Jesus often quoted what we know today as the Old Testament. He used these Scriptures to create curiosity, break traditions, and answer questions in a way that penetrated hearts, stirred thoughts, and even angered the religious leaders of His time. Not only did His statements about the Bible challenge their thinking then, but His words also continue to raise questions in the minds of many today.
Then prove it by giving away all your money. So says a Chilean Bishop:
Bishop Bernardo Bastres Florence of Punta Arenas, Chile has an interesting suggestion for those convinced that the world will end Dec. 21, as predicted by the Mayan calendar.
According to local newspaper La Prensa Austral, the bishop said that those who believe the Mayan prophecy should donate their worldly goods to the Church.
“If there are many who believe the world will end on Dec. 21, as the Church, we have no problem with them naming us as the beneficiaries of their possessions in their wills,” he quipped in a Dec. 9 interview.
Doomsday predictions about the end of the world, as documented by the Mayans, have circulated in recent years and grown in popularity. The Mayan Long Count calendar begins in 3,114 B.C., which accounts for time in 394-year periods known as Baktuns. The Mayans allegedly believed that the last, or 13th Baktun, ends Dec. 21, 2012.
To those who are convinced that the world is ending next week, Bishop Bastres said “I assure them that after Dec. 21, we will eternally pray for them.”
“Because I am sure that we will all be alive after that date. If they wish to pass on, they could do enormous good by donating their properties to the Church.”
Adding to criticism of the prophecy, Father Jose Funes – who directs the Vatican Observatory – wrote in the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano that “it’s not even worth discussing” the predictions.
In his Dec. 12 piece titled, “The end that won’t come – at least for now,” he countered doomsday scenarios by stressing that the “Word of God reminds us that we are heading toward a fundamentally good future, despite the crises of every kind in which we are immersed.”
“That’s because we are assured that, in Christ, there is a future for humanity and for the universe,” the Jesuit priest added.
“In the depths of the human being is the fundamental belief that death cannot have the last word.”
Although Cosmology shows that the universe will – billions of years from now – go into “a final state of cold and darkness,” he noted, the Christian message “teaches us instead that in the final resurrection, the last day, God will reconstitute every man, woman and all the universe.”
The Catholic League notes:
Hanukkah is currently being celebrated, but fortunately for Jews they are not being attacked by David Silverman. No, like other haters in the atheist community, the president of American Atheists saves his vitriol for Christians.
Silverman’s latest assault is a huge billboard in New York’s Times Square.
The decision by Silverman to exploit Jesus crucified as part of his annual attack on Christmas is not hard to explain. Two years ago, he ran a billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that said, “You Know It’s a Myth: This Season Celebrate Reason.” I answered with a billboard on the New York side of the Lincoln Tunnel which read, “You Know It’s Real: This Season Celebrate Jesus.” We both actually had some fun with that exchange.
Last year Silverman’s billboard outside the Lincoln Tunnel featured a picture of a statue of the Roman god Neptune, a classical portrait of Jesus, a depiction of Santa, and a guy in a devil’s mask. It said they were all myths. When asked by the New York Times why I wasn’t upset, I said, “It’s inane. Nobody knows what this means. I mean, Neptune? Over here, we just looked at each other in puzzlement.”
This year Silverman wanted to make a big splash, so he decided to draw blood. It shows what he is made of. He and his supporters do not want to be left alone—they want to inflame the passions of those with whom they disagree. Unlike Christians who do not provoke, harass or otherwise mock atheists, Silverman and his ilk want nothing more than to stick it to Christians at Christmastime. It’s who they are.
Meantime, over at Huffington Post, writer Diana Butler Bass takes aim at the “War on Christmas” and says the real problem is a “War on Advent”:
With FOX News seeking to expose those who refuse to say “Merry Christmas” as secular collaborators to the War on Christmas, I confess that I am confused. FOX holds itself up as the network that stands by traditional values defending America and faith from heresies and infidelities of all sorts.
Did FOX get the wrong memo?
According to ancient Christian tradition, “Christmas” is not the December shopping season in advance of Christmas Day; rather, it is Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the Twelve Days following that run until early January. During most of December, Christians observe Advent, a four-week season of reflection, preparation and waiting that precedes the yearly celebration of Jesus’ birth. In many mainstream and liturgical (and even liberal and progressive) churches, no Christmas hymn will pass the lips of a serious churchgoer for another two weeks. If you wander into a local Lutheran, Episcopal or Roman Catholic parish, the congregation will still be chanting the ethereal tones of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” or “Watchman, Tell Us of the Night.” There are no poinsettias, no Christmas pageants, no trees or holly, and no red and green altar linens. A few days ago, they might have preached about St. Nicholas — but not Santa Claus. There are no twinkling lights or over-the-top Christmas displays. Just four candles in a simple wreath, two partially burned, two yet to be lit. The mood is somber as December moves toward deeper darkness, and the night lengthens. The world waits, and it is time to prepare for the arrival of God’s kingdom. It is not Christmas. It is Advent.
During these weeks, churches are not merry. There is a muted sense of hope and expectation. Christians recollect God’s ancient promise to Israel for a kingdom where lion and lamb will lie down together. The ministers preach from stark biblical texts about the poor and oppressed being lifted up while the rich and powerful are cast down, about society being leveled and oppression ceasing. Christians remember the Hebrew prophets and long for a Jewish Messiah to be born. The Sunday readings extol social and economic justice, and sermons are preached about the cruelty of ancient Rome and political repression.
Duncan, Wabukala, Sutton meet with Vatican officials in Rome
Why? Perhaps the Ordinariate option needs to be pointed out to them in person?
At the close of the General Audience of 28 Nov 2012, the leader of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Robert Duncan met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, leader of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, was to have also attended the General Audience, but was delayed. Joined by the chairman of the ACNA’s ecumenical relations commission, Bishop Ray Sutton of the Reformed Episcopal Church, Archbishop Duncan spoke with the pope. The three later met with Vatican officials. Details of the conversations have not been released. Claims of the significance of the meeting or of its symbolism are also premature, one Vatican watcher said, until the substance of the conversation is known.
Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (the Anglican Ordinariate in the United States and Canada) told Anglican Ink his office had not facilitated the meeting and was not involved in the discussions. He noted a meeting after the General Audience was a “courtesy extended to ecumenical leaders”…
Read on here.
Is the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans not more of a ‘low’ Church grouping?