Today’s Question: Did Jesus tell us to keep the (old) law?


Question:
Did Jesus tell us to keep the (old) law?

Answer: Prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Old Law remained fully in force. Afterwards, by the power of Christ, the New Covenant and the Church replaced the entirety of the Old Law, which never had the ability to save a soul.

If the Old Law/Old Covenant had been sufficient, the “New” Covenant would not have been necessary; Nor would Christ’s perfect and atoning sacrifice on the cross, for the sins of the world. 

Jesus also spoke about the folly of attempting to put new “wine” into old wine “skins”. This is precisely the type of thing to which he was referring.

The sole governing authority of the New Covenant is the Holy Catholic Church, which was given the Power of Binding and Loosing, as well as the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, by Christ himself.

Only that which the New Covenant Church authoritatively decided to readopt or re-adapt (from OT times) made the transition from old to new. Nothing else.

Conclusion: The Holy Catholic Church remains the sole governing authority under the New Covenant, as well as the primary channel of God’s grace on earth, with Jesus as its’ head and the Holy Spirit as its’ constant Advocate and Spirit of Truth.

Grace – not Law – now, mercifully reigns – in and through Jesus Christ, our Divine Redeemer – in God’s “New” and “Better” order of things.

That’s how Jesus set things up for us. He knew what he was doing. He’s God!

Asked and answered today on Yahoo!Answers. Edited for clarity and content.

QUESTION: Christians, If god didn’t sacrifice himself to himself to bypass a rule he made, then what did he do exactly?

ANSWER:

Jesus resolved a “structural” problem that occurred as a result of Adam being swindled out of his God given earthly dominion by Satan, the devil.

As a result of Adam’s fall from grace, Satan managed to enslave Adam and all of his offspring under an evil dominion, based on the power of death.

God permitted such a thing because Adam was properly and completely educated (warned in advance) by God and should have known better. Once Adam lost everything to Satan, there was no (natural) way of reversing (restoring) things. Hence, God stepped up to right the wrong.

True God and true man, Jesus is the sinless, fully authorized and fully qualified “kinsman redeemer” – the only one who has the supernatural power, as well as the “natural right” to step in and redeem mankind from perpetual slavery to Satan, sin and death. But it would not be easy and it would not be accomplished the way most would expect.

Because Jesus is God – and because Jesus is also a sinless man, Satan had absolutely no power (the power of death or otherwise) over Jesus – so Satan and his minions (the corrupt Jews and the pagan Romans of the time) had absolutely no authority to put Jesus to death.

They went ahead and crucified him anyway, even though they should have known better. They had been warned, all the way back in Genesis 3:15.

Jesus permitted it to happen, since when Jesus died on the cross, Satan’s evil dominion over mankind and the earth was forfeit and mankind now had a (perfect and sinless) new leader – the resurrected Jesus Christ, the Messiah, King of Kings and Lord of Lords – the one who Satan had absolutely no power over.

Now, all power on earth and in heaven (as well as everywhere else) was awarded to the New Adam – the resurrected Jesus Christ – fully God and fully man – who had effectively “crushed the head of the serpent” – freeing mankind from the power of perpetual death and hell – just as he promised, so long ago – and who, by his glorious resurrection, proved all that I claim here and more.

God the Father was pleased, freely bestowing grace, peace, divine adoption, protection from eternal death and much, much more, on all who choose to swear faithful allegiance to his divine son, Jesus – something that is typically accomplished through water baptism, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as well as through faithful membership and regular, consistent participation in the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the only Church that Jesus Christ ever personally founded, authorized, empowered and perpetually guaranteed, for the purpose of our salvation – the Holy Catholic Church.

Asked and answered on Yahoo Answers

8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘The Passion of the Christ’ Movie

Jim Caviezel

Upon the 10-year anniversary of its release, here are 8 things you might not know about Gibson’s moving, challenging masterpiece.

1. Some of the source material is controversial, too.
One of the main inspirations for co-screenwriters Mel Gibson and Benedict Fitzgerald was “The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” a tale in which poet Clemens Brentano chronicles the (supposed) visions of stigmatic German nun Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824).

While it’s been speculated that Brentano wrote most of the book himself, with a Vatican investigation concluding that “it is absolutely not certain that [Emmerich] ever wrote this,” the book inspired some of the most striking images in the film, including the suspension of Jesus over the bridge after he’s first taken into custody, the torment of Judas by demons, Mary’s wiping up the blood of Jesus from the ground after his scourging and the dislocation of Jesus’ right shoulder so that his hand could reach the hole for the nail on the cross.

