Monday, February 05, 2007

Anonymous (what a shock!) questions

Thank you all for your prayers for our youth. We had a great weekend retreat at Mount 2007, thanks be to God!
Three anonymous bloggers have asked the following questions:

1) “In Mark 1:1-11 what was John the Baptist attitude about the ministry of Jesus when Jesus requested to be baptized?”

I think that John’s remarks in verses 7-8 sum up his attitude of Jesus and his ministry: “ One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”. Or maybe even more simply, what he says in John’s Gospel sums it all up (for John’s attitude and for ours): “He must increase; I must decrease” (Jn 3:30)

It is interesting that you picked Mark’s version of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan by John because Mark has no dialogue between Jesus and John. The emphasis is on a) the vision Jesus has of “the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him”, and b) the voice that “came from the heavens, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”.

2) “Should you receive the Eucharist if you are in a state of unbelief -- that is, unbelief in the real presence?”

Yes. The only state in which a baptized Catholic shouldn’t receive Holy Communion is mortal sin. Otherwise, we should receive the Eucharist as often as possible: “the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily” (CCC, #1389).

I would recommend that you ask the Lord to help you in your unbelief as you receive Holy Communion. I’ve told the story before of the priest who had asked the Lord to help him in his unbelief. One day at Mass, as the priest elevated the Host during Consecration, the Lord worked a miracle: drops of blood began to fall from the Host. Jesus wants to help us in our faith, especially in the Eucharist. If we approach him with openness, he will nourish our faith with the Bread of Life.

3) An anonymous blogger referred to a line from my homily from the 2nd Sunday, ’Jesus is always speaking to us. The question is, are we listening?’, and has asked, “How do we know when Jesus is speaking to us?”

In my homily, I suggest that we know when Jesus is speaking to us when we hear the words of Sacred Scripture, specifically the Gospel. Christ is the Word of God, the Divine Revelation to the World. So, when we hear him say, “Give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty…”, etc., we know that he is telling US to give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, etc. Also, we all hear him speaking to us through the Church: “Whoever hears you (the Apostles and their successors), hears me”. These are all general and objective ways that God speaks to all of us.

If your question is related to a more private revelation of Jesus, then the answer would be to meet with a priest or religious. He or she can help you to know how Jesus is speaking to you. Typically called a spiritual director, this priest (or nun) can help you to see and read the signs that God is showing you in your life.


At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the response to the anonymous blogger who asked about receiving the Eucharist in a state of unbelief. We have to remember that for every one person to whom God sends a miracle (the bleeding host) there are literally millions who are searching and receive no words or signs. I don't want to hear about miracles. It's like telling someone not to worry that they can't pay their bills because you heard about someone somewhere who won the lottery.

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon above:

The miracle of the bleeding host is meant for the millions who are searching as well. When Jesus walked the earth, he performed many miracles. These miracles strengthened the faith of His people - His followers. The new testament is filled with Jesus' miracles. Why wouldn't you want to hear about miracles? They are the signs meant especially for those who struggle with faith and unbelief.

At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God sends us signs of his presence everyday. If you look, you can see signs of God speaking to us in the faces of your kids or in witnessing the kind deeds people do everyday for one another. I think He speaks to us most often through others. We may not always get the signs we are specifically looking for, but signs of His miracles are everywhere- smile and enjoy!

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"These miracles strengthened the faith of His people - His followers"

But despite the miracles, in the end the people turned on Him and rejected Him. I have always wondered "Why did they do that?"

At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree that God comes through other people's love and kindness time and time again I have felt him and seen him in others and thank God for his love. i have had a hard time the past 6 months have been tough with my husband being sick i have seen in these hard times Christ face in those who have reached out and helped us in our time of need. I am humbled and struck how in your darkest days the Lord lifts you up not always to what you want but he does give you strength to prevail. always go to the Eucharist!!!

At 8:29 PM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Hmmm. One of the reasons I don't go to Mass is because I don't really believe. So in Catholic terms I have been in mortal sin for years. So I can't receive the Eucharist and pray there for belief. I was trying to go to Mass for a bit but have given up. Too many things I can't say as I don't believe them.

