Friday, March 22, 2019

Podcast 28 : The Mass is the Perfect Sacrifice



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“Walk in love, as Christ also loved us and delivered himself up for us an offering and a sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5: 2,  This is lesson number 27 the sacrifice of the Mass -  the Holy Eucharist as the perfect sacrifice.

    Hello there everybody. Welcome back to another episode of all About my Catholic Faith. This is the second of three lessons about the Holy Eucharist. Last week we talked about how the Holy Eucharist was a sacrament. Today in this lesson, we're going to talk about how the Holy Eucharist is a sacrifice.

    Today's lesson is going to be divided into eight different subcategories and we'll talk a little bit about each one of those as we go along.

    So briefly, the areas we're going to talk about in today's lesson are about the Mass being a sacrifice. We're going to talk about the cross being the perfect sacrifice and we're going to talk about the Mass also being the perfect sacrifice continued from the original sacrifice on the cross. I will also to talk about the Mass being a ceremony, as well as the purposes of the Mass, and how the Mass is our sacrifice, and finally how we should assist at Mass.

    So let's start talking first about the Mass being a sacrifice. Two thousand years ago, on Calvary, Jesus Christ was sacrificed in a bloody manner, which means that he gave his life. He gave every drop of his blood as a sacrifice for us and to save us from our sins. The Mass that we go to every week is also a sacrifice of Christ that's offered in a sacramental manner, not a bloody manner. And of course, not only is the Mass a sacrifice, but it is also a sacrament like we talked about last week. The Mass is indeed a Sacrament or a sign of the sacrifice of Jesus. In this way, it's actually a sign of Christ, in action, offering himself in love to God the Father as he did when he died on the cross. When Jesus died on the cross for us he did it out of pure love for us and for his Father. The Mass is also an act of love, it's our share in the great act of love that Christ made on the cross.

You mentioned sacrifice a few times already, can you explain what a sacrifice is?

Great question, I guess I should have started with that.

    Sacrifice, in the pure sense of the word, is an offering of a victim by a priest to God alone, and then the destruction of that offering in some way that acknowledges that God is the creator of all things. So today, a sacrifice is an action in which we give a gift to God to show him our true love for him and our devotion to him.

    Christopher, when you give me or your mom a gift for our birthday you are doing that, I suppose because you love us. This gift shows us that you really do love us and course we gladly accept it, not only because we're happy with the gift, but most importantly because we're happy with your love that came with the gift. I guess that's where the saying comes from that says, "it's the thought that counts," and it’s the love that comes with the gift that really counts, not the gift itself. If you were to give a gift to someone and not do it out of love, then the gift would be empty. I think what kind of illustrates this, is if we go back to the Old Testament times of Cain and Abel. We see that both of them offered sacrifices to God, but God was only pleased with one of their sacrifices.

Why is that?

    Well, God was very pleased with Abel's gift or sacrifice, because he saw that Abel was doing this out of true love and devotion and from his heart. And since God saw the true love that Abel was making the sacrifice with, he gladly accepted it, the same as I would accept a gift from you that came from your love for me. God, however, did not accept Cain's gift because the gift that Cain gave for the sacrifice was not done so out of love for God. 

    In the Old Testament time, a lot of times the sacrifice that was offered to God was a lamb or another animal such as that. And this lamb, when it was sacrificed, was killed, and so we call a gift offered to God as a  sacrifice a victim.

    And one more term to get straight when we're talking about sacrifice is that the person or the one who offers the sacrifice to God, in the name of all the people, is called a priest. 

    Let's move into the next area and talk about how Jesus, dying on the cross, was the perfect sacrifice.

    When we go to Mass and we see the priest up at the front, we know he is the priest, however, the primary or the principal priest at every Mass is actually Jesus Christ himself. Jesus is really the priest there at Mass because he is the one who is offering to God the Father, his body and blood which were also sacrificed on the cross 2000 years ago. The priest that we see there standing in front of us is actually what we call “in Persona Christi” which means that he is standing in the place of Christ. Remember from our last lesson that the priesthood was started at the Last Supper when Jesus told his Apostles to go out into the world and to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus and most especially to offer the sacrifice of the Mass in remembrance of him. 
    Remember the typical sacrifice involves a priest who is the one offering the sacrifice and a victim who is the one who is being sacrificed. When Jesus was crucified on the cross this was the perfect sacrifice because Jesus Christ was the priest, the perfect priest because he is the Son of God made man, and he was also the victim, the perfect victim because he being God, gave his own human life as a sacrifice. This sacrifice cost Jesus every single drop of his precious blood. He gave every drop of his blood to God the Father to show him his love and devotion, and you know as Jesus Christ hung on the cross and bled and died, every beat of his Sacred Heart was saying to God the Father, his father, “I love you.”  You know I don't think there is a much better gift or better sacrifice than to actually die for the one that you truly love.  

    Remember that God accepted Abel's sacrifice because it was done out of love. God the Father  accepted the gift of Jesus because it was offered out of true love. The Father not only accepted this great gift that Jesus was offering, but he rewarded Jesus by raising him from the dead on Easter Sunday and then bringing him to heaven to be with him for all eternity on Ascension Day. 

    Just as Jesus dying on the cross was the perfect sacrifice, the Holy Mass that we go to every week is also the perfect sacrifice, because the Mass continues the same sacrifice that happened on the cross. Every time that we go to Mass and the Sacrifice of the Mass is offered by the priest, the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on Calvary by dying on the cross is repeated. Some non-Catholics criticize Catholics because they think that the Mass is re-sacrificing Jesus again and again, however, this is not true. A new sacrifice is not being offered, but instead, because of the power of God, the very same sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross is actually repeated, not created new again. 1st Corinthians chapter 11 verse 26 says, “as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the cup you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” Again at Mass, Jesus continues to offer himself to God the Father the same as he did two thousand years ago on the cross and at Mass, God the Father continues to accept his Son’s gift the same as he did way back then. 

    Immediately after the consecration, remember that's when the bread and the wine are miraculously changed by God to the body and blood of Jesus, the priest says that we are the continuation of the redemption of Christ and that we offer the same sacrifice. As a Catholic, we are called to offer our self to Christ freely and in full awareness, in order to help in the salvation of the entire world. In the Latin Mass the priest will say this in Latin, but I'm going to read it in English for you right now. It says, “wherefore, O Lord, we thy servants, as also thy holy people, calling to mind the blessed passion of the same Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, his resurrection from hell, and glorious Ascension into heaven, offer unto Thy most excellent majesty of Thine own gifts bestowed upon us, a pure victim, a holy victim, an immaculate victim, the holy bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation."

    And one more point before I move on is that the reason that the Mass is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice on the cross, and both are the perfect sacrifice, is because in the Mass, the victim is the same, that is Jesus, and the principal priest is the same, who is also Jesus.  I'll talk a little bit more about that in just a moment.

    Remember our last lesson when the bread and the wine are consecrated to become the body and blood of Jesus, that through a miracle of God, the bread and wine still appear to be bread and wine and don't actually appear as flesh and blood. Jesus wanted and actually commanded that this sacrifice would be continued throughout the ages to all parts of the world, but not in the same bloody way in which he offered it originally on the cross. Again, Jesus knew that that would be way too hard for any of us to accept and participate in. So again, at the Last Supper Jesus gave to all of us the wonderful gift of the ceremony of the Mass where we could continue his sacrifice in remembrance of him.  Although other prayers and actions have been added the Holy Mass, it is basically the same ceremony as the Last Supper from 2,000 years ago. 