7 More

How and why salvation works

Relics of The Fisherman unveiled: Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said, “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.”

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The nine pieces of bone sat nestled like rings in a jewel box inside a bronze display case on the side of the altar during a Mass commemorating the end of the Vatican’s yearlong celebration of the Christian faith. It was the first time they had ever been exhibited in public.

Pope Francis prayed before the fragments at the start of Sunday’s service and then clutched the case in his arms for several minutes after his homily. (AP)

Text and Photos

Editor’s note: For people of true faith, such evidence isn’t really necessary. For all the others, no amount of evidence is sufficient.

Suggested reading (FREE on-line): 

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The Bones of St. Peter
The First Full Account of the Search for the Apostle’s Body
by John Evangelist Walsh 

When the man named Simon Peter was brutally executed, some 1,915 years ago in Rome, there passed away one of that small band of historical personalities who deserve to rank as monumental. In history’s roll of the great in all fields – religionists, statesmen, philosophers, conquerors, educators, scientists – few others can have lived a life similarly fraught, for so long, with such constant, portentous drama. Beginning so obscurely, so humbly, was anyone before or since ever burdened with so weighty and improbable a task? Assuredly, no other has continued, ages after the earth closed over him, to command such deep regard among living multitudes, generation after endless generation.

In the minds – and hearts – of many people it is no small thing that some part of the mortal remains of this man, through whose living body there flowed the power from Jesus to heal the sick and raise the dead, may still be in existence. Even if he is viewed, as in this case he should be, not in a religious context but simply as the first leader of a movement which was to become a world-altering revolution, the question of the survival of his remains still exerts a powerful fascination. And for just over a decade now, precisely that claim has confronted the world.

In the summer of 1968 it was announced by Pope Paul VI that the skeletal remains of St. Peter had at last been found and satisfactorily identified. The revered bones had been unearthed some time before, he said, from the tangle of ancient structures that lay deep beneath the magnificent high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Paul was careful to explain that his statement rested on long and intensive study by experts, but then he deliberately went further, adding the weight of his own prestige. In light of the archaeological and scientific conclusions, he said, “the relics of St. Peter have been identified in a manner which we believe convincing … very patient and accurate investigations were made with a result which we believe positive.” Firmly persuaded as he was, he had felt it nothing less than a duty to make “this happy announcement” at the earliest possible moment.

The circumstance hat the bones were found under the basilica occasioned no great surprise, since the age-old tradition of the church had always located the original grave of the apostle just here. Yet to find that after so achingly long a time, and against all reasonable expectation, some part of this precious body should still be preserved, seemed incredible, a fit occasion for rejoicing. The day following the Pope’s announcement, in solemn ceremony led by Paul himself, the bones were restored to their ancient resting place. Since then, privileged visitors have regularly been allowed to enter the small, silent chamber beneath the high altar to pay homage to the Prince of the Apostles. Through a narrow opening in the repository, the bones themselves encased in several transparent receptacles, are just visible.

In releasing his statement, Paul had purposely kept to the essentials of the matter, leaving the details to be supplied to journalists and others by Vatican officials and those directly concerned in the discovery. When the full story reached print, however, in newspapers around the world, there was immediate and widespread puzzlement. In place of clarification there arose annoying clouds of confusion. At fault, to a large degree, was the intricate mass of archaeological data to be absorbed. But far more significant was a single hugely surprising fact: the bones had not been recently discovered, as the Pope had seemed to imply. On the contrary, they had first been found nearly thirty years before.

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Jimmy Akin: 9 things to know about Good Friday

crucified_christ

Good Friday is the most solemn day of the Christian year.

It is the day our Savior died for us.

It is the day we were redeemed from our sins by the voluntary death of God Himself at the hands of man.

Here are 9 things you need to know.

Read more 

Catholic Apologetics – The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

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Editor’s note: It doesn’t get any better than that … this side of Heaven!

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as prophesied in the Old Testament Book of Malachi: Proper worship and acceptable sacrifice, 24/7 and 365, all around the world, until the end of time.

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MASSsacred

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The late historian Dr. Warren Carroll explains what happened in Jerusalem the day Jesus rose again from the dead

The word “perfidious” in the old Good Friday liturgy referred to the rejection of God’s Son the Messiah by the Jews who called for his crucifixion. He had given them proofs of who He was, but they closed their eyes and ears to them.

Though it may be counter-productive to make this point in today’s age, this willful blindness to the truth is spectacularly evidenced by the Sanhedrin when they received the report of Jesus’ Resurrection from the Roman guards at His tomb.

