The Bible Fulfilled.

Today’s Readings:

“We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”

John 1:45b
I wrote the text about the Blessed Virgin earlier this week, using this text as a model; the text, per the NCRegister, of the video I’ve added at the end. There is no book of the Bible that is not about Jesus, not about the Gospel. There may be other stories, sure, but unless you’re reading the only story there is, you’re missing the point.

Jesus Christ is in every book of the Bible.
In Genesis, Jesus is the Seed of the Woman.
In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb.
In Leviticus, He is the Priest, the Altar, and the Lamb of Sacrifice.
In Numbers, He is a Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by Night.
In Deuteronomy, Jesus is the Prophet, like Moses.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Joshua, Jesus is the Captain of Our Salvation.
In Judges, He is our Judge and Lawgiver.
In Ruth, He is our kinsman Redeemer.
In 1 and 2 Samuel, He is our Trusted Prophet.
In Kings and Chronicles, He is our Reigning King.
In Ezra, He is the rebuilder of the broken down walls of human life.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Nehemiah, Jesus is our Restorer.
In Tobit, He is the Messenger of New Life.
In Judith, He is Weakness Turned into Victory.
In Esther, He is our Advocate.
In 1 and 2 Maccabees, He is the Leader who dies for God’s law.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Job, Jesus is our Everliving Redeemer.
In Psalms, He is our Shepherd.
In Proverbs, He is our Wisdom.
In Ecclesiastes, He is our Hope of Resurrection.
In the Song of Songs, He is our Loving Bridegroom.
In Wisdom, He is the emanation of God’s thought.
In Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Jesus is our security.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Isaiah, Jesus is the Suffering Servant.
In Jeremiah, He is the Righteous Branch.
In Lamentations, He is our Weeping Prophet.
In Baruch, He is the Mercy from the Eternal One.
In Ezekiel, He is the One with the Right to Rule.
In Daniel, Jesus is the Fourth Man in the fiery furnace.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Hosea, Jesus is the Faithful Husband forever married to the sinner.
In Joel, He is the One who Baptizes with the Holy Spirit of Fire.
In Amos, He is the Restorer of Justice.
In Obadiah, He is Mighty to Save.
In Jonah, He is our great foreign missionary.
In Micah, He is the feet of one who brings Good News.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Nahum, Jesus is our stronghold in the day of trouble.
In Habakkuk, He is God my Savior.
In Zephaniah, He is the King of Israel.
In Haggai, He is the signet ring.
In Zechariah, He is our Humble King riding on a colt.
In Malachi, Jesus is the Son of Righteousness.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Matthew, Jesus is God with us.
In Mark, He is the Son of God.
In Luke, He is the Son of Mary, feeling what you feel.
In John, He is the Bread of Life.
In Acts, Jesus is the Savior of the World.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Romans, Jesus is the Righteousness of God.
In 1 Corinthians, He is the Resurrection.
In 2 Corinthians, He is the God of all comfort.
In Galatians, He is your liberty. He sets you free.
In Ephesians, Jesus is the Head of the Church.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Philippians, Jesus is your Joy.
In Colossians, He is your Completeness.
In 1 and 2 Thessalonians, He is your Hope.
In 1 Timothy, He is your Faith.
In 2 Timothy, Jesus is your Stability.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In Titus, Jesus is Truth.
In Philemon, He is your Benefactor.
In Hebrews, He is your Perfection.
In James, He is the Power behind your Faith.
In 1 Peter, He is your Example.
In 2 Peter, Jesus is your Purity.
Come and kneel before Him now.
In 1 John, Jesus is your Life.
In 2 John, He is your Pattern.
In 3 John, He is your Motivation.
In Jude, He is the Foundation of your Faith.
In Revelation, Jesus is your Coming King.
He is:
The First and the Last.
The Beginning and the End.
He is the Keeper of Creation and the Creator of All.
He is the Architect of the Universe and the Manager of All Time.
He Always Was, He Always Is, and He Always Will Be Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and Never Undone.
He was bruised and brought healing.
He was pierced and eased pain.
He was persecuted and brought freedom.
He was dead and brought life.
He is risen and brings power.
He reigns and brings peace.
The world can’t understand Him.
The armies can’t defeat Him.
Schools can’t explain Him and the leaders can’t ignore Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him.
The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him.
The people couldn’t hold him. [This is where the clapping begins]
Nero couldn’t crush Him.
Hitler couldn’t silence Him.
The New Age can’t replace Him.
And Oprah can’t explain Him away.
He is Life, Love, Longevity, and Lord.
He is Goodness, Kindness, Gentleness and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, Mighty, Powerful, and Pure.
His Ways our Right, His Words Eternal, His Rules Unchanging, and His
Mind is on me.
He is My Redeemer, He is My Savior, He is My God, He is My Priest, He is My Joy, He is My Comfort, He is My Lord, and He rules my life.

