Is not this the carpenter, the (illegitimate) son of Mary…?

by Doug Lawrence

Today’s Gospel reading has a lot going on beneath the surface that most people never realize.

And going out from thence, he went into his own country; and his disciples followed him.

And when the Sabbath was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were in admiration at his doctrine, saying: How came this man by all these things? and what wisdom is this that is given to him, and such mighty works as are wrought by his hands?

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and Jude, and Simon? are not also his sisters here with us? And they were scandalized in regard of him.

And Jesus said to them: A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and in his own house, and among his own kindred.

And he could not do any miracles there, only that he cured a few that were sick, laying his hands upon them.  (Mark 6:1-5)

Jesus had been going around fulfilling all the various Messianic prophecies, and this was not lost on the inhabitants of Nazareth, who had already most certainly heard about it.

Now Jesus arrives back in his home town, compete with disciples, and begins to teach and preach in the synagogue. His teaching was of course, supernaturally impressive.

At first, the men of Nazareth were suitably impressed … but wait a minute … they knew Jesus. They knew his mother. They knew his personal history and his relatives. (A good number of these men likely were also related to Jesus, in some way.)

Wait a minute, they thought … this must be a trick! How could the illegitimate son of Mary be the Messiah of Israel … the one who will banish Herod and the Romans, and restore the Kingdom of Israel to the glory it experienced under David and Solomon?

This Jesus, who we know all too well, has the gall to stand in our presence and declare himself to be the Messiah. This is nothing short of blasphemy. We should kill him!

From this we can also understand that the Blessed Virgin Mary likely had to contend with the scandal of her supposedly illegitimate pregnancy throughout her earthly life. Nor is that surprising, considering the fact that many of today’s Christians also fail to accept the dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

From this short passage we learn of the profoundly distorted Messianic expectations of the Jewish people, who to this day, although remarkably consistent in their rejection of Jesus Christ, have no idea who their promised Messiah will be.

No wonder then, that they eventually handed the real Messiah over to the Romans, to be crucified!

The Gospel of Luke includes a few other pertinent details, as well:

And he came to Nazareth, where he was brought up: and he went into the synagogue, according to his custom, on the sabbath day: and he rose up to read.

And the book of Isaias the prophet was delivered unto him. And as he unfolded the book, he found the place where it was written: The spirit of the Lord is upon me. Wherefore he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the contrite of heart, To preach deliverance to the captives and sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of reward.

And when he had folded the book, he restored it to the minister and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them: This day is fulfilled this scripture in your ears. And all gave testimony to him. And they wondered at the words of grace that proceeded from his mouth.

And they said: Is not this the son of Joseph? And he said to them: Doubtless you will say to me this similitude: Physician, heal thyself. As great things as we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in thy own country. And he said: Amen I say to you that no prophet is accepted in his own country.

In truth I say to You, there were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel, when heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there was a great famine throughout all the earth. And to none of them was Elias sent, but to Sarepta of Sidon, to a widow woman. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet: and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian.

And all they in the synagogue, hearing these things, were filled with anger. And they rose up and thrust him out of the city: and they brought him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them, went his way.   (Luke 4:16-30)

In the above passage from Luke (which we assume is detailing the same event) we have Jesus being even more specific in his Messianic preaching. But when the men demand to see some miracles, Jesus subsequently declines, so they rush him over to a nearby hilltop and attempt to push him off, to his death.

Of course, they fail, since no one … not event the devil himself … has the power or the authority to take the life of the only begotten Son of God … let alone a man who is totally without sin.

While many assume the Jews possessed a solid understanding of the meaning of their own sacred scriptures, history and tradition proves that to be almost totally untrue … since if they did … they would surely have recognized the Son of God … when he personally became one of them … living for a time in an obscure, little town … in first century, Roman occupied Palestine.

More on this here

And here

Advertisements

Loreto: The Holy House miraculously transported by angels to the place prepared for it by God.


Falling between the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe, is the feast of The Holy House of Loreto. Here, then, is Caravaggio’s Madonna of Loreto, an extraordinarily moving painting. Caravaggio painted it in 1604, when he was thirty-three years old.

Read more

Since Bethlehem was St. Joseph’s Home Town, Why Couldn’t the Holy Family Have Stayed With Relatives?


Luke 2:1-7  And it came to pass that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.  This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria.  And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David.  To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn.

Q: Since Bethlehem was St. Joseph’s Home Town, Why Couldn’t the Holy Family Have Stayed With Relatives?

A: The short, simple answer is: They did stay with relatives.

Joseph and Mary were of the House of David. King David’s father Jesse, along with his whole family, were shepherds, who (about 800 years earlier) lived in and around Bethlehem. Their descendants still kept sheep on the rolling plains there, (as many still do.)

