up stories about all the male disciples abandoning Jesus, and present the women as being the chief witnesses particularly when the witness of women was considered suspect by most in the first-century world.

THE STORY OF JESUS – Considering the Jewish culture of the early disciples was a culture of honor and shame, and one in which crucifixion was considered a curse by the very Jewish Law, the story about a crucified and risen man being the Savior of the world wouldn’t have been told unless it was believed to be historically true.

THE BODY WAS GONE – all that the enemies of Jesus, Jewish or Roman, had to do was present the dead body of Jesus, scars and all, but they didn’t because they couldn’t. There was no dead body.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE DISCIPLES – deserters became martyrs, deniers became confessors, the fearful became courageous, uneducated men became preachers, women risked being laughed out of court. They were convinced that God’s YES to life in the case of Jesus was louder than death’s NO.

PAUL HIMSELF - Paul sought the believers with the express purpose of persecuting them. But no sooner did he have an encounter with the risen Lord than he became one of the greatest if not the greatest evangelist of Jesus’ resurrection.

Are these arguments convincing enough for you and for those with whom you share the Gospel? Are there other proofs of Jesus’ resurrection that speaks to you even louder? What convinced you that Jesus indeed rose from the dead? More importantly, what difference does it make to your life? Do you feel the necessity to share the implications of Jesus’ resurrection with others? Why or why not?

Let’s blog.

Monday, April 18, 2011


     Words can't begin to fully express this past Sunday's awe-inspiring service. Did you enjoy the celebration of Palm Sunday? How did you feel coming into our church waving palm branches and singing Hosannas? Were you able to enter into Christ’s mind as He entered into the Holy City of Jerusalem riding on a donkey?

     The city of Jerusalem must have been teeming with crowds gearing for the Passover celebration. Jewish families or just the men and their 12-years-old-and-above sons were coming from all over the world. Every place where someone could stay was fast filling up. Preparations for the Friday evening killing of the lamb, roasting and eating were being made. Those who sold animals and the money changers were at their trade at the entrance of the Temple. The priests were getting ready and planning all the Temple festivities, including the sacrificing of all the lambs that would be brought to them on Friday afternoon. While the Zealots and other subversives were planning attacks and interruptions, the observant Roman soldiers armed to their teeth were ready to squash any sign of revolt. And in the middle of all of this Jesus enters the city riding on a donkey, clearly visible above those who were on foot around Him.
     What comes to your mind as you envision this scene? What is your response to Jesus' humility, meekness, peacefulness, steadfastness and courage that was unfazed? Can you imitate our Lord in His character (see Philippians 2 also)?
     And then what can you say about the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ as Matthew narrated it to us? Wasn't that a moving portrayal? Could you relate with Matthew, the other disciples and the many others who received his account of the events of Good Friday, when the Lamb of God was sacrificed? How will you tell the story of these event to your friends today?
     Did this Palm Sunday celebration prepare you for a truly Holy Week? How will your week be different because of what you witnessed? Who will you invite to church this week and to our Easter celebration?
     Let's blog!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Believe to See

            Most of us have experienced the pain and the sorrow of the loss of a dear one to death. Some of us have gone through this with the loss of a parent or both parents (as in my case), even perhaps the loss of a brother or sister or another very close relative or a dear friend. The sense of loss can at times be overwhelming. Everyone deals with grieving differently, for some it takes a very long time to come to terms with the loss. In some cultures they wear black for at least the first year, then move to gray, and later to white; and some never wear another color again. In some cultures family members shave their heads, while others have church masses on the first anniversary. How have you dealt with grief in the past? Do you currently have some unresolved grief that is actually causing you a constant sense of loss and pain? What are you planning to do about it? Some grieving is healthy but some clearly is not.
            In chapter 11 of the Gospel of John, we see a family going through the grief of losing a brother, Lazarus. We don’t know what illness overtook him, we just know that from the time the news of Lazarus' illness came to Jesus to the time he died only two days had passed. What was Martha’s and Mary’s faith like? What difference did it make in their grieving process? Clearly Martha had faith in the resurrection from the dead (but in the last days). What about her statement of faith in Jesus in verse 27? And yet she clearly falls short of the kind of faith that Jesus expects her to have, because she objected to the stone being removed from the entrance. Clearly she did not expect Jesus to resurrect Lazarus right there and then. Can you relate to her kind of faith or even a similar statement of faith as hers? In what way does your faith fall short today? Do you truly know Jesus for who He is - the Resurrection and the Life? What does this mean to you? What about the statement in verse 40, do you need to see in order to believe or do you believe first and then see the glory of God?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"I am He"

I am inviting you today to read the Gospel of John, chapter 9:1-38. This is the only story in all Scripture, both Old and New Testament where a person born blind is healed. The event takes place in the Temple of Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus encounters at one of the gates of the Temple, possibly begging for alms, a blind man. A very colorful and courageous individual who dares to confront the Jewish authorities over his testimony of who Jesus was and what He had done. He is healed and for the first time in all of his life he gets to see the world around him, his parents, his friends, his hands, his feet, the Temple, in fact everything. He also gets to experience persecution. In fact he might be the first person that experiences persecution on account of Jesus in the New Testament, to the point of excommunication. But also in the process he receives more sight than many who could see.

I could have approached this sermon from many angles, for example “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People” (9:1-3), or “How the Man Gradually Received Jesus” (from encountering the man Jesus, to acknowledging Him as a prophet, and finally as Lord) or “Jesus The Light of the World” (9:5), possibly you could see more sermon topics in the story. I chose the words of the blind man in 9:9 to focus my attention “I Am He.”

You see, I think all of us can say those very same words, “I am he/she” the one who has been touched by Jesus, the one who has been healed by Jesus, the one who has received sight, salvation, forgiveness, the one who received help from Jesus at a difficult time in life, the one who has been comforted by faith in Jesus, the one who today knows peace, hope and a future because of Jesus. His testimony begins with what Jesus had done to and for him. Where does your testimony begin? Where were you without Jesus? What was your condition before knowing Jesus?

How has Jesus touched your life? Today, in what way are you different because of Jesus coming into your life? Do you see life differently because Jesus gave you new eyes? Who do you know that needs to hear your testimony? Do you have a testimony ready to be shared quickly, less than 4 minutes long? When was the last time you shared your testimony with someone else? What stops you from telling others what Jesus has done for you and Who He is to you?

I invite you to think upon these things and let us dialogue.