The Very Best Way To Honor Veterans…

Parades, picnics, and patriotism are all well and good. In the United States, they provide a kind of Memorial Day imgresritual through which we honor those who have served our country. Other countries have similar days of remembrance.

But there’s an even more important way we can honor those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms. This year, instead of just waving a flag and thanking a veteran, think about doing something more. Offer up a Mass.

2 Maccabees 12 provides a scriptural precedent for just such an action.

During his campaign to free the Jews from Greek oppression, Judas Maccabeus returned to the field of battle to retrieve the bodies of some fallen freedom fighters. Unfortunately, he discovered his fallen comrades had committed idolatry and worshipped a false god. (They were carrying “sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear” (2 Mac 12:40).

What did he do? He offered sacrifice for their souls.

Peter paul Rubens, "The Triumph of Judas Maccabee," Museum of Fine Artsin Nantes…and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out… 43 He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44 For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin. (2 Mac 12:42-45) (italics mine)

While our departed loved ones were probably not carrying around idols, we recognize that none of them were perfect. They suffered from the effects of sin just like the rest of us. But the great thing is that we can help them!

As Catholics, we are all part and parcel of the Mystical Body of Christ. We’re all connected through the sacraments. Death in a state of grace doesn’t kick someone out of the family. They’ve just moved upstairs, so to speak.

And since we don’t know exactly where they are in the process of perfection, the very best thing we can do isn’t a parade, but an offering of the sacraments for their soul. Our loved ones have sacrificed for us. Now let us offer sacrifice for them (and have a parade!).

Happy Memorial Day and God bless those who fight to protect freedom everywhere.

Matthew
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P.S. Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of my quick guide to deeper prayer 8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life! It’s an easy step-by-step guide to help you rocket to God!

Don’t miss a show! Subscribe to The Art of Catholic podcast by clicking this link and then clicking “View in iTunes” under the picture and then “Subscribe”!

Lourdes BasilicaWant to experience Catholic Europe? Join Matthew on his pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes, Avila, and many other amazing holy sites this October 23rd to November 1st. Click here for details.

043: (More) New Testament Basics with John Bergsma

Part 2 - St Paul and St John

catholic_FINAL_150There are 27 books in the New Testament…19 of them came from just two guys.

Sts. Paul and John are two of the most influential men in the history of the world. 14 of the books of the most popular book in the history of the world (the Bible…just in case you were scratching your head) are traditionally ascribed to Paul. Not to be outdone, St. John wrote the “greatest piece of world literature, period” says John Bergsma. (Plus four other New Testament books.)

These guys are Bible rock stars.Basildon Park

Even so, they need some explication. Paul is sometimes clear as mud. (Have you read Romans?) John sometimes soars so high into the celestial mist that he needs to brought back down to earth.  Theologians spend years trying to unpack what both have to say. We don’t have that kind of time.

But we do have Dr. John Bergsma.

John Bergsma's famous stick figures!

Bergsma’s famous art!

In this rollicking conclusion to my two part interview on New Testament Basics for Catholics, we’ll finish off what we started in episode 42. First, we’ll conclude our discussion of Luke and its sequel, Acts, and then pivot to Paul and John.

Among other things we’ll:

 

  • Unveil the two stars of the book of Acts and the two sections of the book (Act 1 and Act 2:)
  • Answer the famous question posed by an ex-priest of why Jesus kept promising a kingdom, but all we got was a Church
  • Unpack the overall purpose of the book of Romans (good luck!)
  • Explain what Paul means by the controversial phrase “obedience of faith”. (A very important concept to understand for discussion with our Protestant brethren.)
  • Identify the “good news” and “bad news” of Romans (We’ll do the bad news first, of course.)
  • Hear Bergsma explain why the Gospel of John the “greatest piece of world literature, period”
  • Show why St. John is SO Catholic.

You do NOT want to miss this episode. Enjoy!

Matthew8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life Cover Image

P.S. Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of my quick guide to deeper prayer 8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life! It’s an easy step-by-step guide to help you rocket to God!

Don’t miss a show! Subscribe to The Art of Catholic by clicking this link and then clicking “View in iTunes” under the picture and then “Subscribe”!

Android user? You can listen to The Art of Catholic on the Beyond Pod app from the Google Play Store.

Lourdes BasilicaWant to experience Catholic Europe? Join Matthew on his pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes, Avila, and many other amazing holy sites this October 23rd to November 1st. Click here for details.

 

042: New Testament Basics with John Bergsma

Starting with the Gospels of Matthew & Luke

catholic_FINAL_150If you totally understand the New Testament of Sacred Scripture, then you can ignore this podcast. For the rest of us mortals, this show is a gem.

Best-selling author and professor Dr. John Bergsma explains the Bible like nobody else. His Bible Basics for Catholics is a masterpiece. While it focused on the overall story of salvation history, particularly the Old Testament, his sequel, New Testament Basics for Catholics illuminates the second half of the Bible.

And it’s even better than the first one (which sold a gazillion copies).

John breaks the New Testament down by focusing on its four major authors. In part 1 of this interview, we’ll discuss the first two – Matthew and Luke – and what’s happening in their books. Among other things we’ll learn:matthew-670

  • What is the unifying theme of the major New Testament authors?
  • Why does Matthew kick off the New Testament with a genealogy? (John actually calls it biblical Tae Kwon Do)
  • What’s so shocking about the women mentioned by Matthew?
  • What is Luke’s theme and how is his audience different than Matthew’s?
  • What is the true meaning of mercy as found in the Gospel of Luke? (It’s not what you think and it gives a whole new meaning to the Year of Mercy!)

My previous show with John (Episode 6) remains one of my most popular. In this latest interview, you’ll understand why I call him the “Blond Beast of Biblical Theology”.

Matthew

P.S. Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of my quick guide to deeper prayer 8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life Cover Image8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life! It’s an easy step-by-step guide to help you rocket to God!

Don’t miss a show! Subscribe to The Art of Catholic by clicking this link and then clicking “View in iTunes” under the picture and then “Subscribe”!
Android user? You can listen to The Art of Catholic on the Beyond Pod app from the Google Play Store.

Lourdes BasilicaWant to experience Catholic Europe? Join Matthew on his pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes, Avila, and many other amazing holy sites this October 23rd to November 1st. Click here for details.