    And the Mass is not just simply a ceremony, it is a ceremony that is also a Sacrament because it is a sign of the action of Christ and a channel of God's grace. The Mass is a Sacrament because it is a sign of the action of Jesus when he died on the cross. So just like on the cross, during Mass, we have a priest, a victim, and an offering. On the cross, the priest was Jesus Christ himself and in the Mass, the priest is Jesus Christ in the form of the ordained priest who is taking his place. The victim on the cross was Jesus Christ, and the victim in the Mass is also Jesus's body and blood under the appearances of bread and wine. And finally, the act of offering on the cross was because Jesus offered himself out of pure love from his Sacred Heart. At the Mass, this very same Act of Love of the Sacred Heart takes place at the consecration when the bread and wine are each consecrated separately to symbolize the death of Christ on the cross.

So I know that when Jesus suffered and died for us on the cross, this was called his passion, so would you say that the Mass is also The Passion of Christ?

    Pretty much, but the only clarification I would make is that the Mass is the sacrament of The Passion of Christ, remembering that a Sacrament is a sign of the action of Christ.

Okay thanks, I got it.

I know it's important to go to Mass so that we can worship God and receive the true body and blood of Jesus.  Are those  the only reasons to go to Mass?


    Good question and those are great reasons to go to Mass, but there are four main purposes why the Mass is offered.  First of all, it is to adore God as our creator and our Lord. The second reason that Mass is offered is so that we can thank God for the many things that he has done for us. The third purpose of the Mass is so that we can ask God to give us his blessings to us and also to bless everyone in the world, all of his children. And the fourth purpose of the Mass is to satisfy the justice of God for the sins committed against him

I know you've taught us that we need to be in the State of Grace in order to receive Holy Communion, does the priest also need need to be in a state of grace in order to consecrate the bread and wine and to offer the Mass for us?

    Wow, that's a very good question! And indeed in order for us to properly receive all the graces associated with the Holy Eucharist, we do need to be in the state of grace. If we’re not in a state of grace then not only do we not receive the fullness of Grace from the Holy Eucharist, we are actually causing death to our soul. Now if we're in a state of grace, but we do have smaller sins, the venial sins, then we still receive the grace from the Mass and the Holy Eucharist. The more holy the state of our soul is, which means the less sin there is on our soul, then the more grace we will receive from the Holy Eucharist at Mass. 
    To answer your question about the priest, he does not need to be in a state of grace in order for the bread and the wine to be consecrated and for those to become the body and blood of Jesus. The state of the priest's soul does not determine the validity of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. If he was in a state of mortal sin, that bread and the wine was still consecrated to the Body and Blood of Jesus, because remember it's not just the action of the priest, it is actually the action of Jesus Christ through the priest. Hopefully, the priest will remain in a state of grace, because at Mass he is also receiving Holy Communion, and if he receives Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin then he is causing death to his soul the same as if we receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin. 

Here is reading from 1st Corinthians, chapter 11: verses 23 through 30, that helps to explain this a little further.

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying. 

    There are a couple differences between the sacrifice on the cross and the sacrifice of the Mass. 

    So on the cross, Christ really did die, but in the Mass, Christ does not die. On the cross the crowd shouted hateful things, darkness rolled in at three in the afternoon, there was an earthquake, and the soldiers cast lots or gambled for the clothing of Jesus. At the Mass, we don't see the same things happening at all. On the cross, Christ by himself was the priest and the victim. In the Mass, Christ is the priest and the victim, but he also unites with all the members of his mystical body, the members of his Church, the Catholic Church, in both his priesthood and his victim-hood.

    In the crucifixion the Sacred Heart of Jesus said to the Father, "I love you," and in the Mass the Sacred Heart does not just say to the Father that I love you, but he says, "Father I love you and so do all of these people here with me who are united as members of my Church, my mystical body." 

    If we really want to get down to two key reasons for the Mass, they are that we bring our prayers, our works, and sufferings that we have every day together with all of the other people of the Mystical Body of Christ. At the Mass, we who are the Mystical Body, are united with the head of the body, which is Jesus Christ himself. We offer all of our prayers, works, and sufferings together with Jesus, to the Father. The other important thing of the Mass, is just like when the Father was so pleased with the sacrifice that Jesus made out of love on the cross for him that he raised him from the dead and brought him to heaven, in the Mass, the Father is also pleased with our sacrifice out of our love for him that he gives us the real flesh of his son Jesus Christ to eat as his sign that he is very pleased with us, and also that one day he will raise our bodies from the dead to be with him forever in heaven. Again the Mass is our act of love for God. We must truly love God and show him our love by going to Mass at least once a week because God is the only way that we can make it to heaven. Only by the Grace of God can we be saved. 

Wow, that does help me realize just how important going to Mass is. How can I get even more out of going to Mass?

    Great question, and to get everything possible out of Mass that you can remember to go to confession often so that your soul can be as pure as possible. While you're at Mass, you should do everything you can to assist at Mass by being reverent, and showing your attention and devotion. Remember you don't have to be an altar server or be in the choir to assist at Mass. Actually to assist at Mass means something even bigger and better than being an altar server or being in the choir, although those are very important. The best way to assist at Mass is to unite yourself with the priest as best you can in offering the holy sacrifice to God and by receiving Holy Communion, or in other words unite with the priest when he offers the holy sacrifice by joining in mind and heart with Jesus Christ who again is the principal priest and the principal victim, and by following the Mass in the missal, and by reciting or chanting the responses. We'll have another lesson on how to properly respond at Mass. 

    Remember something very important, Jesus Christ our divine Savior was the first person to say Mass, and that was at the Last Supper the night before he died. Today, the Mass is said throughout the world nearly every single day by the Pope, bishops or priests who have been ordained through the power of God through Apostolic succession in the Catholic Church.

    If you haven't been going to Mass then I hope that you will be inspired by the Holy Spirit to return to Mass so you that you can also join with the rest of the mystical Body of Christ in this wonderful sacrifice and sacrament of the Holy Mass. If you do go to Mass Faithfully every week, then strive to get more out of Mass by preparing in prayer before Mass, praying at Mass before Mass starts, leaving your cell phone at home or in the car, and assisting more fully at Mass, and really trying to join yourself together with the priest on the altar. By doing this you will not only be joining yourself to the priest, but you will also be joining yourself even closer to Jesus Christ himself.  Again, a lot of non-Catholic Christians will say that what is important is that you have a personal relationship with Jesus, and they are absolutely correct. The best way to have a personal relationship with Jesus is to unite as close as possible with him in prayer and in the Sacrament and the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass and by taking his Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

Thanks, Dad, I really learned a lot today.

    I'm glad you did and I hope other people learned a lot too. If you have any questions about what we've been talking about or about the Catholic faith, you can email me through our website, All About My Catholic Faith.com. You'll see an area on the right-hand column if you're on the web version of the website where you can enter your question, comment, and even your prayer request. I read all of those questions and comments and prayer request and I promise that I will take your prayer request with me to Mass when I go and I will also do my very best to answer any questions that you have. You can also send me a question or a prayer request through Twitter by going to @TwoCJ'sMedia, and that is two CJs spelled out, t w o C J s media. That link to twitter will be in the show notes. 

    We are getting closer to Easter so I hope that each and every one of you are having a very blessed Lent and remember if you're Catholic, the day this podcast is coming out is Friday, which means no meat. 

    Until next week's lesson please remember to pray for me and I will, of course, be praying for you.

God bless you and goodbye for now.



Friday, March 15, 2019

Podcast 27 : The Source and Summit - The Holy Eucharist



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John 6:52 The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.


This week's lesson is on the Source and Summit of our Faith, the Holy Eucharist. Actually, the Holy Eucharist is so important in our faith that this lesson will be spread over the next three weeks. In this first lesson will see the way in which Christ is contained in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, Next week’s lesson we’ll see that the Sacrament is a sign of Christ sacrificed. The third episode we will see that the Sacrament is the food for our soul.

    Hello everybody and welcome back to another episode of All About My Catholic Faith. I really hope that you're doing great today and having a wonderful Lent so far. If you're not listening to this podcast during Lent then I hope you're having a wonderful week whatever time of year it is.

    Before we continue I'd like to welcome back again my terrific son Christopher. "Hey Dad, how you doing?" "I'm doing pretty good how about you?" "Pretty good too, thanks!" "That's awesome!"

