Saturday, July 28, 2012

Interpreting scripture

When we read the bible in this age, we take for granted the fact that we even have an organized book to call a bible. Sometimes when we read it we get the impression that Paul the apostle just went around preaching the gospel as a modern preacher would. The problem with that , is that the bible wasn't put together as a collection called the New Testament until the 4th century. So how did Paul insure that the message he gave them was preserved perfectly? He is very clear on a few things in his letters that we need to account for.

I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you.
-1 Corinthians 11:2 (NABRE)

These traditions are called Liturgy. Right off the bat Paul is telling them not to stray from the things he taught them. Without the New Testament , the church came up with a liturgical service they called The Mass. Every church that Paul writes a letter to, is following this unified tradition, called the liturgy. The early church didn't just make up any old ritual to follow for no reason. This liturgy was what Christ revealed to them on the Road to Emmaus.

And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?”
-Luke 24:30-32 (NABRE)

This was the first post resurrection Mass. The last supper was the institution of the Eucharist. The road to Emmaus is the first after he rose. The Eucharistic liturgy is the tradition that Paul is giving them. If we do any reading about the early church, we find the church Fathers reinforcing this.

Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (the Didache), 9:2; 14:1, circa 90 A.D.:
Regarding the Eucharist ... Let no one eat and drink of your Eucharist but those baptized in the name of the Lord; to this, too, the saying of the Lord is applicable: Do not give to dogs what is sacred.
On the Lord's own day, assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks; but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure. However, no one quarreling with his brother may join your meeting until they are reconciled; your sacrifice must not be defiled. For here we have the saying of the Lord: In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a mighty King, says the Lord; and my name spreads terror among the nations. [Mal 1:11,14].

Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Chapter 6, 110 A.D.:
They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes.

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, 8:1, 110 A.D.:
Let that Eucharist be held valid which is offered by the bishop or by the one to whom the bishop has committed this charge. Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

In the year 110 the church was already being called the Catholic Church. Everywhere in the new testament there are warnings against false doctrine.

Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will turn away from the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demonic instructions through the hypocrisy of liars with branded consciences.
-1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NABRE)

Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the presbyterate (priests) . Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to everyone. Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.
-1 Timothy 4:13-16 (NABRE)

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.
-2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NABRE)

We live in a time where anything goes in Christianity. From health and wealth gospel to hellfire and brimstone. We were left with strict instructions to hold to the things we were taught, by the original 12 apostles.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The human soul

Human Beings
Have lost all sense of good , and evil. They've reserved evil for murderers, rapists, and pedophiles. Everything else is fair game for being heaven bound. Selflessness Is not even an afterthought. Our entire culture has been desensitized to the concept of sin. Sin no longer exists , because for any man to say something is a sin, he automatically is viewed as narrow minded. The belief in God went from being an admirable quality that you would look for in a man or woman, to being something that makes you weak, and naive. The world has decided that having faith means you're afraid of the concept of no longer existing. People have been convinced that it's impossible to know God. And anyone who claims they do know Him, is viewed as a quack. Men are losing their very souls, because they think this life is all that there is. If we don't believe in the afterlife , then there is no reason to do anything other than live it up, without regard to anyone other than yourself, and the few people you actually love. What a selfish scary world we have become. If men continue down this road, and the human spirit is truly killed, what are we worth?
How can men be so intelligent with science, but so oblivious to the concept of having a soul. Somewhere along the line, science decided it didn't want philosophy butting into its business anymore. And we're left with a technologically advanced, meaningless life.