Crime, punishment and Jesus

A burglar broke into a house one night. He shined his flashlight around, looking for valuables when a voice in the dark said,
‘Jesus knows you’re here.’

He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off, and froze.

When he heard nothing more , after a bit, he shook his head and continued.

Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard

‘Jesus is watching you.’

Freaked out, he shined his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice.

Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.

‘Did you say that?’ he hissed at the parrot.

‘Yep’, the parrot confessed, then squawked, ‘I’m just trying to warn you that Jesus is watching you.’

The burglar relaxed. ‘Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?’

‘Moses,’ replied the bird.

‘Moses?’ the burglar laughed. ‘What kind of people would name a bird Moses?’

‘The kind of people that would name a Rottweiler Jesus.’

Is everyone who submits to God’s will a Muslim?

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Q:  If Muslims are called to be submissive to God’s will, does that mean that everyone who willingly submits to God’s will is actually a Muslim?

A: The key question should be: By what means can one actually discover and correctly discern the authentic will of God?

Muslims claim that God revealed himself to Mohamed. Hence, Muslims base their understanding of God’s will essentially on their particular interpretations of Mohamed’s Quran.

Jews claim that God revealed himself to them through Abraham, Moses, and other prophets, many of whom the Jews and Muslims revere in common, so the Jewish understanding of God’s will isn’t very far removed from that of the Muslims.

Muslim fundamental beliefs are codified in Sharia Law, which is very similar to what the Jews know as their own Mosaic Law (the Ten Commandments) along with several hundred related statutes and ordinances.

On the other hand, Christians take what was first basically revealed to the Jews and then build upon it, using the authentic teachings and personal revelations of Jesus Christ.

Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of all the original scriptures … the Messiah … the promised savior of the world … making possible the reconciliation of mankind with God … just as God had originally promised … and Jesus died and rose again from the dead to prove that what he claimed was true.

While the Jews and Muslims know only the Old Testament God of wrath, Christians know a God of tender love and gracious forgiveness … resulting exclusively from the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

Anyone who adamantly remains mired in the past fails to get the complete message, and is likely to remain in fear and relative darkness, forever. That is hardly a position from which to properly discern the authentic will of God.

But thanks to Jesus Christ, who is (among other things) the light of the world, Christians know without a doubt that God loves us, that he wants us to know him, to love him, and to serve him, in this world and in the next, and that he (God) will provide everything necessary to make that possible … simply because he loves us … and that he’ll accomplish his will primarily through the good offices and sacraments of the only Church that Jesus Christ ever founded, for the purpose of our salvation.

So … since Muslims and Jews accept only the early, relatively obscure, and essentially incomplete portions of God’s divine revelation, they miss the most important and most fulfilling part of the message … redemption, peace, rest, and gracious pardon from God’s justifiable wrath.

Their world view remains skewed, and their discernment of God’s authentic will, fatally flawed.

Alternatively, faith in Jesus Christ, his teachings, and his Church, provides Christians with all the missing pieces of the puzzle, resulting in grace, rest, freedom from inordinate concerns about divine judgment and wrath, personal peace, and eternal life.

All of this should permit Christians (ideally, at least) to love God and to love their neighbor … which is indeed the express will of God, according to Jesus Christ … who ought to know, because he IS God … and he told us as much, as he went about preaching in first century Palestine … fulfilling all that had been written in the books of the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets.

Even after official USCCB revision, controversy remains over Catholic Catechism, status of the Jews

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“…the Catholic faith is rooted…in the irrevocable covenant made with Abraham…for it is the teaching of both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures that the Jews are beloved of God, who has called them with an irrevocable calling.” This is the covenant that saves Jews and Gentiles, but neither the Jews nor the Gentiles can be a part of it unless they believe as Abraham believed, and today, that means accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, as Scripture says of Abraham and Moses (cf. John 8:56; Heb 11:26; Rom 4:1-4). This was the covenant that divided Jew from Jew, because only those Jews who had a genuine faith-relationship with God and confessed their sins could ever reap the benefits of that covenant (Romans 3:28-4:12). That is why Paul says in Romans 9:6: “For they are not all Israel who are from Israel.” When Christ came, the spiritual side of the Abrahamic covenant became the New Covenant, and Jews and Gentiles are presently being saved in that very covenant (cf. Romans 4:1-24; Gal 3:6-29; Hebrews 10:16-18; 2 Corinthians 3:6-18).

The difference between Abraham’s physical covenant of circumcision and the spiritual covenant of salvation is that all the Jews were part of the former, but only those who believed as God required them to believe were part of the latter.