    "Hey, Christopher I'm wondering before we get started if you have any questions about the Holy Eucharist?

    "Yeah, I have a couple. Thanks for asking."

    "I'd like to know when Jesus started the Holy Eucharist and how he did it. I'd also like to ask you about how the bread and the wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus, and how can that be done still today when Jesus is not here with us?"

    "Great, I’ll answer those to the best of my knowledge as we go through the lesson and if I don't answer them completely just ask a follow-up question."

    Before we get started I'd like to have a really quick reading from the Bible this is going to be from 1st Corinthians chapter 10 verses 16 and 17.

    The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

    You know we've been talking a lot about sacraments in the last three lessons. Three weeks ago we had an overview of the Seven Sacraments, and two weeks ago we talked about the Sacrament of Baptism, and last week we talked a lot about the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Holy Eucharist is also a Sacrament and it is also a sacrifice. As we'll see as we go through the lesson, in the Holy Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine, Jesus Christ Our Lord is actually contained, offered, and received.

    Remember all the sacraments are outward signs of Christ to show us his love and to lead us to heaven. The Holy Eucharist is a little bit different and a little bit more special.

    "Why’s that?"

    Because not only is it a sign of Christ, or an action of Christ, but it also really and truly contains Jesus Christ himself.

    Three of the four Holy Gospels actually tell us how and when the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist was started. You can find those accounts in Matthew chapter 26 starting at verse 17, also in Mark chapter 14 starting in verse 12 and in Luke chapter 22 starting verse 7.  That’s the one I'm going to read to you right now.

    When the day of the feast of Unleavened Bread arrived, the day for sacrificing the Passover lamb, he sent out Peter and John, instructing them, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to make the preparations?” And he answered them, “When you go into the city, a man will meet you carrying a jar of water. Follow him into the house that he enters and say to the master of the house, ‘The teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ He will show you a large upper room that is furnished. Make the preparations there.” Then they went off and found everything exactly as he had told them, and there they prepared the Passover.
    When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you [that] from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise, the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.

    So, that reading that I just read plus the other two in the other gospels, talk about Jesus telling the Apostles to go and prepare a place for them to have a Passover meal. Every year at the Passover, Jewish people would gather together and they would have a ceremonial banquet meal that was called the Passover or the Paschal Supper. Again, this done each year to celebrate and to commemorate the freeing of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. During this meal the Jewish people would eat a lamb which had been sacrificed by one of their priests and this sacrifice of the Jews was a symbol for the future sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

    Jesus was telling his Twelve Apostles, who were Jewish, that they should get together and find a place to have this Passover meal. Since Jesus is God he already knew the place where this Passover meal would be shared with his apostles but he sent them out on this mission any way to prepare them for the other many missions that they would go forth to do. This Paschal meal that the apostles and Jesus celebrated is called The Last Supper.  It's called the Last Supper because this happened the very night before Jesus was to be tried, scourged, and crucified on Calvary. Today, 2000 years after the Last Supper and the crucifixion of Jesus, we continue both the Last Supper and the sacrifice of Jesus at our Holy Mass. At the Mass, we're not having a brand-new Passover meal and we are not crucifying Jesus over and over again, but instead, remember this is a continuation, it's the same last supper and it's the same suffering and death of Jesus that we participate in today.

    Christ instituted and started the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper when he took the bread, and he blessed, it and he broke it, and he gave it to his disciples saying “Take and Eat, This is my Body,” and then he took the cup of wine, he also blessed it and he gave it to his disciples and said “All of you drink this, for this is my Blood of the New Covenant which is being shed for many unto the Forgiveness of sins.” Finally then towards the end of the Last Supper, he gave his apostles a very important assignment which was their commission to go out into the world and do this same celebration in remembrance of him. And this didn't just mean for them to go out and eat bread and drink wine and to remember this last supper that they had just had with Jesus. No, actually he was telling them, his new priests of his Church, to go throughout the world teaching and preaching, as well as giving them the power to change simple bread and simple wine into his real, true Body and Blood.

    You know, when the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus at Holy Mass, we still see bread and wine. Just as when Jesus said this is my Body also when the priest at Mass says the prayers and he says this is my Body and this is my Blood, then the entire substance of the bread and the entire substance of the wine have are changed into the real and true Body and Blood of Jesus.  We call this the Real Presence or the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The reason we still see bread and wine is because of a true miracle. This miracle of God allows the bread and wine after it's been changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus to still appear as bread and wine. They still have the same color, the same taste, the same weight, the same shape, and everything else that makes them appear to our senses as bread and wine. If you test the bread and wine after it is changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus in a scientific laboratory, you will still see all of the, what we call the accidents or appearances of the bread and wine are still there as bread and wine. But remember, only the appearances of bread and wine remain. In actuality, the substance of that bread and wine have been truly changed into our Lord's Body and Blood. Again by a miracle of God, the appearances of bread and wine remain so that it is much easier for us to do as Jesus said and to eat his Body and drink his Blood.

    Can you explain a little bit about the difference between substance and appearance?

    Sure that's a great question. The substance of anything is what it is. And the appearances of something is what it looks like, what it feels like, and what it tastes like. So for example, the substance of an apple is that it is an apple. It's not an orange, it's not a grape, it's not a watermelon, it’s really and truly an apple. The substance of that thing sitting there on the table in front of you is an apple. Now the appearances of the apple, are what it looks like and feels like and tastes like. So the apple looks red, and it's round, and it feels smooth, and it tastes sweet most the time. So the redness, the roundness, the smoothness, and the juicy sweetness are considered that apple’s appearances.

    So the bread after it's been changed into the Body of Christ is now truly the substance of the Body of Jesus, but it still appears to our senses as bread. It tastes like bread it looks like bread and it smells like bread. When the entire substance of the bread and wine at Mass are changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, this is called transubstantiation.

    There are different ways in which things change.

    One way something can change is to change its appearance. You know, for example, a green unripe apple as it ripens on the tree will become a full red ripe apple. It changes from a green sour apple to a red sweet apple. Sometimes there's a partial change of a substance, you know for example when you burn oil, the oil will actually change into smoke, and not only will the oil change its substance from this oily nature into a smoky nature, but the appearance will also change. And then finally a complete change of a substance as we see when the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus. This again is called transubstantiation. You know the only time that we see this total change, this total transformation like this is at the consecration of the Eucharist at Mass.

    During Communion at Mass, do I have to take both the body and the blood in order to follow the commands of Jesus? Didn’t he say “eat my body and drink my blood?”

    Another great question. Actually, you don't. You only have to have the bread or the wine which is the Body or the Blood of Jesus, you don't need both. Actually in many Masses throughout the world, Jesus is only offered to the people in the form of the bread. An interesting fact is that no matter what form you take the Eucharist, either as bread or as wine, the complete and total Body and Blood of Jesus Christ are truly and completely present in either of those forms. Not only are they in both the bread and the wine they are in the most tiniest fragment of the bread or the most tiny drop of the wine.  If you only get a small particle of dust from the bread that has been consecrated into the Body of Jesus, it doesn't matter, it is the same as if you received the entire host. You still receive the entire Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. That’s why it is so very important to take all the care possible not to drop any portion of the precious Body and Blood of Jesus.
    In the Latin Mass, you can only receive the Body of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist directly on your tongue. Even in the new Mass, the Novus Ordo, it is such a great practice to receive Holy Communion directly on your tongue. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to take any chance at all that some tiny particle or even dust from the host gets on my hand if I receive the Body of Christ in my hand. This tiniest particle or dust from the Eucharistic Host is still the real and true and complete Body and Blood of Christ. What if you have Jesus on your hand in the tiniest particle of dust, and then you wipe your hand on your pants or touch something dirty, you have just desecrated the Most Holy Eucharist, the Body, and Blood of Jesus.
    Up until 1965, only an ordained priest of the Catholic Church could touch the bread once it was consecrated and became the Body and Blood of Jesus. The priest would give the people communion directly on the tongue. After communion, the priest would then carefully wipe any fragments or dust from his fingers, and then purify them with Holy Water before he touched anything else with the fingers that were handling Jesus in the Eucharistic Bread. That is still the way it is today anytime you participate in the Traditional Latin Mass.

