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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Twisted Scripture

Taking verses out of context can be dangerous and lead to some pretty strange interpretations of the Scriptures. Recently, I heard a radio show offering free information and I called in to receive a free book and CD on how to “properly” interpret the Bible.

In brief, the information says that we just need to pay attention to the Pauline books of the Bible, because the other ones are written to other folks.

From Genesis up to Acts of the Apostles was all to Jews according to this information. The Pauline Letters are for us Gentiles. From Hebrews to Revelation is for some future time for both Jews and Gentiles.

They reason to such a conclusion by pointing to a few verses in Ephesians, Chapter 2.

Ephesians 2:11-12 therefore remember …you Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands -- remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

- So that is the times past when God is just dealing with the Jews.

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ.

- This is the present time we are in and have been brought near by the blood of Jesus.

Now, we have to back track to pick up verse 7.
Ephesians 2:7 that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

So we have past, present, and future. How do they reason that the Gospels and Acts are a part of the past?

Romans 15:8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs.

They say, “See, Jesus ministered to the circumcised, that is the “times past” spoken of by Paul, therefore, Jesus in the Gospels isn’t talking to us Gentiles. We only really need to listen to Paul.”

How do we untangle these scriptures? Especially the ones that suggest we don’t need to listen to the Gospels?

My answer to this is one verse at a time. You know if you change the meaning of any part of the Gospel, it changes the entire Gospel because it is so interconnected and unified.

The issue is finding for whom Jesus came. Did He come for the Jews only, or the whole world? The booklet I received quotes these three verses:

Matthew 10:5-6 These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 15:24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

John 4:22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

From these verses they reason that Jesus was only sent to the Jews.

Now, Jesus did come to the Jews first. That is plain, but He came to those whom He had been preparing for the last 1500 years to receive Him. He went to the Jews as a kind of “first fruits” for the harvest of the world.

Each of the above verses is taken out of context.

When Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John 4 that salvation was from the Jews, it did come to the world through the Jews in the person is Jesus. Yet Jesus is talking with a Samaritan woman for her salvation and for the salvation of her town. These were not Jews.

When Jesus said in Matthew 15 that He was sent to the lost sheep of Israel, He was in a Gentile territory of Tyre and Sidon. A woman comes up to Him and says "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly.

So, Jesus ministers not only to the Jews but the Gentiles as well.

Jesus also says in John 10:16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice.
This has traditionally been understood to mean the Gentiles.

In Luke, Chapter 2, Simeon takes Jesus in his arms and says that Jesus will be a light of revelation to the Gentiles.

So Jesus came to the Jews to fulfill what had been prophesied about Him so that both Jew and Gentile would believe in Him.

The apostles would continue this pattern in the Acts of the Apostles. They go to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. As they travel around the Mediterranean, they would enter into the synagogues first and then go to the Gentiles.

Remember when St. Paul in Romans said that Jesus came to minister to the circumcised? Let’s read that in context.

Romans 15:8-12 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, "Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles, and sing to thy name"; and again it is said, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people"; and again, "Praise the Lord, all Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him"; and further Isaiah says, "The root of Jesse shall come, he who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles hope."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Catechesis of The "Our Father"

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph 2774, “The Lord’s Prayer is truly the summary of the whole gospel,” quoting Tertullian. It says that it is the “most perfect of prayers,” citing St. Thomas Aquinas. Finally, it says that the Lord’s Prayer is at the center of the Scriptures.

I believe a case can be made that each section of the Catechism is represented inside of the “Our Father” in one way or another, making the Lord’s Prayer a miniature Catechism.

There are four parts of the Catechism: the Creed, the Sacraments, Morality or the 10 Commandments, and Prayer.

Let’s start with Prayer. Obviously, the “Our Father” is a prayer and the Catechism uses it as a model for all prayer.

I think that the 10 Commandments are hinted at in the “Our Father.” The prayer has seven petitions. The first three are about God and the next is concerning ourselves and our neighbor. In the 10 Commandments, the first three are about God and the next seven are about ourselves and our neighbors. So that is in a general sense.

More specifically, in paragraph 1803 of the Catechism, we are introduced to the Virtues. The three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity and the four cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance are discussed.

The Father’s name is made holy when we have FAITH in all that He has revealed. The Father’s name becomes set apart in our lives above every other name.

We have HOPE in the final coming of Christ’s Kingdom on the last day.

In CHARITY we love God above all things and do His will.

I think “give us this day our daily bread” points us to TEMPERANCE and that God is our only satisfaction.