There were 16 guards on duty, only 600 yards from Pilate’s government house and residence; they were certainly not all asleep, for sleeping on watch by a Roman soldier was punishable by death.

If the Sanhedrin believed their report, they knew a miracle had happened.

If they disbelieved it, why did they not denounce them to Pilate and have the apostles arrested for stealing Jesus’ body, either with the complicity of the guards or because of their negligence?

But the Sanhedrin did neither, instead bribing the guards to say that Jesus’ disciples had stolen His body while they slept, and promising to protect them from Pilate. They must have known or at least guessed the truth, and yet refused to believe.

In any case, the expression “perfidious” cannot logically apply to Jews apart from the circumstances of the crucifixion…

Link

Geologists confirm: Earthquake recorded in Matthew 27:51 crucifixion account really happened.

Isn’t it nice that almost 2000 years after the fact, the scientists are finally getting up to speed and telling us what we’ve known, all along?

Link

Editor’s note: Another excellent example of faith and reason acting in total harmony.

Divine Mercy, blood and water flowing from the Temple, and Jesus, the Fountain of All Holiness

Ancient Jewish readers would have recognized the significance of the bloody flow from the side of Christ as Temple imagery.

During festival seasons prior to the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in AD 70, huge amounts of animal blood were generated by the Temple sacrifices. The blood was ducted out of the Temple precincts by a plumbing system which emptied out of the side of the Temple Mount, creating a stream of blood that flowed down and joined the Brook Kidron that flowed along the ravine between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives.

This bloody brook had to be crossed if one entered Jerusalem near the Pool of Siloam. So a “stream of blood and water” would evoke the image of the Temple and the Temple city to the ancient Jewish reader. This phenomenon helped identify the body of Jesus as the New Temple.

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Donald R. McClarey’s “Report” illustrates the sordid politics that led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

A fictional first draft of a report by the Roman Governor of Palestine, Pontius Pilate, to Tiberius Caesar, detailing the extraordinary events which recently took place in Jerusalem … the various persons involved … their likely motives … and their actions.

Based on the gospel accounts.

Report to the Emperor-First Draft

Jesus publicly suffered the most graphic, bloody death imaginable–so what’s wrong with graphic anti-abortion displays?

This extraordinary pro-life message appeared in my email box earlier today:

I understand that the Rockford diocese wants nothing to do with graphic signs, so you don’t have to worry about me involving Holy Cross. That said, I’ve given much contemplation to your thought on the Eucharist. This is what I’ve come up with:

God knows full well the effect of graphic, bloody display. It was not for nothing that His Son suffered the most graphic, bloody death imaginable–scourged and beaten beyond recognition and hung on a cross to die. Why? Wouldn’t it have been better that Jesus die by the sword in a remote location at the hands of conspirators, so that delicate sensibilities might be spared? His clean body could then have been brought out for proof to His followers before being entombed. He still would have died and conquered death through resurrection. So why the graphic death?

I believe it was because there is something to be learned through this graphic display. It underscores the ugliness of sin, the hefty price that needed to be paid, and the depth of God’s Love in a way that mere discussion could not. Ever.

In the aftermath of Jesus’ resurrection, it was the cross, the bloody cross, that became the symbol of Christianity. The early Christians knew what the cross meant. They saw it all the time. Crucifixion was a public affair. But Jesus was the only One to conquer the cross and conquer death. He was the Christ. So the instrument of torture and death became the symbol of Life Eternal.

Nowadays we don’t want to be reminded of the ugliness of sin. Protestants abandoned the crucifix for the plain wooden cross. Catholics have cleaned up their crucifixes to make them bloodless, except for the wounds in His precious hands, feet, and side. The marks of the scourging have been removed, as well as, in many cases, the Precious Blood drawn by the savage thorns. We have made His beaten body pretty.

And why? We don’t want to see the truth of what our sin–my sin, your sin–has done. It’s far easier to look upon the pretty Jesus, the best friend Jesus, the “I’m OK, you’re OK” Jesus. We’re not unsettled that way. We can remain complacent in our sin, thinking, “It’s not that bad. At least I didn’t kill somebody.” Well, it is “that bad”. Just look at a bloody crucifix, if you can find one. Look at the images from the movie, “The Passion of the Christ”. That’s what MY sin, YOUR sin, has done.

Yes, we have the unbloody bread and wine which become the Body and Blood of Christ through transubstantiation. But Jesus’ disciples didn’t know that’s what He intended the day He told them, “Unless you eat my flesh…for my flesh is real food…”. The Bible says many left Him that day. Notice that Jesus had let them go.