    So remember that the change of the bread and the wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ continues today and nearly every single day throughout the world during the Mass through the ministry of Jesus Christ’s priests. Jesus gave his priests the power and the authority to change the bread and wine into his Body and Blood when he made the apostles his first priests at the Last Supper and when he told them, "Do this in remembrance of me." That is when the priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, started.

    As Christianity spread through the world in the early days, the Church needed more and more priests and also bishops. The apostles were not just the first priests of the Church, they were also the first bishops of the Church. Anytime a new priest was needed in the Catholic Church then one of the bishops would ordain and give the power of Jesus to that priest to provide the sacraments to all of us. Baptism, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage, Holy Orders, and most especially the Holy Eucharist. That has continued for the 2,000 years of the Church.
    Anytime a man becomes a new priest in the Church, a bishop passes along those same powers to that priest. If you put it on a timeline, every bishop can trace his priesthood to another Bishop who ordained him, who can trace his priesthood to another Bishop who ordained him, who can trace his priesthood to yet another Bishop who ordained him, and that would continue all the way back to the original apostles who were the first Bishops to ordain priests and were ordained by Jesus himself at the Last Supper. This is what we call the apostolic succession, and this is why we call the Catholic Church the One, Holy, catholic, and Apostolic Church.

    So because of this Apostolic succession, the priests of today have the same power that the first priests and Bishops had, to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass during the consecration when they say the words of Christ:  “this is my Body and this is my Blood.”

    This was just a little introduction to the Holy Eucharist and in our next two lessons will go a little bit deeper into this wonderful, wonderful sacrament. You know there's actually three parts of the Eucharist. The Holy Mass where we offer the sacrifice, Holy Communion where we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus, and adoration when the consecrated host is placed in a tabernacle or a beautiful monstrance for us to Adore the Real Presence of Jesus.

    Please make sure you go to Mass this week and every week because where else in the world can you receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The answer is nowhere else. Only at the Mass of a Catholic Church or an Eastern Rite Church will you be able to receive the True Presence, the True Body, the True Blood, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
    Often when people fall away and stop practicing their Catholic faith, and afterward they realize what they are missing by not receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, they often come back home to the Church, back to Mass, and back to Jesus and all his sacraments.  So, if you fall from the boat if or if you've jumped off the boat and are no longer practicing your Catholic faith, you are welcome back. If no one has welcomed you back then I am welcoming you back to the Catholic Church.
    While here on Earth, Jesus told people to turn away from their sins and follow him and you too can turn away from your sins, whatever they are, and follow Jesus in his One, Holy, catholic, and Apostolic Church. If you're not a practicing Catholic, it's very easy to come back to the Church. All you have to do is make a good confession of your past sins and resolve to not commit those sins again. In most cases, that’s all it takes for you to be able to come back to the Church and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus during communion and to again truly have a personal relationship with Jesus. How can it get any more personal than partaking in his Body and Blood in the Eucharist? Quite simply, it doesn't get any better than that.

    If you're not Catholic and you want to experience all of the wonderful things about Jesus's Church, the Catholic Church, then you too can come home to the Catholic Church. Just call or visit your closest Catholic Church and ask to talk to a priest and find out what it takes for you to become Catholic. Maybe you've been baptized before in another faith tradition or maybe you've never been baptized at all, maybe being Christian or being Catholic has never ever crossed your mind, maybe being Catholic was the last thing you thought you ever wanted to do. No matter what the case, no matter what your situation, you are welcomed, most welcomed into the One, Holy, catholic, and Apostolic Church.

    Have you ever heard of the Bread of Life Discourse? Some people haven’t, perhaps many people. Once you do read or hear it, and you really take that to prayer, then I’m convinced that you’ll want to experience the Eucharist in the Catholic Church. We’ll read and talk about this Bread of Life Discourse in part three of our Eucharist lessons.

    Next week in part 2, we will talk about the Holy Eucharist being a sacrifice, and I hope that you'll be able to join us again.

"Christopher, thanks for being here again this week!"

"You got it. I hope you have a great week!"

"Thanks, and the same right back at ya!"

    Until next time thanks for listening, remember to pray for me and I will, of course, be praying for you.  God bless you and goodbye for now


Friday, March 8, 2019

Podcast 26 : Does the Bishop Punch You at Confirmation

The Sacrament of Confirmation





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The character of Confirmation gives us the power to be soldiers in Christ’s army, fighting with him against the enemies of the faith.  

We do not fight against persons, but for them, as an army of liberation to free them from the enemies of their soul.

This is lesson number 25, the Sacrament of Confirmation

Hello everybody, I want to welcome you back to another lesson of All About My Catholic Faith. If this is the first time that you've joined this podcast, I want to thank you and welcome you, and if you've been here before, then also a very big thank you. If you need to go back and review some of the previous lessons, you can do that by looking In the archives where you get your podcast or you can go to our website, All About My Catholic Faith.com were you’ll find all the past episodes and lessons for this catechism series.

I'm so thankful to be joined by my son Christopher again this week.

Last week we started the series on the Sacraments by talking about Baptism, and remember Baptism is the gateway to all of the other Sacraments of the Church. In order to receive any of the other Sacraments, you must first receive the Sacrament of Baptism. If you remember from last week's lesson, on Baptism we are born again of water and of the Holy Spirit. This week we're going to talk about Confirmation. At Confirmation, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to grow from our infancy to adulthood in the life of Grace in the Church and gives us the strength of a soldier to fight for Jesus Christ.

That was a great lesson last week on Baptism and I really learned a lot so I'm looking forward to this week's lesson on Confirmation.

Before we get started I’d like to give you a few questions to think about as we go through the lesson alright? So the first question is: 

What does the Holy Spirit do in our soul at Confirmation?

How does this differ from what he does in Baptism?

What two ceremonies of Confirmation reminds us that we have to bear crosses?

How do we fight in the army of Christ?

And the last question to think about is, Should we argue with non-Catholics about the faith?

If you keep listening to this lesson I will do my best to answer those and of course, Christopher, if you have any other questions for me during the lesson then feel free to ask away. All right.

All right, I will.

Let’s get into this lesson! I’d like to read a little from the Holy Bible. This first reading is going to be from St Luke's Gospel chapter 10, verses 1 through 20 and it's going to talk about when Jesus sent out 72 Disciples to teach and to talk about the Faith.

That's a great reading and one thing I pulled out of it was when Jesus told his disciples that they would be like lambs among the wolves. When we grow into adulthood in the Church, we often may feel like we are also lambs among wolves with people always attacking us for our Faith and also attacking the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, but you know it's understandable I guess, the Catholic Church is one of the most discriminated against groups in the entire world. And I believe, and I really know that the reason why is because the Catholic Church holds and teaches the truth to pure happiness. There are many people out there who just don't want to accept the truth in the way that Jesus taught and what the Catholic Church has taught for 2,000 years and continues to teach today. 

We’re all called by our Baptism to be holy children of God and Confirmation is the Sacrament when the Holy Spirit will come to us in a special way that will enable has to profess our faith as strong and holy Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ. In this world, we need to be like soldiers, because again it’s only a matter of time before someone will confront you about your Catholic beliefs. It may not happen today, it may not happen tomorrow, but you can count on this, one day someone will confront you about your faith, and you have to be ready. 

