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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Temptation of Jesus

I received a lot of these insights from a Catholic commentary that you can purchase through my blog. (Over There -----> )

The more that I ponder the pages of the Bible, the less familiar the Bible feels. You would think that the opposite would be true and with any other book it would be true. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard the story of the Temptation of Jesus. Yet, the more I hear it, it is as if I am hearing it for the first time.

Just to review - After the Baptism of Jesus, He is lead by the Holy Spirit into the desert where He is tempted by the devil for 40 days. The first temptation is to make stones into bread. The second is for Jesus to throw Himself off of the top of the temple to be caught by angels. The third is to worship the devil so as to gain all of the kingdoms of the world.

One of the things that I realized was that each one of these temptations was related to a petition in the "Our Father."

The devil says - make these stones into bread. Now how is that a temptation to Jesus? Making stones into bread isn‘t in itself evil, but it was self-seeking. Jesus would have performed a miracle for Himself. All of Jesus‘ miracles were for others. This attack by the devil was to challenge Jesus’ faith in God as a Provider - now look at what we are to ask our Heavenly Father, "give us this day our daily bread."

Jesus responds to the devil by quoting

Deuteronomy 8:3

- man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.

This points to both our daily needs as well as our eternal needs, namely the Eucharist we receive at Mass.

I am going to show you the context of Deuteronomy 8:3 and you will see both. This is while Israel is in the desert. - Not a coincidence.

Deuteronomy 8:2-10

And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out upon you, and your foot did not swell, these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, by walking in his ways and by fearing him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills,… And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.

That land that the Lord is bringing us to is our Heavenly home.

Then the devil tells Jesus to throw Himself off of the temple so that angels could rescue Him. I was always sort of baffled as to why this was a temptation. I would have just been petrified because I hate heights. Yet, the devil was attacking Jesus’ hope. Hope is the confident expectation of divine blessings and the beatific vision of God (CCC 2090). Hope has two mortal enemies, despair and presumption. Both despair and presumption are disordered forms of pride. When we despair we are saying that we are too bad for God to save. When we fall into presumption, we are saying that either we are so great we don’t need God’s help, or of course God is going to help me - I am awesome!

It would seem here that the devil is trying to push Jesus toward presumption. The Devil says to Jesus throw yourself off the temple and God will save You. So would that be Jesus committing suicide? Jesus would have been in fact saying - I will show you devil how much God loves me!!!!

But no. Jesus responds by saying do not put the Lord to the test. Now Jesus is ultimately talking about God the Father, don’t put the Father to the test. Yet, Jesus Himself is God as well. Do not test Jesus either! - and Jesus taught us that we should pray - "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". In the Greek, this really means, "put us not to the test and deliver us from the evil one." This is the exact thing Jesus was going through.

 

Finally, the devil offers to Christ all of the kingdoms of the world - without the cross of course. All that He had to do was worship Satan. Notice that Jesus never says - these kingdoms don’t belong to you! In a way, they do belong to the devil because the world is plunged in sin and is doing the will of the devil. While this sin is obvious, this is an attack on Jesus’ love of the Father. The Golden rule:

Matthew 22:34-40

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."

Ultimately, when we worship false gods, we are taking love that we should be giving to God and giving it to a created thing. This is against the theological virtue of Charity.

So the devil offered Christ all of the kingdoms of the world. When we do the will of our Heavenly Father we bring God’s kingdom to Earth.

Now look at what we pray in the "Our Father." We say, "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

So really the ultimate prayer against the devil is the "Our Father", especially with Lent coming up.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Post Below, and check out the New Book!

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Obedience and the Blessings that Follow

Today we have a quick Bible tidbit. It has to do with obedience and blessings that follow.

My friend Bob Salmon pointed out this verse to me and what it implied. We talked about these two verses for twenty minutes. (FYI, if we did that with the whole Bible it would take 493 days).
Here is the set up. Saul is suppose to go into battle, but he has to wait for Samuel to offer the sacrifice. He gets afraid and decides to offer the sacrifice himself. Samuel then shows up and says this:

1 Samuel 13:13-14 And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which he commanded you; for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel for ever. But now your kingdom shall not continue; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart; and the LORD has appointed him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you."

