Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Lesson
Reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Hebrews
Heb 9:11-15.
Brethren: When Christ appeared as high priest of the good things to come, He entered once for all through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands - that is, not of this creation, - nor again by virtue of blood of goats and calves, but by virtue of His own blood, into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkled ashes of a heifer sanctify the unclean unto the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the Blood of Christ, Who through the Holy Spirit offered Himself unblemished unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And this is why He is mediator of a new covenant, that whereas a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the former covenant, they who have been called may receive eternal inheritance according to the promise, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.


Gospel
Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
R. Glory be to Thee, O Lord.
John 8:46-59.
At that time, Jesus said to the crowds of the Jews: Which of you can convict Me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear is that you are not of God. The Jews therefore in answer said to Him, Are we not right in saying that You are a Samaritan, and have a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil, but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. Yet, I do not seek My own glory; there is One Who seeks and Who judges. Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone keep My word, he will never see death. The Jews therefore said, Now we know that You have a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets, and You say, ‘If anyone keep My word he will never taste death.’ Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom do You make Yourself? Jesus answered, If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father Who glorifies Me, of Whom you say that He is your God. And you do not know Him, but I know Him. And if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be like you, a liar. But I know Him, and I keep His word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he was to see My day. He saw it and was glad. The Jews therefore said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I am. They therefore took up stones to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out from the temple.


It is interesting that the Jewish Torah reading for this week, Tzav (Sabbath beginning on Friday, 3/27 at sunset through sunset Saturday, 3/28) deals with burnt sacrifices...

Torah Portion:  Tzav for this week:

Leviticus 6:1 - 8:36
This translation was taken from the JPS Tanakh
Chapter 6
1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 Command Aaron and his sons thus:
This is the ritual of the burnt offering: The burnt offering itself shall remain where it is burned upon the altar all night until morning, while the fire on the altar is kept going on it. 3 The priest shall dress in linen raiment, with linen breeches next to his body; and he shall take up the ashes to which the fire has reduced the burnt offering on the altar and place them beside the altar. 4 He shall then take off his vestments and put on other vestments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place. 5 The fire on the altar shall be kept burning, not to go out: every morning the priest shall feed wood to it, lay out the burnt offering on it, and turn into smoke the fat parts of the offerings of well-being. 6 A perpetual fire shall be kept burning on the altar, not to go out.
7 And this is the ritual of the meal offering: Aaron's sons shall present it before the Lord, in front of the altar. 8 A handful of the choice flour and oil of the meal offering shall be taken from it, with all the frankincense that is on the meal offering, and this token portion shall be turned into smoke on the altar as a pleasing odor to the Lord. 9 What is left of it shall be eaten by Aaron and his sons; it shall be eaten as unleavened cakes, in the sacred precinct; they shall eat it in the enclosure of the Tent of Meeting. 10 It shall not be baked with leaven; I have given it as their portion from My offerings by fire; it is most holy, like the sin offering and the guilt offering. 11 Only the males among Aaron's descendants may eat of it, as their due for all time throughout the ages from the Lord's offerings by fire. Anything that touches these shall become holy.
12 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 13 This is the offering that Aaron and his sons shall offer to the Lord on the occasion of his anointment: a tenth of an ephah of choice flour as a regular meal offering, half of it in the morning and half of it in the evening, 14 shall be prepared with oil on a griddle. You shall bring it well soaked, and offer it as a meal offering of baked slices, of pleasing odor to the Lord. 15 And so shall the priest, anointed from among his sons to succeed him, prepare it; it is the Lord's — a law for all time — to be turned entirely into smoke. 16 So, too, every meal offering of a priest shall be a whole offering: it shall not be eaten.
17 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 18 Speak to Aaron and his sons thus: This is the ritual of the sin offering: the sin offering shall be slaughtered before the Lord, at the spot where the burnt offering is slaughtered: it is most holy. 19 The priest who offers it as a sin offering shall eat of it; it shall be eaten in the sacred precinct, in the enclosure of the Tent of Meeting. 20 Anything that touches its flesh shall become holy; and if any of its blood is spattered upon a garment, you shall wash the bespattered part in the sacred precinct. 21 An earthen vessel in which it was boiled shall be broken; if it was boiled in a copper vessel, [the vessel] shall be scoured and rinsed with water. 22 Only the males in the priestly line may eat of it: it is most holy. 23 But no sin offering may be eaten from which any blood is brought into the Tent of Meeting for expiation in the sanctuary; any such shall be consumed in fire.
Chapter 7
1 This is the ritual of the guilt offering: it is most holy. 2 The guilt offering shall be slaughtered at the spot where the burnt offering is slaughtered, and the blood shall be dashed on all sides of the altar. 3 All its fat shall be offered: the broad tail; the fat that covers the entrails; 4 the two kidneys and the fat that is on them at the loins; and the protuberance on the liver, which shall be removed with the kidneys. 5 The priest shall turn them into smoke on the altar as an offering by fire to the Lord; it is a guilt offering. 6 Only the males in the priestly line may eat of it; it shall be eaten in the sacred precinct: it is most holy.
7 The guilt offering is like the sin offering. The same rule applies to both: it shall belong to the priest who makes expiation thereby. 8 So, too, the priest who offers a man's burnt offering shall keep the skin of the burnt offering that he offered. 9 Further, any meal offering that is baked in an oven, and any that is prepared in a pan or on a griddle, shall belong to the priest who offers it. 10 But every other meal offering, with oil mixed in or dry, shall go to the sons of Aaron all alike.
11 This is the ritual of the sacrifice of well-being that one may offer to the Lord:
12 If he offers it for thanksgiving, he shall offer together with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes with oil mixed in, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of choice flour with oil mixed in, well soaked. 13 This offering, with cakes of leavened bread added, he shall offer along with his thanksgiving sacrifice of well-being. 14 Out of this he shall offer one of each kind as a gift to the Lord; it shall go to the priest who dashes the blood of the offering of well-being. 15 And the flesh of his thanksgiving sacrifice of well-being shall be eaten on the day that it is offered; none of it shall be set aside until morning.
16 If, however, the sacrifice he offers is a votive or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice, and what is left of it shall be eaten on the morrow. 17 What is then left of the flesh of the sacrifice shall be consumed in fire on the third day. 18 If any of the flesh of his sacrifice of well-being is eaten on the third day, it shall not be acceptable; it shall not count for him who offered it. It is an offensive thing, and the person who eats of it shall bear his guilt.
19 Flesh that touches anything unclean shall not be eaten; it shall be consumed in fire. As for other flesh, only he who is clean may eat such flesh. 20 But the person who, in a state of uncleanness, eats flesh from the Lord's sacrifices of well-being, that person shall be cut off from his kin. 21 When a person touches anything unclean, be it human uncleanness or an unclean animal or any unclean creature, and eats flesh from the Lord's sacrifices of well-being, that person shall be cut off from his kin.
22 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 23 Speak to the Israelite people thus: You shall eat no fat of ox or sheep or goat. 24 Fat from animals that died or were torn by beasts may be put to any use, but you must not eat it. 25 If anyone eats the fat of animals from which offerings by fire may be made to the Lord, the person who eats it shall be cut off from his kin. 26 And you must not consume any blood, either of bird or of animal, in any of your settlements. 27 Anyone who eats blood shall be cut off from his kin.
28 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 29 Speak to the Israelite people thus: The offering to the Lord from a sacrifice of well-being must be presented by him who offers his sacrifice of well-being to the Lord: 30 his own hands shall present the Lord's offerings by fire. He shall present the fat with the breast, the breast to be elevated as an elevation offering before the Lord; 31 the priest shall turn the fat into smoke on the altar, and the breast shall go to Aaron and his sons. 32 And the right thigh from your sacrifices of well-being you shall present to the priest as a gift; 33 he from among Aaron's sons who offers the blood and the fat of the offering of well-being shall get the right thigh as his portion. 34 For I have taken the breast of elevation offering and the thigh of gift offering from the Israelites, from their sacrifices of well-being, and given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons as their due from the Israelites for all time.
35 Those shall be the perquisites of Aaron and the perquisites of his sons from the Lord's offerings by fire, once they have been inducted to serve the Lord as priests; 36 these the Lord commanded to be given them, once they had been anointed, as a due from the Israelites for all time throughout the ages. 37 Such are the rituals of the burnt offering, the meal offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering, the offering of ordination, and the sacrifice of well-being, 38 with which the Lord charged Moses on Mount Sinai, when He commanded that the Israelites present their offerings to the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai.
Chapter 8
1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 Take Aaron along with his sons, and the vestments, the anointing oil, the bull of sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread; 3 and assemble the whole community at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 4 Moses did as the Lord commanded him. And when the community was assembled at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, 5 Moses said to the community, "This is what the Lord has commanded to be done."
6 Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water. 7 He put the tunic on him, girded him with the sash, clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod on him, girding him with the decorated band with which he tied it to him. 8 He put the breastpiece on him, and put into the breastpiece the Urim and Thummim. 9 And he set the headdress on his head; and on the headdress, in front, he put the gold frontlet, the holy diadem — as the Lord had commanded Moses.
10 Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the Tabernacle and all that was in it, thus consecrating them. 11 He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, anointing the altar, all its utensils, and the laver with its stand, to consecrate them. 12 He poured some of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head and anointed him, to consecrate him. 13 Moses then brought Aaron's sons forward, clothed them in tunics, girded them with sashes, and wound turbans upon them, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
14 He led forward the bull of sin offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bull of sin offering, 15 and it was slaughtered. Moses took the blood and with his finger put some on each of the horns of the altar, cleansing the altar; then he poured out the blood at the base of the altar. Thus he consecrated it in order to make expiation upon it.
16 Moses then took all the fat that was about the entrails, and the protuberance of the liver, and the two kidneys and their fat, and turned them into smoke on the altar. 17 The rest of the bull, its hide, its flesh, and its dung, he put to the fire outside the camp — as the Lord had commanded Moses.
18 Then he brought forward the ram of burnt offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the ram's head, 19 and it was slaughtered. Moses dashed the blood against all sides of the altar. 20 The ram was cut up into sections and Moses turned the head, the sections, and the suet into smoke on the altar; 21 Moses washed the entrails and the legs with water and turned all of the ram into smoke. That was a burnt offering for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the Lord — as the Lord had commanded Moses.
22 He brought forward the second ram, the ram of ordination. Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the ram's head, 23 and it was slaughtered. Moses took some of its blood and put it on the ridge of Aaron's right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. 24 Moses then brought forward the sons of Aaron, and put some of the blood on the ridges of their right ears, and on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet; and the rest of the blood Moses dashed against every side of the altar. 25 He took the fat — the broad tail, all the fat about the entrails, the protuberance of the liver, and the two kidneys and their fat — and the right thigh. 26 From the basket of unleavened bread that was before the Lord, he took one cake of unleavened bread, one cake of oil bread, and one wafer, and placed them on the fat parts and on the right thigh. 27 He placed all these on the palms of Aaron and on the palms of his sons, and elevated them as an elevation offering before the Lord. 28 Then Moses took them from their hands and turned them into smoke on the altar with the burnt offering. This was an ordination offering for a pleasing odor; it was an offering by fire to the Lord. 29 Moses took the breast and elevated it as an elevation offering before the Lord; it was Moses' portion of the ram of ordination — as the Lord had commanded Moses.
30 And Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled it upon Aaron and upon his vestments, and also upon his sons and upon their vestments. Thus he consecrated Aaron and his vestments, and also his sons and their vestments.
31 Moses said to Aaron and his sons: Boil the flesh at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and eat it there with the bread that is in the basket of ordination — as I commanded: Aaron and his sons shall eat it; 32 and what is left over of the flesh and the bread you shall consume in fire. 33 You shall not go outside the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for seven days, until the day that your period of ordination is completed. For your ordination will require seven days. 34 Everything done today, the Lord has commanded to be done [seven days], to make expiation for you. 35 You shall remain at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting day and night for seven days, keeping the Lord's charge — that you may not die — for so I have been commanded.
36 And Aaron and his sons did all the things that the Lord had commanded through Moses.
Taken from Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia, Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society) 1985. 