One of the most important things is for you to always love God as a soldier loves his country, and for you to be equipped to go into the world to spread your faith, to fight for the Church, and if needed die for Christ. If you remember in last week's lesson about Baptism, we talked about Baptism of Blood. Recall that’s when someone has died of martyrdom. Dying of martyrdom means that they stood up for the Faith and for Jesus even if it cost them their lives. There are many great examples of martyrs throughout the history who have refused to give in to the pressures of the world and they have stood fast for their Faith in Jesus and his Church, the Catholic Church.

I hope that you'll never need to be a martyr but as you'll see as we go through the lesson, Confirmation will give you that extra power to suffer and even die for the Church and for Jesus if you're ever called to do that.

How do you get Confirmed in the Catholic Church?

After you were baptized, remember for most Catholics that's done right after birth, you will continue to go through your life, learning about the Faith, going to the Mass with your parents, learning from your parents and from the priests, and perhaps even going to Catechism classes. After you reach at least the age of seven but sometimes older, a person in the western part of the Catholic Church can then receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. 

If you were baptized as an infant, remember that your parents spoke up and had you baptized so that you could become a Child of God and so that you could have original sin washed away from your soul. After you've learned about the faith, then there will come a time when you will want to stand up for yourself and say, Yes! I want to be a follower of Jesus and I want to continue to learn and spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. 

When that time comes, again usually sometime after you are seven years old or even up until you’re in high school, then it’s time for you to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. You may have to take a short series of classes to prepare for Confirmation, and that's all right because that will get you better prepared and help you to really determine that this is what you really want. Once those classes are complete, then you'll be ready to be confirmed in the Catholic Church. All those that have been preparing for Confirmation will go usually to the Cathedral in the diocese, but sometimes also in your local parish, and the bishop of the diocese will be there and will actually minister the Sacrament of Confirmation to all of those who are there to receive it. 


The Bishop? That’s Cool!

I know!  The bishop that confirmed me actually became a Cardinal in the Church a few years after my Confirmation.


Pentecost is the day that the Church started and that's when the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles and gave them strength and courage to go into the world to be teachers and followers of Jesus. In a similar way at Confirmation, the bishop will extend his hands over all those who are to be confirmed, and he will say a prayer that all those will receive the Holy 
Spirit just like those Apostles did during Pentecost. He will then will lay his hands on the head of each of the persons who are to receive Confirmation and then he'll also anoint the forehead in the form of a cross with holy chrism which is holy oil.

While the bishop's anointing the person, he will say, “I sign you with the sign of the cross and I confirm you with the chrism of salvation in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  At that point, you have received the Sacrament of Confirmation. In order for the Sacrament to be fully active when you receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, you must be in a state of grace, which again means that you do not have any mortal sins on your soul. It's also very good not to have any venial sins on your soul at the time of Confirmation as well. So because of this, during your final preparations for Confirmation, just as when you prepared for your First Holy Communion, you will go to Confession. So, assuming that you went to Confession and you confessed all of your sins that you recalled, and then you receive the anointing at Confirmation, then you are now confirmed and are now a soldier of Christ, and you will now have the extra gift of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Let’s have a quick reading from the Bible from The Acts of the Apostles chapter 8, verses 14 through 17. This is when Peter and Paul went to Samaria to actually confirm those people there in Samaria who were Believers of Jesus but who had not yet had the special gift of the Holy Spirit come upon them.

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit

So a question, before we continue, what is the holy chrism and where does it come from?

Well, this holy chrism is actually a mixture of olive oil and balm that was blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday. Holy Thursday is the Thursday that is immediately before Easter Sunday. The bishop will bless this special oil on Holy Thursday and then this oil will be available for the special anointing during confirmation and for other things throughout the year.
In the ancient days, athletes, before they would go into a big competition, would often use oil to spread on their body to anoint their bodies in order to limber up their muscles and prepare them for the competition they were getting ready for. The oil that's used in the sacraments including Confirmation doesn't limber up your muscles but instead symbolizes strengthening of your soul.

I mentioned it briefly when I was talking about how the bishop confirms you but remember that the bishop will actually trace a cross on your forehead with the anointed oil.

What's that for?

The anointing is in the form of a cross because the strength that we receive during Confirmation is the extra strength from the Holy Spirit to bear our crosses for the love of God. You know we all have to be ready and willing to take up our cross and follow Jesus and even die for him if that's what we're called to do. Jesus told us all in the Bible that we must be ready to take up our cross and follow him.

Every time someone is confirmed, another person is added to the army of Jesus, and we are all carrying our cross behind Jesus so you can picture it like this: that Jesus is in the lead carrying his cross, his mother Mary is right behind him, and then St. Peter who was our first pope is followed by all the other popes in history, all the priests and nuns and deacons, and then, of course, your own family members, your father, and your mother and your brothers and sisters, and then finally you are there carrying your cross because now you have received the great and wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit during Confirmation.

I heard that the bishop will hit you in the face when you're in front of him during Confirmation, is that true?

That's not exactly true today but the bishop used to give each person that he confirmed just a slight blow on the cheek, and this was a good thing because it reminded that person that he must be ready to suffer everything, even death, for the sake of Jesus. And this little tap on the cheek was nothing in comparison to what a person may have to go through when they are confronted and have to defend Jesus and his Church. Things like that sometimes do change in the Church, but I think it would be great if we went back to the old way. Today, the bishop will just shake your hand as he gives you a wish of peace. Not really the same as it used to be! The Sacrament of Confirmation is still the same and has the same benefits though.

I’m certainly not here to scare anyone about what you may be faced as you grow older and need to defend your faith, but it is sadly a fact of life and we must all be prepared for that. You should continue after you've been confirmed to study the Catholic Faith and learn all that you can about Jesus and the Catholic Church. You should learn all you can about the Catholic Church not only for yourself but so that you can help others. You know, a Catholic who never tries to work for the conversion of non-Catholics or to help bad Catholics back to the Sacraments is the same as a soldier who lets the enemy win the battle without even putting up a fight.

You may think that fighting is a bad thing and you know, most the time it probably is, but it's not always a bad thing. So for example, if you see your sister being harassed by a bully and you basically ignore it and run away, then you have not really fought for your sister. You should, of course, instead fight for your sister because you don't want anything bad to happen to your sister even if it means that you put yourself in danger. If you see that a baby has fallen into a swimming pool and is about to drown then again you don't just walk away and turn away from the fight. No, you engage in the fight, you jump in the water and you do your best to save that child, again even if that means that you endanger your own safety by doing so.

Christopher, in the last lesson I remember that you asked me about whether I went to confession because I delayed getting you baptized until you were 7 years old. I told you that was a very personal question but since you are a follower of Jesus you should never be afraid to confront someone or ask someone out of pure love for them about their sinful ways. You should do this not to condemn a person, but again because if you truly love that person then you’ll want what is truly best for him and that he makes it to Heaven. In order for a person to make it to Heaven, they have to be part of the Catholic Church and they have to be an active participant in receiving the Sacraments on a regular basis. If you know someone who is not a Catholic or who is what we call a fallen-away Catholic or a cafeteria Catholic, then it’s your responsibility to help them back to the Sacraments so that they will be able to make it to Heaven one day. It's not doing them any good if you turn away and ignore their sinful lifestyle. Again you don't want to just turn away and let your sister be harassed by the bully and you don't want the baby to drown, so also you don't want those that are not living their full Catholic life to drown in sin or be harassed by the devil.

You can't very well explain the Faith, especially to intelligent non-Catholics, unless you know it well yourself, so every opportunity that you have you should try to learn something about your Catholic Faith. You can do that in a number of ways. You can take classes, you can learn online, you can go to the Internet, (you know these days that's such a wonderful thing), you can go to places like catholic.com and learn all kinds of things about the Catholic faith and as I said in an earlier lesson you can listen to Catholic radio such as Relevant Radio and there you can hear other people who are struggling with their Faith or who are trying to learn more about their Faith be taught by some of the greatest Catholic minds in the country.  

