St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

What's new for St Joseph and St Mary Parishes!


Leave a comment

Bible: Gospel of John 2

 

The Gospel of John does not have an account of how the birth of Jesus came about other than when it says, “And the Word became flesh” (John 1:14). The first historical context of the Gospel starts with John the Baptist. After that, John the Baptist introduces Jesus to the first disciples. Right after that, begins the second chapter and the Wedding in Cana. This is the first mention of Mary. Mary is mentioned again later in the suffering and death of Jesus.

I’ll give you some tips for looking up things in the Gospels. Remember, Mary is in only two of the Gospels, Luke and John. So, if you are looking for one of the stories where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is present, then you would look for it in either the Gospel of Luke or John. If it is a story about Mary when Jesus was a child, then it is in the Gospel of Luke. Most anything during Jesus’ adulthood that deals with Mary would be from John. John accounts Mary at the Wedding of Cana and at the suffering and death of Jesus. There are, however, parts in Matthew and Luke where the Mother of Jesus is mentioned (MT 12:47 & Lk 8:20) as waiting outside with His “brothers”. Matthew’s account, written originally in Aramaic, a Hebrew language, does not make any difference between brothers and cousins. Back then, they used the same word to describe both cousin and brother. That is why we can still believe that Mary remained a virgin.

John also gives great detail that the other Gospel accounts do not have. One example of this is in Chapter Five at the beginning. There was a pool called Bethesda “with five porticoes” (Jn 5:2). This is an odd detail for its time, and perhaps that is why John notices this. Most buildings in Jesus’ time would have four porticoes (meaning doorways). Usually a building would have one door facing each direction; one facing north, one south, and so on. But, this one has five. Many scholars believed that John got this wrong and were starting to teach that the Gospel accounts did not intend to be historically accurate, as if the Gospels were just stories of myths trying to explain a spiritual reality. But, as archeologists found a pool building with five doorways in it, near to where John described. Therefore, the sceptics and those who are considered to be the “professional scientists” were wrong in their assumption, and the believers were vindicated. The Gospel of John does in fact provide actual, historical accuracy in its details.

In the Gospel of John is also the great “Bread of Life” discourse. This is where Jesus performed the multiplication of the loaves, walked across the sea, and then taught about the Eucharist. First, He reminds the people of the Manna in the desert by the multiplication of the loaves. They even mention it in verse thirty-one of Chapter Six. The miracle of the loaves was a set-up by Jesus so He could speak about the true Bread of Life of (Himself), in the Eucharist. He goes so far as to say, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (V 53-54). Many people leave because of this teaching, but Jesus does not back down. He does not say, “wait a minute, you are misunderstanding me, I meant it as a mere symbol”. No, He really means that He is the Bread of Life and that the host is really His body and the wine is no longer wine; it is His blood. He turns to his disciples and asks if they, too, are going to leave. Notice the chilling coincidence that you note at verse 66 in Chapter Six, that those who do not believe in the Eucharist leave Jesus and no longer follow Him.

 


Leave a comment

The Bible: Gospel of John 1

The Gospel of John is written differently. It has twenty-one chapters that are steeped in theology. John tells the story, but with a heavy emphasis on Jesus’ Divinity. John seems to go off into another world, and yet gives a lot of detail that the other gospels do not catch. This gospel is very symbolic and raises the soul to great heights without the reader really fully understanding what they read. Continue reading


Leave a comment

The Bible: The Gosple of Luke

The Gospel of Luke is twenty-four chapters long. Like Mark, Luke is not an Apostle, but he was taught about Jesus by the Apostles. He was known to take care of Mary, the mother of Jesus. He was a physician by trade. Many scripture scholars believe that Luke was possibly writing to people of gentile origin while he himself being in depth of Hellenistic Jewish origin. The Gospel of Luke is the first volume of his works, he also wrote the Acts of the Apostles to the same person, Theophilus. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Bible: Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of all the Gospels. It is sixteen chapters long. However, that does not mean that it covers fewer events or provides less information. Mark goes through each event very briefly; sort of like a condensed version of what is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Yet, at the same time it records things not recorded in Matthew and Luke. Many biblical scholars sense an urgency in the tone of Mark’s writings. Though Mark was not an apostle himself, it is believed that he worked directly with Peter. Continue reading


Leave a comment

The Bible: The New Testament

The New Testament has 27 books in it. When you open the Bible, you will notice that most of the Bible is the Old Testament. The New Testament may be the shorter end of the Bible, but it is very powerful. It represents the time of Jesus coming into this world and after. It marks a major shift in humanity and the way we think about God, others, and ourselves. Continue reading


Leave a comment

The Bible: The Background of The New Testament

All of the Old Testament is a preparation for the coming of Jesus. From the time of Adam and Eve, God has His plan in mind. Humanity falls quickly into every sin imaginable, but God intervenes for humanity by speaking to them and offering a relationship with them, despite their sins. God chooses to love His servants and show them His ways. He protects Noah from the flood. He enters into a deeper covenant with Abraham. Though Abraham muddles through the mud of sin, God still does not leave him. He gives the Ten Commandments in Moses’ time. The people of God fall away in the following centuries while God calls them back through judges, kings and prophets. God was patient with His people then, as He is today. It takes millennia to prepare the people for the Savior. Even then, we humans have hard heads. It continues today, even though Jesus came two thousand years ago. Jesus came at the optimum time to save souls. Continue reading


Leave a comment

The Bible: Malachi

The Book of Malachi is three chapters long. The Name Malachi means “My Messenger”. It is believed to be written sometime before Nehemiah came to town around 455 BC. The people of God returned from exile, but their hearts were still not turned back to Him. The priests were still offering blemished sacrifices, but the prophecy in Chapter 1 verse 11 tells of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Chapter Three, verses two and three states, “But who will endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. He will sit refining and purifying [silver], and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or silver that they may offer the due sacrifice to the Lord.” This is in reference to Zechariah 13:9 and Isaiah 1:25. But, all the Old testament references are pointing to the coming of Jesus. Jesus will offer the true sacrifice; the source of our worship at Mass. He will purify us with the once and for all sacrifice that comes to us in the Mass and whose power comes to us in Baptism, confession and anointing of the sick. Malachi sets the stage for the coming Messiah. Continue reading