So what if we today were presented with a bloody piece of Jesus’ flesh to eat at Mass, and He told us, “Unless you eat my flesh, you will not have life within you”? Many would undoubtedly leave Him. Why? It would still be the same Body that we now receive in unbloody form. I myself would eat it, because I want Life. I want Jesus. A piece of Jesus’ bloody flesh would only remind me more sorely of His great sacrifice.

But how many others approach the table now unworthily, in the state of mortal sin? Would Nancy Pelosi still receive Communion if she were offered Him in the form of a bloody piece of flesh? Or would she leave Him, physically carrying out what she has already done spiritually? If we were offered a bloody piece of flesh, would only 30% of Catholics believe in the True Presence as they do now? Or would 100% of Catholics believe, though there might be 70% fewer of them? How many might leave?

One thing is certain, as Jesus let his disciples go, we are not to compromise the tenets of our faith to placate those who would leave the Church because the teachings are too hard. And in actuality, God has given us that bloody flesh from time to time, in Eucharistic miracles, to strengthen our faith. God understands the effect of graphic displays. If some are revolted, so be it.

Like Jesus’ death on the cross, graphic displays of the child killed by abortion remind us of the ugliness of sin. We don’t want to see it, because it makes us uncomfortable. We don’t want to acknowledge that our selfishness can lead to death. So we take Jesus off the cross, we turn our eyes from the aborted baby. We show pictures of smiling babies and ultrasound images–good things, for sure, but we sweep the reality of abortion under the rug. We let people hide behind pretty words like “choice” and “rights”. Humanity is stripped by “fetus”, “tissue”, “products of conception”. We are left with the empty brace of the wooden cross.

But when we come face to face with the aborted child, we cannot deny the horror of abortion; it is no longer abstract. The child’s humanity becomes real. The effects of sin are obvious. We see the blood and it sickens us, as sin should. We can’t hide any more. And we don’t like it.

We want the pretty. Pretty doesn’t demand anything from us. Pretty lets us think everything is OK. But it’s not OK; it won’t be OK as long as babies are dying out of the sight of those who might take pity on them and put an end to the barbarity, were those people to know the reality of what goes on behind clinic doors.

When I look at the picture of the aborted baby, I don’t see something disgusting. I see something intricate and beautiful that has been profaned, tortured, torn apart. I see the face of Christ. If some are revolted, so be it. —Sylvia K.

Editor’s note: Amen!

What does Psalm 23, the Godfather Movie, and the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ have in common?

“If Jesus was God, why did he say ‘“My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?’  Doesn’t that prove that even Jesus didn’t think he was God.”

I waited for the other guy to respond as the question was directed at him but I could see from the look on his face that he had never considered this question.  The questioner had a look of victory on his face.  I jumped in.

“I can answer that.  Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

I got the desired reaction, blank stares.

“Let me clarify.  Take it to the mattresses.”

More blank stares.

“When I say these things to you, what am I quoting?”

“The Godfather,” they all responded at once.

“How do you know?”

“We just do.  Everybody knows those lines.”

“Exactly.  As 21st century Americans, I can pretty much count on the fact that we all have the same frames of cultural reference.  So when Jesus said ‘My God, my God…’ he also knew that his audience would automatically understand him.  The problem isn’t that Jesus didn’t know He was God.  The problem is that you are not first century Jews.”

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This Week’s Ask Alice: Precisely how does Jesus’ death serve to reconcile mankind with God?



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*** Alice is off this week – Doug is “sitting in” ***

Skeptical Christian asks: Notwithstanding the awesome power of God or the holiness of his divine son, Jesus Christ, can someone please explain precisely by what mechanism the killing of Jesus served to reconcile fallen humanity with God? Thank you.

Doug Lawrence answers: Your question is one that is rarely explained, these days. But the answer is absolutely essential for a proper understanding of the basis of the Judeo-Christian faith tradition, and especially, Catholic Christianity.

On the most basic level, Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice was a divine “do-over”.

Adam, the first man, miserably failed. Having failed, all his natural offspring (without exception) would be consigned to his fate … eternal slavery to Satan, sin, and death … unless and until God personally intervened, to remedy the situation.

But many ask, “Why was it necessary for God to redeem man? Couldn’t God have simply decided to forgive and forget?”

There’s simply no way a just and loving God could go along with such an evil compromise. Besides, with Satan, the “Prince of this world” … totally opposed to God … still in charge on earth … forgiving and forgetting would accomplish absolutely nothing.

Satan would first have to go. 

While Satan’s dominion was all encompassing, it was not without limits. That limit was defined by sin.