So if King Saul would have continued down a road of faithfulness. God would have established his throne over Israel forever, but now it is taken from him and the tribe of Benjamin and given over to David and the tribe of Judah.

There are several tibits here. Jesus could have been born through the tribe of Benjamin being the heir to the king.

Yet even before any of this happens in Genesis 49:10 (Jacob prophecies saying) The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

We see that God knew that the throne would go to David and the tribe of Judah, that is why he says - "the scepter shall not depart from Judah."
Ultimately this involves the mystery of predestination and free will. God knows what will happen, yet he doesn't cause it to happen.

This also has the lesson in it - God desires obedience not sacrifice, and that we need to wait on the church. God’s timing is perfect, even if it seems like he might be late, he isn’t. He always shows up in time. For Saul it was a time of testing. He failed that test and the blessing went to someone else. The same thing is true for us. Some people during Vatican II said - the church will change its position on contraceptives, so they changed their practice and when Vatican II was said and done and Paul VI came out with Humane Vite, which is against contraception, many just flat out rebelled. So we need to be patient and obedient.

However, if you take the opposite position of Saul and be obedient, Christ will not only bless you with kingship, but with a dynasty of kings in your family. Spiritual kings that is. God wants to bless us, but we must be obedience children.

Now what if we sin? God knew that we would. He built into the church a path home through confession. We need to take advantage of it and ask for the grace and try to avoid that sin again. That is being obedient as well.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Post At Homily Help - Take 2

Ok, so new there is a new post at Homily Help that actually goes with the reading you will hear at Mass today and tomorrow.
www.goodhomily.blogspot.com

Sorry about Last week.

Dan

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Women and the Priesthood

This is sort of a hot topic today. Women and the priesthood, here is what the Bible says about it.

To begin I must say that the Bible included women in the priesthood of the faithful by virtue of the Sacrament of Baptism. This means that we all participate in Christ’s mission to sanctify the world.
The ministerial priesthood, made up of deacons, priests, and bishops, are called to serve the common priesthood. The evidence from the Bible is that this task was reserved for men.

The priesthood associated with fatherhood.
In the natural order, men are the givers of life and women are the receivers of life. This is evident in procreation. The spiritual order is the same God the Father, through the Son gives us his Bride (meaning humanity) life, and we are to receive it and bear it fruit. It is important then that who represent the giver, namely the Son of God, be men, because as it in the natural order so in the supernatural. Men are the givers of life.
Judges 17:10 And Micah said to him, "Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest,
Judges 18:19 come with us, and be to us a father and a priest.
1 Corinthians 4:15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
So we see from these examples that the priesthood and fatherhood are closely tied.

Does this mean that men are better?
No way, it just means that men and women are different. Which our American culture tends to hate.

What does the Bible say about men being priests?
What we can see in the Bible is an example, in the Old testament and in the New Testament, only men were chosen by God to be priests. Evidence suggests that Adam was the first priest, then Noah, and Melchizedech.

We see God being pretty explicit when he chose first the firstborn sons from all of the tribes to be priests, but after the golden calf incident, chose the sons of Levi to be priests.
Exodus 22:29 "The first-born of your sons you shall give to me.
Numbers 3:12-13, 15 "Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the people of Israel instead of every first-born that opens the womb among the people of Israel. The Levites shall be mine, for all the first-born are mine; …"Number the sons of Levi, by fathers' houses and by families; every male from a month old and upward you shall number."
In the New Testament we know that Christ gave the twelve apostles the priesthood at the last supper when he told them to “Do this in memory of me”, and only the twelve were present as it says in Mark and Luke
Mark 14:17 And when it was evening he came with the twelve (that is to celebrate the Passover)
Luke 22:14 And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him.
No one else is mentioned.