As you continue to learn more and more about your Faith you will, of course, help yourself but you will also be able to help those around you learn more about the Faith. You know many non-Catholics actually inquire and actually join the Catholic Faith because of people like you who have learned their faith and live their Faith in a strong way every day. Wouldn’t it be great one day in heaven if someone came up to you, tapped you on your shoulder, and said, “one day I was watching you and hearing you talk about and living your faith and I decided to become Catholic at that point and now here I am in heaven with you, so I just wanted to give you a great big hug and giant thank you for living your faith in such a great way that inspired me to become a better person myself.”

Ya, I guess that would be pretty cool!

I know when we’re baptized we receive Sanctifying Grace, so when we’re confirmed, do we get anything new and special?

Well, yes indeed I'm glad you asked. Confirmation increases the Sanctifying Grace that you received during Baptism and it also gives you special Sacramental Grace and puts an imprint on your soul, that's called a character that will last forever. You may remember from a couple lessons ago when we did the introduction to the sacraments that the Sacramental Grace at Baptism will help you to live as a child of God and make it easier for you to believe in God and act accordingly. You’ll also get help not to commit evil or sin, and the Sacramental Grace at Confirmation will give you strength to profess your faith even when it is difficult and during times of persecution, and will also again help you to live a good life and to lead by example for your friends, family, and everyone who sees you.

I know that you’ve told me many times that we need to be baptized in order to become a child of God and make it to Heaven, is that the same for Confirmation?

You don't technically have to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in order to make it to Heaven, but I hope that you can see that the extra power and strength that you receive from the Holy Spirit during Confirmation will be a great and tremendous help to you. It wouldn’t just be a help to you, but it will also be a help to others around you as you live out your Catholic Faith in a stronger and more faithful way. I must say though that even though not being confirmed would not be considered a mortal sin if you refuse or neglect deliberately to not get confirmed then this would actually be a venial sin.

In the questions you gave us at the beginning you asked if we should argue with non-Catholics about the faith, should we?

I don't think it's a great idea to argue vehemently about your Faith, but I do believe that it’s a great thing to be open and willing to talk to others about your Faith and their Faith or lack of it. Most of the time people who have bad thoughts or bad feelings about the Catholic Church is because they just don't know what the Catholic Church really teaches. So if someone wants to badmouth your Faith or the Catholic Church, then what I would do is listen to them, see what they had to say, and then calmly in a loving manner tell them the real truth about the Catholic Church. That's why it's important for you to continue to learn about your Faith so that you will be equipped to answer those kinds of questions from other people. If you don't know the answer right away then that's all right, of course, because you're not expected to know everything, nobody knows everything except for God. The great thing is though, that you can tell that person that you really don't know the answer, but you will find out and get back with them. I think most of the time that a person would be okay with that and would then welcome you to come back and talk about that question at a later time. 

Then you can ask your parents, you can ask a priest, you can go on our website All About My Catholic Faith.Com and listen to the podcast series about the faith or you can go to Catholic Answers which is at Catholic.com, you can listen to Catholic radio, you can watch EWTN, there's a lot of different ways that you can try to find out the answers to the questions that you might have so that you're better able to go back to that person to answer their question or concern or argument about the faith. 

This person may be a complete stranger, they may even be your enemy, but remember Jesus taught us and told us that we should pray for and love our enemies, and not only our enemies but the enemies of Jesus and his Church.  So prepare yourself with all the knowledge that you can, read the Bible every day, read the Catechism, go to Mass, pray the daily Rosary, go to confession often to make sure you stay in a state of grace, show others that you love them in the way that you act and talk, and truly live out your Catholic Christian faith every single day. I would also suggest that you try to stay away from the true enemies of the church and also not read books or view things on the internet that are opposed to the Church and her teaching. Since the Catholic Church is the true Church, the Church that Jesus Christ started and is still here Two Thousand Years later, then you really shouldn't participate actively in a non-Catholic Christian form of worship. If you do that you may run the risk, and you may actually commit one or many sins. 

Those sins are called apostasy, heresy, and indifferentism. Apostasy means that you completely leave the Catholic Church to start practicing and professing a non-Christian religion or turning away from Jesus all together and not practicing the Christian Faith at all. The sin of heresy is a deliberate denial by you of one or more of the truths of the faith. Indifferentism is the belief that one religion is as good as another. 

Remember nothing is as good as the one, Holy, catholic, and Apostolic Church that Jesus Christ started. Jesus didn’t tell Peter that you are Peter and Upon This Rock, I will build my many churches, remember he told Peter that he was here to start his Church, that meant his one Church, the Holy Catholic Church. Each of these sins of apostasy, heresy, and indifferentism really really truly hurt God very deeply. Apostasy and heresy really show refusal to believe what God has taught us and again indifferentism would put the mystical Body of Christ on the same level as any other religions or even false religions or let's say religions of the world which means putting money, fame, and fortune above God.

Instead of having another reading from the Bible, I want you to write down a little homework assignment. Go to the Holy Bible and go to the Acts of the Apostles and read chapter 2 to learn a little bit more about what we've been talking about today. Then read chapter four in 1st Peter, which will teach you how to better live out your Faith in a loving, Christian way.

I Hope you've learned a little bit more about the Sacrament of Confirmation today.

Yes, I did, but I'm wondering if you forgot to announce the winner of the book giveaway?

I'm glad you reminded me. I was so excited about talking about Confirmation that perhaps I did forget, so thanks again for reminding me.

No problem, so who was the winner.

So the winner of our first book giveaway, Trent Horn’s book: Why We’re Catholic is Shawn Campbell. So Shawn, hope you're listening and congratulations and thank you for entering for the chance to win Trent Horn’s book. I think you will really enjoy it and hopefully, you will be able to pass it along to someone else to help them learn a little bit more about the Catholic Faith after you read it. So, Shawn, I will send you an email to let you know that you are the winner, and at that point, I will be able to get to your mailing information so I can get the book out to you as soon as possible.

Thanks to everyone who did enter and if you keep listening we will have other opportunities to win other books or other items, so keep listening and sharing this podcast and our website All About My Catholic Faith.Com. Our website has a lot of links on there for things that we've been talking about such as Catholic radio, EWTN, Catholic Answers, and a few other very helpful websites to help you continue to learn your Faith so that you can be a better Soldier of Christ as you continue through your life. 

As a reminder, if you’re Catholic remember we are in Lent now which is the six weeks leading up to Easter. This podcast is coming out on Friday, March 8th, which is the first Friday of Lent. Remember all Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence. And that means if you're a baptized Catholic over the age of 14 and in good health then you should abstain, not eat meat on Fridays, during Lent.  It's also a great idea on Fridays to do something extra for Jesus, perhaps reading a little bit extra from the Bible, learning a little bit more about your Faith, talking to someone about your Faith, praying for someone or even helping someone else learn more about the Catholic Faith.

I hope you have a really great and holy Lenten season. Remember to go to Mass this Sunday and every Sunday of course and during Lent, it's a great idea if you can go to Mass more often, even every day if you can. As I said before, I really hope that you’re learning more about your Faith by listening to this podcast series and remember to share this podcast series with those people who you know who are looking for more answers about the Catholic Faith even, if they're not a Catholic. What will it hurt to say to them, “I know this great podcast that will be able to teach you the truth of the Catholic Faith in a very loving and non-confrontational way.” 

I would really appreciate it if you would tell people about the podcast and hopefully, it will help them as much as it's helping you. If you have any questions or comments or even more importantly any prayer requests then please go to our website All About My Catholic Faith.Com, and in the right-hand column, you'll see an area where you can put your comment or question or your prayer request. I read all the messages and I promise that I will respond back to you as soon as possible, and if you have a prayer request for any reason at all I will most certainly take your prayers with me to Mass and also pray for you during my daily Rosary. Speaking of the Rosary, I want to tell you how important and how great praying the Rosary is every day. Although the rosary is a series of beads and a crucifix and looks harmless, it is actually the greatest weapon that you have to defend your soul against the enemies of the Church, most importantly Satan himself. He hates Mary and he hates the Rosary, so when you pray the Rosary and you meditate upon the wonderful Mysteries of the life of Jesus, you are providing yourself a solid shield of armor against evil. Praying the Rosary every day will help you stay stronger and less susceptible to fall into sin. And remember we all do sin, so if you do fall into sin make sure you go to confession right away and tell your sins to a priest so that you can have your sins completely washed away by Jesus Through the priest.