Satan held the virtually unrestricted power of death over every sinner. But regarding one with no sin, Satan had absolutely no power at all. 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in his divine humanity, was sinless and totally immune to the powers of hell. Satan had no right to harm the sinless Christ, in any way.

So, the moment Satan and his minions .. the Pagan Romans and the corrupt Jewish Pharisees … put Jesus to death … Satan’s dominion was crushed, everything he gained from Adam’s fall was forfeit, and his (official) power over mankind was at an end.

Once Satan was out of the way, God’s plan for the reconciliation of mankind would proceed, without further delay.

The resurrected Christ … the New Adam … would be crowned the new head of all mankind … King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Satan would have to rely only on stealth and lies for any power he might still have.

Anyone willing to swear allegiance to Jesus Christ would be able to obtain true freedom, along with grace, peace, and forgiveness, from God … typically through baptism, and a lifetime of faithful participation in all the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church.

For much more on this rather complicated subject, click here.

  Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

This Week’s Smoke of Satan: Errors of Modernist Churchmen



In 1972, Pope Paul VI observed,

“From some fissure,
the smoke of Satan
has entered the Temple of God.”

The purpose of this weekly column is to help wake
the bulk of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics
from their self-imposed slumber
and powerfully remind them of who they are,
and what they are called by God, to be.

This week’s story: Jesus Christ Crucified by unknown assailants.

(CNA).- Germany’s Passion Play at Oberammergau – an event which only takes place every 10 years – was recently lauded by New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Rabbi Gary Greenebaum as more balanced and less prone to what has been viewed as anti-Semitic stereotypes in the past.

Both the New York prelate and rabbi watched the play, which runs from May 15 to October 3, last Thursday in the Bavarian village where it has been performed for more than 400 years.

The Passion Play, considered to be one of the most famous in the world, supposedly began in the 1600s to thank God for preventing Oberammergau from undergoing the Black Plague. Held every 10 years, the event is performed by some 2,500 people, around half of the town’s population.

In separate phone interviews, the two religious leaders told the Associated Press (AP) that this year’s performance was more sensitive in avoiding what has been viewed as anti-Jewish stereotypes in past events.

“I have always been sensitive to Jewish concerns that the play could perpetuate the ancient and tragically unjust misunderstanding that the Jews are responsible for the killing of Jesus,” Dolan told the AP.

“But thanks to the courage of the directors, the villagers and the Jewish leaders,” he added, “the script has gradually been renewed.”

Link

Excerpt from the original “script” (known as the Bible):

Matthew 27:11-26  And Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, saying: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus saith to him: Thou sayest it. And when he was accused by the chief priests and ancients, he answered nothing. Then Pilate saith to him: Dost not thou hear how great testimonies they allege against thee? And he answered him to never a word, so that the governor wondered exceedingly.

Now upon the solemn day the governor was accustomed to release to the people one prisoner, whom they would. And he had then a notorious prisoner that was called Barabbas. They therefore being gathered together, Pilate said: Whom will you that I release to You: Barabbas, or Jesus that is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

And as he was sitting in the place of judgment, his wife sent to him, saying: Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. But the chief priests and ancients persuaded the people that they should ask Barabbas and make Jesus away. And the governor answering, said to them: Whether will you of the two to be released unto you? But they said: Barabbas.

Pilate saith to them: What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ? They say all: Let him be crucified.

The governor said to them: Why, what evil hath he done?

But they cried out the more, saying: Let him be crucified.

And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, taking water washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man. Look you to it.

And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and upon our children.

Then he released to them Barabbas: and having scourged Jesus, delivered him unto them to be crucified.

*****

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but should be? Let us know about it!

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“Dispersing the Smoke of Satan”

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Easter mystery: A very public crucifixion, followed by a decidedly low-profile resurrection. Why so?


by Doug Lawrence

The constant Tradition of the Catholic Church, along with the Gospels … make it absolutely clear that Jesus did in fact, rise again (bodily) from the dead … by his own power.

But what never seems to have been sufficiently explained is … after such a public, humiliating, crucifixion and death … why wasn’t any other living soul permitted to observe/witness the resurrection … and why … even after the risen Christ physically appeared, and for 40 days, fully interacted with the apostles (and eventually, some 500 other witnesses) did Jesus decide to forego publicly confronting any of the men who had tortured and killed him?

Here’s a few possible explanations. Feel free to submit your own:

Explanation #1: Hebrews 9:27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment.
Simple enough!

Explanation #2: Jesus came to destroy Satan’s power, to make possible the forgiveness of sins, and to open the gates of Heaven. That accomplished, his mission called for nothing more, so he left all the rest … supported by his Church and fortified by his grace … up to us.