What arguments do those in favor of women priests put forward?
They really have 5 sort of Biblical arguments. The first is the Bible nowhere says that women can’t be priests. That is true, but I think the Biblical example shows that it is to be reserved for men.
St. Paul at the end of Romans says Romans 16:1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church.
So it would appear that the early church has deaconesses, yet if you read the church fathers, they say that Deaconess would help at the baptism of women, because back then you got baptized naked. So were assisted so as to not cause scandal and these women were called Deaconesses. The Fathers of the church certainly taught against the ordination of women.
Then there is Junia - Romans 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners; they are men of note among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
You have to read it a few times for yourself but it might be suggesting that Junias a woman, was among the apostles. Now in the gospels when they use the word apostle, they mean the 12, but in Acts and the epistles of Paul the word apostle has a wider meaning. For example:
Philippians 2:25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your apostle and minister to my need.
G.K. Chesterton is called the apostles of common sense, but he isn’t one of the twelve.

What about the culture in the times of Jesus? Wasn’t Jesus forced to choose all men?
I don’t think this argument works for two reasons. The first reason is that the neighboring cultures or the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans all had priestess in their religions. So those cultures would have found women priests natural. It was the Jews who were strange with their all male priesthood, which leads me to my second reason why this is a bad argument. Jesus, who is the God of the Old Testament, is the author of the Jewish culture. He designed it to be for men only.

This movement of women priests also undermines the authority of the pope who said:
“I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.” -John Paul II - Ordinatio Sacerdotalis
If he is wrong here, where else is he wrong? From what I have seen on the internet, it doesn’t end with the ordination of women, as we can see…it ultimately has to do with the authority of the church in general.

The Bible also has some warnings for those who would try to take the priesthood for themselves.
While wandering in the desert, Moses had a problem with a guy named Korah. Korah said that everyone was a priest, not just the Levites. So Moses told them to bring incense the next day to offer to God and God would show whose incense He accepted.

The next day, while offering incense, Korah and his band were swallowed up by the Earth. This is a good sign to us that what they did was wrong.

Another example is when King Saul couldn't wait for Samuel the priest to come and offer sacrifice, so Saul offered the sacrifice himself. Because of this God took the Kingship away from Saul and his descendants and gave it to David.

If we want to be faithful Catholics, we must be obedient to those who Christ set over us, namely the Pope and the Bishops of the Church.

Peter has spoken through JPII - the matter is settled.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I have started an additional Blog.

Dear Readers,

The new post is below so don't miss out on Adam and Noah.
I have begun a new blog called Homily Help. It is for priests who need help with their homily and if you didn't hear a good homily, it is my lame attempt at one.

The new blog is at www.goodhomily.blogspot.com Thanks for reading.

Dan Egan

Adam and Noah

There are many interesting connections between the Creation and the fall of Adam and the Flood and the fall of Noah. Here are some connections, and I will tell you what I think the significance is toward the end of the blog.

Genesis 5:28-29 When Lamech had lived a hundred and eighty-two years, he became the father of a son, and called his name Noah, saying, "Out of the ground which the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands."

The people in Noah's day were bad enough that in his generation God would wipe out the world and begin again with Noah. Lamech, Noah's dad was looking for relief from the curse that they would have to work the land with thorns and the sweat of their brow. I am going to guess here that Lamech was looking to Noah as a type of Christ figure. Lamech names his son Noah, which means rest, and I believe that there is a play on words here when Lamech says, "(Noah) shall bring us relief" [Naw cham Hebrew for 'relief' looks almost identical to Noah's name in Hebrews letters.]

Adam is the one who names all of the animals. Noah saves all of the animals.

We can't really get into this now, and I have talked about it before, but the garden of Eden is a kind of Temple. The Holy of Holies, so to speak, is the Tree of Life. The Sactuary is Eden itself and the court, for everyone else, is the garden. My point is that it has three parts. Also the Ark had three parts - Genesis 6:16 - Make the ark with lower, second, and third decks.

