Monday, February 05, 2007

Anonymous (what a shock!) questions

Three anonymous (what a shock!) bloggers have asked the following questions:

1) “In Mark 1:1-11 what was John the Baptist attitude about the ministry of Jesus when Jesus requested to be baptized?”

I think that John’s remarks in verses 7-8 sum up his attitude of Jesus and his ministry: “ One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”. Or maybe even more simply, what he says in John’s Gospel sums it all up (for John’s attitude and for ours): “He must increase; I must decrease” (Jn 3:30)

It is interesting that you picked Mark’s version of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan by John because Mark has no dialogue between Jesus and John. The emphasis is on a) the vision Jesus has of “the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him”, and b) the voice that “came from the heavens, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”.

2) “Should you receive the Eucharist if you are in a state of unbelief -- that is, unbelief in the real presence?”

Yes. The only state in which a baptized Catholic shouldn’t receive Holy Communion is mortal sin. Otherwise, we should receive the Eucharist as often as possible: “the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily” (CCC, #1389).

I would recommend that you ask the Lord to help you in your unbelief as you receive Holy Communion. I’ve told the story before of the priest who had asked the Lord to help him in his unbelief. One day at Mass, as the priest elevated the Host during Consecration, the Lord worked a miracle: drops of blood began to fall from the Host. Jesus wants to help us in our faith, especially in the Eucharist. If we approach him with openness, he will nourish our faith with the Bread of Life.

3) An anonymous blogger referred to a line from my homily from the 2nd Sunday, ’Jesus is always speaking to us. The question is, are we listening?’, and has asked, “How do we know when Jesus is speaking to us?”

In my homily, I suggest that we know when Jesus is speaking to us when we hear the words of Sacred Scripture, specifically the Gospel. He is the Word of God, the Divine Revelation to the World. So, when I hear him say, “Give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty…”, etc., I know that he is telling ME to give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, etc. Also, we all hear him speaking to us through the Church: “Whoever hears you (the Apostles and their successors), hears me”. These are all general and objective ways that God speaks to all of us.

If your question is related to a more private revelation of Jesus, then the answer would be to meet with a priest or religious. He or she can help you to know how Jesus is speaking to you. Typically called a spiritual director, the priest (or nun) can help you to see and read the signs that God is showing you in your life.

1 comment:

Matt Cooper said...
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