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani”

 

Does Jesus, dying on the cross, truly believe that God the Father has abandoned him when he cries out: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani” which means: “My God, my God why have you forsaken/abandoned me?” (Matt 27:46)

 

Just prior to these words we read in verse 42 how the chiefs, scribes and elders mocked Jesus and taunted him saying: “He saved others; he cannot save himself… Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him”

 

Jesus answers: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

 

You see, Jesus isn’t lamenting his condition.  Jesus IS God, he can’t abandon himself.  Jesus was in fact answering their taunts by pointing to Psalm 22.  In those days, the Psalms weren't numbered.  To point to a particular Psalm for others to know which one you were talking about, the Jews would cite the first line of it.  And that's why Jesus said what he did and also why the Jews understood what Jesus meant when he said those words.

This Psalm speaks of a suffering servant where his attackers are “casting lots” for his garments (Ps 22:35 ), and “those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads” (Ps 22:8) as well as referencing the mode of death as being crucified: “They have pierced my hands and feet—I can count all my bones” (v.16-17)  but most importantly and most clearly Psalm 22 speaks of those who mocked the Psalmist writer and curled their lips that he “relied on the Lord – let him deliver you; if he loves you, let him rescue you.” The exact same statement by the scribes and elders toward Jesus.

 

The overall message in the Psalm can be seen as the psalmist presenting distress being contrasted with God's past mercy in Psalm 22:2-12. In Psalm 22:13-22 enemies surround the psalmist. The last third is an invitation to praise God (Psalm 22:23-27), becoming a universal chorus of praise (Psalm 22:28-31).  While at the same time pointing to those who were taunting him at the foot of the cross that he, Jesus Himself, is the one being referenced in that Psalm.

 

That is Jesus’ message.  Everything is occurring as it should and even though it seems as though his suffering and his impending death is fast approaching, God’s Will shall overcome and all will praise Him.

