Friday, November 29, 2013

The Catholic Defender: St. John The Baptist

St. John the Baptist was born with a purpose, God ordained this purpose from the foundation of the world.

We see that Isaiah foretells St. John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah.

Isaiah 40:1-5 states, "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: 'In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

St. John the Baptist was the herold before the Lord. Matthew 3:1-5 states, "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.' Now John wore a garment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey."

This was known before his conception. We see the same thing with the Virgin Mary.

These singular graces given to St. John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary were given for all of us.

We too share in these gifts because it was meant for the whole world.

John the Baptist was born without Original Sin. He was conceived with Original Sin, but he was born free of this fallen nature.

How can this be? Luke 1:13-15 states, "But the angel said to him (Zechariah), 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth; for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb".

Luke 1:44 states, "For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy".

This fullfulls what the angel had said. At this moment, St. John the Baptist was given an infusion of Sanctifying Grace that cleansed him from the Original Sin.

This was not a baptism, but a singular grace given. This event was a preparation for St. John the Baptist to be the herold of the Messiah, the forerunner of Jesus.

Another significant correlation  concerning the birth of St. John the Baptist is the timeline of the fulfillment of this word and the Wise men following the Star of Bethlehem.  Both those events point to the birth of Jesus Christ.

October 3 B.C. The Day of Atonement-Yom Kippur, the busiest Temple day of the Temple year (Luke 1:10) sometime late March early April. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Zachariah and announced the coming of John the Baptist.

September 3 B.C. The planet Jupiter was in conjunction with Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo-Leo the Lion. This would be the star the wise men would follow leading them to Bethlehem. They followed the star for about 16 months until the Star rested over Bethlehem for six days beginning on Dec 25, 2 B.C.

March-April 2 B.C. "In the sixth month (since the announcement of John the Baptist-October 2 B.C.), the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail Full of Grace, the Lord is with you. But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom there will be no end."
(Luke 1:26-22)

March-April 2:B.C. Mary hastens to visit Elizabeth who was in her sixth month of pregnancy.

June (25) 2 B.C. Birth of St. John the Baptist.

This sign of grace given to John was very important in God's plan of salvation.

Jesus said of St. John the Baptist, "Truly, I say to you, among those born of woman there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he" (Matthew 11:11).

St. John the Baptist was the last of the Prophets of the Old Testament, he died before the reign of Christ which would begin on 3 April, 33 A.D.

The death of St. John the Baptist can be found in Matthew 14:1-12.

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*BEST OF DTB #108* The Catholic Defender: Jesus is the Promised Messiah

Recently, I wrote about the Masons who regard one religion equal to another.

There are a number of groups out there who will see Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Buddha, or other gods, placing them on the same par.

Some even would think that they are the same person pictured in different cultures. This is all wrong.

There are many religions but only one founded by the true "God/Man" Jesus Christ.

Consider Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses states, "A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen". 

Matthew 17 speaks of the Transfiguration in which Jesus transfigured before Peter, James, and John. Moses and Elijah both appeared there speaking with Jesus concerning what was going to happen. Finally, a bright cloud did cast a shadow over them and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him". 

I see a specific connection from what Moses said with what God the Father said, "listen to him". Recently, on one of the deepertruth radio shows, an individual called in to the show referring to himself as an Atheist.

I want to answer why I think prophecy is important to know the truth. What does the prophets of the Old Testament reveal in the light of the New Testament? The following are Old Testament prophecies with the New Testament fulfillment:  The Old Testament will be in blue, the New Testament in red.

Jesus early years

Isaiah 11:1, "But a shoot shall spout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him". Jesse: David's Father. Stump: After the Babylonian exile, only a stump of the Davidic Dynasty will remain; from it will arise the new shoot, the Messianic King. Also the root meaning of the word bud refers to the word NESER which hits the root of NAZIR which translates to NAZARETH. Jesus would be called Jesus the Nazarene!

Matthew 2:23, "He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, 'he shall be called a Nazarene".

Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall call him Immanuel".

Matthew 1:24-25, "When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus".
Micah 5:1, "But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; whose origin is from old, from ancient times".

