Holidays/Feast Days

St. Mark: Very Important; Very Little Known

by Steve Ray on June 17, 2017

To listen to our show about St. Mark on relevant radio: We’re discussing feast of St. Mark at :30 sec mark w/SteveRay@JerusalemJones relevantradio.streamguys.us/MA%20Archive/M… or download hour 1 @relevantradio app

St. Mark: Very Important Biblical Guy, Yet Relatively Unknown
Let me introduce you to him…

StMark3CorbertGauthier“His voice boomed over the crowds in Rome as it had all around the Roman Empire. The large fisherman was aging but his voice was still filled with intensity and conviction. The thronging crowds listened with curiosity.

      “Rome was the hub of the civilized world and Peter preached the message of a Jewish rabbi named Jesus from the far away country of Israel.

Many in the crowd had believed in Jesus and had become part of this new society called the Church—the Church of which Peter was the acknowledged head. Standing at his side was his fellow-worker and secretary John Mark……”

For the whole story, click here.  For the story of Peter and Rome filmed on location, click here.

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Understanding St. Matthew and his Gospel

by Steve Ray on June 16, 2017

Since it is the Feast Day of St. Matthew, let’s learn a lot about him.

Matthew: Understanding the Tax Collector and his Gospel

By Steve Ray

jesus-calls-matthew-2If looks could kill, he’d be dead. The Jews glared at Levi as he counted his coins. Tax collectors in Israel had great wealth and were considered renegades and traitors. Levi, a Galilean Jew who was also called Matthew, would soon be despised for more than confiscating money from his own people. He would be an outcast for following Jesus.

One day Matthew, son of Alphaeus (Mk 2:14), was sitting at his booth collecting taxes for Rome and a young rabbi named Jesus walked by and “saw a tax collector, named Levi, sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he left everything, and rose and followed him” (Lk 5:27-29; cp. Mt 9:9). After leaving his tax booth, Matthew prepared a great feast for Jesus in his home and invited a great company of tax collectors and others to sit at table with Jesus.

When you open the New Testament, the first book you find is the Gospel of St. Matthew. How do we know Matthew wrote the first Gospel? We know because of Catholic tradition. Whereas the rest of the New Testament books were written in Greek, Matthew’s Gospel was originally written in the language of the Jews and only later translated into Greek. Papias (c. ad 60-130), a living witness to the teachings of the apostles wrote, “So then Matthew wrote the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language” (Eusebius, History of the Church, 3, 29).

St. Irenaeus (c. 130-200) wrote “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome” (Against Heresies 3, 1, 1). Matthew preached the Gospel orally long before committing the Saying of the Lord to writing sometime between AD 40—70. No date is certain and debate has raged with some wishing a later date. Tradition informs that Matthew preached to the Jews in Palestine for over a decade and later went to foreign nations including Ethiopia, Macedonia, Syria, Persia, Parthia and Medea.

Guido_Reni_-_St_Matthew_and_the_Angel_-_WGA19308Matthew was a Jew writing to Jews. By some calculations, he quotes directly or alludes to the Old Testament a whopping sixty-five times! Readers today must “think” and read like his original audience—Palestinian Jews—to get the full impact of his message. Mark preaches Jesus to the Romans as a servant with no genealogy; Luke portrays Jesus as humanity to the Greeks with a genealogy going back to Adam; John tells the world Jesus is divine and as God he has no genealogy.

Matthew, however, adeptly presents Jesus to his people as Messiah and King with royal pedigree through the kings to David and back to Abraham the patriarch of Israel. The phrases Kingdom of God or heaven are used almost forty times. Using the interpretive techniques of the contemporary teachers of the Law, Matthew skillfully handles the Tanakh arguing that Jesus is the Coming One promised by Moses and the Prophets.

Jesus was a master storyteller, teaching the kingdom of heaven through parables. Matthew weaves these grandly simple stories and miracles into his Gospel to pull back the curtain on the supernatural revealing Jesus’ true identity. Jesus walks through the pages adorned in the purple and gold of royalty. Chapters 1-4 narrate King Jesus’ ancestry, virgin birth, commission, and the inception of his public ministry. Chapter 5 opens with Jesus as the New Moses. With imagery alluding to Mount Sinai, we read, “he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them” (Mt 6:1-2).

Over fourteen hundred years earlier God had spoken through Moses: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him” (Deut 18:18). As Jesus took his seat on “the mountain”, the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7) established him as the Prophet who would fulfill and re-define the Law of Moses (Mt 17-22), revealing the interior nature of the Kingdom of God as opposed to the exterior legalism of the Pharisees.

To read the rest of my article on St. Matthew, click here.