To Them It Has Not Been Granted


Today’s readings:

Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
Matthew 13:11

I am coming to you in a dense cloud, 

so that when the people hear me speaking with you, 

they may always have faith in you also.

Exodus 19:9

One of the things that gripes me most is when someone who rejects the scriptures wholeheartedly tries to tell me what they mean.
I don’t care if that’s your average person-on-the-street who says “let me tell you what you’re doing wrong”, or the historian who makes shibboleths of science, the textual critic who wants the scriptures to have no content; or the liberal who wants to turn it all into useless poetry and left wing politics, the fundie who wants to lick the text looking for the macrodot of right-wing acid, and instead is just left with a sour taste in their mouth because ink is not salvific.
As God did to Moses, so he did to the Church: imparting the meaning of the text: it’s the Church’s job to teach us. And our job to learn from her. Nowhere does any part of the scripture, read in the context of the rest of the text, say “You (singular, second person) can tell what this means.” For God imparts the wisdom to “Y’all (plural, second person) by the Holy Spirit will be lead into all Truth.” And it is in his Church, the pillar and ground of the truth, that “y’all” are. 

 And the minute someone says “but wait… my Bible says…” you’re in the wrong classroom.

If you want the truth: go to the source – which isn’t the text, at all, but the Spirit of God living in his Church, and the Logos of God, spoken only once for all time in Jesus.

Iesu, Iesu, Iesu, esto mihi Iesu.

Today’s Readings:

Obedire oportet Deo magis quam hominibus.
We must obey God rather than men. 

Acts 5:29b

First off I suck at this. I try to get better. But I suck at it.

This is my brief meditation today: The Martyrs of England are a better model for us today than any other category of martyr, saint, or blessed. Why? Because their killers thought they were being Christian. I don’t think we have to worry about the Gov’t ending all Churches. I’m not worried about the army showing up (yet, anyway) at the door of my Church and saying “we’re here to shoot your priest.”

But, in England, a group of people bought into the Political Fads of the day and also bought into new moralities, new cultural forms, and new religions. Then they killed off all the ones that disagreed. The nominalists did, that is, killing off the Catholics. Killing may be out of the question for the time being. But, face it, a long, slow, painful defeat is much harder to withstand. Anyone can be a martyr if they will but kill you fast enough.

The Martyrs of England followed the law of the land until they could not follow it any more. Most of them died praying for their Queen and her salvation. And she was still their Queen. But they also had a higher calling, one that couldn’t cave into current fads or moralities even though thos fads had the political upper hand. They said their Mass in secret, but they didn’t hide away, going about their daily lives, keeping the faith alive in a land and time full of hate. And they obeyed the law of God rather than of men (or of a woman, in this case).

That’s it. My #PaschaOption for today: a devotion to the Martyrs of England.

Fer’im R Agin’im?


Today’s readings:

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Qui non est mecum, contra me est: et qui non colligit mecum, dispergit.
Luke 11:23

This verse is often contrasted with Luke 9:50, which seems to say the reverse:

Whoever is not against you is for you.
Qui enim non est adversum vos, pro vobis est.
Luke 9:50 (or Mark 9:40)

I used to wrestle with this, but it seems to me tonight to be two parts of the same teaching – not two contradictory statements.  Jesus never says “Whoever is not against me is for me.”  He says, about himself, whoever is not with me is against me. It’s notable that he’s speaking of Satan in this passage as “not with me”.  But he’s speaking of the Church in “Whoever is not against you” (which pronoun is plural and so should be translated “against all y’all”).

