Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

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Misinterpreted Scripture

All of the posts under the "Misinterpreted Scripture" category.

Stained Glass, High Altars, and Scripture: Why We Should Avoid Simplicity In Our Churches

There is a common misunderstanding that exists today in which many believe that Jesus was simple. Many arguments proceed from this belief, such as how our worship should be simpler, or our churches should be bare to better coincide with how simple Jesus was. But, the reality is, Jesus would not approve of this belief. This belief comes from a misunderstanding of who Jesus is, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, and poor catechesis with a lack of comprehension from the Scriptures.

Jesus in the Scriptures

Stained Glass

When it comes to wanting to have a simpler liturgy when it comes to Mass or just general worship, many people use Jesus’ words to the Pharisees as a defense for their position. The truth of the matter is the Pharisees created their own rules outside of the rules that God had laid out for His people. Jesus was never wanting to remove God’s rules:

“Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 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.” Matthew 5:17-18

We need to remember that not all has been fulfilled. But I know what you are thinking. Didn’t Jesus die for our sins, come back from the dead, and ascend into Heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father? Yes. But Jesus also told us that He would Come Again. Jesus has yet to come again, thus not all has been fulfilled.

As a Jew, Jesus would have obeyed the laws of the Old Testament. We know that He was a teacher in the temple, and thus He would have known and followed these laws, as those who did not were forbidden to teach. We observe that the laws of God were obeyed, but the laws of the Pharisees were not. The Pharisees laws were created by them, in order that they may be seen as holier than thou, that is, these laws were unattainable by even the most devout of Jews, and the Pharisees gave the outward appearance of being holy while having an inward disposition of being wicked and corrupt. Thus, Jesus rested and prayed on the Sabbath, but did not necessarily wash before meals.

To further show that Jesus was not simple, we know from Scripture that Jesus was not simply dressed, but finely dressed. When Jesus was crucified we must remember these key passages from the Gospels:

“And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘They divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots’.” Matthew 27:35

“And crucifying him, they divided his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.” Mark 15:24

“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.” John 19:23-24

When the Roman soldiers would crucify their prisoners, they would generally cut apart the clothing of the victim and share it equally among themselves. However, when it came to Jesus’ clothing, they did not cut it, but rather, “rolled the dice” to see who would win it. Most clothing was made of multiple pieces of material, and thus they would rip it apart and just use the scraps for mending or what not. However, with Jesus’ clothing they did not, which means that this was not just “scraps put together” but fine material, expensive material. Why would Jesus, if He was simple, wear expensive clothing? Because He is God and He is our King.

Jesus Christ, Fully God and Fully King

Traditional High Altar

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is a separate person but has the same nature of God. He is fully God, as much so as God the Father and God the Holy Ghost. Three individuals, but one God. Now, a question must be asked: is the Trinity simply explained? The short answer is no. It is a mystery of faith that we can only briefly scrape with our limited intellect. Thus, if we as humans have difficulty understanding who Jesus Christ is in relation to the Trinity, how can we even say that He is simple? Jesus Christ proceeds from the Father, and through His love with the Father, the Holy Spirit proceeds through Them. But they all existed at the same time. We can say sincerely, that God is not simple, but He gives us enough information to allow our intellect to engage in this mystery.

Not only is Jesus Christ our God, but He is also our King. Jesus says so Himself:

“Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.” John 18:37

Our Churches are adorn with beautiful images of our faith, along with gold because our King deserves our best. Before you say that Jesus did not want these nice things, remember, the three kings came to the Nativity with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, all lavish and expensive gifts. Before Jesus’ death, the sorrowful woman anoints Jesus’ feet with perfume that is worth 300 days’ wages. When the woman was admonished by Judas, Jesus rebuked him saying that she had done a good thing.