Explanation #3: Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. He came to destroy Satan’s evil dominion of eternal slavery, sin, and death, and he couldn’t have cared less about getting even with the particular group of Jewish and Roman minions who put him to death.

Explanation #4 (my favorite): Jesus did confront the one primarily responsible for his death … and for the death of every other human being who ever lived. That person was Satan, the devil.

Satan … who held the power of death over every sinner, had no power at all over the sinless Jesus. Yet Jesus was put to death, just like nearly every “ordinary” prophet who ever came before him.

That was a big mistake … one for which Satan was subsequently judged … and which cost him everything he had earlier gained from Adam’s fall … including dominion over the whole earth .. and most … but not all … of the power he officially wielded, over men.

The soon to be crucified Jesus confirmed that Satan had already been judged:

John 16:7-11  But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go. For if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you: but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin and of justice and of judgment. Of sin: because they believed not in me. And of justice: because I go to the Father: and you shall see me no longer. And of judgment: because the prince of this world is already judged.

Jesus … the “abused” party … was subsequently awarded total restoration and truly extraordinary “damages”, including (but not limited to) bodily resurrection, divine appointment as the new leader of all mankind (the New Adam), and all power in Heaven, on Earth, and under the Earth.

He was also awarded “us”. Now “we” belong to Christ, and “our” eternal destiny is in his hands. Yet, through him, with him, in him … in the unity of the Holy Spirit … we still remain free.

Explanation #5: Jesus simply took a “longer” view of things. In Matthew 24, Jesus predicts the future destruction of Jerusalem, and he also alludes to other similar types of destruction, to come.

A generation later, just as Jesus predicted, Jerusalem, along with the Temple, was indeed destroyed by the Romans. About 400 years later … after it had been converted to Christianity … the Roman Empire met a similar end … while the Catholic Church remained … picking up the broken fragments of civilization, and eventually rebuilding it, in the image of Heaven.

The greatest institutions of western society attest to this fact, along with some of the finest religious art ever conceived, and some of the most extraordinarily beautiful churches ever constructed, for the glory of God.

Judaism never recovered. The original, centralized, system of laws and priest-directed, sacrificial worship never returned. In its place was a scattered, irregular form of various Talmudic practices … based solely on the religious opinions of certain rabbis and sages. For more on this, see 2nd Timothy, Chapter 3.

The Romans too, are not likely to ever resume their conquests. To this day, Italy, as a nation, has been unable to successfully reconcile any new, aggressive, warlike impulses it might develop, with its apparent manifest destiny as a confirmed, Catholic country.

In short, however he managed to bring it about, Jesus not only accomplished all that he came to do … he also managed to turn “swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4) in some very unusual and unexpected ways.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church remains, both as the “Pillar and Ground of the Truth” (1st Timothy3:15) and the world’s oldest, continuous government, of any kind.

Explanation #6: Jesus did arrange for people to witness both the crucifixion AND the resurrection, through the institution of the Mass and the Holy Eucharist.

In fact, through their participation in the sacred liturgy, every Catholic of every generation has personally seen Jesus … both in death … and in his resurrected glory … made present for us on the holy altar, at Mass.

For almost two thousand years, that amazing event has been happening all around the world, in virtually every country on earth, every day of every year, every hour of every day. (See Malachi 1:11.)

Finally, if none of the above seems to make sense to you, try this:

Isaiah 55:1-13  All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which doth not satisfy you? Hearken diligently to me, and eat that which is good, and your soul shall be delighted in fatness. Incline your ear and come to me: hear and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the faithful mercies of David. Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, for a leader and a master to the Gentiles.

Behold thou shalt call a nation, which thou knewest not: and the nations that knew not thee shall run to thee, because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found: call upon him, while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God: for he is bountiful to forgive.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts. And as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return no more thither, but soak the earth, and water it, and make it to spring, and give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be, which shall go forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it.

For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall sing praise before you, and all the trees of the country shall clap their hands. Instead of the shrub, shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the nettle, shall come up the myrtle tree: and the Lord shall be named for an everlasting sign, that shall not be taken away.

It’s clear. God knows exactly what he is doing, and he will most certainly bring about precisely what he wills, and all that he promises … in his own wonderful way.

Such are the advantages of having unlimited power, omniscience, absolute mastery over time and space, and of course, inestimable love.

The Seven Last Words of Jesus, On the Cross


Jesus died on the Cross to redeem mankind, to save us from our sins, because he loves us.
He was mocked, scorned, and tortured in the praetorium; carried his cross up the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem to Calvary, nailed to the Cross, hung between two common criminals, and suffered an indescribable end.

