Word of God, Teachings of God, Someone to faithfully keep the true meaning


Today, this morning, Father Corapi gave the EWTN homily, and oh, what a catechisis it was.  It reminded me of something we Cathoics always fight with non-Catholics about-Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, Magisterium.

All Christians know that the Bible is what was written down about God, inspired by the Holy Spirit.  We might quibble about a few books, but in general we agree of the canon of scripture.  John 1:1 tells us “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God…”  Everything in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, speaks of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  That’s what John 1:1 tells us.

Now, Protestants tend to try to get us on those traditions of men, but that’s not what we’re talking about when we refer to Sacred Tradition.  Returning to John, chapter 21:25 tells us that “There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written. ” Catholics believe Jesus when he says things like “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”  (When Jesus says “Amen, amen…” it means he’s speaking directly here.  He doesn’t say that when he sets up a parable.), and we believe John when he tells us that there was so much more that Jesus did that could not be contained in all the books in the world.  And thus, people have been writing about his works for 2000 years.  But what the apostles, and their descendents, the bishops wrote about Jesus, is what we call Sacred Tradition.  It does not refer to discipline, such as abstinence from meat during Fridays of Lent.  Sacred Tradition answers the question from an intimate perspective “What would Jesus do?”  Then answers are intimate because they came from those who knew Him.

Then there’s the Magisterium.  Jesus promised, in Acts and the Gospel of John, to send the Holy Spirit to watch over His Church.  We know that every successor of the apostles (the bishops, in communion with the Bishop of Rome, starting with Peter) is protected from teaching error by the Holy Spirit, and the proof is in the Popes.  No pope has ever taught a heresy or incorrect teaching.  It has never been done, and can never be done.  Bishops are capable of fallibility, but as a group, they are also protected by the Holy Spirit.

So there’s Father Corapi’s homily this morning in a nutshell.  You can listen to him at length at http://www.ewtn.com/podcast/index.asp and click on Homilies for Thursday.  It’ll only be there a week, get it while it’s hot.  Also, he was on EWTN Live last night-on the same link you can download the audio.

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7 thoughts on “Word of God, Teachings of God, Someone to faithfully keep the true meaning

  1. I am a troubled protestant. It seems to me both Protestants and Catholics are screwed for a couple obvious reasons. 1) Jesus clearly said that “flesh and blood” did not reveal to Peter that Jesus was the Son of God. OK–What about books? It seems to me books are written by flesh and blood humans, not gods. So whatever Peter’s revelation was, it was not via flesh or blood or the books they write either [So having a Pope could make sense] 2) What do we do with all the extraneous books? Burn them according to some kind of rules or rulers?

    ON THE POINT, MENTIONED ABOVE, REGARDING EATING JESUS’S FLESH, I SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING:

    Who is right on this issue depends TOTALLY on WHEN Jesus spoke LITERALLY and WHEN He spoke INTERPRETIVELY. IF the reader stops reading after verse 59, you conclude Jesus was speaking LITERALLY. Hence your Catholic view is right.

    IF you keep on reading further, you will become a Protestant. The critical verse that changes EVERYTHING is verse 63!!!! And finally verse 68 CEMENTS the true understanding into solid rock.

    How can this be? Easy! Jesus characteristically began every teaching with concrete, literal verbal stories THAT SOONER OR LATER HE CHANGED to non-literal “secrets” that only those with opened minds (opened by God) could interpret correctly. Don’t fear, friend, Jesus’ “secrets” don’t require any magic or incantations or fasting in order to understand them. His “secrets” are so easy, even children can figure them out–but only if they are willing and not ruined by satan’s teachings–which Jesus called “bad leavening” versus His own teachings–the good “leavening”.

    For an example of this, Jesus talks about the Pharisees proselytizing a child into Judaism and making that child twice the child of hell that those teacher/Pharisees were. Think about it! How can there be anyone converted into twice the child of hell? (Matt 23:15)

    Jesus almost always spoke in “secrets” and “parables”–so much so that His followers were often very frustrated with Him. They wanted Him to speak plainly to them so bad. Just like we do. We simpletons wish he would just tell it plain!

    But He refused to do it.

