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Faith and Revelation: Scott Hahn, Scripture and Substance!

So You Wanna Learn About Scripture?

In my opinion, one of the best books that you can read is Faith and Revelation (Knowing God Through Sacred Scripture) written by Dr. Scott Hahn (copyright 2009, Midwest Theological Forum) and edited by Fr. James Socias.  Part of the Didache Semester Series, this volume delivers the same solid Catholic teaching that can be found in the other books of this series.  As stated on the back cover, the goal of the Didache Series is “to present the basic doctrinal, scriptural, moral, and sacramental tenets of the Catholic Church in a manner that is both comprehensive and accessible.”  In my mind, they accomplish that goal in a BIG way!

Some of the book’s positives are:

– Scott Hahn is the author (Do you really need other reasons for a book about Scripture?)
– A beautiful design with color reproductions of religious artwork throughout.
– Lots of substance (multiple citations from the Catechism and Church Council documents plus numerous quotes from the Church Fathers).
– Material is presented in an easy to understand manner.

Although designed to be a high school text book (spanning one academic semester), I would recommend this book to any adult who desires to learn more about the Bible, from a Catholic perspective.  The biggest mistake that Catholics often make when reading Scripture is to read it “in a vacuum”, ignoring the fact that the Catholic Church actually compiled the books of the Bible.  Faith and Revelation rectifies that mistake, by giving you Biblical insight combined with solid Catholic teaching.

Still not convinced? Take a look at this preview to see for yourself!

For more information or to order, visit the MTF website.

Special Announcement Coming Tomorrow…

I will be making a special announcement tomorrow, August 22.  I am very excited about the news and I’m confident that it will benefit many people.  Please stop back again tomorrow or listen to the Following The Truth radio show tomorrow at 8 PM Eastern for details.  In the meantime, here’s a hint:

Special Announcement Coming Soon…

Let us not imagine that we obscure the glory of the Son by the great praise we lavish on His Mother. The more Mary is honored, the greater is the glory of her Son.” – Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church (1090 -1153)

Check back on Monday, August 22 for a special announcement!

Phillies Look To Chaput To Boost Offense

Earlier today, in a highly unusual move, the Philadelphia Phillies announced the signing of Archbishop Charles Chaput as their new hitting coach.  The NL team’s management felt that this signing would give the team the competitive edge needed to retain their division lead…

ONLY KIDDING!

As someone who was born and raised in Philly, I’d like to say…

Welcome to Philadelphia, Archbishop Chaput.  Thank you, Cardinal Rigali for your service to the Archdiocese.  Please keep these holy men and all the members of the Philadelphia Archdiocese in your prayers.  These are challenging times, but the Holy Spirit makes good decisions!

The Most Surprising Fact About The Ascension

As we celebrate the solemnity of the Ascension today, there are several points which can be considered “surprising”.  Why would Jesus ascend into Heaven before the Church had fully spread to all nations?  Wouldn’t it make more sense if He stuck around a little longer?  Another fact that has always astonished me was the fact that Jesus counted on the VERY human Apostles to carry on His work.  During the Lord’s public ministry, they certainly didn’t do very much to prove their qualifications as scholars or leaders!

However, in my opinion, the most surprising fact about Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven can be found in St. Luke’s version of the gospel:

Then he led them (out) as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them.  As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven.  They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.  (Luke 24:50-53)

When we put ourselves in the Apostles’ shoes, we often think that they were terrified or sad when Jesus left them.  However, the above passage tells us that they had “great joy”!  How is that possible?  After all, they saw how Jesus was rejected and persecuted and now THEY were going to be the targets of that same treatment.  In addition, what skills did they really possess?  How were they going to make disciples of all the nations?

What they discovered is that the Lord can give them His peace, even in the midst of turmoil.  This is a lesson that each of us can learn in our own lives.  No matter how crazy or hectic our lives become, we can still experience the Lord’s peace.  Ask Him to send you that same peace that was felt by the Apostles and you’ll see that you can also have “great joy”, even when it doesn’t make sense!

Welcome to Following The Truth!

Welcome to my the new and improved Following The Truth website.  I’m looking forward to sharing my love of the Catholic Faith with all of you!

~Gary

The Parable Of The Debtors

On this episode of Following The Truth, we continued our “mercy” theme by discussing the Parable of the Debtors:

A Pharisee invited him to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table.  Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.  When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.”  Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.  “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty.  Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?”  Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”  Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment.  So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. 13 But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”  He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”  The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”   But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Lk 7: 36-50)

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The Catholic Position On Bin Laden

On today’s episode of Following The Truth, we discussed how the death of Usama Bin Laden should be viewed from a Catholic perspective.

Jimmy Akin’s article from The National Catholic Register can be found here.

The Vatican statement from Fr. Federico Lombardi can be found here.

The comments about the death penalty from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) are as follows:

Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and the duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party. 

Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.  If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person. 

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm—without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself—the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” (CCC 2265 – 2267)

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Does Divine Mercy Apply To Bin Laden?

I am probably in the minority this morning, but I am saddened by the news that has unfolded over the past 12 hours.  As an American, I fully understand the tragedy that occurred in New York on 9/11 and I grieve for everyone who was affected by that horrible act of terror.  However, as a Catholic and an unworthy recipient of Jesus’ Divine Mercy, I have compassion for a fellow soul who may be condemned to hell. What also saddens me is the joy and celebration by many Christians over the death of a man who quite possibly could be facing eternal damnation.

Yesterday, the Catholic Church celebrated the feast of Divine Mercy.  It was a day set aside to recall Our Lord’s tremendous mercy poured forth on all mankind.  Hitler, Hussein, Bin Laden, Judas…there are no exceptions.  Jesus is merciful to everyone and “wants all men to be saved” (1 Tm 2:3-4).  As a Catholic, I must also love all of my brothers and sisters, despite their sinfulness.  The Lord has stated that if we do not show mercy toward others, we cannot expect it in return (MT 18:21-35).
 
I am going to pray a Divine Mercy chaplet for the repose of the soul of Usama Bin Laden.  Anyone care to join me?

Divine Mercy Sunday

On today’s episode of Following The Truth, we discussed the Mass readings from the 2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday):

First Reading (Acts 2: 42-47)
They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.  Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.  All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need.  Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes.  They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people.  And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Responsorial Psalm (Ps 118: 2-4, 13-15, 22-24)
R. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.

Let the house of Israel say, “His mercy endures forever.”  Let the house of Aaron say, “His mercy endures forever.”  Let those who fear the LORD say, “His mercy endures forever.”

R. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.

I was hard pressed and was falling, but the LORD helped me.  My strength and my courage is the LORD, and he has been my savior.  The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just:

R. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.

The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.  By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.  This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.

R. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his love is everlasting.

Second Reading (1 Pt 1: 3-9)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.  In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Gospel (Jn 20: 19-31)
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands And put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”  Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them.  Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”  Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”  Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.  But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

We also discussed the Divine Mercy devotion.  More information can be found here.

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