My Conversion Story

To read my conversion story, I have posted it in .pdf format available for download.


Monday, July 25, 2016

"These Thy Gifts"

At Mass yesterday, the Gospel reading was from Luke 11:1-13. Included is a shortened version of the Lord’s Prayer. Father Mike had a lot to say about it. But what really struck home was how he asked us when is the last time that we asked God how we should pray. Often we presume to know the mind of God and what we pray about and for, and it affects how we pray.
It called to mind something that happened earlier this week. I was getting ready to pray, telling the Lord how thankful I am for bringing my family back home from Texas to live nearby. It wasn't during a meal. But it was a silent prayer and out of habit I accidentally started to pray what's commonly called the "prayer before meals".
Bless us, Oh Lord,
and these thy gifts,
which we are about to receive,
from thy bounty,
through Christ, Our Lord.
Amen.
I stopped myself about midway through and changed it. I then apologized to God that I prayed so flippantly that I just started to recite it by rote. But then before I was done with that prayer I stopped and thought about this prayer before meals again. It was as if the Lord said "finish it anyway."
It never really hit me before--the genius behind this prayer, and why it has lasted for so long. It first appears in the Gelasian Sacramentary dating from the late 8th century, but is probably at least 300 years older than that.
Notice what it doesn't say. It says nothing about meals at all. This is not just a prayer to be thankful for your food. It's to be thankful for all the gifts God has given us.
"These thy gifts." Just what all can be considered "thy gifts"? The food we eat, the money we earn, the work we do, the church we go, to the friends we have, the lifestyle we live, our family, our friends, our possessions, our opportunities for service.
So many other things that we could say are all summed up in this little one sentence prayer..
And notice that this prayer has been associated with food, but in the Lord's Prayer, Jesus says 'give us this day our daily bread.' Obviously he wasn't talking about just flour and water. He was talking about daily sustenance.
But what else does that include? In John 4:34 "'My food,' said Jesus, 'is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.'" Our Christian duty is our "food" also. To reflect Christ in all we say and do.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Trinity Sunday and Christian Unity

Today is Trinity Sunday. The Trinity is probably the most difficult of all of the doctrines in the Bible. Many have tried to explain it over the years, but every explanation fails to grasp its fullness.

The most famous example of an explanation is the one that St. Patrick used. He used the illustration of a shamrock--three leaves, yet one plant as a teaching aid. It is fraught with problems as illustrated in this little satirical piece https://youtu.be/KQLfgaUoQCw. It also explores other explanations like water, steam, and ice and are all separate and yet all water; and a man who is a son, husband, and father all at once; and the problems with those arguments.

The best explanation I have heard is from the Catholic apologist, Jimmy Akin. He explains that all objects are "beings" because they all exist, therefore they "be" (are). But a human being can be considered a being that consists of one person existential of that being (we have a body and a soul or spirit). A rock is a being that consists of zero persons, and God is a being that consists of three persons. Still a difficult concept, but this makes it easier for me at least to relate.
But why is belief in the Trinity so important in Christian, and especially Catholic theology? Outside of Christianity, there is no belief in the Trinity, including in Judaism. Christians find Scriptural basis for the Trinity in the Old Testament, but that is apparent only in retrospect.

Many denominations require belief in the Trinity as required for salvation. But if a person hears of Jesus and believes and is baptized, but has never even heard of the Trinity, can that person be saved? That's especially problematic for denominations that basically tell you to just say the "Sinner's Prayer" and you are saved forever, but still claim the Trinity as an "essential" Biblical truth, necessary for salvation. But in Catholicism what makes belief in the Trinity a requirement for the fullness of the faith is that the Church as an authority instituted by Christ as his earthly agent, has defined it so.

An understanding of the Trinity interweaves so well with other doctrines, it makes those doctrines so much more relevant when we can see that they are all similar expressions of Unity. Throughout the New Testament, and the gospel of John especially, Unity is a primary theme of Jesus. He wants his followers to be united together, and be united with him in common purpose, worship, and service.