    John 6:53-69 (English Standard Version)
    53So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread[a] the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

    The Words of Eternal Life
    60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

    63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

    64But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
    66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”

    68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,

    69and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

    Finally, what cooks my goose is this: Why would God EVER write His words IN BOOKS when illiteracy was rampant? And why would God ever trust his Words to any Pope or Patriarch? Corruption is totally universal, ever present, and everywhere. It’s the Human Condition!

    Martin Luther, an honest Catholic, as well as hundreds of others before and after him, admitted the Church of Jesus had many corruptions in it. How can this be? It should not be possible. Yet it was….

    That must be why Jesus forbid His disciples having ANY intermediaries between Himself and His disciples. Need proof of this? Consult Matt 23:8-11.

    8″But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11The greatest among you will be your servant.

    See what I mean? No Rabbis, no Masters, no Teachers!!! Do you know what that must mean? It can only mean that it’s all of His Brothers (and sisters, too) ALL OF US WHO BELIEVE IN JESUS LIVING IN A DEMOCRATIC CHURCH WHERE EVERYONE IS EQUAL. CATHOLICS, PROTESTANTS, ORTHODOX, BARBARIANS, JEWISH CHRISTIANS–EVERYONE OF US ARE SUPPOSED TO BE UNITED IN ONE BODY OF CHRIST.

    But look what has happened–we are split all over the place and even warring with each other. This is so wrong, I don’t know what to say.

  2. I agree that protestant people and Catholic people are screwed up. That’s why we follow Jesus. But Jesus appointed a man, a sinner, to lead the Church after his death. Jesus said he would build his Church on the Rock of Peter (even though he knew Peter would deny him 3 times). He also told them that he would send his Holy Spirit to guide Peter and protect the Church through the ages. The Holy Spirit protected the words that were written after. But you raise an interesting point. Jesus told his disciples to go and preach, not to go and write. For many years, that’s what they did. But after a while, they wrote to preserve and spread the word. Regarding the extraneous books (I assume you’re speaking of the Gospel of Thomas, et al), no, don’t burn them, read them with understanding. Know where they come from and what they teach. This requires some education in the faith, because if you don’t know your faith, you might take some of these too seriously, or gather the wrong message. This is why we Catholics have a Magisterium, to guide us to the true meaning of the scriptures and other writings. The Magisterium is protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching error.

    Regarding the Bread of Life, John 6:53 and following, when Jesus says “Truly, truly I say to you…” or “Amen, amen I say to you”, it always means that this was a literal point. Other translations relate this as “Listen, I’m telling the truth…”. So whatever Jesus says after these words is to be taken literally. This was taught among Christians for the first 1500 years of the Church. Verses 60-71- These verses refer more to themes of John 6:35-50 than to those of John 6:51-58 and seem to be addressed to members of the Johannine community who found it difficult to accept the high christology reflected in the bread of life discourse. But still, when his followers chose to leave after Jesus said you must eat my flesh, had they been confused as to the meaning, he could have corrected them, but he didn’t.

    At any rate, yes, people on earth are flawed. Jesus chose twelve men to be his representatives. All of them were sinners. One denied him, and repented, one betrayed him, and didn’t repent. James and John had delusions of grandeur. But our Church is holy because of Jesus, not because of Peter. Peter is the representative, the vicar, of Christ, not the head. Remember also, Jesus said to James and John that the first would be last, and the last would be first. Peter, being head of the Church, would be the ultimate servant of the rest of the apostles, and every pope since was to be the same.

  3. I would think that Jesus’s forbidding his disciples to consult with Rabbis, ‘Masters’, and Teachers would include any other named sub-body such as a Magisterium! That’s my main point. He was belaboring His point about He being the only level above His disciples. And that’s the beauty of America democracy (original early form)!

    Instead of Lords and Kings, our founding fathers wanted “We the People” to rule over themselves. The credit for this concept belongs to Jesus our one and only Lord. Let there be nothing between Jesus, God’s Son, and the Spirit of Jesus.

    Where Protestants go so wrong, except for the Congregationalists, is most denominations want just a little bit less organizational overhead than Catholics instead of none at all! Protestants, like Catholics, ALSO like to have educated sub-bodies of elitists to rule over them in order to keep the ‘true’ doctrines of Jesus the same as ‘handed down’.

    Why is this distinction critical? In order to ‘get Jesus’, we have to realize the extent to which He was demolishing hierarchies. That why He taught a lesson about the Kings of the Gentiles, LORDING IT OVER THEIR SUBJECTS. There were not suposed to be any subjects at all in the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’.

    I know–it’s mind boggling–that Jesus would demolish ALL earthly kingdoms and set up His own Universal so-called ‘Kingdom’ in its place. A pseudo kingdom wherein all of mankind are on the same level–yet different in terms of what each gives to His Body.

    I know this is so hard to swallow if you were unfortunate enough to be steeped in hierarchical thinking from birth on up. But that’s what Jesus tried to teach us. We don’t NEED any other humans lording it over us in any way. that’s the beauty of America. At least, in the beginning.

    The next concept that is needed in order to build the New World Order, according to Jesus, is this: Anyone who has a ‘superior’ gift must make himself inferior just like Jesus did! Jesus INVERTED the univerally elitist hierarchies of EARTH and turned our heads upside down.

    So, instead of a king being SERVED by his underlings, the KING gets on His knees and SERVES the servants! Unless, this concept is fully understood, one cannot ‘get Jesus’.

    So how would this play out in the real world? Anyone who has a superior gift belongs to the people in the sense that the people own him. So, no GOLD crowns on this super person’s head. NO VAIN GLORIOUS HIERARCHICAL DISPLAYS OF PAGENTRY. NO! The GREATEST person of all and anyone who wishes to be great like Him wears plain clothes. and lives in plain places. and does the real work of serving the servants.

    Paul said Let each one consider others more worthy than himself. IOW, real Jesus followers, who ‘get Jesus’ look at everyone else as if they were Jesus, while the person himself thinks of himself as their servant. No vainglory, no prestige, no honor, no gold, no fancy clothes, just the plain clothes of a servant.

    When I hear a protestant preacher of the Word say that people should treat God’s House special, I cringe!!! God’s house is the human body and brain. There shall be no man made temples every since Jesus overturned the world. But this is not the case is it?

    So, I am screwed becauses manmade religious objects are all over the place, distracting Jesus’s followers from doing their real service–doing God’s will.

    The sheer number of substitutions of man’s ideas and objects boggle my mind. We have made it practially impossible to ‘get Jesus’.

    Finally, let me ask one off-handed question: Darth Vader was emperor of the dark side of the force. What if he suddenly ‘got saved’ and worked ‘up the hierarchy’ to the top? What would Jesus’s religion look like, after a while? Darth Vader would so morph it, that it would unreconizable. And that’s what we have, isn’t it?

    Please visit http://pooryouhavewithyoualways.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/hello-world/

  4. Speaking of Matt 23:9, “call no man father”, we know, does not apply to one’s biological father. It also doesn’t exclude calling one’s ancestors “father,” as is shown in Acts 7:2, where Stephen refers to “our father Abraham,” or in Romans 9:10, where Paul speaks of “our father Isaac.” Also, there are numerous examples in the New Testament of calling people father who were not biologically related. But a careful reading of the section in Matthew shows clearly that Jesus wasn’t speaking literally. The whole passage reads, “But you are not to be called ‘rabbi,’ for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called ‘masters,’ for you have one master, the Christ” (Matt. 23:8–10). See, although Jesus seems to be prohibiting the use of the term teacher, in Matt 28:19-20, Jesus tells his disciples to go out and…teach (making them teachers). Paul says “For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle . . . a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” (1 Tim. 2:7); “For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher” (2 Tim. 1:11). He also reminds us that the Church has an office of teacher: “God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers” (1 Cor. 12:28); and “his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:11). You’re probably also familiar with the terms “doctor” and “mister”. Doctor is Latin for teacher, and mister is a form of the word master. So what did Jesus mean? Proper context, go back a bit to Matt 23:6-7 – Jesus criticized Jewish leaders who love “the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called ‘rabbi’ by men” (Matt. 23:6–7). His admonition here is a response to the Pharisees’ proud hearts and their grasping after marks of status and prestige.

    You then move down to speak of Jesus turning the new order upside down. This is exactly right. The Pope is the Servant of the Servants of God. Who are the Servants of God? All of us, supposed to be. And the Pope is our servant. Remember “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” This is totally unlike our current American government where the president and congress no longer serve us. This is true to a lesser degree for all our bishops and priests. They are there for the faithful. They have given their life to serve, to be the good shepherd to us sheep. A priest wears consecrated robes to perform the holy sacrifice of the Mass, using sacred vessels, and special things, this is all for God’s glory, not the man’s. When I attend mass every day, I get very close to heaven. Where did Jesus say we couldn’t make sacred places to worship him? The Catholic Church is no man-made religion, my friend. It is Jesus-made. Matt 16:18-20, Jesus said he would create his church (not churches, plural). One Church that would last until the end of the age when he comes again. He said that nothing would ever destroy it. The Catholic Church is the only church that has been there from the beginning. Your analogy of Darth Vader has no validity. Jesus said he would send his Holy Spirit to protect his Church, which he did that first Pentecost. There have been wicked, vile men who have been popes. There have been popes that made huge mistakes. But Jesus promised that his Church would be true, protected from error by the Holy Spirit. So the teachings and meanings would never be perverted. So never can a pope ever teach error to his faithful, and never can the Magisterium (which is the Bishops in full communion with the Pope) change something. So if Darth Vader got saved, he’d be, no longer, the emperor of the dark side. (In fact, he repented of his evil just before his death)

  5. One trouble we have in common is the problem of DISUNITY, as illustrated below. (Yet, we do have some unity because we all believe in Jesus as our Saviour and Lord)

    Roman Catholic’s and Orthodox should cast no stones at the religious division of Protestants, since there are 22 Roman Catholic denominations and 25 Orthodox denominations compared to 27 Protestant denominations.

    There are 22 ROMAN CATHOLIC subgroups (sects/denominations) (Table 1-5)

    Armenian (Eastern-rite Catholic)
    Bulgarian (Byzantine rite)
    Byzantine-rite (jurisdiction for more than one ethnic group)
    Chaldean (Eastern Syrian rile)
    Coptic (Alexandrian rite)
    Ethmpic, Alexandrian rite)
    Greek (Byzantine rite)
    Hungarian (Byzantine rite)
    Italo-Albanian (Byzantine rile)
    Jurisdiction for both Latin-rite and Eastern-rite Catholics
    Latin-roe Catholic
    Malankara (Syro-Antiochian Eastern Syrian), Syro-Malankarese
    Maronite (Syro-Antiochian, Western Syrian)
    Melkite (Byzantine, Greek Catholic; Arabic-speaking)
    Oriental (Jurisdiction for several Eastern rites)
    Ian Byzantine rite
    Russian (Byzantine rite)
    Ruthenian (Byzantine rite)
    Slovak (Byzantine rite)
    Syro-Malabarese (Eastern Syrian)
    Syrian, Syriac-speaking (Syro-Antiochian West Syrian)
    Ukrainian Byzantine rite

    There are 25 ORTHODOX subgroups (sects/denominations) (Table 1-5)

    Armenian (Eastern-rite Catholic)
    Bulgarian (Byzantine rite)
    Byzantine-rite (jurisdiction for more than one ethnic group)
    Chaldean (Eastern Syrian rile)
    Coptic (Alexandrian rite)
    Ethmpic, Alexandrian rite)
    Greek (Byzantine rite)
    Hungarian (Byzantine rite)
    Italo-Albanian (Byzantine rile)
    Jurisdiction for both Latin-rite and Eastern-rite Catholics
    Latin-roe Catholic
    Malankara (Syro-Antiochian Eastern Syrian), Syro-Malankarese
    Maronite (Syro-Antiochian, Western Syrian)
    Melkite (Byzantine, Greek Catholic; Arabic-speaking)
    Oriental (Jurisdiction for several Eastern rites)
    Ian Byzantine rite
    Russian (Byzantine rite)
    Ruthenian (Byzantine rite)
    Slovak (Byzantine rite)
    Syro-Malabarese (Eastern Syrian)
    Syrian, Syriac-speaking (Syro-Antiochian West Syrian)
    Ukrainian Byzantine rite

    There are 27 PROTESTANT subgroups (sects/denominations) (Table 1-5)

    Adventist
    Baptist
    Christian Brethren (Plymouth Brethren; Open only)
    Congregational Congregationalist
    Disciple, Restorationist, Restorationist, Baptist, Christian
    Dunker (Tunker) Dipper, German Baptist, Brethren
    Exclusive Brethren (Plymouth Brethren, Closed, Strict)
    Anglican Evangelical, independent Evangelical
    Fundamentalist
    Holiness (Conservative, Methodist, Wesleyan, Free Methodist)
    Lutheran/Reformed united church or joint mission
    Lutheran
    Mennonite Anabaptist-(Left Wing or Radical Reformation)
    Methodist (mainline Methodist United Methodist)
    Moravian (Continental Pietist)
    Nondenominational (no church or antichurch groups)
    Oneness-Pentecostal or Unitarian Pentecostal; Jesus Only
    Baptistic-Pentecostal or Keswick-Pentecostal
    Holiness-Pentecostal: 3-crisis-experience
    Apostolic or Pentecostal Apostolic (living apostles)
    Pentecostal (Protestant Classical Pentecostal)
    Friends (Quaker)
    Reformed Presbyterian
    Salvationist (Salvation Army)
    United church (union of bodies of different traditions)
    Waldensian community church or union congregation

    Perhaps we should not be so dismayed–have you heard of the principle of DIVIDE AND CONQUER? If we divide up over slight differences because that is what it takes to motivate us to get busy and work for the Kingdom, and it grows–maybe, as long as we don’t just steal each others fishes, maybe then the overall Body of Christ will grow until it fills the whole world.

    Keep on Truckin’ Brotha!

  6. I incorrectly cut and pasted the middle block above: here is the correct data:

    There are 25 ORTHODOX subgroups (sects/denominations) (Table 1-5)

    Albanian / Greek-speaking (Orthodox)
    Arabic or Arabic / Greek-speaking Orthodox
    Armenian Orthodox (Gregorian)
    Bulgarian Orthodox
    Byelorussian / Belorussian (While Russian / White Ruthenian)
    Coptic Orthodox
    Czech / Slavonic-speaking Orthodox
    Estonian Orthodox
    Ethiopic, Ethiopian Orthodox, GoOez-speaking
    Finnish / Slavonic-Speaking Orthodox
    Georgian Orthodox
    Greek Orthodox
    Hungarian / Slavonic-speaking Orthodox
    Latvian Orthodox
    Macedonian Orthodox
    Moldavian Orthodox
    Assyrian or Nestoran (East Syrian, Messihaye (Christians)
    Polish/Slavonic-speaking Orthodox
    Romanian Orthodox
    Russian Orthodox
    Serbian Orthodox
    Slovak Orthodox
    Syro-Malabarese (Eastern-Syrian), Syriac/Malayalam-speaking
    Syrian, Syriac-speaking Orthodox or Syro-Antiochian
    Ukrainian Orthodox

  7. Actually, there are no denominations in the Catholic Church. There are different traditions called “rites”. Each of these rites is essentially the same: the same seven sacraments, the same ministerial priesthood (deacon, priest, bishop), the same centrality of the Eucharist, the same field of Grace. Each differs in administration and hence each is different from, yet the same as, the other. For example, each State of the United States of America different from, yet the same as the USA. Catholic, in this sense then, would be to the USA as each State would be to a particular Catholic jurisdiction. Each rite respects Scripture and Tradition.
    On the Protestant side of things you have more than 35,000 different denominations, each with it’s own beliefs. Yes, several churches in a town may call themselves Southern Baptist, but you can get different theology at each. The 1999 Encyclopedia of Christianity has this to say: “In 1985 David Barrett could count 22,150 distinct denominations worldwide.” (edited by E. Fahlbusch, et al., Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999, vol. 1, p. 800, s.v. “Denomination”). The definition Barrett worked with was that a denomination was “an organized Christian Church or tradition or religious group or community of believers or aggregate of worship centers or congregations, usually within a specific country, whose component congregations and members are called by the same name in different areas, regarding themselves as an autonomous Christian church distinct from other denominations, churches and traditions.” http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a106.htm
    Why should we not be dismayed? Jesus said that “Upon this rock (Peter) I will build my church.” One Church. And then he says “The gates of hell will not prevail against it . I’m not disparaging Protestants-they have most of the truth. God bless them. They’re all missing or diluting some of the truth, though. The Catholic Church is the keeper of that truth. Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom, remember? It’s funny, though, that some Protestants will say that Catholics aren’t Christian, isn’t it??

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