This mornings gospel reading from the book of Mark was a reminder to me of the differences in how things are interpreted and how those interpretations affect the lives of so many people following church leaders.
The divine office readings that I follow are from a free source that utilizes the Jerusalem Bible.
Here I read:
Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
In my morning email I receive the daily mass readings from the USCCB – United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It can be really interesting to see the difference between the two readings -but today’s are very clear. They are almost exactly the same.
Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Here in the book of Mark we learn Jesus was indeed a carpenter (and a Rabbi – husband? “Master” refer to previous writings, I will link back here when I have time). Do you see how Jesus himself managed a working career (carpenter/craftsman) with being a Rabbi? Most probably also a husband “Master”?
Jesus was born a human. This is referenced in scripture. i.e. Jerusalem Bible (my divine office reading) Acts 2:32 God raised this man Jesus to life, Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law – to meet the conditions of the law, everything I have read indicates Jesus was born human. We really, really have to look at the fact that that throughout the Gospel, Jesus teaches us that we are all children of God. Jesus was the “begotten” – “chosen” one. This is one of those believable facts that tie into what I have written toward the end of this article. These biblical facts are what teach people about Jesus, our Father, the Holy Spirit and salvation. Pure, Simple. No embellishments needed. ~ This is how we bring others to God.
You have to be really open to looking at this and that is not easy for many. We are raised, taught and indoctrinated with certain beliefs. The Spirit will guide you to see truths.
St. John 14:15-21 The Advocate.
What does Jesus tell us here?
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, 17 the Spirit of truth,which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.19In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” 2Judas, not the Iscariot said to him, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.
“will keep my word” > The Gospel
Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him > As Christians – we do!
The divine is within all. Those of us who believe in and love Jesus will find It’s our job to find it, share it – and help it grow.
Reading the notes on the USCCB website for the New American Bible, Revised Edition version of the bible, we learn that this is the only Gospel that refers to Jesus as a carpenter. Historically speaking it would make sense, He would have learned the trade from His earthly father Joseph.
“”* [6:3] Is he not the carpenter?: no other gospel calls Jesus a carpenter. Some witnesses have “the carpenter’s son,” as in Mt 13:55.”” (Footnote Mark 6:3)
If we compare this verse from St. Mark 6:3 …
“”Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.””
… to the same story in St. Mathew 13:55
St. Mathew 55 Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?“
It seems to me that both verses state Jesus is a carpenter, St. Mark refers to Him as the son of Mary (a possible nod to Him being the son of God…?) but… in St. Mathew it is written as “the carpenter’s son” (Joseph), occupations handed down through generations.
Do we also learn that He had siblings?
Reading the notes on the USCCB website, further on we read;
“” The brother of James…Simon: in Semitic usage, the terms “brother,” “sister” are applied not only to children of the same parents, but to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters; cf. Gn 14:16; 29:15; Lv 10:4. While one cannot suppose that the meaning of a Greek word should be sought in the first place from Semitic usage, the Septuagint often translates the Hebrew ’āh by the Greek word adelphos, “brother,” as in the cited passages, a fact that may argue for a similar breadth of meaning in some New Testament passages. For instance, there is no doubt that in v. 17, “brother” is used of Philip, who was actually the half-brother of Herod Antipas. On the other hand, Mark may have understood the terms literally; see also 3:31–32; Mt 12:46; 13:55–56; Lk 8:19; Jn 7:3, 5. The question of meaning here would not have arisen but for the faith of the church in Mary’s perpetual virginity.“”
Researching the topic of Mary’s lifelong virginity (not something I grew up hearing as a Protestant, not something most Catholics I have spoken to know of – or believe) this was not a teaching early on but something written about over the years.
*Note: some may not approve of my terminology i.e. “made love” but I feel it is important to drive home the teachings of marriage, love and family life. I could say consummate, I could say intercourse – but a married couple? Blessed by God? Make love.
There are stories written that are not biblical. I have not put a lot of thought into why anyone felt Mary – a married woman would have to remain a virgin for life. She was married – making love is a natural part of family life. A gift from God. If Mary and Joseph consummated their marriage (legally would have had to – no?) would that not make them more of an attainable role model for families? He was the step-father of Jesus, why would they not have more children? Why would they not partake in marital love making? Actually, isn’t that required in a sacramental marriage, as well as no contraception – but openness to receiving more children?
Perhaps those Catholics educated in a Catholic school system, indoctrinated (“teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically“) ? know, and believe in her perpetual virginity.
