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Thursday, July 21, 2011

8 Reasons Jesus was being literal in John 6

The Eucharist, or communion is the source and the summit of our Catholic faith, but many people believe that Jesus’ words at the last supper and John 6 should be taken symbolically, not literally.

There may be more, but I found 8 Reasons that Jesus meant John 6 literally.
Remind out listeners the part of John 6 that we are talking about.
John 6:53-58 Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me. "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate, and died, he who eats this bread shall live forever."
Let’s go through the reasons

1. Context of four other eating events – Passover, multiplication of the loaves, manna, tree of life.
John 6:4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.
- Jews eat Lamb on Passover.
John 6:13 And so they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten.
- Crowd ate bread and fish.
John 6:31-32 "Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.'" Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.
- Israel in the desert ate manna.
John 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh." - Adam and Eve were kept from eating of the tree of life in Genesis 3:22 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever "--

2. Repetition of command and instruction that Jesus is to be eaten.
John 6:35 I am the bread of life;
John 6:41 I am the bread that came down out of heaven
John 6:48 I am the bread of life.
John 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh."
John 6:53 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
John 6:54 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life
John 6:55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
John 6:56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

3. Change of vocabulary from eat to gnaw.
Fago – 11 times – can mean eat, consume, devour
To trogo - 4 times – gnaw, crunch, eat – gets more explicit.

John 6:5 Jesus...said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat (FAGO)?"
John 6:23 There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate(FAGO) the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate(FAGO) of the loaves, and were filled.
John 6:31 "Our fathers ate(FAGO) the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread out of heaven to eat(FAGO).'"
John 6:49 "Your fathers ate(FAGO) the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
John 6:50 "This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat(FAGO) of it and not die.
John 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats(FAGO) of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh."
John 6:52 The Jews therefore began to argue with one another, saying, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat(FAGO)?"
John 6:53 Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat(FAGO) the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
John 6:54 "He who eats(TROGO) My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
John 6:56 "He who eats(TROGO) My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
John 6:57 "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats(TROGO) Me, he also shall live because of Me.
John 6:58 "This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate(FAGO), and died, he who eats(TROGO) this bread shall live forever."
s before?

4. Symbolic doesn’t make sense – persecution.
Some people say that when Jesus said - eat my flesh and drink my blood - that he was speaking in a symbolic or metaphorical sense. Yet this interpretation would not make sense because in the Jewish mind they had two interpretations of -to eat flesh and blood - the literal and the symbolic which meant to persecute someone.
Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus.
- Is this woman in Revelation literally drinking blood of saints - no she is persecuting them. Besides you can't get drunk on blood.
Micah 3:2-3 "You who hate good and love evil... who eat the flesh of my people.
- Were God's people literally getting eaten up? No, they were getting persecuted.

So Jesus is either being literal when he says - eat my flesh and drink my blood - or he is being metaphorical and he was us to persecute him to have eternal life, which make no sense.

5. Symbolic doesn’t make sense – no correction of scandal.
The Catholic interpretation is to take Jesus literally which is still scandalous today. The protestant interpretation of these words means that we should believe in Jesus. Who has been scandalized at a protestant church interpreting these words symbolically? I have never heard of such a case.

6. We take him at his word – believe.
Jesus just meant what he said - John 6:55 "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." - Dear reader, ask yourself this question. Is Jesus' flesh true food and his blood true drink? if your answer is no then you are disagreeing with Jesus.

7. Early Christians interpreted it literally
"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" (Ignatius of Antioch - Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).

8. Eucharistic miracles.
I read that there are 120 approves Eucharistic miracles. Miracles that either deal with the Eucharist Himself, like the host turning to flesh during consecration in Lanciano, Italy in the 700’s which you can still go and see today.
Some miracles surround the presence of the Eucharist. St. Anthony of Padua once challenged an atheist to not feed his donkey for three days and then see if the donkey would come to his Lord God in the Eucharist or food from his master. When the donkey starved donkey knelt before the Eucharist the atheist converted.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Do Genesis Chapters 1 and 2 Contadict?

I have three new posts. Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while. This summer has been the busiest in history.

Have you ever heard that there are contradictions in the Bible? The biggest and most popular one that people suggest is the apparent contradiction between Genesis 1, and 2. What does the church say about such matters ?

Here is the apparent problem that some people point out to say that scripture contradicts itself. In Genesis chapter 1 it says that on that God made plants, animals, and the man and woman – in that order; plants, animals, and the man and woman. But in Genesis chapter 2 God makes Man, plants, animals, then woman.

So the objector concludes that the Bible right off the bat contradicts itself in the creation accounts. They say – see the author is confused about when plants animals and man were made therefore the Bible is filled with error and doesn’t need to be obeyed.

Of course the Bible is not filled with error and does need to be obeyed, but we must read it as it was intended.