With the flood, of course, there is a type of recreation. The first creation began all submerged in water. Genesis 1:2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. At the end of the flood, the same thing happens. Genesis 8:1 But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind (spirit) blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. When it says that a wind blow over the earth, that is the same word for spirit. So again we see the Spirit moving over the waters.

When God made Adam and Eve he told them to be fruitful and multiply. When God brought Noah out of the Ark he said this - Genesis 8:17 Bring forth with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh -- birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth -- that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply upon the earth."

Adam was placed in a garden, ate of its fruit and realized that he was naked. Genesis 9:20-21 Noah was the first tiller of the soil. He planted a vineyard; and he drank of the wine, and became drunk, and lay uncovered in his tent.

Adam went on to have three sons - Cain, Abel, and Seth. Noah had three Sons - Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

The sons of Adam went on to make the world, in general, a wicked place that God would destroy by water. The sons of Noah went on to build the Tower of Babel and God would be merciful and confuse their languages.

I think the point of the parallel is what Dr. John Bersma from Steubenville said. He said that people might get tempted to ask God to just destroy the whole earth and start again with the good people. Yet it won't work, because the root of evil lives inside of us. That is why we need Jesus to come and deal with sin through His Death on the Cross.



P.S. Don't forget to check out my new blog www.goodhomily.blogspot.com

Friday, January 1, 2010

How is Mary the Mother of God?

In my 13 years of apologetics, I have found there are some misconceptions that take some time to explain. At the same time, there are others that are very easy to explain. Mary having the title 'Mother of God' is one that I feel is very easy to explain.

Time and time again, someone will object to Mary being called the Mother of God. "How could Mary have created the Trinity? Wouldn't that make her a goddess? That is why you Catholics worship Mary, isn't it?!"

Ironically, the title 'Mother of God' has more to do with Jesus than with Mary. I will first give my easy answer and then go into some depth.

1. Jesus is God
2. Mary is the Mother of Jesus
3. Therefore, Mary is the Mother of God

Mary is not some sort of goddess of any kind. There is only God-Father, Son, Holy Spirit - Mary is not included in the Godhead. The title comes from the fact that Mary gave birth to Jesus who is God.

The problem started in the early days of the Church. People had finally found their freedom in 313 A.D. in the Edict of Milan and now theological discussions could be brought out into the open. The first question that people were asking was WHAT is this Jesus guy? Is He man, is He God? If He is both man and God, how much man and God is He? 50/50? 99/1?

At the Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.)it was decreed against the Arians that Jesus was "one in being with the Father." Meaning that, in fact, Jesus is God. Not some demigod or angel, but God. (Side Note: The Davinci Code said that it was at this council that Jesus was decreed to be God for the first time - this is 100% false. The Gospels, if anything, show that He is God and all of the early church fathers agreed on this fact.

In the next century (431 A.D.), another problem arose. There was a man named Nestorius who said that God would never live in the womb of a woman and that Mary gave birth to the man Jesus who was then possessed by the Son of God after He was born. The problem was that now we have two Jesus' - The man Jesus, and the Son of God Jesus.

All of these teachings are very common sense today. We all know there is only one Jesus.
I don't know of anyone who says otherwise.

The objection to the title "Mother of God" only makes sense if you don't believe in the Divinity of Jesus.

Now someone out there is going to say - "Mary is the Mother of Jesus' humanity not his Divinity."

This objection is in error because mothers aren't mothers of natures, they are mothers of persons. The person Mary is the Mother of just happens to be God. No one in their right mind would say to their own mother - "You are just the mother of my nature, not my person." You would get a mouth full of soap I would imagine!

Is Mary ever called the Mother of God in the Bible? When Mary visits Elizabeth, Elizabeth exclaims - Luke 1:43: "And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"

Who is Elizabeth's Lord if not God Himself?

Catholic Answers has a great tract on Mary being the Mother of God and what the early Church said about the topic here:
http://www.catholic.com/library/Mary_Mother_of_God.asp

I hope you that all have a blessed New Year. Thank you for reading my blog. Keep spreading the faith - one tidbit at a time.