Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Authority


What an interesting sequence of Gospel readings we have when we look at last week’s Gospel reading and then the one for this week.  We read last week that Jesus told the Apostles: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And then He breathes on them and says: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.

 

We see here that Jesus sent the Apostles as the Father sent Him, with the power to forgive, or retain, sins.  Now, when we look at the specifics of how Jesus was sent we find that he was sent not only with the power to forgive sins but that He can confer this power to others as seen in Matt 9:6 where even the scribes and publicans were in awe that God had given authority to forgive sins to ‘human beings’.  Notice the plural.  Not just to Jesus but to ‘men’, plural.

 

What other powers did Jesus give the Apostles?  Well, in Mark 6 we find that Jesus, “[c]alling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.” (v.7) Jesus gave them authority over impure spirits.  We also find in Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus gives the Apostles the power to bind and loose infallibly (“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Mat 18:18)  Since whatever they bound or loosed on Earth would also be bound and loosed in heaven because we know that nothing untrue can be bound or loosed in heaven.

 

The context in each of these selection of verses makes it clear that Jesus gave this power to the Apostles and not to all followers.  This is why we know that for this power to be here in His Church until His return means that the power to confer this power to others must have been given to them as well.  This idea of ‘succession’ is found in many different places in Scripture but the clearest ones are found in today’s Gospel reading.  All power in heaven and on earth has been given to [Jesus].” (Mat 28:18)


Jesus was sent with the power of heaven and earth and confers the power to forgive and retain sins, authority over impure spirits and the power to bind and loose infallibly.  I also contend that the Apostles were also given the power to confer these attributes to others who would succeed them since we know that the Apostles were described as the authority in the

 

Church.  Just have a quick look at Matthew 18 and you’ll see what I mean.   Speaking to the twelve Jesus tells them: “if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.  “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (v.17-18)

 

And because we know that the gates of hell will never prevail against His Church means that this authority to bind and loose infallibly will always be present in the world, which means that there will always be those who have authority to bind and loose infallibly in the Church, at least until His return.  For this to be possible tells us that the power confer these attributes to others was also part of what was handed down to the Apostles from Jesus Himself.  Jesus was sent with the power to impart the powers to bind and loose, to forgive or retain or authority over impure spirits because we read in today’s Gospel that “[a]ll authority in heaven and on earth has been given to [Him]”.  This tells us that the Apostles received the power to impart these same powers to others as well.

 

The handing on of these powers has always been done through the laying on of hands throughout the centuries via there successors all the way to today’s bishops beginning with Jesus handing on this authority to His Apostles and they to those who would succeed them.

 

God Bless
Nathan

 

 
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 Prepared by a St.Denis parishioner

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Christian Unity


In this week’s leaflet I thought I’d reflect on John 17 which was last Sunday’s Gospel reading.  The reading was pointing out Jesus’ prayer of unity for all believers in Him.  Namely that we all be “one as [Jesus and the Father] are one.” (v.11)

 

Up until this moment of the chapter we see that Jesus is praying for unity of His disciples, ie the apostles, but the context also shows us that Jesus wasn’t praying for them alone, He also prayed “for those who will believe in me through their message” (v.20) Jesus prayed that all Christian believers be one as Jesus and the Father are one.  Did Jesus believe in infant baptism but the Father did not?  They believed in the truths of heavenly things. They believed the same doctrines.  The same truths.  Therefore Jesus prayed that we all believe in the same doctrines as He and the Father believed the same.

 

Was Jesus’ prayer effective?  Did it come true or are we to wait until His return that He may unite all Christian denominations who believe differently now but no longer when He comes back at the end of time?  The answer to this question can be found in the context of these verses where Jesus prays not only for these apostles to remain one, or simply at His return. Jesus plainly speaks of praying for the unity of not only the apostles but also “Those who will believe in [Him] through [the apostles] message.

 

Scripture is also pretty plain that “[t]he prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)  Is anyone more righteous than Jesus?  Jesus is the pinnacle of righteousness and therefore His prayer is very powerful and effective.  Putting these verse together we can see that Jesus prayed for unity of all Christians who believed through the Apostles message.  Now, to the extent that a Christian believes some of what Jesus and the Apostles taught he is a member of His Church though imperfectly.  The more one is in union with His teachings, ie the Truth, the more in union he is with His Body, the Church.

 

We know that Jesus’ prayer of unity is very effective therefore there must be a group of believers that believe in unison all that He and the Apostles taught, and this throughout Christian history.   Where do we find a group of believers whose teachings can be traced back through history from today to 2,000 years ago?  This group can only be found the Catholic Church and Her doctrinal teachings.  The Church not only claim this but have historical documents supporting it.

 

God Bless

Nathan

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Jew Finds Jesus

This is an interesting video of a Jewish man who found the Messiah...  it is a neat story!

Whom do you see here:

Who believes our report?
To whom is the arm of Adonai revealed?
For before him he grew up like a young plant,
like a root out of dry ground.
He was not well-formed or especially handsome;
we saw him, but his appearance did not attract us.
People despised and avoided him,
a man of pains, well acquainted with illness.
Like someone from whom people turn their faces,
he was despised; we did not value him.
In fact, it was our diseases he bore,
our pains from which he suffered;
yet we regarded him as punished,
stricken and afflicted by God.
But he was wounded because of our crimes,
crushed because of our sins;
the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him,
and by his bruises* we are healed.
We all, like sheep, went astray;
we turned, each one, to his own way;
yet Adonai laid on him
the guilt of all of us.
Though mistreated, he was submissive —
he did not open his mouth.
Like a lamb led to be slaughtered,
like a sheep silent before its shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
After forcible arrest and sentencing,
he was taken away;
and none of his generation protested
his being cut off from the land of the living
for the crimes of my people,
who deserved the punishment themselves.
He was given a grave among the wicked;
in his death he was with a rich man.
Although he had done no violence
and had said nothing deceptive,
10 yet it pleased Adonai to crush him with illness,
to see if he would present himself as a guilt offering.
If he does, he will see his offspring;
and he will prolong his days;
and at his hand Adonai’s desire
will be accomplished.
11 After this ordeal, he will see satisfaction.
“By his knowing [pain and sacrifice],
my righteous servant makes many righteous;
it is for their sins that he suffers.
12 Therefore I will assign him a share with the great,
he will divide the spoil with the mighty,
for having exposed himself to death
and being counted among the sinners,
while actually bearing the sin of many
and interceding for the offenders.”

This is from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 53.  There He is, the Messiah in the Jewish Scriptures.