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Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Matthew 12:46-50

July 20, 2005
Wednesday in the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Optional Memorial of St. Apollinaris, bishop and martyr

The Gospel:

While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you." But he said in reply to the one who told him, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Matthew 12:46-50

"Call no man Father"

As I read this it brought to mind the various titles in Catholic religious orders. I know that many non-Christians object to the use of "Father" by using Matthew 23:8-10, but this verse is just showing no one can take the place of God the Father. Few people claiming this is against the Bible look to the next line claiming "call no man teacher". Again, both of these claims point to the general theme where Jesus is telling us not to call anyone like the Pharisees were our fathers and teachers.

The title of father are just showing us these people are serving the Lord in a special way to help others get to Heaven. This is a spiritual fatherhood. If we took that verse in Matthew 23:8-10 literally we couldn't even call our biological fathers by the title "father". Here are some examples of "Father" used in the New Testament showing that the Catholic Church is not wrong:

"In the New Testament, things are even clearer. Jesus himself refers to Abraham as "father" in his parable about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, and again in John 8:56. This practice is echoed by Stephen in Acts 7:2, where he is speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 7:55). Not only does he refer to "Father Abraham", but he also addresses the members of the Sanhedrin as "brethren and fathers".

And a direct example of the theology of the spiritual fatherhood of priests is Paul's comment in 1 Cor 4:14-15: "I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel". " Source: Call no man Father

Is the use of "Father" in the New Testament proving the Catholic Church's position. Yes: Jesus, St. Paul, and St. James all referred to Abraham as "father". St. John on two occassions refers to Church leaders in his letters as "fathers", and St. Paul refers to himself as "father" in 1 Corinthians: " I write not these things to confound you; but I admonish you as my dearest children. For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you" (Douay Rheims).

Jesus was telling us not to give another the authority that God is entitled. Notice he said to call no one "teacher" also in the line after "Call no man Father". I have just shown two examples of the use of Father proving that the title of "Father" is used to refer to a spiritual father. This usage is far from sinful.

Sermon by Saint Augustine
(Sermo 25, 7-8:PL 46, 937-938)

Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ declared: Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and sister and my mother. I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Saviour was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her – did she not do the will of the Father? Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father’s will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ’s disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.

Now listen and see if the words of Scripture do not agree with what I have said. The Lord was passing by and crowds were following him. His miracles gave proof of divine power. and a woman cried out: Happy is the womb that bore you, blessed is that womb! But the Lord, not wishing people to seek happiness in a purely physical relationship, replied: More blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. Mary heard God’s word and kept it, and so she is blessed. She kept God’s truth in her mind, a nobler thing than carrying his body in her womb. The truth and the body were both Christ: he was kept in Mary’s mind insofar as he is truth, he was carried in her womb insofar as he is man; but what is kept in the mind is of a higher order than what is carried in the womb.

The Virgin Mary is both holy and blessed, and yet the Church is greater than she. Mary is a part of the Church, a member of the Church, a holy, an eminent – the most eminent – member, but still only a member of the entire body. The body undoubtedly is greater than she, one of its members. This body has the Lord for its head, and head and body together make up the whole Christ. In other words, our head is divine – our head is God.

Now, beloved, give me your whole attention, for you also are members of Christ; you also are the body of Christ. Consider how you yourselves can be among those of whom the Lord said: Here are my mother and my brothers. Do you wonder how you can be the mother of Christ? He himself said: Whoever hears and fulfils the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and my sister and my mother. As for our being the brothers and sisters of Christ, we can understand this because although there is only one inheritance and Christ is the only Son, his mercy would not allow him to remain alone. It was his wish that we too should be heirs of the Father, and co-heirs with himself.