Who received the very first angelic notice of the birth of the Messiah? The shepherds … in fields … as they lay … keeping their sheep!

Who were the first to visit the Christ child? The shepherds! And compared to laying out in the exposed fields, the stable (carved out of the side of a nearby, rocky hill) was much warmer and more practical … even if it lacked certain amenities.

God is all about love and family, and it’s just like God to graciously remember these types of things, and to grant certain, special privileges to those he loves, according to his grace … and also in recognition of the merit of those who have gone before, who made a conscious, free will choice to cooperate with God’s grace, and do his will.

What greater privilege and blessing could there be for King David’s people?

Wikipedia has a good explanation of the genealogies of Mary and Joseph, as well as how and why the Blessed Virgin Mary would have married St. Joseph, even though both knew they would never consummate their marriage, in a carnal way. I generally don’t use Wiki as a source, but this explanation appears to be spot-on :

Now compare the 2 genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38, and you’ll discover that Mary and Joseph were both of the tribe of Judah and descendants of David. Joseph descended through Solomon, the royal but cursed line, while Mary’s line was through Solomon’s brother Nathan.

Here’s the tricky part. Mary had no brothers, and so was entitled to inherit her family’s land as long as she married someone also descended from David. Joseph fit the bill and being in the royal line had a claim to the throne, but carried the blood curse. No biological son of his could ever legally qualify as Israel’s king, but Joseph could secure Mary’s right of inheritance.

When Mary accepted Joseph’s offer of marriage she preserved her family’s land and also made good her son’s claim to the throne of Israel. Jesus was in the royal succession through Joseph but escaped the curse since he wasn’t Joseph’s biological son. But He was a biological descendant of David’s through his mother and therefore of the “house and lineage of David.”

This whole issue revolves around the facts that a) God has bound Himself to His own laws and b) He keeps His word; facts that should give you great comfort. God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind (Num. 23:19). Legally, a virgin birth was required to produce a sinless man who would be qualified and able to serve as our Kinsman Redeemer, and God longed to redeem us. A virgin birth was also required to sidestep the blood curse on the royal line, fulfilling God’s promise to David that a biological descendant of his would sit on the throne of Israel forever.

As for explaining the “big picture” … nobody did it quite as succinctly as St. Paul … in Acts of the Apostles 13:16-39:

Then Paul rising up and with his hand bespeaking silence, said: Ye men of Israel and you that fear God, give ear.  The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers and exalted the people when they were sojourners in the land of Egypt: And with an high arm brought them out from thence:  And for the space of forty years endured their manners in the desert: And, destroying seven nations in the land of Chaanan, divided their land among them by lot.

As it were, after four hundred and fifty years. And after these things, he gave unto them judges, until Samuel the prophet.  And after that they desired a king: and God gave them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, forty years.  And when he had removed him, he raised them up David to be king: to whom giving testimony, he said: I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to my own heart, who shall do all my wills.

Of this man’s seed, God, according to his promise, hath raised up to Israel a Saviour Jesus:  John first preaching, before his coming, the baptism of penance to all the people of Israel.  And when John was fulfilling his course, he said: I am not he whom you think me to be. But behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.

Men, brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you fear God: to you the word of this salvation is sent.  For they that inhabited Jerusalem and the rulers thereof, not knowing him, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath, judging him, have fulfilled them.  And finding no cause of death in him, they desired of Pilate that they might kill him.

And when they had fulfilled all things that were written of him, taking him down from the tree, they laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him up from the dead the third day.  Who was seen for many days by them who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who to this present are his witnesses to the people.

And we declare unto you that the promise which was made to our fathers, This same God hath fulfilled to our children, raising up Jesus, as in the second psalm also is written: Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten thee.  And to shew that he raised him up from the dead, not to return now any more to corruption, he said thus: I will give you the holy things of David, faithful.

And therefore, in another place also, he saith: Thou shalt not suffer thy holy one to see corruption. For David, when he had served in his generation, according to the will of God, slept: and was laid unto his fathers and saw corruption. But he whom God hath raised from the dead saw no corruption.

Be it known therefore to you, men, brethren, that through him forgiveness of sins is preached to you: and from all the things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. In him every one that believeth is justified.

If the first Christmas happened today …

Click here to watch the video

New Nazareth excavation site expected to shed light on what Jesus, Mary, Joseph’s home may have been like

NAZARETH, Israel – Days before Christmas, Israeli archaeologists on Monday unveiled what they said were the remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that can be dated back to the time of Jesus — a find that could shed new light on what the hamlet was like during the period the New Testament says Jesus lived there as a boy.