We must also keep in mind the sacrifices and gifts Cain and Abel gave to God in Genesis 4. Abel, being filled with love for God, gave his absolute best to God. Of his crop, he gave his top ten percent and burned it. Cain on the other hand, was not filled with love for God, and figured he only needed to be simple. So Cain gave his bottom ten percent and burned it. God was pleased with Abel and made it known that Abel had found favor with Him. Cain was upset and killed his brother because Abel was favored.

There is also an example of two kings. One king threw a party and invited the entire kingdom. When the guests arrived, the king took them around his castle and showcased all of his beloved art and ornaments. He shared with them his home and shared everything that he had with them. The ballroom was a magnificent spectacle that would give even the Disney castles some jealousy.

But there was a second king who also threw a party and invited the entire kingdom. However, when the guests arrived, he brought them into a ballroom with bare walls, no decorum, no art, no music, no anything. It was rather drab, or simple. However, because there was nothing else, the king said to his people, “I want you to spend the entire ball looking at me. You are not to dance with one another as that would take the focus off of me.” Now, this is rather a selfish attitude and certainly not the attitude one would expect from a king who is inviting people into his home.

The first king is like Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church, who has beautiful churches laced with golden ornaments and beautiful art, not so that you can’t focus on Him, but rather, you can reflect upon the beauty captured in all of this and meditate on the different aspects of Our Lord’s life. This is why most Catholic churches of the pre-conciliar time are beautiful works of art. The second king is like Jesus Christ in Protestantism. A selfish king who wishes to be the only person on display. This is why most protestant and Catholic churches of the post-conciliar time are drab and plain.

Jesus Christ deserves our absolute best when it comes to liturgy, worship, and even our churches. Our King’s kingdom is not of this world, but rather of Heaven. Jesus Christ Our King deserves the cream of the crop, not just the leftovers of the fruits of our labor. We should not be afraid to house our King in a beautiful church where one is left awestruck because it does not take anything away from Our God, but rather, emphasizes that much more how important and great He is.

Jeff October 23, 2015 1 Comment Permalink

What Does It Mean to “Live the Gospel”?

There appears to be much confusion as to what the Gospel is today. Many Catholics and Christians alike will say that we need to go out and “Live the Gospel”. The thing is, there is no record throughout Catholicism or even in Protestantism about “living the Gospel” until the last hundred years or so.

From what I have noticed, the phrase “Live the Gospel” is a very vague phrase that can be used depending on what the individual person wants to convey with their own interpretation. However, in general, it appears that there are several components to what they want to do by “living the Gospel”. It generally includes helping the poor, giving people what they want (not what they need), being nice to people and affirming them in their sin, not correcting anyone if they are incorrect, and in general just being a “good person”. There is no emphasis on helping people realize their sin and repenting of it, not being a good Catholic, proper worship and reverence and obedience to Christ and His Church and the like.

It is important to understand what proper definitions of words are so that we use them correctly. The Concise Catholic Dictionary of 1943 has several definitions of what the Gospel is:

1. Literally “good news”. A recording of the life and works of Jesus written by an evangelist. 2. Collectively, the writings of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, contained in Sacred Scripture. 3. The reading of an extract from Sacred Scripture, taken from the gospel narrative, which takes place in the ceremonies of the Mass just before the Offertory. There is a second Gospel right after the final blessing of the Mass which is of the feast day or vigils, days of special commemoration, and days in Lent when a feast is celebrated, but usually this second gospel is the first fourteen verses of the Gospel of St. John, first chapter.

If you are to actually look into what the Gospel is, you would understand that the phrase “Live the Gospel” makes logically no sense. After all, the Gospel is literally the “Good News” as noted above. So what is the Good News you ask?

The Good News in its simplicity is that we are all horrendous sinners, worthy of the eternal damnation and punishment of Hell. We are unworthy of the rewards of Heaven. Jesus Christ, being the Son of God, came to forgive all of us so that we may have (a chance of) eternal life. He came so that we may be baptized and washed clean of original sin. He came so that we may repent of our sin and through Him, reconcile ourselves with God. Jesus died on the cross, taking up all of our sin, becoming the sacrificial lamb, so that we can attain Heaven. He died and rose again from the dead to show that when we die, we too will rise again in our glorified bodies to show-off to Satan, that even though he introduced death into the world, that Jesus Christ has conquered death, so that we may have everlasting life.

