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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