Listen to what Pope Benedict said -
Pope Benedict XV: No Real Contradictions in Scripture Again, “Scripture cannot lie”; it is wrong to say Scripture lies, nay, it is impious even to admit the very notion of error where the Bible is concerned. “The Apostles,” [Saint Jerome] says, “are one thing; other writers” - that is, profane writers – “are another; the former always tell the truth; the latter - as being mere men - sometimes err,” and though many things are said in the Bible which seem incredible, yet they are true; in this “word of truth” you cannot find things or statements which are contradictory, “there is nothing discordant nor conflicting”; consequently, “when Scripture seems to be in conflict with itself both passages are true despite their diversity.” (Benedict XV, Spiritus Paraclitus 5)

Now if someone should present us with this Genesis argument or any other argument, a poor response is – nu uh the pope said your wrong.

I just wanted everyone to know that the Pope said that there aren’t any contradictions in scripture, that’s all. If you have ears to hear then hear.

Now how do we respond to such an objection?

Matt we have to be people who are constantly studying our faith so that we can be better equipped to answer people, and build up ourselves then each other in the truth.

Next we might have to do some research. Here is what I found in answering this particular question about Genesis 1 and 2.

In brief, Genesis chapter 1 is like a panoramic view of creation – it is the big picture.

Genesis 2 on the other hand is a zoomed in look at the 6th day and the special creation of humanity.

So there is no contradiction. What further evidence pans this out?

The Hebrew vocabulary words in the text reveal that there is a difference between what is created in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.

It says in genesis 1 that on the third say that God made vegetation. This is wild vegetation. IN Genesis two it opens with this… Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food,
There is a distinction in plant life. One is wild the other is cultivated, there is no contradiction.

Genesis 1 talks about animals being created on the 5th and 6th days. Genesis 2 says this. Genesis 2:19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air. See it is here that God makes the beasts of the field, where as before he had created the wild animals like koala bears and raccoons.

Finally with the creation of man and woman on the 6th day, yet being separated in Genesis 2, I think that this gives us a hint that Genesis 2 is the 6th day. While Genesis 1 just say that man and woman were created in that day. Genesis 2 is the zoomed in version which gives us the details of the events. Man was created first, then given domesticated plants and animals but no partner for himself. So later that day God makes woman from his side. There is no contradiction and in the Hebrew it is even more clear with the differing vocabulary words.


Today many people have forgotten or are confused about indulgences. What is an indulgence? Can we buy them? Does it mean we can indulge in things? Let’s see what they are and how they work.

To understand what an indulgence is, you must first understand what sin does to the soul. When you sin it effects two things, the spiritual order and the temporal order; essentially heaven and earth.

The spiritual order is effected because what you are doing offends God. You hurt or damage your relationship with God, the church, and your own soul. The temporal order or earth is effected because you have done something unnatural and disordered here in this time and place.

We are called to repair both orders, the heavenly one and the earthly one. Here is an earthly example. One day while playing baseball in the street I hit a ball strait through the neighbor’s window into their flat screen TV. I knock on the door and the kind Mr. Owens answers. I explain to him what happened and that I am sorry. He forgives me but then we discuss making reparation for the window and the TV.

Now in this example I have shown an earthly example of what would be confession and penance. I confessed that I sinned and now I do what I can to repair the damage.

Here is a great Biblical example of this

In 2 Samuel 11 is tells the history of how King David sinned. First he committed adultery with Bathsheba and got her pregnant, then he had her husband murdered.

Nathan the prophet confronts David about this sin and this is what David says:

2 Samuel 12:13-14 David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child that is born to you shall die."

This is a hard passage to our ears, we think hey why is the baby being punished for David’s sin. But we have to be biblically minded people. Death is not the worst thing in the world. Going to hell is the worst thing. This passage teaches us at least two things. #1 Our sins effect our children. #2 We will see here on earth how they effect our children and think about them until the day we die.

Back to the point though, David is forgiven yet he still experiences a punishment. Why? Because our sins effect both heaven and earth.

So where do indulgences fit in to all of this?

Back to our example with Mr. Owens and the baseball through the window. So I did hit the ball through the window. I said I was sorry he forgives me we talk about reparation. But then Mr. Owens does something shocking, He says you “know what Dan, just help me clean up the glass from the window and the TV and that will be enough.” I say, ”Hold on, what do you mean?” He says, “He says, Just as I said, you help me clean up this glass from the window and the pieces from this TV and we will be even.” I say “How is that?” He says, “Because when I was a boy, your dad took care of me in the hospital and worked tirelessly to find a cure for the disease I had and he saved my life. So for the sake of your father and his work I will spare you this bill you owe me.”

You can imagine a real life example of a young man before the police. I will let you off because you dad was a great man for the people in this town and did great things. We know this happens. This happens in the Bible too.

