St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Living the Mortal Life 64

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So far I have only addressed the Traditions established by God. God gave us our worship. The original format God gave us is when Israel was saved from slavery by Egypt. In fact, it was to be a perpetual institution (Ex 12:14 & 17). It even gave the unleavened bread and the sacrificial lamb as part of this worship. But this worship did not end when Jesus came. If it did, God would have given a false message that it was to be perpetual. In the Last Supper, Jesus transforms this sacred meal and sacrifice of the Old Testament into what we have during the Mass today.

He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood which will be shed for you” (Lk 22:20) and likewise in Matthew “For this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins” (26:28). Jesus is not saying please do this. He is commanding them to do so.

It is a covenant He is establishing, not a nice thought. The Mass is modeled off the Last Supper. Jesus is teaching us how to worship as God deserves to be worshipped. In our worship we break open the most Sacred Scriptures, and we offer the sacrifice of our daily lives with Jesus in that moment when He died on Calvary 2000 years ago. Our worship was commanded by God in the Old Testament (Ex20:8) and is reaffirmed at the Last Supper where the lamb and the unleavened bread come together as one sacrifice that was originally commanded in the Book of Exodus. Isn’t this always what God does? He always brings everything together as one.

Another Tradition God has established for us is the Bible. The Bible is handed down from generation to generation. But just because it is a tradition does not mean that it is merely “human tradition” (Col 2:8). God used our first bishops to write the New Testament. Peter wrote 1 & 2 Peter, John wrote the Letters of John, the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, Paul wrote his letters, Matthew wrote his gospel, Jude wrote his letter, James wrote his letter and so on. Our first bishops wrote the New Testament inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is essentially a Catholic collection of books. That is why the Catholic Church reads the Bible to you every Sunday in our worship. In fact, if all you do is go to Mass every Sunday and pay attention to what is read, you will get the entirety of the Bible read to you in three years. We even do processions with the Word of God as part of our worship at the Mass (Rev 5:7-14).

These are Traditions God gave us, but there are also other traditions that have come to us because they bring us closer to God and convey grace. Things like making the sign of the cross is a way of putting the sign of our salvation over our bodies. It is through the power of the cross that we are saved and protected for all evil.  Praying the Rosary is a meditation on the Gospels. Actually, the prayer of the Hail Mary comes from Luke 1:28 and 42. Mary brings us closer to Jesus, for Jesus is not a god of the dead, but of the living (Mt 22:32). Incense is used as a symbol of our prayers rising up to heaven (Rev 5:8). We even use relics to convey grace to others (Acts 19:12). People were cured of diseases from a cloth that simply touched Paul. Grace was given through objects because God has redeemed the entire world and everything in it. That is why we look for the day when the baby will be able to play in the cobra’s den (Is 11:8). There are so many more traditions that are not mere human traditions because God gives His grace through them. They do not bind, but free us to be the people God intended us to be, a light to the world (Mt 5:14-16). We know God approves of them because of the grace experienced signs and a closeness to God. They serve us well.

Author: stjosephstmary

We are two Catholic Churches close to downtown Freeport, IL. Our communities are over 150 years old and have been dedicated to our lord Jesus Christ since our inception. We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of ythe Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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