One may meditate on the Passion of Christ by contemplating his last Seven Words or through the Way of the Cross.

When religious pilgrimages to the Holy Land were prevented by military occupation of Jerusalem, a popular devotion known as the Way of the Cross arose during Lent, fourteen stations retracing the Passion, Crucifixion, Death, and Burial of Jesus.

The Seven Words are the last seven expressions of Jesus on the Cross as recorded in Scripture.

Friday of Holy Week: Jesus is brought before Pilate, scourged and crucified, to death.


GOOD FRIDAY, All through the night Jesus has been locked in the dungeon of the high priest’s house. Early this morning he was bought before a Pilate who transferred his case to Herod. Herod sent him back to Pilate who, sometime in the mid-morning, bowed to the pressure of the Temple leadership and the crowds, and condemned Jesus to a horrible death by crucifixion.

In the late morning Jesus was taken by the soldiers through the city and up the hillside of Golgotha. By noon he is nailed to the cross where he hangs in agony for some three hours. He dies around three in the afternoon. He is taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb hastily before sundown.

Today is a day of prayer, fasting and abstinence. Whenever possible, Christians are urged to keep today free of work, of social engagements, of entertainment, and to devote themselves to communal prayer and worship. At noon many parishes gather for stations of the cross for recollections of the seven last words of Jesus. Many parishes also offer stayions of the cross at 3pm the hour of Jesus death.

In the evening, we gather quietly in our parish Churches to enter into time of prayer as we reflect on Jesus death on the cross. We also pray for the needs of the world. To acknowledge the power of the cross in our lives today, we one by one come forward to venerate the cross with a kiss. Our hunger from this day of fasting is satisfied with Holy Communion distributed at the end of this liturgy.Consider too how the apostles might have gathered that night together in fear and prayer reflecting on all that happened.

John 19:4-42  Pilate therefore went forth again and saith to them: Behold, I bring him forth unto you, that you may know that I find no cause in him. (Jesus therefore came forth, bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment.) And he saith to them: Behold the Man.

When the chief priests, therefore, and the servants had seen him, they cried out, saying: Crucify him, Crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Take him you, and crucify him: for I find no cause in him. The Jews answered him: We have a law; and according to the law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

When Pilate therefore had heard this saying, he feared the more. And he entered into the hall again; and he said to Jesus: Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore saith to him: Speakest thou not to me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power to release thee? Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, he that hath delivered me to thee hath the greater sin.  And from henceforth Pilate sought to release him. But the Jews cried out, saying: If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar’s friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.

Now when Pilate had heard these words, he brought Jesus forth and sat down in the judgment seat, in the place that is called Lithostrotos, and in Hebrew Gabbatha. And it was the parasceve of the pasch, about the sixth hour: and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king. But they cried out: Away with him: Away with him: Crucify him. Pilate saith to them: shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered: We have no king but Caesar. Then therefore he delivered him to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus and led him forth.

And bearing his own cross, he went forth to the place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha. Where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst.

And Pilate wrote a title also: and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city. And it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin.

Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: Write not: The King of the Jews. But that he said: I am the King of the Jews. Pilate answered: What I have written, I have written.

The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said then one to another: Let us not cut it but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the scripture might be fulfilled, saying: They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lots. And the soldiers indeed did these things.

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. Now there was a vessel set there, full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar about hyssop, put it to his mouth. Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost.

Then the Jews (because it was the parasceve), that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day (for that was a great sabbath day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken: and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came: and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side: and immediately there came out blood and water.

And he that saw it hath given testimony: and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true: that you also may believe. For these things were done that the scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of him. And again another scripture saith: They shall look on him whom they pierced.

And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews), besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore and took away the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus also came (he who at the first came to Jesus by night), bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

They took therefore the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now there was in the place where he was crucified a garden: and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus: because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

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Pray the Stations of the Cross

The Seven Last Words of Jesus

Holy Week: Good Friday

58. On this day, when “Christ our passover was sacrificed,”63 the Church meditates on the passion of her Lord and Spouse, adores the cross, commemorates her origin from the side of Christ asleep on the cross, and intercedes for the salvation of the whole world.

59. On this day, in accordance with ancient tradition, the Church does not celebrate the Eucharist: Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful during the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion alone, though it may be brought at any time of the day to the sick who cannot take part in the celebration.64

60. Good Friday is a day of penance to be observed as of obligation in the whole Church, and indeed through abstinence and fasting.65

61. All celebration of the sacraments on this day is strictly prohibited, except for the sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick.66 Funerals are to be celebrated without singing, music, or the tolling of bells.

