"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Remembering the Lord who Died for Us

"Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

This is a powerful biblical text prophesying about the "Suffering Servant" in The Passion of the Christ filmed by Mel Gibson taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah who lived in the 8th Century B.C. There are who denied that Christ had ever been crucified, instead it was somebody who looks like him replaced him to be hanged on the cross.

We Christians particularly the whole Catholic Church commemorates this day when our Salvation has made possible through Christ's passion and death.

St. Paul's letter to the Philippians says "[T]hough he was in the form of God, [Jesus] did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; 5 and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:6-9)."

Because of this day's theme, it makes it different from the rest of the days in a year. There is no Mass. There's no candles lit in the tabernacle. There's no fancy altar sheets. All is bare. You can feel the gloom inside the Church and the sadness we remember more than 2000 years ago.

I have been a Catholic for years since birth and I vow to remain in Christ's Church until he takes my soul back in due time. Just like any of the "un-informed" Catholics who jumped off the Church due to ignorance and joining churches built by men, I too came to a point that almost made me do the same. Some scandals within the hierarchy of the Church and the unusual individual and collective "Catholic" practices some were displaying as an expression of their devotion to the the Divine, due to my ignorance, I was almost persuaded by those anti-Catholic rhetoricians. Among the charges which were long been refuted many many centuries ago was the accusation that Catholics worship Mary and the Saints.

I thought being a good and true Catholic, one must attend the Mass on Sundays and holidays of obligation appointed by the Church, or say the Rosary or the Novena. i didn't know they're just devotions aiding our faith and not as a commandment. Again this is one of the accusations our separated brethren are accusing us. Thanks, my parents are devout Catholics. Although they'd be considered less catechized but their faith was strong enough to keep in-tact.

I was exposed to different religious views from other non-Catholics when I was in college. Some would deny the perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, others view Jesus as their Personal Lord and Savior and having faith alone can save them in an instant. Others have opposing views such as Jesus was a man only, some says Jesus was the Archangel Gabriel and many more.

What they have in common is that all are against the Catholic Church.

So instead of joining any of their groups, I start reading Catholic books written by different apologetic whose wisdom and knowledge has been tested. I was surprised to know that all of the accusations from our separated brethren have been thoroughly answered thousands of years ago. What we are hearing now from them are just 'recycled' ones. The latest in the Philippines with un-biblical teachings was the Iglesia ni Cristo also founded by a self-proclaimed "Last Messenger", a man named Felix Manalo.

Today, the true Church of Christ which dates back to the time of the Apostles, no other churches can claim is remembering how our founder suffered crucifixion on the cross to save all those who wish to be saved. It was through his salvific action one is saved and not by merely joining a church founded by a mere man with questionable morality during his lifetime.

As I reflect today through the unusual long list of "prayers of the faithful" we remember all those who deny Christ that God in his mercy would send the spirit to illumine their hearts and to appreciate what is true and what is good. We also remember all those non-Catholics who in one way or the other thought of considering the Church as their own too.

One of the most energetic and holy Catholic Indian Priests serving at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Parish first in Doha

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