All of the Sacraments are expressions of Unity of different degrees. I won't go into detailed exposition of the sacraments, but it is difficult for me to understand how anyone can fully appreciate the Trinity if they are in a non-Sacramental denominations.
  1. Baptism: God claims ownership of the person in the form of a familial covenant
  2. Confirmation: The Holy Spirit indwells the Christian
  3. Penance: In which the Christian expresses repentance, a desire to re-enter communion with God, and a desire to make reparations for his wrongdoing.
  4. Anointing of the Sick: Very similar to Penance except that it is often done in emergencies (end of life) or when facing a chronic serious illness
  5. Holy Orders: When the authority of the apostles is handed down to succeeding generations of priests to administer the sacraments and aid Christians in attaining Unity with Christ.
I left out two. That is because I want to detail them further.

Matrimony. Notice I did not say marriage. And I will not be drawn into the debate as to whether or not marriage is or is not appropriate for same-sex couples. That is not my purpose here. If anyone makes any comments attached to this post on either side of that debate, I will delete them. But I will use traditional terms so that I maintain consistency.

Men and women have been getting married since Adam and Eve. So why do Christians regard it as a sacrament, instituted by Jesus? Because Jesus took marriage, which already existed and elevated it. When a husband and wife make their vows to each other they become one flesh. The priest only witnesses the marriage, he does not bestow the status of husband and wife upon them. And contrary to common belief, the marital act which follows is not what makes them married, it fully completes it.

But the image of one man and one woman coming together as one flesh in Unity together for mutual benefit and the raising, nurturing, and instruction of children is one of the closest relationships that people can have that nearly mirrors the relationship of the members of the Holy Trinity to one another. The husband and wife are individuals, yet are so nearly unified together that they are considered one. Our marital relationship cannot ever be exactly like the Trinity as we, not being God, can never be exactly God-like. But it's about as close as you can get. 

Next up is the Eucharist, or the Sacrament of Communion. It has much in common with Matrimony. This is the major difference between Catholics and Orthodox, who believe that the bread and the wine at communion actually BECOME the body and blood of the Lord; with the Lutherans who believe that the bread and wine CONTAIN the presence of the Lord; and most other denominations who believe that the bead and wine are merely symbols of the body and blood of the Lord.

If the Eucharist is a symbol-only it is stripped of its significance. Jesus becomes the bread and the wine in the same way that God became flesh. He came as a man, so can He come as bread. As I stated before, we humans are a unity of our fleshly being and our spiritual person. After our body dies, or spirit--our very selves are still alive and will later be reunified with our bodies at the resurrection.

As such, we are also an illustration of the Trinity. We are body and soul united as God is God, three persons, united as one. And it doesn't stop there. As Matrimony and the subsequent marital act unify a man and a woman in Christ, so Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist unify the Christian with each other and with Christ. In matrimony, a woman receives her husband into her body and the two are one. In the same way, in the Eucharist we receive Christ into our body, and we become one. This is exactly why the the Church is the BRIDE of Christ. If one believes that the Eucharist is merely symbolic, then Unity with Christ become a mere symbol also and even matrimony loses some of its luster, and Unity with other believers becomes merely a friendship-like relationship, when it is supposed to be so much more than that. (Incidentally, this is also why Catholics do not substitute grape juice for wine. Jesus used wine and came as wine. He did not come as grape juice. He could have used grape juice and chose not to do it. He chose wine, and so should we.)


One can see even in nature, that unity is a primary theme. In the way that many animals come together as men and women do. The way that small children put everything into their mouths to learn more about it. The way that people like to give hugs or shake hands, or pat one another on the back. Even, the attraction of gravity. The way that many scientists believe that one day gravity will pull all things together into a singularity that will cause another big bang. Who is to say that at the end of all things, this may be how it will happen? All things that exist coalescing into one.

Trinity Sunday and Christian Unity

Today is Trinity Sunday. The Trinity is probably the most difficult of all of the doctrines in the Bible. Many have tried to explain it over the years, but every explanation fails to grasp its fullness.

The most famous example of an explanation is the one that St. Patrick used. He used the illustration of a shamrock--three leaves, yet one plant as a teaching aid. It is fraught with problems as illustrated in this little satirical piece https://youtu.be/KQLfgaUoQCw. It also explores other explanations like water, steam, and ice and are all separate and yet all water; and a man who is a son, husband, and father all at once; and the problems with those arguments.