I can’t say whether they believe it or not. Considering my limited research on the belief of the Eucharist (now an article) being the body and blood of Jesus, I am going to hazard a most (American Catholics) don’t believe it.
Why is important?
Why am I daring discuss this?
This is part of my view from the bottom up. It is what I see, what I know and what I feel.
People walk away from what they do not believe.
The church has grown so complex people cannot even follow along. Like an old fashioned game of “Operator” or “Telephone”. That is not necessary. That is very much is not in tune with the teachings of Jesus, is it?
Looking at things like this is important when one considers the decline in the Roman Catholic church and I believe Christianity as a whole.
In this day and age, as I have previously noted people are able to read more easily, research, study and discern.
When we have the simplicity, the purity of the Holy Gospel and even the readings I have studied so far (a lot more to go) of St. Paul – there are those that challenge the life of Jesus Christ. That number multiples now, most especially among young adults and our youth because so much of what the church teaches takes those simple, pure – beautiful teachings and embellishes upon them.
There was no need to all of the additional stories or sightings or personal visitations. Why would there be? We have been taught all we need to know in the bible. Simple. Pure. Believable.
I have brought up in the past that Mother Mary’s parents – Sts Anne and Joaquin are not biblical. They are not. They are referred to as “Catholic legend” on the Catholics online website. References are given to them being brought up in unauthenticated writings.
There again is not reason to even hear of them but to further add ? credence to Mother Mary’s virtue because Catholic teaching teaches that Mary too was born of immaculate conception – meaning Mary was conceived and born to a virgin St. Anne. That is the “Immaculate Conception” that was made dogma in the Roman Catholic church in 1854. 1854. Yes. Not all that long ago.
Most Catholics I have spoken to think the Immaculate Conception was when Jesus was conceived. Interesting, is it not – that Mary is still held in high esteem, requiring no additional story or background.
Many Catholics believe Mary made love to her husband Joseph after the birth of Jesus. His siblings are mentioned in the bible. It seems many don’t know or believe an immaculate conception was necessary for her to be held in high esteem as the Mother of Jesus.
I was a Catholic for many years before I myself heard these teachings of Mary. Many people today pray to Mary, though it is clearly written in the bible that Jesus Christ is the only intercessor with our Father. Doesn’t that put a bit of a wedge between children of God and their father? Why? He is always with us – why try to hide that fact? We do not need anyone to intervene for us. He is our loving Father and He has time for each and every one of us. He is Life.
If one steps back and looks at this – is it really that hard to see why people in this millennium walk away, no longer believing the teachings of the church? To many, these teachings seem far fetched. Over complicated.
The teachings of Jesus – simple, pure gospel of Jesus.
St John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word,
Here too, in this reading (both versions) Jesus is referring to His own house/home. Something too often contested in the church – but Biblically correct.
Less is more. Isn’t it?
I understand it may be easy to look at what I have said and “write it off”. You can’t. Not really. Not when it comes to being a true disciple of Jesus.
One must seriously examine why people are leaving the church, many going to other Christian churches (maybe they are right?), though we know Christianity as a whole is shrinking.
Many are leaving religion all together.
How many – are completely walking away from Jesus and our Father?
This isn’t just about good seeds or bad seeds – this is about replanting and fertilizer.
Looking at things carefully is prudent and looking at ways to approach some of these things, openly has the possibility to retain, and draw children of God – to Him.
Santa Claus is a legend. It seems even on Catholic websites there are teachings (more than one) that slips into that category. Is this fixable? Without saying “it’s a mystery” which is how my children were answered – as millions have been, when questioning teachings.
I don’t believe in a defeatist attitude, that is not godly. However, many things need to start changing and they need to start changing today in order to save the church – and grow Christianity. This is about God. Not ego’s, not Catholicism per say. This is about the teachings of Jesus Christ – the reason we Christians, are Christian. Standing back and looking at things, I can begin to see why other Christian denominations state – emphatically, that Catholics are not Christian. We need brave clergy, Bishops to stand up and make changes. I am not so sure a basically elderly, celibate clergy is going to emotionally and spiritually deal with the changes that need to be made in order to really stabilize and grow the church. Painful words, with loving intention. It is asking a tremendous amount from men who have given up life that God never intended them to give up. It is in life experiences that we experience God. It requires them to begin to live life in a new way, new eyes, new growing hearts, expanding souls – and living, earning real life experience. It is asking a lot.
God first. Always. Living the Gospel.