The Living Word

Recently I was having a conversation with my sister regarding God.  I believe, wholeheartedly in Catholicism.  This does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that I cannot intellectually understand and appreciate the beliefs and customs of other religions.  In fact, I have a lot of respect for peace seeking people who are devoted to their beliefs and who share their love with others.

My strength in Catholicism comes from evidence gained in the New Testament given directly by Jesus Himself.  Further proof in Catholicism, for me, is that the first Pope was St. Peter, one of the original 12 apostles.  Finally, I look to Paul.  Paul’s story is an absolute miracle.  Paul, a faithful Jew, was murdering the gentiles and converted Jews that were following the teachings of Jesus Christ.  He had a vision, was converted, and evangelized the rest of his life…to his death!!  I have searched for evidence to challenge Catholicism, but everything always points back to the Catholic faith for me.

My sister is at another place in her faith journey.  Simply stated, she believes that God is for all people, Jews, Christians, Muslims, everyone.   I agree.  Her claim is that Jesus was sent by God to a group of people that needed saving.  Her claim also implies that Mohammad was sent by God to a different group of people that needed direction and saving.  This argument is plausible too in considering the appearance of Moses and all the forefathers of Israel.

Then I reflect on the reading in this weekend’s Mass from Romans 10:

8But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Because Paul is quoting scripture, the original old law,  in verse 11-13, is he proving my sister’s point of view?  While it might be true, I still have faith that it is through Jesus that we get to the Father.  Is that  my argument only because Jesus came to my ancestors who were Christian?  Is my belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ just a matter of family tradition?  What if my family followed Mohammad? Hmmm….

There are many theories, many arguments, and many denials of the Catholic faith…some may even have good reason.  For me, it all comes back to the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus, my Savior, the resurrected Son of God…everything Catholics practice comes directly from Jesus, the living Word.

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About jpsteltz

Proud husband and father of four; Literacy Specialist; Reading Teacher; Literacy Coach; HS ELA Teacher; Published Author
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8 Responses to The Living Word

  1. Mary Kay says:

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

    Be very careful. The only way to God is through Jesus’ death. He died for us! He is the way, the truth and the life. you cannot get to God through Mohammed! God didn’t give up Mohammed as a sacrifice for our sins.

    In your bible reading, I want to challenge you. In the old testament, the book of Exodus, explains the Tabernacle. Pay attention to the curtain between the Holy of Holies and the Most Holy Place. No one could go into the Most Holy Place but the High Priest. He had to follow the rules to the “T” or God would stike him dead. The bells on his robe was so the people could hear if he was moving or struck dead.

    In the New Testament, Mark 15: 37, 38 says, Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

    That curtain was torn so we could get direct access to God the Father. Jesus’ death meant no more Old Testament Law. No more sacrifice because he was the perfect sacrifice! No more priests going in to the Most Holy Place for us…we have direct access to God.

    So, if you understand all this, why do Catholics go to a priest for confession? To me, they are saying Jesus’ death on the cross meant nothing. It is made a mockery of.

    Catholics have wonderful tradition but be careful it doesn’t get in the way of what Jesus did on the cross for you.

    I am currently studying the Book of Romans. I studied Judaizers and antinomainism. Google them…Judaism says we must follow the law to gain salvation. Antinomism says we are exempt from the law. We can keep on sinning because we are forgiven. Romans 6 goes into what Paul has to say about it. There is a balance.

    God gave up his only Son to die on a cross for us! The Jews don’t believe Jesus was the Messiah. They are still waiting for the Messiah. How are they to go to heaven? They can’t unless they believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

    I am praying for your journey, that you would gain understanding. My hope for you is that you will find a good bible study that really digs into the Word of God. There is wonderful buried treasure if only we take the time to dig for it.

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    • jsteltz says:

      Thank you so much for your response and insightful thoughts. You certainly do provide a lot to think about. The more thinking we do, the more reflection we do, the better.

      Thanks Mary Kay.

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    • jsteltz says:

      Mary Kay-You got me thinking about this a little more in depth. In particular your comment about Catholics going to a priest for confession. You raise a good question. As I was thinking about this though, if Christ says that only through Him will we get to the Father, isn’t the priests role, according the the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to be taking on the role of Christ in the sacrament of reconciliation? When I go to confession I do not go to offer a sacrifice, that has already been done for me. I go to cleanse my soul, receive absolution, and repent. Can we repent w/out going to confession? Absolutely.

      You bring up many interesting, thought provoking, points in your post. Thanks for contributing.

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  2. Kimani Jefferson says:

    The reason Catholics go the Priests for confession (reconciliation) is because Jesus commands us to. In His FIRST appearance to the disciples Jesus said , “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” He then 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.” John 20: 21-23

    If his new Priests, which is what they were, were to forgive or retain sins, it implies someone confessing sins to them. This authority is actually understood not by the forgiveness, but by the retention.

    Jesus did die on the cross, but it does not mean that there are no more demands on us as individuals. Jesus demands that if we are to be disciples of His we must pick up our cross every day and follow him. These are demands. The difference between the Old and New Testaments is that through Jesus our sacrifices actually mean something.

    You are correct that the Bible holds awesome treasures; however, sometimes we look too hard when the answers are directly in front of us. Jesus commanded his Priests to hear, forgive, or retain sins. We must, therefore, speak.

    Kimani

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  3. Jim says:

    So where does this leave those of us who believe in religions that do not have a god (such as Buddhism)? I was raised Catholic but eventually felt it did not provide the answers I needed.

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    • jsteltz says:

      This is where I struggle. I believe that all people, peace seeking people who love others and treat others with respect, can live in a state of grace or be connected to the soul of the universe.

      There are many paths to spiritual connectivity.

      One more thing…on being raised Catholic…it seems as though, as Catholics, if we want to destroy the faith of young people we send them to Catholic school. If I want my children to defend their faith I will continue to encourage public schooling 🙂

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  4. thanks John! I sent you an email.

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  5. Mary Kay says:

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this sometime:

    One more thing…on being raised Catholic…it seems as though, as Catholics, if we want to destroy the faith of young people we send them to Catholic school. If I want my children to defend their faith I will continue to encourage public schooling

    This happens to be very controversial in the CHristian community in regard to Christian school. Maybe a blog down the road?

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