The best explanation I have heard is from the Catholic apologist, Jimmy Akin. He explains that all objects are "beings" because they all exist, therefore they "be" (are). But a human being can be considered a being that consists of one person existential of that being (we have a body and a soul or spirit). A rock is a being that consists of zero persons, and God is a being that consists of three persons. Still a difficult concept, but this makes it easier for me at least to relate.
But why is belief in the Trinity so important in Christian, and especially Catholic theology? Outside of Christianity, there is no belief in the Trinity, including in Judaism. Christians find Scriptural basis for the Trinity in the Old Testament, but that is apparent only in retrospect.

Many denominations require belief in the Trinity as required for salvation. But if a person hears of Jesus and believes and is baptized, but has never even heard of the Trinity, can that person be saved? That's especially problematic for denominations that basically tell you to just say the "Sinner's Prayer" and you are saved forever, but still claim the Trinity as an "essential" Biblical truth, necessary for salvation. But in Catholicism what makes belief in the Trinity a requirement for the fullness of the faith is that the Church as an authority instituted by Christ as his earthly agent, has defined it so.

An understanding of the Trinity interweaves so well with other doctrines, it makes those doctrines so much more relevant when we can see that they are all similar expressions of Unity. Throughout the New Testament, and the gospel of John especially, Unity is a primary theme of Jesus. He wants his followers to be united together, and be united with him in common purpose, worship, and service.

All of the Sacraments are expressions of Unity of different degrees. I won't go into detailed exposition of the sacraments, but it is difficult for me to understand how anyone can fully appreciate the Trinity if they are in a non-Sacramental denominations.
  1. Baptism: God claims ownership of the person in the form of a familial covenant
  2. Confirmation: The Holy Spirit indwells the Christian
  3. Penance: In which the Christian expresses repentance, a desire to re-enter communion with God, and a desire to make reparations for his wrongdoing.
  4. Anointing of the Sick: Very similar to Penance except that it is often done in emergencies (end of life) or when facing a chronic serious illness
  5. Holy Orders: When the authority of the apostles is handed down to succeeding generations of priests to administer the sacraments and aid Christians in attaining Unity with Christ.
I left out two. That is because I want to detail them further.

Matrimony. Notice I did not say marriage. And I will not be drawn into the debate as to whether or not marriage is or is not appropriate for same-sex couples. That is not my purpose here. If anyone makes any comments attached to this post on either side of that debate, I will delete them. But I will use traditional terms so that I maintain consistency.

Men and women have been getting married since Adam and Eve. So why do Christians regard it as a sacrament, instituted by Jesus? Because Jesus took marriage, which already existed and elevated it. When a husband and wife make their vows to each other they become one flesh. The priest only witnesses the marriage, he does not bestow the status of husband and wife upon them. And contrary to common belief, the marital act which follows is not what makes them married, it fully completes it.

But the image of one man and one woman coming together as one flesh in Unity together for mutual benefit and the raising, nurturing, and instruction of children is one of the closest relationships that people can have that nearly mirrors the relationship of the members of the Holy Trinity to one another. The husband and wife are individuals, yet are so nearly unified together that they are considered one. Our marital relationship cannot ever be exactly like the Trinity as we, not being God, can never be exactly God-like. But it's about as close as you can get. 

Next up is the Eucharist, or the Sacrament of Communion. It has much in common with Matrimony. This is the major difference between Catholics and Orthodox, who believe that the bread and the wine at communion actually BECOME the body and blood of the Lord; with the Lutherans who believe that the bread and wine CONTAIN the presence of the Lord; and most other denominations who believe that the bead and wine are merely symbols of the body and blood of the Lord.

If the Eucharist is a symbol-only it is stripped of its significance. Jesus becomes the bread and the wine in the same way that God became flesh. He came as a man, so can He come as bread. As I stated before, we humans are a unity of our fleshly being and our spiritual person. After our body dies, or spirit--our very selves are still alive and will later be reunified with our bodies at the resurrection.

As such, we are also an illustration of the Trinity. We are body and soul united as God is God, three persons, united as one. And it doesn't stop there. As Matrimony and the subsequent marital act unify a man and a woman in Christ, so Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist unify the Christian with each other and with Christ. In matrimony, a woman receives her husband into her body and the two are one. In the same way, in the Eucharist we receive Christ into our body, and we become one. This is exactly why the the Church is the BRIDE of Christ. If one believes that the Eucharist is merely symbolic, then Unity with Christ become a mere symbol also and even matrimony loses some of its luster, and Unity with other believers becomes merely a friendship-like relationship, when it is supposed to be so much more than that. (Incidentally, this is also why Catholics do not substitute grape juice for wine. Jesus used wine and came as wine. He did not come as grape juice. He could have used grape juice and chose not to do it. He chose wine, and so should we.)