I ask you for a favor that you pray for me and my family whenever you go to Mass or pray the Rosary or say your daily prayers. I promise that I will always pray for you whether you send in a prayer request or not. 

We're going to talk about the Source and Summit of our Faith, next week, and that is the Holy Eucharist. 

Christopher thanks again for joining me!

You're welcome!

And I hope you and everyone out there has a wonderful week,

Thanks, you too.

Until next week God bless you and goodbye for now.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Podcast 25 : All About the Sacrament of Baptism

Do You Have to be Born Again to Make it to Heaven







This is lesson number 24 - The Sacrament of Baptism

This is Scott and Christopher and we want to welcome you back to another episode of All About My Catholic Faith. I hope you had a great week this last week and I hope you went to Mass last weekend and perhaps you even invited someone to go to Mass with you. 

Lent starts next week, you know and I’m looking forward to growing a little closer to Jesus this Lenten season. I’m also excited that we’ll be announcing the winner of the book giveaway next week during our podcast. The actual deadline to enter for a chance to win a free copy of Trent Horn’s book, Why We’re Catholic, is next Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, which is March 6. 

Before we get started with this week’s lesson, let’s have our first Bible reading. Today, our first reading will be from the Old Testament, Ezekiel Chapter 36, verses 22-38. We will hear about receiving a new spirit and a new heart from being sprinkled with clean, purifying water.


Remember the Sacraments are outward signs instituted by Jesus in order to give us grace. Baptism is the Sacrament where Christ acts on our soul and actually gives it Divine Life. We become children of God at our Baptism, and it’s the first time that we receive the Holy Spirit into our souls and when we receive Sanctifying Grace. 

Jesus told Nicodemus, a Jewish Pharisee, that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit. Here is that from the Gospel of St. John, Chapter 3, verses 1 through 5:

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born* from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot re-enter his mother’s womb and be born again, can he?” Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.”

So, How is Baptism done in the Catholic Church?

At our baptism, we have water sprinkled or poured on us or perhaps we’ll be immersed into a pool of water. This is normally done by a priest or deacon, and as we are Baptized he will say, “I Baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” At that point, that person who is being baptized is now a child of God and will be eligible to enter the Kingdom of God here on earth and may be able to enter the Heavenly Kingdom of God when they pass from their time here on earth. What a wonderful thing. You know baptism not only makes us a child of God it actually frees us from the Devil. Remember we are born with original sin because our first parents Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Because they sinned against God we were given original sin when we were born. At our Baptism the Sacrament will give us grace and the strength to fight any evil that may try to enter our soul. Once we are baptized the devil can never ever enter our soul again to hurt us unless we invite him or we let him in. During baptism if we are old enough when we are baptized to say the words or later when we say or baptism vows, we are promising to live our lives for God and that we will imitate Jesus Christ in everything that we do, and that we will not love ourself too much and that I won’t love or follow or do things that the devil would have us do. We also promise that we will love Jesus and each other and that we will do everything to please God in everything that we do with all of our hearts.

Baptism is called the gateway into Christ’s Church and his mystical body. It’s also called that because we can not receive any of the other Sacraments until we receive that Sacrament of Baptism. So until we are baptized and receive sanctifying grace we are not allowed to receive Holy Communion or confirmation to be married in the Catholic Church, to become a priest or deacon, or receive the anointing of the sick.

 When should we get baptized?

You know from the very very beginning the Church has baptized young people even the youngest infants. There are a lot of non-Catholic Christians out there who believe that in order to be baptized you have to be older and be willing and able to say, “I want Jesus to be my personal Lord and savior and I believe in everything he teaches and I want to be Christian so please I would like to be baptized.”  And that's true if someone is older, an older teenager or young adult or even an older adult and they're able to come to that realization and they've never been baptized before, and they want to be baptized, then they can definitely do that. This happens all the time and it's a great thing when people are baptized when they haven't been yet. Perhaps again, through no fault of their own, they were never baptized or never taught about the need to be baptized. Remember though, Baptism is a Sacrament that gives you sanctifying Grace and when you are baptized you not only become a child of God you are born again in Jesus. 

What if a person wasn’t baptized when they were a baby?

Baptism takes away Original Sin it also takes away any venial and any mortal sin that is on our soul at that point. So if you are not baptized as an infant and you’ve committed sins, which we all do, and then you come to the Lord and desire to be baptized and accept him as your Lord and Savior, and when you decide to be baptized, after learning all about the Catholic Church and all of her teachings, then you will be washed clean from Original Sin and any other Actual Sins that have been committed up to that point in your life.  Awesome! When you get to the day that you finally get baptized and the priest says “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and pours that water on your head, wow, at that moment it's like a sheet has been cleaned completely, it’s pure white, you are now pure and no longer have any sins at all. If you were to die at that moment without having another chance to do anything wrong or to commit any other sins, you know what, what? you would go straight to heaven because that would be the cleanest and purest your soul could ever be. Remember though if you later sin even after you're baptized and you become a Child of God, you can go to confession to have your soul cleaned and purified again, as clean and pure as at the time you were baptized. We’ll talk more about the Sacrament of Penance or Confirmation in an upcoming lesson, so keep listening each week.

Do you have to be baptized in the Catholic Church?

Normally baptism is given by a priest or deacon of the Catholic Church, but it can also be given by a pastor of non-Catholic Christian churches. As long as that church is intending to conduct the baptism the way the Catholic Church does, and baptizes with water, and uses the words: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, then that person is truly and validly baptized. These people are regarded as true Christian brothers and sisters, but they are in an imperfect relationship with Jesus’ Church. Their specific beliefs in their particular Christian tradition will determine just how close they are to the true Church, the Catholic Church. Hmm! 

In rare circumstances, let's say there's an emergency and someone is in an accident and in danger of dying and they can't get to a church or have a priest go to them and they desire to be baptized and haven't been baptized yet, then anyone, anyone at all, it doesn't matter if that person is a Catholic or Christian or even if they're an atheist, it doesn't matter their background ,they can baptize the person who is desiring to be baptized in this emergency situation as long as they use water and they sprinkle it on the person at least some and they say “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” That person is in conditionally baptized which is a valid baptism as long as the person doing the baptism is doing so in the same manner as the Church desires. If that person were to die because of their serious injuries before they have a chance to go to the priest, then they would go to heaven.

What if a person dies but is never baptized? Will that person still be able to go to Heaven?

Jesus did say that “Unless a man be born again of water and the spirit, he can not enter into the Kingdom of God.” If however, a person, through no fault of their own, has not had the opportunity to be baptized, the Church teaches that this person may still be saved by what is called Baptism of Desire or Baptism of Blood. Baptism by water that we’ve been talking about here in this lesson is the only way that a person can truly make it into the body of Christ and be a member of his Church. Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire are there as lifelines that can possibly save someone who has not been baptized. Picture it like this. A boat sailing on rough waters has a ladder and two ropes hanging from its side. There is a person climbing the rope and is almost in the boat. There are two more people hanging onto the ropes with hopes that they too will make it into the boat. The boat, in this case, is the Church. The person on the ladder is part of the Church because the ladder is part of the boat, but the ropes are just hanging from the Church as possible ways to make it onto the ladder and into the boat, or into the Church. A person must be part of Jesus’ Church in order to be saved and make it to Heaven, Jesus told us that. Remember the Catholic Church is the one and only Church that Jesus started and that is still on earth today. But if by no fault of their own, a person has never entered the Church by being baptized, then these lifelines of baptism of blood and baptism of desire are there as possibilities for those to make it into the body of Christ, his Church, and into heaven.