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I’m a Skeptic, but I DID See the Dancing Sun

by Steve Ray on May 13, 2017

We DID see the dancing sun!

It was several years ago at a Marian Shrine on a May 13 on the Island of Cebu in the Philippines

I’m a skeptic and I don’t always trust even what my own eyes see…

…so I asked my wife Janet and my daughters what they saw…

I’ll try to write more about this in a day or two once we arrive in Fatima.  But I am a believer!

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Fatima and the Modern World – St. JP II

May 13, 2017

Fatima and the Whole Modern World In 1982, Pope John Paul II visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima to commemorate the first anniversary of the attempt on his life and the sixty-fifth anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition there. He delivered the following homily. St. John Paul II on Our Lady’s message at […]

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Joseph the Sissy or Joseph the Worker – Feast Day of the Worker

May 1, 2017

Today is the Feast day of St. Joseph the Worker! There are some pictures of Joseph I don’t appreciate so much. They present him almost as soft, effeminate like he just came out of a beauty parlor. It appears he never worked in the real world and has not a wrinkle on his clothes or […]

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Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live about the Resurrection

April 18, 2017

Questions I Answered on the Resurrection on Catholic Answers Live. You can listen on-line here or download podcasts here.  1.  Why does Paul say Peter was the first to see Jesus when the Gospels say it was Mary Magdalen? 2. Why did you call a priest a heretic? Or, was the resurrection a real physical […]

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My Favorite Easter Painting: Rushing to the Tomb! Anticipation! It is Empty!

April 16, 2017

Anticipation, uncertainty, wonderment, fear, excitement, doubt — but it is TRUE! The Tomb is empty and the angels announce He is not among the dead. He has risen!

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How Long Was Jesus in the Tomb? Another Contradiction?

April 15, 2017

“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:38-40) Skeptics claim to have discovered an error in the New Testament —claiming Jesus was not in the tomb […]

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When Was Jesus Crucified? How Long on the Cross? Do the Gospels Contradict Each Other?

April 14, 2017

Do the Gospels Conflict? How Long was Jesus on the Cross? (See also Was Jesus Crucified Naked? and How Long Was Jesus in the Tomb?) The question intrigued me sufficiently enough that I spent the best part of a day working on it. On the surface there seems to be a contradiction in the Gospels, mentioning different […]

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Extraordinary Streaming Mass for Easter Vigil

April 14, 2017

My parish in Ann Arbor is Christ the King Catholic Church. Presiding at Easter Vigil will be Fr. Ed Fride, the same priest that received our family into the Church over 20 years ago. It is an unusually vibrant parish that has 23 men in the seminary, has produced 10 priests, about 10 religious Sister […]

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Welcoming New People at Mass this Easter – They May Be an Answer to Someone’s Prayers

April 13, 2017

We get busy on during the Easter Season. We don’t have a lot of respect for people who go to church only on Christmas and Easter. We may be irritated that seats are taken and the church is noisy. But, you are praying for your family and friends to come back to church and MAYBE these […]

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Was Joseph the Father of Jesus? Video of Going to Work with Jesus and Joseph near Nazareth!

March 17, 2017

Since March 19 is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, I thought I would share a few things on this great saint!  First, a discussion of whether it is correct to call St. Joseph the father of Jesus. Second, I recently ran from Nazareth to the worksite of these two guys and I invite you by […]

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Forty Frozen Martyrs – we honor them today March 10

March 9, 2017

In my talk Swimming Upstream I usually tell the story of 40 Roman soldiers who chose to freeze naked on a frozen lake in 320 AD rather than deny Jesus Christ. St. Basil, Doctor of the Church, told of the heroic martyrdom of 40 soldiers in a homily. They had been executed fifty years before […]

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St. Polycarp’s name does not mean “many fish”

February 23, 2017

Today is the Feast Day of the Great Bishop and Saint Polycarp on February 23. When we converted to the Catholic Church my son Jesse chose St. Polycarp as his patron saint because of his great heroism. We filmed the whole life of St. Polycarp on location. I feel like I know him. The name Polycarp […]

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Feast of Chair of St. Peter: “Chair of Moses, Chair of Peter” Steve’s Article, YouTube Video and Resources

February 22, 2017

St. Cyprian of Carthage (beheaded 257 AD) one hundred and fifty years before the New Testament writings were collected into one book called “The Bible”: “The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will […]

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Ironic Twist to a Devastating Story; Why Did God Allow Sin?

February 21, 2017

A while ago I wrote the Study Guide for Catholic Scripture Study — on Genesis. This section I wrote was so exciting and ironic I had to share it, especially since this is Christmas when God became Man. Here is a small section of what I wrote: But why didn’t God prevent Adam and Eve from […]

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