One can see even in nature, that unity is a primary theme. In the way that many animals come together as men and women do. The way that small children put everything into their mouths to learn more about it. The way that people like to give hugs or shake hands, or pat one another on the back. Even, the attraction of gravity. The way that many scientists believe that one day gravity will pull all things together into a singularity that will cause another big bang. Who is to say that at the end of all things, this may be how it will happen? All things that exist coalescing into one.

Trinity Sunday and Christian Unity

Today is Trinity Sunday. The Trinity is probably the most difficult of all of the doctrines in the Bible. Many have tried to explain it over the years, but every explanation fails to grasp its fullness.

The most famous example of an explanation is the one that St. Patrick used. He used the illustration of a shamrock--three leaves, yet one plant as a teaching aid. It is fraught with problems as illustrated in this little satirical piece https://youtu.be/KQLfgaUoQCw. It also explores other explanations like water, steam, and ice and are all separate and yet all water; and a man who is a son, husband, and father all at once; and the problems with those arguments.

The best explanation I have heard is from the Catholic apologist, Jimmy Akin. He explains that all objects are "beings" because they all exist, therefore they "be" (are). But a human being can be considered a being that consists of one person existential of that being (we have a body and a soul or spirit). A rock is a being that consists of zero persons, and God is a being that consists of three persons. Still a difficult concept, but this makes it easier for me at least to relate.
But why is belief in the Trinity so important in Christian, and especially Catholic theology? Outside of Christianity, there is no belief in the Trinity, including in Judaism. Christians find Scriptural basis for the Trinity in the Old Testament, but that is apparent only in retrospect.

Many denominations require belief in the Trinity as required for salvation. But if a person hears of Jesus and believes and is baptized, but has never even heard of the Trinity, can that person be saved? That's especially problematic for denominations that basically tell you to just say the "Sinner's Prayer" and you are saved forever, but still claim the Trinity as an "essential" Biblical truth, necessary for salvation. But in Catholicism what makes belief in the Trinity a requirement for the fullness of the faith is that the Church as an authority instituted by Christ as his earthly agent, has defined it so.

An understanding of the Trinity interweaves so well with other doctrines, it makes those doctrines so much more relevant when we can see that they are all similar expressions of Unity. Throughout the New Testament, and the gospel of John especially, Unity is a primary theme of Jesus. He wants his followers to be united together, and be united with him in common purpose, worship, and service.

All of the Sacraments are expressions of Unity of different degrees. I won't go into detailed exposition of the sacraments, but it is difficult for me to understand how anyone can fully appreciate the Trinity if they are in a non-Sacramental denominations.
  1. Baptism: God claims ownership of the person in the form of a familial covenant
  2. Confirmation: The Holy Spirit indwells the Christian
  3. Penance: In which the Christian expresses repentance, a desire to re-enter communion with God, and a desire to make reparations for his wrongdoing.
  4. Anointing of the Sick: Very similar to Penance except that it is often done in emergencies (end of life) or when facing a chronic serious illness
  5. Holy Orders: When the authority of the apostles is handed down to succeeding generations of priests to administer the sacraments and aid Christians in attaining Unity with Christ.
I left out two. That is because I want to detail them further.

Matrimony. Notice I did not say marriage. And I will not be drawn into the debate as to whether or not marriage is or is not appropriate for same-sex couples. That is not my purpose here. If anyone makes any comments attached to this post on either side of that debate, I will delete them. But I will use traditional terms so that I maintain consistency.

Men and women have been getting married since Adam and Eve. So why do Christians regard it as a sacrament, instituted by Jesus? Because Jesus took marriage, which already existed and elevated it. When a husband and wife make their vows to each other they become one flesh. The priest only witnesses the marriage, he does not bestow the status of husband and wife upon them. And contrary to common belief, the marital act which follows is not what makes them married, it fully completes it.