 

The chiefs and scribes finally understood this in the end because we see them leaving, beating their chests once Jesus died (Luke 23:48) because now they know that the blood of a truly righteous man is on them (Mat 27:25).

 

God Bless
Nathan

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Christ 101

The following video is supercharged with arguments for Christianity.  It is a "trailer" for an apologetics course which does charge a fee.  From what I can see in the video, it should be well worth the fee.  Of course this sort of thing is part of my "mitzvah," if you will, that I have been doing for free for years - but this course looks to be quite energized and worth supporting.  


Dr. Scott Hahn...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Who Can Forgive Sins?

In response to an earlier posting about Steve Finnel, a David Smith asks a direct question which deserves an answer.  I am posting his response to a new article so that it won't be under automatic moderation.  Your comments accepted and appreciated.
Greetings.
I have no words about Mr. Finnell but your comments about him needing to find someone to submit to in order for his sins to be forgiven was to me quite shocking and disturbing. Who are these people that you speak of and how does someone find them? How many are there and not that forgiving sins is enough but do they have any other authority? Do you have any other verses besides John 20:23 that can back up this incredible statement. I am not using the word "incredible" lightly, its just so hard to believe that our salvation hinges on us finding these people and asking them for forgiveness. Never the less, let God's will be done. I look forward to your reply.
RESPONSE:
When God speaks, how many more verses do you need?  John 20:23 should suffice for all Bible believing Christians.  Those whom Jesus empowered were our first bishops, the Twelve Apostles.  Jesus, in the same context just a couple verses prior said:  "He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you." (John 20:21).  So they were to do as Jesus did, and send out others.  Therefore the authority to forgive sins falls under the jurisdiction of a bishop who is in the succession of bishops from our first bishops.  Only they, or one whom they have likewise empowered, have the authority to forgive sins.

Now, it is not up to me to determine the personal salvation of anyone - that is left to God, our Judge, but I agree with you that it certainly would appear that salvation hinges upon the valid reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), which is something you do not find at ANY Protestant church.  We I can do is present what Scripture clearly states - and that would seem to me to be in accordance with God's will be done.

AMDG,
Scott<<<

Stephen Colbert - Catholic?

Stephen Colbert, did you know he is a Catholic?  He shares thoughts about his Catholic faith with Fr. Martin of America magazine.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Third Sunday in Lent

Midway through the Lenten season...  we are reminded of things to avoid in our lives - from obvious sins, fornication, uncleanness and covetousness to participation in foolish talk and obscenity.   Do not even keep company with such, because you are called to walk as children of the Light and to become saints!

In the Gospel today, Jesus casts out the unclean spirit of a man who was dumb and then he was able to speak.  Some accused Him of casting out demons by Beelzebub or Satan and Jesus answered them saying "a kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall."  Satan is not dividing his house, it was by God that the unclean spirit was cast out!    The caution, however, is to be on your guard!  When the unclean spirit is gone and the house is cleaned out - it is very inviting to other evil spirits and if you're not prepared and defend yourself - you will find the original unclean spirit has returned with seven more, and this state is worse than the previous!  "Blessed are you who hear the Word of God - AND KEEP IT!"  Hearing alone, accepting alone is not enough - you must hold on to His Word and keep it!  Let us be strong in His Word and embrace Him until He returns again, or we return to Him.

Readings according to the Extraordinary Rite:

Epistle - Ephesians 5:1-9

Be ye therefore followers of God, as most dear children;
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness.
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints:
Or obscenity, or foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose; but rather giving of thanks.
For know you this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person (which is a serving of idols), hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief.
Be ye not therefore partakers with them.
For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk then as children of the light.
For the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth;

Gospel - Luke 11:14-28

14 And he was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb: and when he had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke: and the multitudes were in admiration at it:
15 But some of them said: He casteth out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils.
16 And others tempting, asked of him a sign from heaven.
17 But he seeing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself, shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall.
18 And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say, that through Beelzebub I cast out devils.
19 Now if I cast out devils by Beelzebub; by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.
20 But if I by the finger of God cast out devils; doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you.
21 When a strong man armed keepeth his court, those things are in peace which he possesseth.
22 But if a stronger than he come upon him, and overcome him; he will take away all his armour wherein he trusted, and will distribute his spoils.
23 He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.
24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest; and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out.
25 And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished.
26 Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there. And the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.
27 And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck.
28 But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Quadragesima - The Forty Days

A term we may not hear often is that of Quadragesima - which is the Latin name for the forty days of Lent.  Today (Sunday) is not counted in the Quadragesima - since all Sundays are solemnities, and we are not obliged to participate in fasting and abstinence on solemnities.  If you count the days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, omitting the Sundays, you have forty days - the Quadragesima.