Matthew 2:3-5, "When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 'where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage".

Isaiah 60:6, "Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord".

Matthew 2:7-11, "Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem.... and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh".

Hos 11:1, "When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son".

Matthew 2:13-15, "When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you... He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, 'Out of Egypt I called my son".

Jeremiah 31:15, "Thus says the Lord: In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping! Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more".

Matthew 2:16, "When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and it's vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi".
Jesus Public Ministry

Isaiah 40:3, "A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God"!

Matthew 3:1-3, "In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, 'Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand"!

Isaiah 42:1, "Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit".

Matthew 3:16, "After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, 'this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased".

Isaiah 9:1, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone".

Matthew 4:12-16, "When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulen and Naphtali"...

Isaiah 42:1-4, "Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench. Until he establishes justice on the earth; the coast lands will wait for his teaching".

Matthew 12:15-21, "When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place. Many people followed him, and he cured them all, but he warned them not to make him known".

Isaiah 6:9-10, "Listen carefully, but you shall not understand! Look intently, but you shall know nothing! You are to make the heart of this people sluggish, to dull their ears and close their eyes; Else their eyes will see, their ears hear, their heart understand, and they will turn and be healed".

Matthew 13:10-13, "The disciples approached him and said, 'Why do you speak to them in parables?' He said to them in reply, 'Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand".

Psalm 78:2, "I will open my mouth in a parable, I will utter mysteries from of old".

Matthew 13:34, "All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables to fulfill what had been said through the prophet".
Isaiah 29:13-14, "The Lord said: Since this people draws near with words only and honors me with their lips alone, through their hearts are far from me, and their reverence for me has become routine observance of the precepts of men, therefore I will again deal with this people in surprising and wondrous fashion: The wisdom of it's wise men shall perish and the understanding of its prudent men be hid".

Matthew 15:1-8, "Then Pharisees ans scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 'Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They do not wash their hands when they eat a meal.' He said to them in reply, 'And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God sail, Honor your father and mother and whoever curses father or mother shall die.  But you say,  Whoever says to father or mother, Any support you might have had from me is dedicated to God, need not honor his father.  You have nullified the word of God for the sake of your tradition.  Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy about you when he said: This people honors me with lips, but their hearts are far from me; teaching as doctrines human precepts."

Malachi 3:1, "Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek; and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire".

Matthew 21:12-17, "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those engaged in selling and buying there... The blind and the lame approached him in the temple area, and he cured them"...
Jesus entry to Jerusalem

Zechariah 9:9, "Rejoice heartily, o daughter Zion, shout for joy, o daughter Jerusalem! See your King shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass".

Matthew 21:1-3, "When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, 'Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me."

Psalm 118:26, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord".

Matthew 21:8-11, "The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road.  The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: 'Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest."

Isaiah 56:7, "Them I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer; their holocausts and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all the peoples".

Matthew 21:12-13, "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those engages in selling and buying there.  He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.'  And he said to them, 'It is written: My house shall be a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves."

Jesus passion and death

Zechariah 13:7, "Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, against the man who is my associate, says the Lord of hosts. Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be dispersed, and I will turn my hand against the little ones".

Matthew 26:31, "Then Jesus said to them, 'This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed; but after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee."

Zechariah 11:13, "But they said to me, throw it in the treasury the handsome price they valued me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the treasury in the house of the Lord".

Matthew 27:3, "Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done.  He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, 'I have sinned in betraying innocent blood."

Jeremiah 51:35, "My torn flesh be upon Babylon (Rome), says the City of Zion (Jerusalem); my blood upon the people of Chalda, says Jerusalem".

Matthew 27:24-25, "When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water ans washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, 'I am innocent of this man's blood.  Look to it yourselves.'  And the whole people said in reply, 'His blood be upon us and upon our children.  Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified."

Psalm 22:19, "They look on and gloat over me, they divide my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots".

John 19:24, "So they said to one another, 'Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,' in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled that says: 'They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots."

Psalm 22:17-18, "Indeed, many dogs surround me, a pack of evil doers closes in upon me; they have pierced my hands and my feet; I can count all my bones".