But the image of one man and one woman coming together as one flesh in Unity together for mutual benefit and the raising, nurturing, and instruction of children is one of the closest relationships that people can have that nearly mirrors the relationship of the members of the Holy Trinity to one another. The husband and wife are individuals, yet are so nearly unified together that they are considered one. Our marital relationship cannot ever be exactly like the Trinity as we, not being God, can never be exactly God-like. But it's about as close as you can get. 

Next up is the Eucharist, or the Sacrament of Communion. It has much in common with Matrimony. This is the major difference between Catholics and Orthodox, who believe that the bread and the wine at communion actually BECOME the body and blood of the Lord; with the Lutherans who believe that the bread and wine CONTAIN the presence of the Lord; and most other denominations who believe that the bead and wine are merely symbols of the body and blood of the Lord.

If the Eucharist is a symbol-only it is stripped of its significance. Jesus becomes the bread and the wine in the same way that God became flesh. He came as a man, so can He come as bread. As I stated before, we humans are a unity of our fleshly being and our spiritual person. After our body dies, or spirit--our very selves are still alive and will later be reunified with our bodies at the resurrection.

As such, we are also an illustration of the Trinity. We are body and soul united as God is God, three persons, united as one. And it doesn't stop there. As Matrimony and the subsequent marital act unify a man and a woman in Christ, so Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist unify the Christian with each other and with Christ. In matrimony, a woman receives her husband into her body and the two are one. In the same way, in the Eucharist we receive Christ into our body, and we become one. This is exactly why the the Church is the BRIDE of Christ. If one believes that the Eucharist is merely symbolic, then Unity with Christ become a mere symbol also and even matrimony loses some of its luster, and Unity with other believers becomes merely a friendship-like relationship, when it is supposed to be so much more than that. (Incidentally, this is also why Catholics do not substitute grape juice for wine. Jesus used wine and came as wine. He did not come as grape juice. He could have used grape juice and chose not to do it. He chose wine, and so should we.)


One can see even in nature, that unity is a primary theme. In the way that many animals come together as men and women do. The way that small children put everything into their mouths to learn more about it. The way that people like to give hugs or shake hands, or pat one another on the back. Even, the attraction of gravity. The way that many scientists believe that one day gravity will pull all things together into a singularity that will cause another big bang. Who is to say that at the end of all things, this may be how it will happen? All things that exist coalescing into one.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Why do Catholics call Mary, the Mother of God instead of the Mother of Jesus?

Why do Catholics call Mary the Mother of God? She is the mother of Jesus. Doesn't the title "Mother of God" put her above God? Why did it take until about the year 300 A.D. for the Church to begin using this name for her?

The title "Mother of God" is the term that the Church now uses. Originally they used the Greek term Θεοτόκος (Theotokos), or "God-bearer"--essentially the same thing. Many Eastern Catholics and virtually all Orthodox still use this term for her, and it is not all improper for any Chirstian to call her by this Greek title.

But why do we use this title when it does not appear in Scripture at all? The reason is for the same reason that many Catholic dogmas were finalized at later dates. They often reflect a belief that has been held for a very long time, even from the beginning, and has only been codified because of later controversy. It is very similar to the way that many Christians will use a Biblical principle to shed light on, and even base their behavior on an interpretaion of Scripture that does not necessarily speak on the subject exactly.

Examples might include:
  1. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that abortion is wrong. But it does say that murder is wrong. So if a baby is human from the moment of conception, then abortion is wrong.
  2. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that drinking alcohol is always wrong. It often warns of the overuse of alcohol. It often will show examples of what can happen when you abuse alcohol. Yet many Christians, especially since the Temperance movement in America in the late 1880s, say that every single instance of humans drinking alcohol is always evil. Even to the point of saying that Jesus did not turn water into wine, but that he turned it into grape juice, and used grape juice, not wine at the Last Supper.
  3. Nowhere in the Bible does it mention illicit drug use at all. Yet we often will use the same principles governing alcohol use and abuse as a basis on our opinions on drug use.
The title of Mother of God developed in much the same way. The New Testament warns of the beginning of the Gnosticism movement. The Gnostics were people who called themselved Christians (some may have been) who believed that the Scripture was so deep that it took special insight to be able to interpret its true meaning.