How does a person receive baptism of blood?

A person will receive the baptism of blood when he suffers martyrdom for the faith of Christ. That means that he suffered and was killed to defend the Catholic Christian Faith. 

Ok, how does a person receive the baptism of desire?

Well, a person may receive the baptism of desire when he loves God above all other things and does everything that he knows, everything that is possible to love and serve God and to live in the manner that God desires. If this person lives this way and desires to do everything he can for his salvation, then he may receive the baptism of desire. If a person knows about the Catholic Church and has been told that baptism into the Catholic Church is the only way to enter the body of Christ and be saved and make it to heaven, and that person chooses not to be part of the Catholic Church, then they really risk their eternal salvation. They’ve basically let loose of the rope or even jumped off the boat.

Were people baptized before the time of Jesus?

In the Old Testament times the Jewish people had their young children, usually at the time they were eight days old, circumcised. During circumcision, the child was brought into the world of God at that young age. Of course that child wasn’t able to talk and they couldn’t decide to be a child of God and become part of the Jewish tradition, they weren’t able to tell anyone that they wanted to be a believer a follower of God but their parents could speak for him and say that they wanted this for their child. A parent must do many things for a child as they are growing up just like your parents had to do many things for you and help you along until you're able to do things on your own. When Jesus came and told everyone about the need for baptism and said that you must be baptized in order to enter the kingdom of heaven then Baptism replaced circumcision. We no longer have to circumcise a baby in order for them to enter the Kingdom of God but we do need to baptize our children in order for them to become children of God. We must baptize our children as soon as possible after they are born. 

If you were a baby way back at the beginning of Christian days you were likely to be baptized at the young age of a week or two old. During the early Church, they talked a lot about Baptism and they asked why do we want to wait till the child is even two weeks old so they started to baptize babies as soon as possible even a day or two after they were born. This is such a wonderful thing because that child is now born again and is now a Child of God.

What if Catholic parents don’t get their child baptized when they are a baby?

Great question. If Catholic parents delay needlessly and especially if they neglect to get their newborn baby baptized, then they will have committed a mortal sin. Not only do they put up a wall between them and Christ, but they also have now put their precious new baby in danger, and the baby will continue to live with original sin on their soul. It’s really the worst form of child abuse because they are basically saying they don’t care if their child goes to heaven or not.

So, I know I wasn’t baptized until I was seven years old, so does that mean that you committed a mortal sin?

Sadly yes. Although I really desired to have you baptized, I needlessly delayed having you baptized. For that, I am very, very sorry and I apologize to you. 

That’s Ok, thankfully everything worked out. Not to get too personal, but can I ask if you ever went to confession about that?

Yes I did confess that during confession, and yes it is a personal question, but, as a believer of Jesus and someone who loves others, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask those kinds of personal questions of others. To really love someone is to truly desire for them to make it to heaven one day. So not to blame someone, but to sincerely ask them about their possible sinful life can be a very good thing and can even bring that person to realize that the type of life they’re living needs to be changed. 

Let's continue on with a couple more readings from the Holy Bible. You know reading the Bible and listening to the Bible is so excellent for you and your soul. If you don't currently read the Bible make sure you pick up your Bible and start reading it. Make sure you write down the chapter and verses that I tell you during these lessons and then go back later also and read it for yourself.

Our next reading today is from the New Testament, Romans Chapter 6. It’s about freedom from sin and life with God:

Our next reading will be from I Corinthians Chapter 12, verse 13:

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

And now a reading from Ephesians, Chapter 4, verses 1 through 5:

I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.

As we near the end of this lesson please know that the earlier Christians were told to baptize their entire family and we see in history and in other places in the Bible that the people baptized their entire families. So, if you think of someone's household, it will contain the adults, maybe grandparents who may be living there, young teenagers, young children, and even the very youngest babies and newborns. So when the entire household was to be baptized that means that the entire household should be baptized, that is everybody in that household. The father of the family back then would normally be the person who said I want my entire family to be baptized so a priest a bishop at that time would come in and baptize the entire household. That entire family, one by one, would be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, from the oldest in the household all the way down to the newborn baby.

I hope you were able to learn a lot about baptism today. Yes, this helped me a lot. I hope it helped others too! Great, me too. Remember that baptism is the first Sacrament and it opens the door and allows us to go into the door of God's kingdom, into the life of God, and into all the promises that Jesus has given us. Remember that Christ’s first birth was when he was born in the stable to Mary and Joseph. He then suffered and died for our sins and was buried. Jesus Christ’s second birth, when he was born again was on Easter Sunday when he rose from the tomb. Baptism by immersion gives us new life and we are born again, and this is also a symbol of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection.  Our first birth is when we were born into this world but with original sin on our soul. When we were baptized and we were immersed under the water this symbolized us dying to our sin and buried with Christ. When the priest brings us out of the water, we are born again, and this symbolizes rising with Christ to the new life of grace. Baptism by immersion is not the common way that babies are baptized, but it can still be done that way. If a baby or anyone for that matter is baptized with water being poured or sprinkled onto them then this is also a symbol of dying to sin and rising to be born again into the new life of Christ,  but not as directly as being immersed under water. As long as water is used and the person who is doing the baptizing says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, then the baptism is real and valid.

Remember Jesus died on the cross so that you could go to heaven and baptism is your doorway to heaven through the Catholic Church. It is your doorway into the world and the word of God, it’s very awesome. So if you haven’t been baptized yet and you want to be baptized, remember there are ways that you become baptized in the Catholic Church. Feel free to send me an email message on our website, All About My Catholic Faith.Com or better than that just go to your local Catholic Church and ask for the priest, and say that you really want to learn about becoming baptized in the Catholic Church. If you have already been baptized in another Christian faith, you won’t need to get baptized again, because remember baptism is one of the Sacraments that can only be received once, but you can still and you should still come home to the Catholic Church. Don’t be afraid. You know, that’s one of the most common phrases in the Bible, Don’t be Afraid, so Don’t be afraid, seek the answers and be baptized and unite yourself fully with the true Church of Jesus Christ.

If someone you know and love has not been baptized then please pray for them every day that they will see that Jesus is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, and that they will seek to learn about the Church that Jesus started and will enter the Church through Baptism. 

The day when this podcast is coming out is Friday, March 1st. This again is your last opportunity to put your name and email in for the book giveaway for Trent Horn’s book, Why We’re Catholic. It's easy to do if you go to our website All About My Catholic faith.com and you look on the right-hand column towards the top, you will see an area to put your email address and your name and also a comment or question if you like. In order to be entered for the drawing for Trent Horn’s book, please put your name and email address in there and in the message box just simply put Why We’re Catholic.  Next week on Ash Wednesday, We will pick a winner for the book giveaway and we’ll announce that on the podcast next week on March 8th.

As I said earlier, Lent starts next week and in six more weeks, many, many people from around the world will enter the Catholic Church. If you know someone that is about to become Catholic and are looking for a gift, you can get a 15% discount off any All About My Catholic Faith products between now and March 5. Just go to shop.spreadshirt.com/twocjs and make sure to enter the discount code: GETU15. I’ll put a link in the show notes and our website, AllAboutMyCatholicFaith.com.

 Please remember to go to Mass this week and every week and if you're not Catholic remember you are always invited to come to Mass at any time. The door is always open to everybody. Remember at Mass, the angels and Saints are all their present with all of the other believers. 

If you know someone who wants to know more about the Catholic Church please tell me about this podcast series so they can also learn more about the Catholic Church.

I hope before next week that you will remember to say a prayer for me and I will keep you in my prayers every day during my rosary.

Next week we will talk about the Sacrament of Confirmation. Confirmation is the Sacrament in which the Holy Spirit will come into you in a very special way and will enable you to profess your faith as strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ. 

So until next week God bless you and goodbye for now.