62. It is recommended that on this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer be celebrated with the participation of the people in the churches (cf. n. 40).

63. The Celebration of the Lord’s Passion is to take place in the afternoon, at about three o’clock. The time will be chosen which seems most appropriate for pastoral reasons in order to allow the people to assemble more easily, for example shortly after midday, or in the late evening, however not later than nine o’clock.67

64. The Order for the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion (the Liturgy of the Word, the adoration of the cross, and Holy Communion), that stems from an ancient tradition of the Church, should be observed faithfully and religiously, and may not be changed by anyone on his own initiative.

65. The priest and ministers proceed to the altar in silence and without any singing. If any words of introduction are to be said, they should be pronounced before the ministers enter.

The priest and ministers make a reverence to the altar prostrating themselves. This act of prostration, which is proper to the rite of the day, should be strictly observed, for it signifies both the abasement of “earthly man,”68 and also the grief and sorrow of the Church.

As the ministers enter the faithful should be standing, and thereafter should kneel in silent prayer.

66. The readings are to be read in their entirety. The responsorial psalm and the chant before the Gospel are to be sung in the usual manner. The narrative of the Lord’s passion according to John is sung or read in the way prescribed for the previous Sunday (cf. n. 33). After the reading of the passion a homily should be given, at the end of which the faithful may be invited to spend a short time in meditation.69

67. The General Intercessions are to follow the wording and form handed down by ancient tradition maintaining the full range of intentions so as to signify clearly the universal effect of the passion of Christ, who hung on the cross for the salvation of the whole world. In case of grave public necessity the local Ordinary may permit or prescribe the adding of special intentions.70

In this event the priest is permitted to select from the prayers of the Missal those more appropriate to local circumstances, in such a way however that the series follows the rule for General Intercessions.71

68. For veneration of the cross, let a cross be used that is of appropriate size and beauty, and let one of the forms for this rite as found in the Roman Missal be followed. The rite should be carried out with the splendor worthy of the mystery of our salvation: both the invitation pronounced at the unveiling of the cross, and the people’s response should be made in song, and a period of respectful silence is to be observed after each act of veneration—the celebrant standing and holding the raised cross.

69. The cross is to be presented to each of the faithful individually for their adoration since the personal adoration of the cross is a most important feature in this celebration; only when necessitated by the large numbers of faithful present should the rite of veneration be made simultaneously by all present.72

Only one cross should be used for the veneration, as this contributes to the full symbolism of the rite. During the veneration of the cross the antiphons, “Reproaches,” and hymns should be sung, so that the history of salvation be commemorated through song.73 Other appropriate songs may also be sung (cf. n. 42).

70. The priest sings the invitation to the Lord’s Prayer which is then sung by all. The sign of peace is not exchanged. The Communion Rite is as described in the Missal.

During the distribution of Communion, Psalm 21 or another suitable song may be sung. When Communion has been distributed the pyx is taken to a place prepared for it outside of the church.

71. After the celebration, the altar is stripped; the cross remains however, with four candles. An appropriate place (for example, the chapel of repose used for reservation of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday) can be prepared within the church, and there the Lord’s cross is placed so that the faithful may venerate and kiss it, and spend some time in meditation.

72. Devotions such as the “Way of the Cross,” processions of the passion, and commemorations of the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary are not, for pastoral reasons, to be neglected. The texts and songs used, however, should be adapted to the spirit of the Liturgy of this day. Such devotions should be assigned to a time of day that makes it quite clear that the Liturgical celebration by its very nature far surpasses them in importance.74 

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The Stations of the Cross

Jesus and the Cross: Incarnation, Crucifixion, Salvation.


by Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Our Lord finished His work, but we have not finished ours. He pointed the way we must follow. He laid down the Cross at the finish, but we must take it up. He finished Redemption in His physical Body, but we have not finished it in His Mystical Body.

He has finished salvation, we have not yet applied it to our souls. He has finished the Temple, but we must live in it. He has finished the model Cross, we must fashion ours to its pattern. He has finished sowing the seed, we must reap the harvest. He has finished filling the chalice, but we have not finished drinking its refreshing draughts. He has planted the wheat field; we must gather it into our barns. He has finished the Sacrifice of Calvary; we must finish the Mass.

The Crucifixion was not meant to be an inspirational drama, but a pattern act on which to model our lives. We are not meant to sit and watch the Cross as something done and ended like the life of Socrates. What was done on Calvary avails for us only in the degree that we repeat it in our own lives.

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