One NT example is "First Timothy 6:20 includes a warning from Paul to Timothy -- an early church leader and lieutenant of Paul's -- to avoid senseless chatter and the "opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge ("gnosis" in the original Greek)." Many scholars believe this was a refutation of Gnostics, who were among the first sects considered heretical. Irenaeus, an influential second-century Christian bishop from Gaul, relied heavily on 1 Timothy 6:20 in his 'Refutation of Gnosticism.'" http://people.opposingviews.com/reference-gnostics-bible-5168.html

One of these early Gnostic teachings was that Jesus was not divine, but fully human, and only human. Another was that he was fully God and only appeared to be human. To answer these heresies the Council of Nicea developed the doctrine of the homosious, that Jesus, fully human had two natures--fully human and fully God. The two natures are perfectly united and one.

This is the reason that we use this title for her. As Mother, she provided the human DNA (at least half of the chromosomes--only God knows how he supplies the other half that would normally come from the father). So he is 100% Man. As God himself provided everything else that was necessary, Jesus is 100% God.

Every time we say "Mother of God" We are affirming our Catholic faith teaching, and that of almost all Christians, that Jesus is fully God and fully Man at the same time. In this sense, "Mother of God" does not speak of God's origin. Mary did not create God in her womb. God begat the Son, as stated in John 3:16.

But Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus, and the Mother of God, she is the Mother of the entire Church. See Galatians 4:4-7 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE):

4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
 Born of a woman—not of a man—in fulfillment of Gen 3:15: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.
 Those that were under the law” This is a specific reference to Judaism, but because Natural Law applies to all people and peoples, it applies to all. This is not to denigrate people, or to erroneously call them “totally depraved” but that they are loved and God desires to save them through Christ.

6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
 If Jesus is the Son of God, and we have becomes sons of God, then he is our brother, and Mary is also our Mother, the Mother of the Church, exactly as presented in Rev. 12:17 “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus.”

7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
Reiterating that we are children of God, as is Jesus, so Mary is our Mother

Another passage which proves this is Rev. 12:17 "Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus."

Monday, April 7, 2014

Thoughts on Lazarus, Martha, and Mary

My take on yesterday’s homily at church


The Gospel reading at Mass yesterday was on John 11:1-45, the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.


Father Mike’s main sermon point was in the way that the crowd, and especially Mary and Martha were reacting. They did not know that Jesus came to raise Lazarus. They just knew that their brother, who was also Jesus close friend, had died. They gave Jesus enough notice to come heal him before he died and they may have felt a little betrayed by him that he did not come right away.

They clearly had faith in Jesus as the son of God, and in the resurrection of the dead at the last day. They believed, but did they trust him? By this time he had already raised two people from the dead. Mary was one of the few who understood that when Jesus was speaking of his impending death, that he actually meant it. We know this as here we see that she is the one who anointed his feet with expensive perfume in preparation for his burial back in John 12:3. Thomas shows that he did not fully trust in his statement showing he was convinced that they were all going to their deaths.

How about you? Do you who believe also trust?
Do you trust God with your financial condition? Yes?
Do you contracept because you can’t afford kids?
Do you give money to your church and to the poor?
Are you swayed by the prosperity preachers of today?
Do you decry the Church for the “riches” she has at the Vatican that could be sold and
the money given to the poor?
Do you trust God that he will lead the Church even when certain doctrines and dogmas are counter-cultural or against your sensibilities?

Other thoughts about the passage:

I’ve always wondered just how did Jesus know Lazarus, Martha, and Mary?. Bethany, the town where they lived was only a short distance from Nazareth. Were they relatives? Did they know each other from an early form of Hebrew school? Did they meet during trips to the Jerusalem temple? They may have been well off financially as Mary previously was able to obtain expensive perfume. Whether she bought it because she could afford it, she saved up for years for it, or inherited it, we don’t know.

Thomas is often given a bad rap. Chiefly because he didn't believe that Jesus rose from the dead until he could actually see him. Also here because of his “mopey” statement. But look at what he said here. Yes, there is a modicum of disbelief here. But he said he was willing to die with Jesus and the rest and went to Jerusalem anyway knowing this. He reiterates it again in the upper room with all of the other apostles. Then later when he sees Jesus, he gives one of the best Biblical testaments to the Deity of Christ you will find. Not bad for a “doubter”.


Anthromorphizing animals

So tempting when someone says something like "my dog, (or cat, bird, fish, ferret, etc) was not just a dog. He was my baby", to say "Umm, yes, it was."