My classes on the Church Councils, beginning with the First Council of Jerusalem and ending with Vatican II concluded last Sunday. I presented an overview of the Councils and how the Church dealt with our teachings and doctrines. It is so important that we understand how our faith has come down to us today for several reasons. Living in Southern Missouri is to me one of those reasons. Every now and then a piece of “anti” Catholic literature comes across my desk. The Mark of the Beast is clearly a bigoted publication written by those who have just enough knowledge that what they write pulls out just enough facts to make the whole publication look truthful. I feel sorry for those who do not have enough knowledge of history to know when they are being fed a line of untruth.
The publication is four pages with each page comparing three articles. I will only take the time to look at one of them. The page that compares Old Testament, New Testament, and Papal changes. Fundamentalists, from the very beginning of their formation forget where the Bible, especially the New Testament, originates. If we were strictly a “Bible Church”, built solely upon the Bible, when the New Testament was compiled by the early bishops they might have written into the gospels and New Testament whatever they wanted to be able to prove their point. Instead, remember that the Catholic Church is built upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition. We have 2000 years of tradition that is traced back to the first century. The protestant churches do not come into being until the 1400’s. It is from that point on that fundamentalists try to discredit the Catholic Church’s previous teachings.
There is no reference in the New Testament about keeping holy the first day of the week. It doesn’t take a scripture scholar to state that from the earliest days of the Church, the followers of Christ met on the Sabbath for scripture readings, psalms and then on the first day of the week for the liturgy of the Eucharist. Once the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, the early “Christians” combined the Liturgy of the Word with the Liturgy of the Meal on the first day of the week, the day Christ rose from the dead. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and I want to honor and celebrate His resurrection, on the day He rose from the dead.
In the publication quoting fundamental preachers of the 1800’s, the Catholic Church under the direction of the Holy Father has committed apostasy by changing Sabbath institution from the seventh day to the first day of the week, a day honored by pagans in their worship of the “sun god”. I take this time to caution everyone to understand their faith and to continue to grow in knowledge of it, or fundamentalism may look like it has all the answers and our church which is built upon the faith of the apostles and the early Christians is a lie. It is not enough to say that, “we always did it this way.”
This Sunday I am beginning my classes on St. Paul the Apostle, St. Paul the Man, St. Paul and His World. Before I moved to Immaculate Conception 17 years ago, I stayed as far away from St. Paul as I could, but over the past 15 years I have studied St. Paul and preached on him on an average once a month. Join us in the Dining Room at 10:00 am Sunday mornings.