John 19:17-20, "So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.  There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.  Pilate also had an inscription written and put on a cross.  It read, 'Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.'  Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.

Psalm 69:22, "Rather they put gall in my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink".

John 19:28-30, "Jesus said, 'I thirst.' There was a vessel filled with common wine.  So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a spring of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.  When Jesus has taken the wine, he said, 'It is finished."

Psalm 22:2, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me, far from my prayer, from the words of my cry".

Matthew 27:45-46, "From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  And about three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Daniel 12:2, "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace".

Matthew 27:51-54, "And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.  The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who has fallen asleep were raised.  And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many.  The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, 'Truly, this was the Son of God."

Psalm 34:21, "He watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken".

John 19:32-33, "So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.  But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs..."

Zechariah 12:10, "I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and petition; and they shall look on him whom they have thrust through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a first born".

John 19:34-35, "but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.  An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe.  For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: 'Not a bone of it will be broken.' And again another passage says: 'They will look upon him whom they have pierced."

Isaiah 53:9-10, "A grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood".....

Matthew 27:57-61, "When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus.  He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over.  Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he has hewn in the rock.  Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.  But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb."

 After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb.  And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone. and sat upon it.  His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow.  The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men.  Then the angel said to the women in reply, 'Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.  He is not hear, for he has been raised just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.' (Matthew 28:1-7)
Yes, Jesus has been raised from the dead and Jesus goes before you at every Catholic Church where you can receive the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.

By doing so, you renew the Covenant and He "will raise him (you) on the last day."

When you take a good look at all these prophetic texts, there can be no doubt that the prophet Moses is speaking of Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 18:15).  Nobody else comes close.

Jesus established the Catholic Faith promising the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Jesus promised that he would be with his Church until he returns at the end of the age. Jesus also promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to help the Church keep true to his word.

This is what the Church has done for nearly 2,000 years.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Being Heralded Throughout the World

There is much confusion about the Roman Church today because of the division that plagues Christianity.

I see the Catholic Church being very essential for preserving the established Faith of the New Testament.

There is no question that St. Paul thought so when reading his letters.

Consider his conversion experience.  St. Luke tells the story that reshaped the world:

Acts 9:3-6 says, "On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me'? He said, 'Who are you, sir'? the reply came, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do".

What was Saul told to do? Acts 9:10-19 tells the story: "There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, 'Ananias'. He answered, 'Here I am, Lord'. The Lord said to him, 'Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight'. But Ananias replied, 'Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name'. But the Lord said to him, 'Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name'. So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, 'Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit'. Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight.  He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength".

St. Paul would ultimate go to Rome.  In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul writes, "First, I give thanks to you my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is heralded throughout the world. God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in proclaiming the gospel of his Son, that I remember you constantly, always asking in my prayers that somehow by God's will I may at last find my way clear to come to you".

A great question might be asked how does Christ voice through his Church remain perfect despite the fact that we many times do not fully live up to our teachings? The Prophet Zephaniah says that The Church would do no wrong, speak no lies, no deceit is to be found, the flocks would be protected (Zephaniah 2:3, 3:12-13).

It is the offices Christ established in the Church that gives it the foundation. Jesus commissioned the Church to go to all the nations teaching them his commands.

He administers his grace through his Church. It is the Holy Spirit that keeps the voice straight and free from falsehoods.  Being faithful to the Church, we are taking "refuge in the name of the Lord".
By listening to the Church, we are listening to the voice of the Lord, "Thus saith the Lord"!
Consider Malachi 1:11, "For from the rising of the sun, even to it's setting, my name is great among the nations". 

The Catholic Church is sent by Christ to go to all the nations administering God's grace through the Sacraments "everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering"!

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

*BEST OF DTB #41* The Catholic Defender: Happy Hanukkah/Christmas

1 Maccabees 4:56-59 says, "For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar and joyfully offered holocausts and sacrifices of deliverance and praise. They ornamented the facade of the temple with gold crowns and shields; they repaired the gates and the priest's chambers and furnished them with doors. There was great joy among the people now that the disgrace of the Gentiles was removed. Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year for eight days, from the twenty-fifth day of the month Chislev.