What this means to my eyes is that we cannot call Christians those who hold only lukewarm ideas of Christ: if they are not with him, they are against him. But the Church can call these same people friends or Ecclesial Communities, if they don’t hinder us in our evangelism. They can work with the Church in our outreach, our social ministry. But we cannot afford to confuse common, if you will, political goals, with our God-revealed telos or right-ending.  The purpose of our actions must always be ad astra, or to the stars. The purpose of our politics is not earthly: the Church does nothing that cannot be for the salvation of others.

Jesus, being God, reveals the telos, the end point of all creation in time. Jesus, being man, reveals the telos of human nature in divinity. Whoever is not with him – fully, wholeheartedly,  committedly – is against him. If you’re not willing to give all and die, go home.  By the same token, if you’re willing to put up with us, with our insanity, with our prolife marches, our teachings on sex, our insistence that there is one right way upwards, then come to the party! Even if you think we’re making all the stuff up, you’re welcome. But if you just want us to pretend to be a social organization, a political club, or some kind of fancy-dress cheerleading squad for your partisan politics, we will have to decline.

Take Up and Deny


A Patristic Homily for the Thursday after Ash Wednesday.

From the Catena Aurea of St Thomas Aquinas, and the words of Sts John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Bede the Venerable, Gregory the Great, and Theophylact, and also of Origen, the Teacher of the Fathers.
If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Great and noble leaders provoke the mighty in arms to deeds of valour, not only by promising them the honors of victory, but by declaring that suffering is in itself glorious. Such we see is the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. For He had foretold to His disciples, that He must suffer the accusations of the Jews, be slain, and rise again on the third day. Lest then they should think that Christ indeed was to suffer persecution for the life of the world, but that they might lead a soft life, He shows them that they must also pass through similar struggles, if they desired to obtain His glory.  Now the Savior of His great mercy and lovingkindness will have no one serve Him unwillingly and from constraint, but those only who come of their own accord, and are grateful for being allowed to serve Him. And so not by compelling men and putting a yoke upon them, but by persuasion and kindness, He draws to Him every where those who are willing.

Unless a man renounces himself, he comes not near to Him, who is above him; it is said therefore, Let him deny himself. A denial of one’s self is indeed a total forgetfulness of things past, and a forsaking of his own will. A man also denies himself when by a sufficient alteration of manners or a good conversation he changes a life of habitual wickedness. He who has long lived in lasciviousness, abandons his lustful self when he becomes chaste, and in like manner a forsaking of any crimes is a denial of one’s self.

A desire of suffering death for Christ and a mortification of one’s members which are upon the earth, and a strong resolution to undergo any danger for Christ, and an indifference towards the present life, this it is to take up one’s cross.

In two ways also is the cross taken up, either when the body is afflicted through abstinence, or the mind touched by sympathy. Jesus rightly joins these two, Let him deny himself, and let him take up his cross, for as the man who is prepared to ascend the cross conceives in his mind the intention of death, and so goes on thinking to have no more part in this life, so he who is willing to follow our Lord, ought first to deny himself, and so take up his cross, that his will may be ready to endure every calamity.

Herein then stands a man’s perfection, that he should have his affections hardened, even towards life itself, and have ever about him the answer of death, that he should by no means trust in himself. But perfection takes its beginning from the relinquishment of things foreign to it; suppose these to be possessions or vain-glory, or affection for things that profit not.

Jesus assigns the cause of this when He adds, For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; that is, whosoever will according to the present life keep his own soul fixed on things of sense, the same shall lose it, never reaching to the bounds of happiness. But on the other hand He adds, but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, shall save it. That is, whosoever forsakes the things of sense looking upon truth, and exposes himself to death, as it were losing his life for Christ, shall the rather save it. If then it is a blessed thing to save our life, (with regard to that safety which is in God,) there must be also a certain good surrender of life which is made by looking upon Christ. It seems also to me from resemblance to that denying of one’s self which has been before spoken of, that it becomes us to lose a certain sinful life of ours, to take up that which is saved by virtue.