When you understand properly what the Gospel is, you realize that “living the Gospel” is a modernist heresy introduced to cause confusion among the faithful. “Living the Gospel” as is used today is about reducing Jesus Christ, who came for all the reasons mentioned above, to just a mere man who was a “nice guy” who did “nice things” for “some people”. That is not what He did.

Everything Christ did was for the glory of His Father who art in Heaven. To reduce Jesus to this “nice guy” is an insult to the Holy Trinity.

If we are to truly “live the Gospel” as is properly understood, we are to live the commandments as Jesus taught us, following Him, His bride the Church and making disciples of all nations. This is what living the Gospel is all about. Sharing this Good News, so that others may have the chance at eternal and everlasting life. To withhold this from others, is selfishness.

Jeff March 21, 2014 Leave A Comment Permalink

Misinterpreted Scripture: Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged

Have you ever been having a constructive discussion with someone, whether they be on the opposite side of the political spectrum or even just in disagreement over something relating to Church teaching, and just as you have your partner on the ropes, you hear the famous line, “Jesus said judge not lest ye be judged! Stop judging!”

Its one the most overused and misunderstood of Jesus’ teachings that you will probably find. I say this because this is generally used as a cop out when the debate is being lost and for the most part, most people don’t know how to properly refute this point. The other point I’d like to make, is that, Jesus also says a few things after he says to stop judging as well.

Let’s look at what Jesus actually says:

“Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces. Matthew 7:1-6

“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” And he told them a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye. Luke 6:37-42

Okay, we have a lot to go over. So, let’s begin.

Yes, Jesus tells us that we shouldn’t judge, nor condemn, otherwise, we will be judged and condemned, by Our Heavenly Father. This is something that none of us want, though, we will all face when we do die.

But, in Matthew’s account, Jesus tells us that what we measure will be measured out to us. This means that what we are judging them on, we will then be judged on. For example, if I am judging you out of your anger, but I myself have a temper and am angry, then God will judge me harsher for my anger than He would have been before.

Jesus then tells us that we have a wooden beam in our eye, when we are trying to pick out a splinter in theirs. This makes sense, if the problem we are picking on is a much greater problem in ours, then we can’t make their issue a bigger problem than what it may be (whether or not we are right in our judgment (this excludes pointing out people’s sins if it is going to help them achieve Heaven (as we will see in a minute))).

When Jesus tells us though that we are to pick the wooden beam out of our eye and then we can pick the splinter out of our brother’s eye, this goes to show that Jesus wants you to help pick out the sins in other people’s lives as it is necessary for salvation! (I also want to note that if you are pointing out somebody’s sins and you don’t struggle with those sins, then you are rightly pointing out their faults for the necessity of their spiritual well-being).

Luke’s account is similar, Jesus tells us again, not to judge, and similarly what we measure out for others will in turn be measured out for us.

Where Luke differs is how Jesus mentions how the blind can not lead the blind. If we do not know our faith, we can not teach the faith to others, as we may just put the person in a worse position.

Jesus then tells us, that if the disciple becomes well trained then he will be like his teacher. I’m pretty certain that this is Jesus telling us all, that we have the authority, when we properly understand the faith, to correct others when they fall into falsities.

Luke’s account is closed with the similar removal of beams and splinters, which I mentioned earlier.

In short, yes, you can judge someone’s actions as long as 1. It’s an immoral action or something that isn’t for the well-being (whether physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, etc) of the person. 2. You don’t struggle with it far worse than they do.

If you made it this far, congratulations! You now understand what Jesus meant by judging and you are no longer allowed to misuse this scripture. Remember, Jesus also said to the woman who was about to be stoned, “Go forth, and sin no more.”

Jeff July 16, 2013 2 Comments Permalink

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