St. John refers to the "Feast of Dedication" stating, "The feast of the Dedication" was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter".

This celebration would be much like modern day Thanksgiving in the United States as the Jewish people celebrates the re-dedication of the altar and reconstruction of the temple in 164 B.C.

The Gentiles (Antiochus IV Epiphanes) desecrated the temple as prophesied by Daniel 8:13-14 which says: "I heard a holy one speaking, and another said to whichever one it was that spoke, 'How long shall the events of this vision last concerning the daily sacrifice, the desolating sin which is placed there, the sanctuary, and the trampled host'? He answered him, 'For two thousand three hundred 
evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be purified".

Antiochus IV profaned the temple in Jerusalem by placing a statue of the Greek god Zeus Olympias in the Sanctuary.

After three years of resistance, the Jews were able to finally win as Daniel predicted.

With Jerusalem finally back into the hands of the Jews, Judah Maccabees led his soldiers into the holy Temple finding the place totally decimated, things were stolen, religious objects were found broken to include a golden menorah.

Judas Maccabees appointed men to build a new altar with uncut stones in accordance of the law.

They repaired the sanctuary and purified the surrounding area in and outside the temple.

"They reconsecrated the temple with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals. All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven, who had given them success" (1 Maccabees 4:54-55).

They repaired and purified the temple, and after completing the task they decided to have a dedication ceremony and light the great lamp (1 Maccabees 4:49-50).

What is omitted from the biblical text is that the men looked everywhere for oil, but found only a small flask that contained enough oil to produce light for a day.

Miraculously, this oil lasted for eight days, giving them enough time to obtain new oil to keep the menorah lit.

This year the Jewish celebration Hanukkah or the Feast of Dedication (Josephus Flavius refereed this as the festival of lights) begins on December 2 and runs through 10 December.

Jesus is the light of the world and his light always burns for love of us. Jesus cleansed the temple of the "marketplace" it had become. The people asked Jesus, "What sign can you show us for doing this" Jesus responded: "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). The Jews did not understand that Jesus was refering to himself. Matthew 26:61 speaking at the trial of Jesus by the Sanhedrin says, "This man said, 'I can destroy the temple of God and within three days rebuild it".

Jesus foretold the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem stating, "You see all these things, do you not? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down... When you see the desolating abomination spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, a person on the housetop must not go down to get things out of his house, a person in the field must not return to get his cloak. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days. Pray that your flight not be in winter or on the Sabbath, for at that time there will be great tribulation" (Matthew 24).

Jesus accurately predicts the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. by the Roman General Titus. This was the result of the Roman/Jewish war of 67-70 A.D. Many Jews were crucified, it would have resembled a huge forest. The Church had already left Jerusalem by this time and actually set up it's headquarters in Rome!

Jesus is the light of the world. Revelation 1:20 Jesus says, "This is the secret meaning of the seven stars you saw in my right hand, and of the seven gold lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches".

As our Jewish Brothers celebrate the miracle of the menorah this December, let us remember that Christ is the light and he radiates in his Church the seven lampstands. The seven angels of the seven churches seems to be the pastor of each church.

Revelation 2:7 says, "Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victor I will give the right to eat from the tree of life that is in the garden of God".

This could be a Eucharistic promise as Jesus is the tree of life. The garden of God might be a reference to the Church. The Catholic Church is the Kingdom of God on earth.

This Advent, as we prepare for Christmas and Jesus first coming to the world through a humble virgin Mother, we look for his Second Coming when he returns to judge the living and the dead. May he find us with our flask of oil full and ready.

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The Catholic Defender: A Quick Look At Advent

It is interesting that Advent begins the Church year reminding us the need to be ever vigilant.

From The Apostolic age, the Apostles encouraged the Church to follow their example.

People believed that Our Lord was returning very soon and so the expectation was high.

St Paul teaches us to be ever vigilant writing, "Concerning times and seasons, brothers, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. When people are saying, 'Peace and security', then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape".