In the same way, all Jews today who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are part of Abraham’s spiritual covenant, and, of course, those who disbelieve are not members of that covenant, but of the synagogue of Satan, as it were.

The crucial point is: the covenant that is “not revoked” does not apply to ALL Jews. It only applies to believing Jews, Jews who believe in Jesus Christ, the God of Abraham (Galatians 3:29: “And if you belong to Christ then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”).

Practically speaking, most Jews (since they do not believe in Jesus Christ) are not members of Abraham’s spiritual covenant, and they have no other covenant that can bring them to God, for there is only one name under heaven by which men can be saved, namely, Jesus Christ.

So, it would behoove Fr. Massa to stop teaching that the Jews, en masse or at large, have “a” covenant with God, and that because of this unidentified covenant they possess some “real relationship with God” or that they possess some lofty spiritual status with God that Gentiles don’t have. There is no such covenant, for in the only covenant that exists today there is no Jew or Gentile in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:28).

Read the article

Pentecost is the day the Catholic Church officially replaced the old Law in the “economy” of salvation

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Our understanding of the Holy Spirit is limited by our finite human minds and by the revelation of God, but our faith teaches clearly that the Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Holy Trinity, that He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and that He accomplishes His (God’s) will anywhere and at any time, with power and authority that is so awesome, no one and no thing can withstand it.

The early Hebrews understood that God “spoke” all things into existence, as if the Holy Spirit proceeded from the “mouth” of God, accomplishing whatever His supernatural intellect would conceive.  It should be no surprise then, that our first earthly biblical encounter with the Spirit’s power speaks of a mighty wind, “The Breath of God” which formed the young Earth and, among other things, gave life to Adam’s human form.

In the Old Testament Book of Exodus we are treated to a magnificent display of God’s power in the form of a “Pillar of Cloud” by day and a “Pillar of Fire” by night, which was said to “never fail” leading the Israelites out of Egypt, protecting and nurturing the Holy Nation all the way to the Promised Land.

While this “Glory Cloud” figures most prominently and is most clearly and explicitly described during the forty-year period the Israelites spent “Moseying around” (my characterization) in the desert, it is by no means the only time God made use of this extraordinary, supernatural phenomenon to manifest His power and glory in our temporal existence.

Read the whole article (PDF file)

How did the “Assumption of Mary into Heaven theory” come about?

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Q: How did the “Assumption of Mary into Heaven theory” come about?

A: It’s more than a theory. It’s an official dogma of the Catholic Church, and one of only two Ex Cathedra, infallible statements ever proclaimed by the Pope, throughout the history of the Church.

There are a number of valid theological reasons for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as earlier scriptural precedents for it in the apparent bodily “translations” of Enoch, Elijah, and possibly even Moses.

It is known from scripture that Satan spared no effort trying to locate and claim the dead body of Moses, as some sort of a “trophy” … finally being frustrated by the concerted efforts and strong rebuke of Michael the Archangel.

Knowing this, if you were Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, triumphantly returned to Heaven after your successfully completed mission, but knowing full well that Satan, while officially powerless, still remained a dangerous fugitive back on earth, how long would you permit Satan to have his way with your own mother?

Then there’s the traditional explanation:

A number of the apostles witnessed Mary’s apparent death. Her body was placed in a tomb, and several days later, the tomb was found to be empty, her body seemingly replaced by a huge volume of flowers.

Some time later, St. John received the Book of Revelation from Jesus Christ, and John correlated the images and events in the last part of chapter 11 and the first part of chapter 12 with the events surrounding the “dormition” of the Blessed Virgin.

Based on this, the Catholic Church has always understood that God would not allow the sanctified flesh that was used to fashion Christ’s human body to see the corruption of the tomb. And since Mary, by special privilege of God, was necessarily sinless from conception, and further sanctified by some 34 years of dwelling in the immediate presence of Christ himself, there was absolutely no need for Mary to await the resurrection, since according to God’s grace, Mary had absolutely no sin that would warrant divine judgment … or death … for that matter.

The Church authoritatively and dogmatically explains all of this here, much better than I have, complete with extensive citations:

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_x…

But this short excerpt from the above document sums things up pretty well:

40. Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination,(47) immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.(48)

And as St. John explains at the end of his gospel, there was indeed a whole lot of very significant, authentic stuff going on, that never made it into the Bible.

Believe it … or don’t. (Catholics are required to believe it.)

https://douglawrence.wordpress.com/a-shor…

http://www.askmeaboutgod.org/passionfina…

Your views on the Bible?

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Q: Your views on the Bible?

I’m not at all a religious person, but I just want to see your views on the Bible. Do you believe everything in it? Think it’s nonsense? Another thing I want to know is, if they didn’t keep records, how did people write the Bible accurately? 

