Her Doctrine and Morals

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

2 October 2022


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Dear Friends in Christ,

In today's Gospel reading (St. Matthew 22:34-46), we find the Pharisees again questioning and trying to trap Jesus. They are searching for some way to use Jesus' own words against Him.

They question Him on the Law of Moses. There are points of the Law beyond the comprehension of worldly men, and these "wise" men have and continue to argue ceaselessly on various articles of dispute. Their intention appears to be to set up questions so that no matter which way Jesus answers, He will run afoul of one side or the other.

After Jesus answers their questions, He, in turn, asks them a question. If Christ is the son of David, how is it that David calls Him Lord? The Pharisees are silenced because they are unwilling to accept the doctrine of the hypostatic union — Christ is both God and man. Jesus Christ is the son of David in the flesh, but He is simultaneously the Son of God. As God, Christ is superior to His father, David, even though He is born in the lineage of King David.

Many disputes in theology ultimately are bound up with this simple dogma. When the Gospels speak of the brethren of the Lord, does this indicate that Mary had other sons? Or are these simply the believers? Or does the language refer to cousins or other relatives? Catholics do not hesitate to assert that Jesus was Mary's only Son. Any human relationship must have been different from siblings.

In the Christian sense, Brethren have the same spirit — they are one with Jesus in thoughts and desires. Those who do the will of God become children of God, and Jesus becomes our brother. The obsession with genealogies is laid to rest. There is no longer a hereditary priesthood or chosen people — God chooses His priests from any nation. The Catholic Church welcomes everyone. It does not matter who our parents are; it only matters that we believe and follow Jesus.

The Catholic dogma of Transubstantiation (bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ) is true because Jesus has said it. Jesus is God, as well as Man, so what He said must be true because God cannot lie. Transubstantiation does not make any sense to the mind of the world. It is rejected by many, even by so-called "Christians." Jesus insisted that we must eat His Body if we are to have His Life in us. Many refused to believe in Him or to follow Him because of this. Even though this is beyond our human ability to comprehend, we answer with the Apostles that we believe Him because He has the Words of Eternal Life — He is God.

The priest's power to absolve us from our sins is likewise bound up with the necessity of Jesus being both God and Man. Only God can give this power and authority to men. Since it is God that we offend by our sins, it is only God Who can forgive us — or God's priests whom He authorizes to act in His Name. "Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them."

We could continue with almost every doctrine of the Catholic Church. The teachings all bear their most significant authority because Jesus is God. Whatever Jesus taught is true and cannot be questioned because He is God. We believe not because we understand or because some human has said so. We believe because Jesus said it, and He is God.

Jesus does not need to be questioned by modern men any more than He needed to be challenged by the Pharisees. The time for questioning what Jesus has taught us through the True Church needs to be put behind us. We may question what men have said and done inside and outside the Church, but we must not question what God has said and done in the Person of Jesus Christ.

The teachings and disputes of men, both the Pharisees of old and modern men, may be interesting or entertaining, but we must know when to set them aside and focus on what Jesus has given us. We become God's true children when we become like Jesus as He has become like us. He has adopted our physical nature; we must take on His spiritual nature. We must strive to become perfect because our Father in Heaven is perfect. Jesus is truly Our Brother in the flesh because He is a True Man. More importantly, He is Our Brother in the spirit because He is God, and as such, He lifts us from the material world to the spiritual world to become true children of God.

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