St. Paul says, "For you yourselves know very well..." indicating that he had already been preparing the people to be steadfast. This is exactly what the Church continues to do.

St. Paul continues, "But you, brothers, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6).

Because of the many who proclaimed teachings contrary to the Apostles, St. Paul writes, "We ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him, not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a 'spirit', or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand".

From the beginning there were those who took things out of context. People still do. Other voices that proclaim teachings that are not recognized by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church take the scriptures promoting new gospels.

The doctrine of the "Rapture" comes to mind, placing dates to the Lords Second Coming also is a deception.

The Apostles instructs us to be ever vigilant, alert, and awake. St. Peter writes, "Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace" (2 Peter 3:14).

This has been the mindset of the Church forever. The actual practice of Advent as part of a church calender was a development. Pope Telephorus (125) began developing such a calender but it appears that the Catholic Church instituted the Season of Advent in 567 through the Council of Tours.

This Council also proclaimed the twelve days of Christmas (25 December) to Epiphany (manifestation) (6 January) a sacred, festive season.

Following the Apostolic Tradition, the Church universal proclaims our vigilance of the Second Coming of Christ. The Scriptual readings will reflect this during Advent.

This is a rich season intending to bring in a heightened Christmas celebration. To keep Christ the center of Christmas.

The History of the Advent Wreath

(A Baptist friend asked me about the Advent wreath — its history, meaning, etc..)

I think I gave her a pretty good answer. Perhaps you could provide a little more information.


The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. In Scandinavia during Winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth.

By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. After all, Christ is “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (cf. John 3:19-21). By 1600, both Catholics and Lutherans had more formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath.

The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. Even these evergreens have a traditional meaning which can be adapted to our faith: The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly, and yew, immortality; and cedar, strength and healing. Holly also has a special Christian symbolism: The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns, and one English legend tells of how the cross was made of holly. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ. Any pine cones, nuts, or seedpods used to decorate the wreath also symbolize life and resurrection. All together, the wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul and the new, everlasting life promised to us through Christ, the eternal Word of the Father, who entered our world becoming true man and who was victorious over sin and death through His own passion, death, and resurrection.

The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. A tradition is that each week represents one thousand years, to sum to the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the Birth of the Savior. Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead.

The light again signifies Christ, the Light of the world. Some modern day adaptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve. Another tradition is to replace the three purple and one rose candles with four white candles, which will be lit throughout Christmas season.


By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas.


In family practice, the Advent wreath is most appropriately lit at dinner time after the blessing of the food. A traditional prayer service using the Advent wreath proceeds as follows: On the First Sunday of Advent, the father of the family blesses the wreath, praying: O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” He then continues for each of the days of the first week of Advent, O Lord, stir up Thy might, we beg thee, and come, that by Thy protection we may deserve to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and saved by Thy deliverance. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The youngest child then lights one purple candle.

During the second week of Advent, the father prays: O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for Thy only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be made worthy to serve Thee with pure minds. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The oldest child then lights the purple candle from the first week plus one more purple candle.

During the third week of Advent, the father prays: O Lord, we beg Thee, incline Thy ear to our prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The mother then lights the two previously lit purple candles plus the rose candle.

Finally, the father prays during the fourth week of Advent, O Lord, stir up Thy power, we pray Thee, and come; and with great might help us, that with the help of Thy grace, Thy merciful forgiveness may hasten what our sins impede. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The father then lights all of the candles of the wreath.

Since Advent is a time to stir-up our faith in the Lord, the wreath and its prayers provide us a way to augment this special preparation for Christmas. Moreover, this good tradition helps us to remain vigilant in our homes and not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee

1. Joyful, joyful, we adore thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flowers before thee,
opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day!

2. All thy works with joy surround thee,
earth and heaven reflect thy rays,
stars and angels sing around thee,
center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
flowery meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain,
call us to rejoice in thee.

3. Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring of the joy of living,
ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother,
all who live in love are thine;
teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the joy divine.