A: The Bible is the inerrant, written Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and accurately set down by the sacred writers, infallibly expressing precisely what God intended.

Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. The remaining OT books were a product of tradition, and were not set down in writing until around 400 BC.

Recent archaeological discoveries of ancient documents and sites have proved the biblical accounts to be highly reliable, even down to some very precise and minute details.

The one thing that sets the Bible apart from all other writings is the prophecies that are contained within.

And since the OT was written some 1500 to 250 years before Jesus Christ, one has to respect the accuracy of a book that found its’ prophetic fulfillment in one obscure but obviously very special, itinerant Jewish carpenter from the town of Nazareth, with literally hundreds of ancient biblical prophecies being perfectly fulfilled by Christ, during his 34 short years.

Most significant are those that came to pass during the last three days of his human life on earth.

The New Testament of the Bible points out many of these prophetic fulfillments, explains their eternal significance and their practical application, using several different languages and precise detail that has been painstakingly set to writing, confirmed through authentic world history, and faithfully handed down by means of authentic Catholic Church tradition.

The fact that today, we can go back and verify the authenticity of all those fulfilled prophecies also bolsters the Bible’s claim to being divinely inspired.

And since about a third of all Bible prophecies have yet to be fulfilled, dealing with future, end times events and personalities, the “best” is probably yet to come.

I’m not merely cutting and pasting here. I’ve done the research and made all the compilations and comparisons. You can too.

I was also pretty skeptical when I began the work, but I’m not anymore.

Here’s some links to make it easier for you:

https://douglawrence.wordpress.com/the-bi…

http://www.askmeaboutgod.org/passionfina…

http://www.askmeaboutgod.org/passionfina…

http://www.askmeaboutgod.org/passionfina…

http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerus/index…

Are We Christians Still Under the Law, Or Are We Not?

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Q: Are We Christians Still Under the Law, Or Are We Not?

Some claim we are still bound by the original 10 Commandments, while others claim they have been set aside. Where in the new testament does it say that you can just dismiss and forget about all the rules in the old testament?
What’s a person to believe, and why?

A: It’s best to approach these things logically and carefully.

The first question to ask is this: Why would we have even needed a Holy Redeemer, along with a whole New Covenant, if the old one was intended to be permanent (lasting until the end of time) and salvific (capable of getting one into Heaven)?

Then there’s the famous “jot or tittle” passage, beginning with Matthew Chapter 5, verse 17:

Matthew 5:17 Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Matthew 5:18 For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. 

Please note that everything in the above verse is CONDITIONED on Jesus’ statement “TILL ALL BE FULFILLED.”

To say it another way, Jesus didn’t come to destroy anything. He came to fulfill. And once something has been fulfilled, it is typically set aside, while we progress to bigger and hopefully, better things.

But so there would be no mistake as to who Jesus is, and why he was sent, he explained that IF he did not fulfill all things, then we would CERTAINLY be stuck with the curse of the law, until the end of time.

In fact, Jesus confirmed that he had fulfilled all things on several different occasions.

Early in his public ministry

Luk 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other: or he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Luk 16:14 Now the Pharisees, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
Luk 16:15 And he said to them: you are they who justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth your hearts. For that which is high to men is an abomination before God.
Luk 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John. From that time the kingdom of God is preached:and every one useth violence towards it.
Luk 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass than one tittle of the law to fall.

From the Cross, at Calvary: 

Joh 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen.
Joh 19:26 When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son.
Joh 19:27 After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.
Joh 19:28 Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst.

After he rose again from the dead:

Luk 24:44 And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms, concerning me.
Luk 24:45 Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.
Luk 24:46 And he said to them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead, the third day:
Luk 24:47 And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luk 24:48 And you are witnesses of these things.

There’s an interesting correlation with Moses and the Promised Land here, too.

The stated reason for Moses not being able to enter the Promised Land was his impertinence in striking the Rock (from which water flowed) more than once.

In keeping with the spirit of prophecy, and engaging in a little conservative biblical exegesis, it’s quite likely that another reason Moses wasn’t allowed to enter the Promised Land (the Promised Land being a metaphor for Heaven) is because Moses, the Law Giver, couldn’t get anyone into the Promised Land of Heaven, since the Law was never intended to be salvific, in the first place.

It was faithful Joshua, who got to lead the Israelites across the Jordan, which was “stopped up” for that purpose, by the power of God.

Grace, plus faith did it. Not any law.

Same thing today … as typically obtained through baptism into the only Church that Jesus ever founded, for the purpose of our salvation … the Catholic Church. 

Click this link for a complete list of Catholic Church teachings on the matter.