Now having said that all of you are brothers of Christ, shall I not dare to call you his mother? Much less would I dare to deny his own words. Tell me how Mary became the mother of Christ, if it was not by giving birth to the members of Christ? You, to whom I am speaking, are the members of Christ. Of whom were you born? “Of Mother Church”, I hear the reply of your hearts. You became sons of this mother at your baptism, you came to birth then as members of Christ. Now you in your turn must draw to the font of baptism as many as you possibly can. You became sons when you were born there yourselves, and now by bringing others to birth in the same way, you have it in your power to become the mothers of Christ.

Image Source: Believed to be in the Public Domain, Title Unknown


del_button July 21, 2005 at 12:54 AM
Mike said...

None Catholics also use this reading to show that Mary did not remain a virgin after Jesus birth because of the reference to Jesus brothers. But from what I've read about it the term that is interpreted here as "brothers" could also be used to mean cousins or other close relatives.


del_button July 21, 2005 at 7:53 AM
Moneybags said...

Correct. These "brothers" were most likely cousins from a previous marriage of St. Joseph.

del_button July 21, 2005 at 5:20 PM
auron said...

Yea, I'm glad you can interpret "god's perfect bible" so perfectly. Its just a hyperbole! That sickens me. Who gets to decide what to take literally and what to take figurativly huh. Thats what i mean by the bible isnt perfect. It can be taken so many different ways that I refuse to believe somebody has figured out exactly what god meant by a specific passage.

del_button July 21, 2005 at 7:04 PM
BleSSedShadow said...

I agree with Auron.

Sorry, most everything I think has already been said.

del_button July 21, 2005 at 11:20 PM
Moneybags said...

Well, yes there are many interpretations, but I follow the one that is passed down through Christ's teachings through His Church. These are how the Gospels must really be followed and interpreted; this is why Christ gave us the Holy Spirit for guidance and His Church.

del_button July 22, 2005 at 11:27 PM
BleSSedShadow said...

The Bible could have changed in its translation to english or with the findings of The Dead Sea Scrolls.

del_button July 23, 2005 at 10:11 AM
Moneybags said...

The Catholic Church's official language is Latin from the translation by St. Jerome. And the Catholic Church also has the power to interpret the Bible, which is the Magesterium. You should look up the term online for an explanation of it.

del_button July 29, 2005 at 1:49 PM
Jordan said...

Auron - -

This all boils down to authority. And you have just identified the number one thing that foils protestantism:

"Who gets to decide whats taken literally and figuratively huh."

Protestants decipher scripture under what they think is the Holy Spirit guiding them - but how can he guide 3 different people to 3 different conclusions? He cant!

As we know, the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the only TRUE Body is that of Jesus Chirst - the church in other words. Jesus started a church .. which church was that? Todays Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, it is the Roman Catholic Church that is the true Body of Christ. Therefore, it is the Roman Catholic Church that posseses the Holy Spirit in guiding them whilst interpreting the scriptures.

Protestantism doesn't have this - there are numerous bodys of Churches scattered throughout the Protestant world, and not all of them can be correct. Only one. Only a Holy. Only a Catholic. Only an Apostolic.

Only the Roman Catholic Church.

del_button August 21, 2005 at 7:36 PM
auron said...

what about the new testament jesus isnt here to interpret that. and dont go all holy spirit on me ive heard it. You cant show that they had the holy spirit and that everybody else that claims they did, didnt.

del_button February 14, 2010 at 12:30 AM
Art said...

The Catholic Church is more than the Holy Bible. Remember, it was the Catholic Church that gave the bible to the world. The bible is Church Based. The Church is not bible based. The true difference between Protestants and Catholics. We as Catholics believe not only in the bible-Sacred Scripture, however, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium. Remember, If anyone has the Authority to speak on behalf of Sacred Scripture, it is the authors themselves. All Roman Catholics.

del_button July 18, 2011 at 10:07 PM
Anonymous said...

The Bible is perfect in it's message Of God's salvation. It doesn't have to be historically accurate to get God's message across. He loves us all and Offers salvation to all His brothers and sisters...

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