It is when they say, for the sake of so-in-so – I will do or not do such and such a thing.

Abraham asks God, hey if there are 10 righteous people will you destroy the whole town of Sodom? God says - Genesis 18:32 "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it." So for the righteousness of those 10 people, the town of Sodom would have been spared, yet not even ten could be found.

2Kings 8 talks about how King Jehoram was a wicked king. 2 Kings 8:18-19 and he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah, for the sake of David his servant, since he promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons for ever.

So Judah was spared punishment because of King David. While we of course read earlier of the sins of David. He was overall righteous because he continued to turn to the Lord after he had sinned.

In Numbers 9 Moses relates that when Israel made the Golden Calf that God was going to destroy Israel but then Moses says.

Deuteronomy 9:18-19 Then I lay prostrate before the LORD as before, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all the sin which you had committed, in doing what was evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure which the LORD bore against you, so that he was ready to destroy you. But the LORD hearkened to me that time also.

So we see that Israel is spared the punishment for the sake of what penance Moses did.

Now let’s here what the catechism says about indulgences and this fits perfectly the biblical pattern.
Here is what the catechism says about indulgences.

CCC 1471
An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven,
- So we have been forgiven in confession, and now the indulgence is to rid us of the temporal punishment.
which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions
- So we have to be a right attitude and certain conditions must be met to obtain them.
through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.
- Finally it is the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints that we are calling upon to mend this temporal punishment.
Ultimately we are saying – for the sake of what Jesus and the saints did, help me mend this world that I have damaged by my sins.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 1473
The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the "old man" and to put on the "new man."

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sections 1478-1479
An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity. Since the faithful departed now being purified are also members of the same communion of saints, one way we can help them is to obtain indulgences for them, so that the temporal punishments due for their sins may be remitted.


If there is a topic that is misunderstood by both Protestants and Catholics it is Purgatory. What is Purgatory, and how can we better explain it to people?

In kind of crude terminology, Purgatory is the doormat to the gates of Heaven. It is where you go if your soul needs wiping off on your way to heaven.

In brief here is how I explain it to people:

I ask – are you perfect?

They say – no.

I say – will you be perfect in Heaven.

They say – yes.

I say – So in between here and heaven you are made perfect.

They say – yes.

I say – that is what we call purgatory. That place before you get to heaven that you were made perfect.

Now that we have a simple explanations of it, what are some common misconceptions about purgatory.

Some people say that it is a place where you get a second chance. Others say that Purgatory undermines Christ work on the cross, like Christ couldn’t save us but purgatory can.

How are both of those things untrue?

Scripture and tradition are clear that once you are dead, you are going to really either heaven or hell. Purgatory is preparation for Heaven.

Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,

So that should clear up the misconception that we get a second chance.

Does purgatory undermine Christ’s work on the cross? No. In fact it is a continuation of the work of the cross on our soul after we have died.

What did Jesus do for us on the cross? He reconciled us to God that we might be God’s Children once more. 1 John 3:1 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

We who have come to believe in Jesus are children of God. But Jesus didn’t carry his cross so that we wouldn’t have to carry our cross. Jesus carried and died on his cross so that we would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the same.

Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting that God, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.

What was that? Jesus was made perfect through suffering? Wait I thought he already was perfect. He was already perfect, but when the time came for Jesus to suffer through the passion for the salvation of the world. He obeyed his Heavenly Father and thus in his continual obedience was perfected. It is this perfect obedience that we are called to imitate here on earth.

Listen to St. Paul

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

So we are to imitate St. Paul as he imitates Christ. How are we to do that – listen to Jesus.

Luke 9:23-24 And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.

What will carrying my cross daily do? It will do for me as it did for Christ – made him perfect.

Matthew 5:48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

So this whole Christian life is about carrying our cross, dying to self, conforming our lives to Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Amen. But we don’t like to do that. We rebel against carrying our cross and being obedient to the Father. Now we can outright rebel and remain like that until hell. Or I think for some of us, we carry the cross for a while, complain for a while, come back pick it up again, put it down. Now this is better than outright rebellion, but we are called to perfection.

St. John says in

Revelation 21:27 But nothing unclean shall enter it the heavenly Jerusalem.

Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to help us. St. Paul says in

Hebrews 12:4-6 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? -- "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."

God chastises us because he loves us. And this love continues after death if we have not been perfected.
St. Paul says that we are responsible how we build on our soul. That ever work will be tested with fire. What stands the test will be rewarded, what doesn’t stand the test will be burned up, and the person will suffer. He then warns that if we destroy our soul, God will destroy us.

1 Corinthians 3:10-17 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw -- each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.

But that fire he speaks of is a purifying fire. It is a fire where the soul is saved, but suffers.

It is this fire we call purgatory.