Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

The Best of The Question Box

by Father I.J. Mikulski

(From the June 19, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)

Father I.J. Mikulski Q. It’s been so long I can’t remember the last time I heard a homily about the Beatitudes. Can we can hear them again?

A. The Beatitudes get their name from the Latin for “blessed,” as in “Beati qui” for “Blessed are they who….”

Jesus mentioned them in his Sermon on the Mount, but they also appear 26 times in psalms and other parts of the Old Testament.

Matthew has a longer version than Luke, but those one-liners are easily expanded and contracted. For instance, the poor in spirit might also be meek as well as merciful, and those who hunger and thirst for justice might easily be peacemakers, too.

You might say that anyone whose lifestyle displays two or three of those precepts is well on the way to sanctity, and anyone whose virtues are reflected all the beatitudes is a person whose canonization is only a matter of time.

Q. I have been Catholic all my life of 81 years. My son is a minister in another church and he quotes things from the Bible which I cannot always answer, such as whether the bread and wine we receive in Communion is really the body and blood of Jesus. He finds a Bible verse saying it is not. Can you guide me to answer that?

A. Anyone can prove or refute anything in the Bible. With a little practice in selective quoting and familiarity with a Bible concordance, an agnostic can proclaim his position against a roomful of theologians. It’s called the “cut-and-paste” method. The Q.B. calls it “Scripture Scrabble.” The antidote to such foolishness is keeping the context. The most important rules of interpreting the Bible are context, context, context.

Read whatever sentence you want to understand. Go back and read the entire paragraph. Go back once more and read the entire chapter. You will have a solid base for understanding what the author meant.

Why do Catholics believe Eucharist is the true body and blood of Jesus? Read these chapters: Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 11. Add the unanimous testimony of early Christian converts like Justin in his second century Didache. All of them firmly believed and declared our Eucharist is the true body and blood of Jesus Christ. The only way to negate the convictions of those five writers is to have a negative mind-set towards them all. They are either unanimously true or unanimously false.

Let’s not overlook the false premise that the Bible alone is the only source of faith. Where does the Bible say it’s the only source of faith? That’s an oxymoron. If the Bible is the only source of faith the Bible ought to say that and if it’s so crucial to our faith the Bible ought to say that repeatedly at least once every hundred pages or so.

The Bible does not say that even once. People say that.

Q. Then here’s a second question. Why do we pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary as I have done all my life? He really hates me for doing that. He tells me there is only one mediator and that is Jesus. Praying to Mary is just talking to a dead person who cannot hear us, he says. Can you help me with this?

A. An easy response is to point to Mary’s shrine at Lourdes, France, where she appeared 18 times in 1858 to a 14-year old girl and many agnostics, atheists and faithful believers. In the past century and a half more than 60 genuine miraculous cures have happened there, all of them answering prayers to Mary for healing and all of them with complete medical examinations before and after. There’s no other way to explain those medical miracles. The happenings at Lourdes, like other Marian miracles at other shrines, are not defined articles of faith in our creed, but it’s a stretch to ignore them.

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