At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Kiwi Nomad,
I recognize your name but haven't followed your postings. One of the things I enjoy most about mass is witnessing the wonder in others. With my own kids, mostly around the holidays with the littlest ones but definately more frequently with the older ones, I so much enjoy watching THEM believe. It has been inspirational to me, someone who was unsure about her own beliefs. I only embraced a faith because I wanted my kids to have something I did not. In helping them and bearing witness to their formations of their relationships with Jesus, I found my own. Maybe you can enjoy witnessing the transformation of others during the mass. The transformation may not be yours initially, but it can rewarding none the less.

At 10:09 PM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

I am single and have no children, so when I have gone to Mass it has always been on my own.

At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people are just born agnostics. I am and wish I weren't, but you can't cram faith down someone's throat, and you can't acquire it through sheer will.

At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

There's a wonderful prayer in the Gospel of Mark (9:24): "I do believe, help my unbelief!"

It's not clear that the man who said this had all that much belief in Jesus; certainly the ineffectiveness of His disciples in healing the man's son couldn't have helped. In his need to help his son, though, he clung to what faith he had in the stories he had heard about Jesus, and that was enough for Jesus to heal his son.

At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have been going to Mass by myself for over a year. It never bothers me because it is time for my own reflection and prayers. I actually enjoy being in my own spiritual sunbeam. I went with family only once. There was so much distraction of the little ones that I decided it is better when I am on my own. A lot of people go on their own. Anyways you are never alone Jesus is with you also.


At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hmmm. One of the reasons I don't go to Mass is because I don't really believe."

Make an appointment with a priest, brother, or nun and talk to them about what you don't believe in.
They are trained and like to help people spiritually.

Me again

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous (what a shock!)"

Giggle :0)

Cest moi

At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it a sin to pray for your team to win the Stanley Cup?

At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But despite the miracles, in the end the people turned on Him and rejected Him. I have always wondered "Why did they do that?"

Hey, I am no historian, but I have learned that many Priests/Religious leaders of the time resented Jesus and His followers. They claimed that He was insulting God by claiming to be God's Son. Many of them felt threatened by His power, His large following, His teachings. They relied on the people for financial support as well.

At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people are just born agnostics. I am and wish I weren't, but you can't cram faith down someone's throat, and you can't acquire it through sheer will.

Agreed, you can't cram faith down someone's throat. Agreed, you can't acquire it through sheer will.
If you have been baptized, you received the gift of faith. I was baptized as an infant and was blessed by many role models who helped teach the faith. The gift of faith is just that a gift. You can accept it and pray for it to grow. Things that will help it grow: obedience to the Holy Word, participating in the sacraments, reading the bible, praying often, adoring Christ in the Eucharist, spending time with others who have deep faith, talking to a priest/person in a religious order for guidance, serving others for God, fasting, bible study.

Growing in faith is a lifelong endeavor.

At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anaoymous-
"Some people are just born agnostics. I am and wish I weren't, but you can't cram faith down someone's throat, and you can't acquire it through sheer will."

Just curious- do you mean that you never believed, or were you taught to believe as a child and then grow to challenge those beliefs? Also, not to be critical or make anyone feel unwelcomed, as I enjoy the exchange of different points of view, but why would a non-believer or agnostic participate in a Catholic blog? Do you find that the discussions reaffirm your beliefs or are you hoping to hear/read something that changes your beliefs? Again- just curious.

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon above -- I am Catholic but have never believed. I use the blog because I'm interested and, I guess, hoping.

At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They relied on the people for financial support as well."

I realize that but why did the "people" turn on Him?


At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Why did the people turn on him? said...

The priests and religious leaders were very POWERFUL. They had tremendous influence on the people.....especially those who revered them! THey had the power and were very threatened by Jesus and the loss of many of their followers. They helped to create an uprising against Jesus. Officials were sent in to the streets to search for anyone who was associated with Jesus. One apostle denied knowing Jesus 3x out of fear.

Many people still loved Him and believed in Jesus but they feared for their lives(an no doubt their families). Not all of the people turned on him; they were powerless to stop the momentum.

Again, I am no historian. I just love to read about it.

At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

clnylfWho would die for Jesus? Millions of Christans proclaim thier love for Jesus. How many love Him enough to die for Him? A rhetorical question following my last entry.

At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have a great day everybody!!

Incidentally what is everyone doing for Valentine's Day? Only 6 more days!!


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