St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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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.

 


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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


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Bible: Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel of Matthew is the first book of the New Testament. It gives an account of the life of Jesus in 28 chapters. It is the longest of all the four Gospel books. Scripture experts tell us that it was originally written in Hebrew, though we have no original Hebrew texts. There are a couple of reasons why we believe this. First of all, the experts tell us the way it was written was as if it was a translation. Secondly, the things they say are things that belong more naturally in the Hebrew language as it was spoken then. The way it was written also indicates that it was meant for people native to the Hebrew language and culture. For example, the Book of Matthew does not take the time to explain the Hebrew culture like the other Gospels do (except for the cry on the cross “Eli, Eli, lema Sabachthani”). Even then, the witnesses of the event assume that Jesus is calling upon Elijah, which is a Jewish thought. Matthew also assumes the strong patriarchal role of St Joseph in the birth account of Jesus. Even when Joseph is not the blood father, he uses the bloodline of Joseph to establish Jesus’ heritage to King David, whereas Luke uses the lineage of Mary. Continue reading


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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


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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


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The Bible: Daniel

The book of Daniel is 14 chapters long. It is considered an apocalyptic book. It deals with prophecy and stories of the Babylonian exile. Looking at the timeline, Daniel starts half way through the time of Jeremiah and goes just into the time of the return from exile. It was not written by Daniel. The author in unknown. The stories and prophecies revolve around Daniel. Continue reading


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The Bible: Ezekiel

The book of Ezekiel is one of the longer books of the prophets; it is 48 chapters long. It deals with the time during the exile. He is also a priest and has a prominence in the liturgy. He found his call to be a prophet in the land of Babylon which makes him the first prophet to receive his call outside of the Holy Land (EZ 1:1-3). Continue reading