In JUSTICE we need to forgive others as we have been forgiven.

We need to have FORTITUDE to persevere through any trials we might face.
Finally, we are delivered from evil choices when we are PRUDENT.

What about the Sacraments?

To begin, I will let the Catechism speak for itself as far as “Hallowed be thy name.”

2813 In the waters of BAPTISM, we have been “washed... Sanctified …in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Our Father calls us to holiness in the whole of our life, and since “he is the source of [our] life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and... sanctification,” both his glory and our life depend on the hallowing of his name in us and by us. Such is the urgency of our first petition.

“Thy kingdom come” and “give us this day our daily bread” could sort of be interchangeable. I think they are the PRIESTHOOD and the EUCHARIST. The Kingdom comes and the daily bread are given at the hands of the priest. I am a bit torn on those.

“Thy will be done on earth and it is in Heaven” points us toward MARRIAGE, in this sense. Marriage is a picture of Christ, who is in Heaven, and His church, which is here on earth. These some day will be joined in the harmony of God’s Will.

“Forgive us our trespasses…” easily points us to CONFESSION.

“Lead us not into temptation” is more like “don’t put us to the test.” We know God doesn’t tempt anyone.
This is CONFIRMATION, and confirmation of this is in:
CCC 1296 This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service for ever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial.

Finally, “deliver us from evil.” Deliver us with the ANOINTING OF THE SICK, so that if we at least do not recover, our hearts are strengthened toward Heaven.

Finally, what about the Creed?

Well, the creeds that most of us know begin with the words, “We believe in God the Father…” That is how this prayer begins and then both the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed have an outline of Salvation History.

So God’s name is Hallowed in the Incarnation of His Son.

The Kingdom comes - CCC 2816 - It is brought near in the Word incarnate, it is proclaimed throughout the whole Gospel, and it has come in Christ’s death and Resurrection. The Kingdom of God has been coming since the Last Supper and, in the Eucharist, it is in our midst.

“thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
CCC 2823 The catechism is citing Ephesians 1 here. “He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ... to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance,

We obtained our inheritance when Christ ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. Christ then sends the Holy Spirit to “give us our daily bread.” Both the Eucharist and our daily needs He provides.

We believe also in the forgiveness of sins, that is next in the creeds and in the “Our Father”.

We believe that there will be a final battle where we will be put to the test. We ask God to preserve us from that.

But finally, deliver us from evil in the resurrection of the dead and a New Heavens and a New Earth.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Wonderful Interpretation of Psalm 23 from a Great Commentary

To purchase the commentary, click on the links in the right hand column.

For a beautiful interpretation of Psalm 23 paste this link into your browser.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Finally Volume 1 is Finished!!!

A Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture Volume 1 - The Old Testament, is finally finished.
This commentary is spectacular. Each Book of the Bible has its own introduction. consisting of
1. The author
2. Context and Analysis
3. An outline of the book
4. Date and authorship
5. Doctrinal Value
6. Where is Christ in each book

Then a verse by verse commentary.

Here is a sample of the commentary from Psalm 23.

Two exquisite representations of God: the Good Shepherd (1-4) and the Kind Host (5-6).
The Good Shepherd leads his sheep to rich pastures beside running waters, where they rest without fear, for he is close to them, ready to defend them against attack. The Kind Host
invites his guests to his table; he anoints their hair; he fills their cup to the brim; throughout their stay at his house goodness and kindness are lavished upon them. This delicious
poem was written by the shepherd-poet who became a guest at Saul’s table. It is probably one of his earliest compositions.
When recited at Prime on Thursday it can be read as a eucharistic prayer. It may also be interpreted as a hymn on the Sacraments:

‘water of refreshment’ (Baptism),
‘led me on the paths of justice’ (Confirmation),
‘thy rod and thy staff’ (Penance),
‘prepared a table’ (Eucharist),
‘though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death’ (Extreme Unction),
‘anointed my head with oil, and my chalice’, etc. (Holy Orders),
‘goodness and kindness all the days of my life’ (Matrimony).

1. ‘ruleth me’: ‘is my shepherd’. 3. ‘converted my soul’: ‘revived me’. ‘paths of justice’ are right paths. 4. ‘The club for defending the flock, and the crook for guiding ita. 5. ‘against them that afflict me’, i.e. while my adversaries look on, astonished that the host should be favouring him. ‘anointed my head’—a sign of his host’s respect; cf. Amo 6:6; Luk 7:46. 5b-6a. ‘My cup overflows. Naught but goodness and kindness shall follow me’.

To Purchase: click on HERE: