Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Free Video: Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

Download video and PDF outline here.

I cannot recommend presentations by Dr. Pitre enough. If you enjoy this and want to hear more, go to the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and take advantage of the free audio presentations available. Dr. Pitre is featured in several of them. If you do not enjoy this, go there and listen to more anyway.

More resources featuring Dr. Pitre are found Here

Dr. Brant Pitre is a Professor of Sacred Scripture at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. He received his Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, where he specialized in study of the New Testament and ancient Judaism.

In this presentation, you will explore the Eucharist as the New Passover, the New Manna from Heaven, and the mysterious New ‘Bread of the Presence.’ If you are looking to deepen your faith in and understanding of the inexhaustible treasure that is the Eucharist, then this talk is for you.

In this exciting talk, Dr. Pitre shines the light of the Old Testament and ancient Judaism on the words and deeds of Jesus to reveal the amazingly Jewish roots of the Eucharist. Using his in-depth knowledge of Jewish messianic expectations, Dr. Pitre shows how the hope for a New Exodus and the coming of the Messiah proves that Jesus really did intend to give us the Eucharist, and it is nothing less than the gift of Himself, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

St. Andrew the Apostle

Today, November, 30th is the feast day of St. Andrew.

From one of Pope Benedict XVI's Wednesday audiences found Here:

The first striking characteristic of Andrew is his name:  it is not Hebrew, as might have been expected, but Greek, indicative of a certain cultural openness in his family that cannot be ignored. We are in Galilee, where the Greek language and culture are quite present. Andrew comes second in the list of the Twelve, as in Matthew (10: 1-4) and in Luke (6: 13-16); or fourth, as in Mark (3: 13-18) and in the Acts (1: 13-14). In any case, he certainly enjoyed great prestige within the early Christian communities.
The kinship between Peter and Andrew, as well as the joint call that Jesus addressed to them, are explicitly mentioned in the Gospels. We read:  "As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men'" (Mt 4: 18-19; Mk 1: 16-17).
From the Fourth Gospel we know another important detail:  Andrew had previously been a disciple of John the Baptist:  and this shows us that he was a man who was searching, who shared in Israel's hope, who wanted to know better the word of the Lord, the presence of the Lord.

He was truly a man of faith and hope; and one day he heard John the Baptist proclaiming Jesus as:  "the Lamb of God" (Jn 1: 36); so he was stirred, and with another unnamed disciple followed Jesus, the one whom John had called "the Lamb of God". The Evangelist says that "they saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day..." (Jn 1: 37-39).
Thus, Andrew enjoyed precious moments of intimacy with Jesus. The account continues with one important annotation:  "One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah' (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus" (Jn 1: 40-43), straightaway showing an unusual apostolic spirit.
Andrew, then, was the first of the Apostles to be called to follow Jesus. Exactly for this reason the liturgy of the Byzantine Church honours him with the nickname:  "Protokletos", [protoclete] which means, precisely, "the first called".
And it is certain that it is partly because of the family tie between Peter and Andrew that the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople feel one another in a special way to be Sister Churches. To emphasize this relationship, my Predecessor Pope Paul VI, in 1964, returned the important relic of St Andrew, which until then had been kept in the Vatican Basilica, to the Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop of the city of Patras in Greece, where tradition has it that the Apostle was crucified.

The Gospel traditions mention Andrew's name in particular on another three occasions that tell us something more about this man. The first is that of the multiplication of the loaves in Galilee. On that occasion, it was Andrew who pointed out to Jesus the presence of a young boy who had with him five barley loaves and two fish:  not much, he remarked, for the multitudes who had gathered in that place (cf. Jn 6: 8-9).
In this case, it is worth highlighting Andrew's realism. He noticed the boy, that is, he had already asked the question:  "but what good is that for so many?" (ibid.), and recognized the insufficiency of his minimal resources. Jesus, however, knew how to make them sufficient for the multitude of people who had come to hear him.
The second occasion was at Jerusalem. As he left the city, a disciple drew Jesus' attention to the sight of the massive walls that supported the Temple. The Teacher's response was surprising:  he said that of those walls not one stone would be left upon another. Then Andrew, together with Peter, James and John, questioned him:  "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign when these things are all to be accomplished?" (Mk 13: 1-4).
In answer to this question Jesus gave an important discourse on the destruction of Jerusalem and on the end of the world, in which he asked his disciples to be wise in interpreting the signs of the times and to be constantly on their guard.
From this event we can deduce that we should not be afraid to ask Jesus questions but at the same time that we must be ready to accept even the surprising and difficult teachings that he offers us.
Lastly, a third initiative of Andrew is recorded in the Gospels:  the scene is still Jerusalem, shortly before the Passion. For the Feast of the Passover, John recounts, some Greeks had come to the city, probably proselytes or God-fearing men who had come up to worship the God of Israel at the Passover Feast. Andrew and Philip, the two Apostles with Greek names, served as interpreters and mediators of this small group of Greeks with Jesus.
The Lord's answer to their question - as so often in John's Gospel - appears enigmatic, but precisely in this way proves full of meaning. Jesus said to the two disciples and, through them, to the Greek world:  "The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. I solemnly assure you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit" (12: 23-24).

Jesus wants to say:  Yes, my meeting with the Greeks will take place, but not as a simple, brief conversation between myself and a few others, motivated above all by curiosity. The hour of my glorification will come with my death, which can be compared with the falling into the earth of a grain of wheat. My death on the Cross will bring forth great fruitfulness:  in the Resurrection the "dead grain of wheat" - a symbol of myself crucified - will become the bread of life for the world; it will be a light for the peoples and cultures.
Yes, the encounter with the Greek soul, with the Greek world, will be achieved in that profundity to which the grain of wheat refers, which attracts to itself the forces of heaven and earth and becomes bread.
In other words, Jesus was prophesying about the Church of the Greeks, the Church of the pagans, the Church of the world, as a fruit of his Pasch.
Some very ancient traditions not only see Andrew, who communicated these words to the Greeks, as the interpreter of some Greeks at the meeting with Jesus recalled here, but consider him the Apostle to the Greeks in the years subsequent to Pentecost. They enable us to know that for the rest of his life he was the preacher and interpreter of Jesus for the Greek world.
Peter, his brother, travelled from Jerusalem through Antioch and reached Rome to exercise his universal mission; Andrew, instead, was the Apostle of the Greek world. So it is that in life and in death they appear as true brothers - a brotherhood that is symbolically expressed in the special reciprocal relations of the See of Rome and of Constantinople, which are truly Sister Churches.

A later tradition, as has been mentioned, tells of Andrew's death at Patras, where he too suffered the torture of crucifixion. At that supreme moment, however, like his brother Peter, he asked to be nailed to a cross different from the Cross of Jesus. In his case it was a diagonal or X-shaped cross, which has thus come to be known as "St Andrew's cross".
This is what the Apostle is claimed to have said on that occasion, according to an ancient story (which dates back to the beginning of the sixth century), entitled The Passion of Andrew: 
"Hail, O Cross, inaugurated by the Body of Christ and adorned with his limbs as though they were precious pearls. Before the Lord mounted you, you inspired an earthly fear. Now, instead, endowed with heavenly love, you are accepted as a gift.
"Believers know of the great joy that you possess, and of the multitude of gifts you have prepared. I come to you, therefore, confident and joyful, so that you too may receive me exultant as a disciple of the One who was hung upon you.... O blessed Cross, clothed in the majesty and beauty of the Lord's limbs!... Take me, carry me far from men, and restore me to my Teacher, so that, through you, the one who redeemed me by you, may receive me. Hail, O Cross; yes, hail indeed!".
Here, as can be seen, is a very profound Christian spirituality. It does not view the Cross as an instrument of torture but rather as the incomparable means for perfect configuration to the Redeemer, to the grain of wheat that fell into the earth.
Here we have a very important lesson to learn:  our own crosses acquire value if we consider them and accept them as a part of the Cross of Christ, if a reflection of his light illuminates them.
It is by that Cross alone that our sufferings too are ennobled and acquire their true meaning.
The Apostle Andrew, therefore, teaches us to follow Jesus with promptness (cf. Mt 4: 20; Mk 1: 18), to speak enthusiastically about him to those we meet, and especially, to cultivate a relationship of true familiarity with him, acutely aware that in him alone can we find the ultimate meaning of our life and death.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Does Your Church Have One of These?

When you absolutely need to fill the entire cathedral with incense...

And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God. (Rev 8: 3-4)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mary as Co-Redemtrix?

Bryan Cross over at Called to Communion has written an article explaining one of the titles given to Mary by the Church.

To read the entire article go Here:

"According to the Catholic Church, all of us who have been united to Christ by faith are called to participate in Christ’s redemption of the world, by prayer, obedience, taking up our cross, and sharing in His sufferings. Through His work of redemption, Christ graciously gives us active, contributing roles in His redemptive work, thereby allowing us to “fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” (Col 1:24) What is lacking is not anything in the suffering of Christ as Head, but in the participation of the Body in the suffering of Christ the Head. And it is in this respect that Mary is the greatest example to us of participation in Christ’s redemption, because she did so in the deepest and most beautiful way.

Mary uniquely participates in Christ’s redemption as the second Eve. The first Eve took the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and gave it to the first Adam who ate and died. To effect restoration, God arranged for the second Eve to undo what the first Eve had done in taking the forbidden fruit, by granting to the second Eve the grace of being the source of the saving fruit. While the first Eve plucked the forbidden fruit with her hand, the second Eve did not pluck her fruit with her hand. Rather, by her obedient assent to God, it was given to her by God to bring forth her fruit from her own womb, and thus the second Adam (i.e. Christ) is the fruit of her womb [ὁ καρπὸς τῆς κοιλίας σου]. (Luke 1:42) The first Eve plucked from a tree the fruit which is death, and gave it to all mankind as sin. The second Eve bore from her womb the fruit that is Life, which at Calvary she offered on a tree to the Father on behalf of the sins of all mankind, and now extends to all mankind the grace that comes from the fruit of her womb. The first Eve was taken from the first Adam, as flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones. The second Adam was taken from the second Eve, as flesh of her flesh, and bone of her bones. This second Adam said to us, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” (John 6:53-54) Thus unless a man eats the fruit of Mary’s womb, he has no life in him, but if he eats the fruit of her womb, he has eternal life. To receive the Eucharist is to receive not only Christ’s self-offering, but is also to receive what the second Eve is giving to us, namely, the perfect fruit of her womb. This is one example, among others, in which Mary is an unmatched participant in Christ’s redemption of the world."

Bryan Cross has also written a helpful outline to a fantastic audio lecture on this topic by Dr. Lawrence Feingold (Ave Maria University) from the Association of Hebrew Catholics which he provides at the end of the article Here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Touch of Christmas

Someone must of forgot to tell these folks that Christmas is no longer allowed during Christmas.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Catholic Perspective on Paul – a New Book

From the Called to Communion Blog: Here

The Catholic Perspective on Paul – a New Book

The Catholic Perspective on Paul intends to show once and for all that Saint Paul was thoroughly Catholic, and that Protestant and liberal prejudices against the Catholic perspective on Paul are unwarranted. If we read Paul in his words, we find none other than the great Catholic Apostle of Rome.

ChurchFathers.org Quote of the Week

The Didache


"The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery...You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child" (Didache 2:1–2 [A.D. 70]).             

This document was written in the first century.

More on the topic of abortion:
Peter Kreeft offers a two part audio presentation of pro-life philospophy and pro-life logic HERE.

To learn more about the Didache go Here

Monday, November 22, 2010

Resource Highlight - ScriptureCatholic.com

From the website:

ScriptureCatholic.com provides over 2,000 Scripture citations from the Old and New Testament that explain and defend the teachings of the Catholic Church. This site also provides hundreds of excerpts from the writings of the early Church Fathers (1st through 8th centuries). These writings explain the Fathers' interpretation of Scripture and demonstrate that the early Church was unequivocally Catholic. Through the study of Scripture and the Church Fathers, we see that, not only is the Catholic faith biblical, Catholicism is Bible Christianity par excellence.

Because the Old and New Testament Scriptures are the divinely-revealed, written Word of God, Catholics venerate the Scriptures as they venerate the Lord's body. But Catholics do not believe that God has given us His divine Revelation in Christ exclusively through Scripture. Catholics also believe that God's Revelation comes to us through the Apostolic Tradition and teaching authority of the Church.
What Church? Scripture reveals this Church to be the one Jesus Christ built upon the rock of Saint Peter (Matt. 16:18). By giving Peter the keys of authority (Matt. 16:19), Jesus appointed Peter as the chief steward over His earthly kingdom (cf. Isaiah. 22:19-22). Jesus also charged Peter to be the source of strength for the rest of the apostles (Luke 22:32) and the earthly shepherd of Jesus' flock (John 21:15-17). Jesus further gave Peter, and the apostles and elders in union with him, the power to bind and loose in heaven what they bound and loosed on earth. (Matt. 16:19; 18:18). This teaching authority did not die with Peter and the apostles, but was transferred to future bishops through the laying on of hands (e.g., Acts 1:20; 6:6; 13:3; 8:18; 9:17; 1 Tim. 4:14; 5:22; 2 Tim. 1:6).
By virtue of this divinely-appointed authority, the Catholic Church determined the canon of Scripture (what books belong in the Bible) at the end of the fourth century. We therefore believe in the Scriptures on the authority of the Catholic Church. After all, nothing in Scripture tells us what Scriptures are inspired, what books belong in the Bible, or that Scripture is the final authority on questions concerning the Christian faith. Instead, the Bible says that the Church, not the Scriptures, is the pinnacle and foundation of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15) and the final arbiter on questions of the Christian faith (Matt. 18:17). It is through the teaching authority and Apostolic Tradition (2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6; 1 Cor. 11:2) of this Church, who is guided by the Holy Spirit (John 14:16,26; 16:13), that we know of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, and the manifold wisdom of God. (cf. Ephesians 3:10).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ChurchFathers.org Quote of the Week

Bishop Serapion

Anointing of the Sick

"We beseech you, Savior of all men, you that have all virtue and power, Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and we pray that you send down from heaven the healing power of the only-begotten [Son] upon this oil, so that for those who are anointed . . . it may be effected for the casting out of every disease and every bodily infirmity . . . for good grace and remission of sins . . . " (The Sacramentary of Serapion 29:1 [A.D. 350]).

See more about the sacrament of anointing of the sick Here at catholic.com.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Did the Emperor Constantine Found the Catholic Church?

From the Catholic Answers Youtube Channel:

It is suprising to see how many people believe claims such as this in an attempt to explain why they no longer believe what the Church teaches. This is why it is so important to read the writings (more here) of the earliest Christians and see for yourself what has been believed and taught from the beginning.

 I am looking forward to Jimmy Akin's new book being promoted in this video.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Resource Highlight - New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia


From the Website:
"The Catholic Encyclopedia, as its name implies, proposes to give its readers full and authoritative information on the entire cycle of Catholic interests, action and doctrine. What the Church teaches and has taught; what she has done and is still doing for the highest welfare of mankind; her methods, past and present; her struggles, her triumphs, and the achievements of her members, not only for her own immediate benefit, but for the broadening and deepening of all true science, literature and art — all come within the scope of the Catholic Encyclopedia. It differs from the general encyclopedia in omitting facts and information which have no relation to the Church. On the other hand, it is not exclusively a church encyclopedia, nor is it limited to the ecclesiastical sciences and the doings of churchmen. It records all that Catholics have done, not only in behalf of charity and morals, but also for the intellectual and artistic development of mankind. It chronicles what Catholic artists, educators, poets, scientists and men of action have achieved in their several provinces."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ChurchFathers.org Quote of the Week

Justin Martyr

Mary: Without Sin

"[Jesus] became man by the Virgin so that the course which was taken by disobedience in the beginning through the agency of the serpent might be also the very course by which it would be put down. Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God. And she replied ‘Be it done unto me according to your word’ [Luke 1:38]" (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 100 [A.D. 155]).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ChurchFathers.org Quote of the Week

Clement of Alexandria
Peter's Primacy
"[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly g.asped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? ‘Behold, we have left all and have followed you’ [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28]" (Who Is the Rich Man That Is Saved? 21:3–5 [A.D. 200]).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Resource Highlight - Deep in Scripture Live Radio

Marcus Grodi, host of the Journey Home on EWTN, has a weekly radio scripture study featuring various guests. The show airs live on Wednesdays @ 2:00 PM Eastern with  encores - Wednesdays @ 9:00 PM and Sundays @ 7:00 AM. The show has been around since 2006, and every epsiode is available for download! You can subscribe to the podcast here DEEP IN SCRIPTURE PODCAST, or you can access it through Itunes media store by typing Deep in Scripture into the search box. You can also access each epsiode directly from the archive here DIS Archive 2010 (note the "Archive" tab on the left side of the page to locate older episodes).