February 28, 2021

Aloneness or privacy in the Gospels, as in the Transfiguration story, means being with a group, even when in Alternate Reality. This Sunday’s Gospel is the Markan version of the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus (Mark 9:2-10//Matthew 17:1-9//Luke 9:28-36). Jesus experiences Mediterranean-style aloneness and goes into Alternate Reality with three of his closest followers, Peter, James, and John. They go up a high mountain, indicating Jesus’ desire for aloneness in prayer. But what is aloneness to Jesus? What Aloneness… Read more

February 25, 2021

This is the first of a series of posts about the good and bad of Jesus-movies like “The Chosen.” Some weeks ago, I finally gave “The Chosen” a fair shot. Months earlier, I found some clips of it moving, impactful, and well-acted. I get sentimental too, okay?  But even those highlights were soaked in Western distortion. This amplified a thousandfold when I watched entire episodes. As with “The Passion of the Christ” before it, “The Chosen” doesn’t give you the Gospel scenes realistically, but instead Westernized… Read more

February 21, 2021

Satan was testing Jesus, not tempting him as popularly imagined—and Jesus successfully passed his trials. Scripture scholars recognize that “Mark” was the first narrative gospel. Consider the primitive version of the story about the Devil testing Jesus found in “Mark.” Since it was the earliest narrative-Gospel, it becomes easy to see how “Matthew” and “Luke” both embellished the Markan original by incorporating three specific temptations. This video presentation explains— Testing Old Man Jesus Mark 1:12 The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,… Read more

February 17, 2021

While Western Bible readers can easily discover that biblical people fasted, learning why they did so and what it meant remains obfuscated. What is the meaning of fasting in New Testament writings? Why did New Testament people fast? As Context Group scholar Bruce Malina has demonstrated, answers to these questions often come by way of highly subjective reasons that cannot be tested. Or, reasons offered are anachronistic, full of 21st-century ideas remote from the experiences of our biblical ancestors. From… Read more

February 15, 2021

One way to prepare for Lent and Easter this year is to grapple with spurious familiarity concerning Jesus and the Gospels. Before Lent begins, allow me to prayerfully and honestly grapple with you over sacred mysteries. Catholics are Christians. As such, we believe, of course, in the divinity of Christ. With Nicaea (325 CE) Chalcedon (451), we believe Jesus to be truly God and truly man (human? or “man,” because only “man” means a complete human?). When we Catholics profess… Read more

February 14, 2021

Here comes Sunday’s Gospel about Jesus brokering wholeness for a leper—except he wasn’t really a leper at all.  Mark 1:40-45 A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Stop. Ask yourself: what biomedical condition does this sick man have? Do we have any X-rays? No. What about blood tests? Nothing. What were his lab results? We don’t have any. Therefore, we don’t understand the underlying biomedical condition of this sick… Read more

February 13, 2021

Is biblical Christianity possible, or even desirable, in a 21st-century American cultural context? I hear many popular Catholic speakers talking a lot about biblical Christianity. Catholicism is the biblical Christianity, they claim. Dr. Scott Hahn is a significant proponent of this. He even has an audiotape serious entitled, “Calling Catholics to be ‘Bible Christians’ and Vice Versa.” Hahn and his friends believe that his neo-orthodox style of Catholicism is the biblical Christianity.  But is biblical Christianity even possible? And if so, would… Read more

February 7, 2021

Don’t let spurious familiarity distort this Sunday’s Gospel, where folk healer Jesus helps Peter’s mother-in-law. Spurious familiarity distorts our Bible reading. It also distorts what we hear being read from this Sunday’s Gospel, Mark1:29-39. This is a healing story. Some wrongly think that healing means curing. It doesn’t. Folk healer Jesus healed. But did Jesus cure people? Check out this brief video to learn the critical difference between healing and curing.   Folk Healer Jesus in Sunday’s Gospel Let’s go through Sunday’s Gospel nice and slow…. Read more

February 3, 2021

Paul never experienced guilt or other psychological states familiar to Americans. Recently, I wrote about Paul’s so-called “conversion.” Remember when Paul persecuted the followers of Jesus (Galatians 1:12-14; 22-23; cf. with the spin of “Luke,” Acts 7:58—8:3)? Recall how the anonymous author of “Acts” reported that Paul held the robes of those who stoned Stephen (Acts 7:54-60). Do you think, after he encountered the Risen Jesus, Paul felt guilty about that? If so, you are wrong. Paul never experienced guilt. And do… Read more

January 29, 2021

The Pastoral Epistles were not really written by Paul to Timothy or Titus, but that doesn’t make them invalid or uninspired. Thinking about Paul and Timothy and Titus reminds me that we Catholics are slowpokes concerning the Bible. Can you blame us for that? Fifty-plus years after Vatican II and all we hear seems to be “Scott-Hahnverts” blabbing ignorance about Scripture. So maybe you can blame us. But then again, look how our Catholic grandparents avoided Scripture before the Second Vatican… Read more

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