St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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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


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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


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Bible: Micah Through Zechariah

Micah is seven chapters long. Micah lived at the same time as Isaiah. He challenged all those in authority within Judaism when they did wrong. It is noted that the reforms of Hezekiah were influenced by Micah and what he had to say. Micah prophesies doom and gloom with a little hope. That little hope that some are familiar with, is from Chapter 10:1-4 “But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler over Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times. Therefore, the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has born, and the rest of his brothers shall return to the children of Israel. He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the Lord, in the majestic name of the Lord, his God; and they shall remain, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace.” It is a prophecy of the coming of Jesus. Jesus is the Messiah, the long-awaited King of Israel! Continue reading


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The Bible: Joel – Jonah

The book of Joel is short, four chapters long, which translates into four pages. It was written about 400 BC. At about that time there was a great famine due to locusts and grasshoppers eating up the food of the land. It sounds like it was similar to one of the ten plagues in Egypt. By the end of this book comes hope and God makes a promise to the people that He will bless them. Continue reading


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The Bible: History of the Northern Kingdom of Israel

Isaiah was a prophet before the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel. He prophesied the fall of the northern kingdom in 722 BC. Jeremiah came over 100 years later and served the southern kingdom of Judah. Remember that after King Solomon, his son was foolish and followed after worldly things which caused division of the kingdom that God had established through King David. This set up a constant fighting of the northern kingdom of Israel against the southern kingdom of Judah and vice versa. The kingdom was now divided into at least two. Continue reading


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The Bible: Isaiah

The Book of Isaiah is the longest of the books of the Prophets. This book of the Bible has 66 chapters. It was written addressing the late eighth century BC. During that time came the fall of the northern part of the Holy Land known as Israel. The southern region which contained Jerusalem was known as Judah. This time is divided into three, according to the kings, Jotham (742-735), Ahaz (735-715) and Hezekiah (715-687). Continue reading


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The Bible: Prophetic Books

The Prophetic Books are in a class by themselves. They do have historical value where we can learn some history, but not everything was meant to be interpreted literally. Common sense applies to some of this, but this is where many people get confused. The prophets are not easy to understand. They do and say strange things. They use a lot of symbolic language. Sometimes their actions can be symbolic as well as scandalous. Continue reading