4. Mortals, join the mighty chorus
which the morning stars began;
love divine is reigning o'er us,
binding all within its span.
Ever singing, march we onward,
victors in the midst of strife;
joyful music leads us sunward,
in the triumph song of life.

This all started with a little girl's donation in the hat.  What a great set up and back drop! Perfect for the beginning of Advent!

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*BEST OF DTB #229* The Catholic Defender: A long Thanksgiving Night

My wife and I would like to extend a most Happy Thanksgiving to all of our deepertruth family and readers. Please be safe if you are traveling this weekend.

The following is a true story that took place in the Old West. I can't help but think of the great movies made for so many years. God bless you all!

I have served in the Army for more than 26 years. Much of my witness involves the Military. The following takes place at Ft. Irwin, California at the National Training Center (NTC):

I remember a particular Thanksgiving I spent at NTC in 1985. I was a Medic supporting one of our unit's when my Squad Leader came and took my Field Ambulance (FLA) with all my gear in it. He told me to hang tight where I was until 20:00 and then walk towards the Command Post (CP) where they would be waiting for me. I waited there until 20:00 as instructed and then walked to where they were suppose to be waiting for me.

Now we were set up on a mountain range encamped on the other side of this valley when I began my walk. I went to the location to find that everyone had moved out. The problem was that it was by this time getting dark. I looked back across from where I began and took off for that place only to find that I could not find it.

It all looked so much the same. I went back and forth across that valley five or six times trying to relocate where I originally took off from.

I found myself in a difficult situation. I was now lost out there at NTC on foot with only one canteen of water.

It was dark. I could not find any sign of light or anything. I kept walking thinking I should run into something somewhere. Off in the distance I could hear tanks barreling down and I certainly didn't want to be hit by one of those bad boys.

I kept walking, I was sweating alot as it was still hot and humid even at night there in the Southwest American desert. I kept watching for rattlesnakes as I certainly didn't want to walk into a nest of those things out there.

It was so dark I could not find anything that had any lights or any camp. I was in real trouble but I kept moving. I was out there all night long. I prayed, I sang, I thought badly of my leadership, I thought of home. Most importantly, I was determined to survive.

I had ran out of water hours into my forced foot march. I found myself to the point of saying, left/right, left/fight, left/right. About an hour before daybreak, I finally found a camp some 15 miles away with another unit.

They were shocked to have a Soldier walk in the way that I did. I was so thankful to have finally found anybody out there in that place. What I remember taking from this experience was to never do that to one of my Soldiers, but also to never give up.

I trusted in God to help me through that long evening. People have died out there in training accidents where Soldiers get lost. That happened not too long ago at Ft. Hood when a Soldier got lost doing a Land Navigation course.

Needless to say, I was so thankful to God for being there with me through that ordeal. He has been with me alot in my career!!!

He is also with you, even when your walking in darkness and you can't see the light. Where there is a shadow, there is some light. The Lord Jesus loves you so much! Keep Him in your sights at all times and He will help you through the darkness!!! God bless you all!

This video is based from Revelation 1:9-20! I hope that you enjoy this, it is powerful!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Catholic Defender: St. Clement of Rome

St. Clement of Rome is one of the great early Catholic Popes who served as the Bishop of Rome from 88 to 97 A.D.

He was the 3rd successor of St. Peter and the 4th Pope overall.

St. Paul writes Philippians 4:2-3 stating, "I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to come to a mutual understanding in the Lord.  Yes, and I ask you also, my true yokemate, to help them, for they have struggled at my side in promoting the gospel, along with Clement and my other coworkers, whose names are in the book of life".

It is interesting to note that St. Paul is clearly speaking of the unity of the Church.  Notice that Euodia and Syntyche are urged to work together as one.  St. Clement is a coworker with St. Paul spreading the gospel for the kingdom of God.  

This is the basis and foundation of that apostolic tradition.  This is a great example of that apostolic authority being exercised through that apostolic ministry.  They are one team.

As Pope, St. Clement would stress the importance on this foundation writing to the Corinthians stating "You were sincere and uncorrupted, and forgetful of injuries between one another. Every kind of faction and schism was abominable in your sight. You mourned over the transgressions of your neighbors: their deficiencies you deemed your own.” (First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians 90 A.D.)