The dwelling and older discoveries of nearby tombs in burial caves suggest that Nazareth was an out-of-the-way hamlet of around 50 houses on a patch of about four acres (1.6 hectares). It was evidently populated by Jews of modest means who kept camouflaged grottos to hide from Roman invaders, said archaeologist Yardena Alexandre, excavations director at the Israel Antiquities Authority,

Based on clay and chalk shards found at the site, the dwelling appeared to house a “simple Jewish family,” Alexandre added, as workers at the site carefully chipped away at mud with small pickaxes to reveal stone walls.

Nazareth holds a cherished place in Christianity. It is the town where Christian tradition says Jesus grew up and where an angel told Mary she would bear the child of God.

“This may well have been a place that Jesus and his contemporaries were familiar with,” Alexandre said. A young Jesus may have played around the house with his cousins and friends, she said. “It’s a logical suggestion.”

Read the article, see the photo

The Anti-Christmas Crowd Has Reason On Their Side, While All We Catholics Have, is God.

The anti-Christmas crowd has reason on their side.

It’s not rational for God, the Supreme Being of the entire universe, to care about the lowly inhabitants of an insignificant planet.

It’s not rational for God to condescend to becoming one of us.

It’s not rational to believe that one person could (at the very same time) be both fully God and fully man.

It’s not rational for God to choose a “putrid backwater” of the ancient world, then known as Roman occupied Palestine and Judea, to be the home of his divine son.

It’s not rational for God to choose a lowly Jewish maiden (the sinless, Virgin Mary) to be the mother of his son.

It’s not rational for God to ask the maiden’s consent.

It’s not rational for God to wait patiently for that consent.

It’s not rational to believe that a woman might conceive a child without benefit of some type of physical sex act or medical procedure.

It’s not rational for humans to believe in angels (or devils).

It’s not rational for a lowly human to even consider being part and party to such an unimaginable, boldly metaphysical, wholly unlikely and totally unparalleled event.

It’s not rational for the here-to-fore unseen, unknowable, ineffable God to expect anyone of sound mind to agree to take part in such a thing.

It’s not rational for the Son of God to be born after the usual nine months of gestation, without loss of the woman’s virginity.

It’s not rational for the Son of God to be born in a stable, because no room was available elsewhere.

It’s not rational for “Kings of the East” to set out on extended pilgrimage based primarily on their limited understanding of ancient and obscure Hebrew prophecy.

It’s not rational to believe that the same Kings were guided to their destination by the appearance of a mysterious, dedicated, still unexplained and unidentified heavenly light (star).

It’s not rational for the Son of God to have to flee the country of his birth in order to foil an assassination attempt on his person, by an earthly king.

It’s not rational for the Son of God to be raised by a decidedly “middle-class” foster-father, in an indistinct and virtually unknown little town called Nazareth, and to eventually become a carpenter.

It’s not rational for a married couple to voluntarily and permanently fore-go sexual relations with each other.

It’s not rational to believe in Scripture/Bible prophecy.

It’s not rational to believe that one man could, during the course of his short, thirty-three years of earthly existence, perfectly fulfill all of the hundreds of Bible prophecies that were written about him.

It’s not rational to believe that the atoning death of the Son of God at the hands of sinful mankind, could somehow ultimately result in the successful reconciliation of mankind with God.

It’s not rational to believe that God so loved the world, that he gave us his only begotten Son: that whoever believes in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

It’s not rational to believe that it is possible for a man to raise himself up again from the dead.

It’s not rational to believe that, having risen, that same man could give us his glorified flesh and blood to eat, as true food and true drink, and as the antidote to eternal death and hell.

It’s not rational to believe that a little group of eleven apostles and a few hundred disciples could establish one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church that would eventually convert the pagan Roman Emperor, then the entire Roman Empire, and one day, go on to encompass most of the known world.

It is not rational to believe that having reconciled the world to God by his life, death and resurrection, that Jesus Christ will one day return to judge the living and the dead, and that his kingdom will have no end.

It may not be rational, but the bulk of the above events have already occurred and passed into history, while our Christian faith informs us that the last will also truly come to pass, in God’s good time.

Merry Christmas!

More on this here

What exactly do you think Jesus got up to during those 30+ years for which there’s no scripture?

Q: What exactly do you think Jesus got up to during those 30+ years for which there’s no scripture?

A: Jesus was simply waiting for “the fullness of time” to arrive, so he could begin his public ministry.

Nazareth was also the last place the forces of evil would have looked for him, since no prophecies were written about the place.

John 1:46 And Nathanael said to him: Can any thing of good come from Nazareth? Philip saith to him: Come and see.

Photo courtesy Bob & Fran B.