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Tuesday, February 21, 2006
How the Church Leads us to God
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That was the title of Fr. Benedict Groeschel's "Sunday Night Live" program last Sunday. I watched it like I do most of his programs and generally enjoyed it although I felt he talked too much on reform and not enough on the benefits of the Church.

Fr. Benedict began by discussing three scriptures passages referring to the power of the Catholic Church:

Matthew 16:17-19

And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

This verse is one of the most instrumental in our faith. It was this declaration by Our Lord that He would establish the Church. And Our Lord gave Simon a new name - "petra" meaning "rock". St. Peter would be the rock of Christ's Church, and St. Peter was given the keys to the kingdom. Jesus Christ is the invisible head of the Church (CCC 792), but He chose to build His Church on St. Peter (CCC 552). This gave way for all the sacraments to be given to the Church including the Sacrament of Penance. In this respect and built on John 20:21-23, Our Lord gives the apostles the ability to forgive sins (See: Confession). This verse is instrumental in the foundation of the Church. We are lead closer to God by the apostles (the first bishops) and St. Peter, the first Pope.

And, Fr. Benedict also stressed about the history of the Church. The truth is that there have been less than ideal popes, but that goes back to the truth- we are all sinners. Not one of us is free from sin. St. Peter denied Our Lord three times and left Him to die in agony. He was a sinner and no church will be without sinners. Christ came to heal the sinners, so it makes since that the Church is made up of those needing the Physician of Life. However, Jesus is truly present in the Catholic Church.

What are the Four Marks of the Church?

One - It was the first and is the One Church founded by the Lord (Romans 12:5, 1 Cor. 10:17, 12:13, CCC 813–822)

Holy - The Church is Holy because it teaches holy doctrine and it's founder is the Source of all Holiness (Eph. 5:25–27, Rev. 19:7–8, CCC 823–829)

Catholic - It literally means "universally". We are the universal faith established by Christ (Matt. 28:19–20, Rev. 5:9–10, CCC 830–856)

Apostolic - Through the bishops and the Popes we can trace our faith back to the time of the Lord (Eph. 2:19–20, CCC 857–865)

Jesus came to destroy sin, satan, and death. He gathered 12 disciples to replace the 12 tribes of Israel - a new covenant with His people. These 12 disciples were the only ones allowed to celebrate the last Supper. These 12 were the only ones given the power to forgive sins and celebrate the Eucharist that is passed down only through the ordained priesthood (CCC 1411). The apostles - meaning those sent by Christ - were given the full power of authority by Christ in that verse: "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

And at the Last Supper, Our Savior's words, "Take and eat, this is my body: take and drink this is my blood" truly transformed the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. In yet another act of humility, Christ gave Himself to us through this Sacrament - the Holy Eucharist. The apostles alone were given this power passed down through apostolic succession. This is only preserved in the Catholic Church. Peter was a symbol of the Church - the Vicar of Christ, the pope, who is the representative of Jesus until He comes again. The Head of Our Church is Jesus Christ though he is represented by St. Peter, a representative for the human race to see God's presence. This is the pope's job and his successors and done this as well. Without the Catholic Church, you can not have the true, complete teachings of Jesus Christ.

The foundation of the Church occurred on Pentecost with the apostles and Mary receiving the Holy Spirit (CCC 1076). Their reception of the Holy Spirit took place publicly just as Jesus' Crucifixion. Since then, the Church can be seen as a divine-human reality - the Spirit working with us to co-operate with the gift of the Lord's very presence.

More Information which I have only partially read:

Image Source: Photo believed to be in the Public Domain

2 comments:

del_button February 22, 2006 at 1:18 PM
adam said...

wow, I'm going to only say 2 things about this:
1) In John 20 the Bible says disciples and not apostles. Disciples are all those who believe in Christ. Apostles are also disciples but they are the ones who saw Jesus in His flesh.
2)"is is is and always is is"- that's pertaining to the institution of communion

del_button February 26, 2006 at 3:04 PM
Moneybags said...

So what exactly are you saying then in respect to my post's purpose?

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