St. Clement defends the apostolic authority writing, "For you did all things without respect of persons, and walked in the commandments of God, being obedient to those who had the rule over you, and giving all fitting honor to the presbyters among you."

Hebrews 13:17 states, "Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be no advantage to you".  This is the apostolic tradition.

St. Clement writes to the Corinthians giving an early example of the Bishop of Rome interceding on behalf of the Christian unity.  The Church at this time was suffering from massive persecution by the Roman.

Despite this persecution, St. Clement is strong on his defense of the Ministers of the Church writing, "Our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect knowledge, they appoint those who have already been mentioned, and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry. As for these, then, who were appointed by them, or who afterwards appointed by other illustrious men with the consent of the whole Church, and who have ministered to the flock of Christ without blame, humbly, peaceably and with dignity, and who have for many years received the commendations of all, we consider it unjust that they be removed from the ministry.

St. Clement interchanges the usage of the title of bishops and presbyters as above the order of deacons.  St. Peter writes, "So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one has a share in the glory to be revealed.  Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.  Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:1-3)

What is important is that the apostolic tradition is clearly shown from through the scriptures and the authority of the Apostles and their successors.  As St. Peter was martyred for the Faith, so too was St. Clement.  

The Roman Emperor Trajan captured St. Clement sending him to Chersonesus (Ancient city in Greece) to work in the stone quarry.  

According to early accounts St. Clement became a voice for his fellow prisoners.  Because of the lack of water and the sufferings being levied upon Christians, St. Clement knelt down to pray when the Lord Jesus gives him a vision.  The Lord appeared to him as a Lamb on a hill. 

St. Clement responded to the vision running to the scene where the Lamb was and he struck the ground with a pickaxe and out came a stream of water.  This story reminds me of the miracle of St. Bernadette who dug a spring miraculously where the Virgin Mary had instructed her.  

The Lord Jesus was able to reach many people through St. Clement with many conversions of the local Pagan population.

St. Clement was blamed for the many conversions and was taken out on a boat into the Black Sea where the Pagans tied an anchor to him and threw him into the sea.  

He gave his life as a testimony and witness for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  St. Clement's Feast day is November 23rd.

Today, St. Clement's remains are honored in Rome at the Basilica of San Clemente along with St. Ignatius of Antioch.  Recently, Deepertruth members, Ross Hoffman and Margie Sindelar were among others who visited this site.

 People go to the holy sites of the martyrs in Rome and how powerful it is to see the historic evidence of the Catholic Faith.  Jesus said, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

What a great blessing it is to know that the Catholic Faith has safeguarded the apostolic witness, through the witness of the Saints, giving us the fullness of Truth.

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The Catholic Defender: Ridin The Storm Out

"A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. They woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing"? He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Quiet! Be still"! The wind ceased and there was great calm"(Mark 4:37-39).

Sometimes it feels like life is a series of storms. We know the Lord can calm the storm, yet sometimes the Lord tells us that his grace is sufficient.

This Spring early summer we have seen some really bad weather, please keep those in prayer who have been most impacted due to these storms.

Sometimes these storms might be something that other people might have impacted your life.

A marriage might be in trouble, children are affected, a close family member or friend might have suffered a great loss.

No matter what the problem might be, Jesus can always calm the storm. Sometimes we must ride the storm out. We got to hook up our ship and dock it to the Church who will help us through the storms of life.

With Mary, Our Mother, she offers a Motherly protection. Padre Pio called the rosary the weapon.

deepertruth wants to encourage you to hang tough and not give up. Things can be tough, no question about it.

The Lord established His Church to help us through the storms.

He is with you through it all. The Song, "Be Not Afraid" reminds us that Jesus is with us through the stormy sea of life.

That was my theme song when I went to Korea for a year. No matter what you might have done, Jesus will forgive you.

No matter where you are, Jesus is right there with you. He calls you and wants you to visit Him at Mass. May the Lord bless you and keep you and protect you all the days of your life!

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