We get to meet St. Caesarea the Younger and St. Thérèse of Lisieux today!!
The Gospels have had a MASSIVE ROLE in their own personal understanding of our Lord and God
ALSO IN THEIR PRAYER LIFE!!
Let’s go back to the beginning
We talk about THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE
THE OLD TESTAMENT
THE NEW TESTAMENT
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE GOSPELS
It is important for us to understand that all 73 books of The Bible have been established by THE CHURCH and given to us FROM THE VERY BEGINNING
THE CHURCH IN A REAL AND TRUE WAY PRECEDES THE BIBLE
Of course, The Old Testament existed BEFORE Christianity
The books of the New Testament COME OUT OF THE CHURCH
So the Church precedes the WRITTEN WORD
THE ORAL TRADITION PRECEDES THE WRITTEN TRADITION!!
It’s actually out of the ORAL TRADITION, out of the LIVING TRADITION OF THE CHURCH, that we get to even know WHICH BOOKS ARE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT!!
There wasn’t really a CANON
Canon = list of the books of the Bible
The Church has given us this CANON
ALL 73 BOOKS!!
SACRED TRADITION IS WHAT GIVES US SACRED SCRIPTURE!!
THAT IS SO REMARKABLE!!
For the first couple centuries of Christianity, there was NO OFFICIAL CANON!!
You would come to Church and have these texts PROCLAIMED TO YOU AT MASS!!
THIS IS SO POWERFUL!!
It wasn’t until the late 300s AD that the books of the New Testament were codified
There were some challenges
People were offering other books
People were challenging some of the books that were considered to be Scripture
Now keep this in mind…
Even though it wasn’t until the late 300s AD that we have the CANON, we HAD the New Testament
These books were mostly before 100 AD
The LAST book of the New Testament is understood to be the Book of Revelation
St. John had written it before 100 AD
All those texts ALREADY EXISTED
The official LIST wasn’t CODIFIED until the late 300s AD
In 382 AD we had the Council of Rome under Pope Damasus that promulgated the 73 Books of the Bible into Canon
This was reaffirmed in 393 AD at the Council of Hippo and again in 397 AD at the Council of Carthage
It was DEFINITIVELY REAFFIRMED by the Ecumenical Council of Florence in 1442 AD
And of course, at the Council of Trent in 1546 AD (are you loving all these dates? Of course you are!!) the Canon of Scripture was SOLEMNLY DEFINED
The Council of Trent was a RESPONSE to Martin Luther and the first protestant leaders
What was Martin Luther doing?
He was CHALLENGING the 73 book Canon of Scripture
So the Church had to SOLEMNLY DEFINE that same Canon in 1546
That SAME CANON was ALREADY DEFINED by the Council of Rome in 382 AD
THESE BOOKS WERE NOT ADDED LATER!!
These 73 books of the Old and New Testament were ALREADY ACCEPTED by the Church
They were defined in 382 AD at the Council of Rome
And they were DEFINITIVELY AND SOLEMNLY DEFINED IN 1546 AD after someone challenged it
THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS THAT CHURCH COUNCILS EXIST!!
Here is what Christians believe
At some point, it is being challenged
So we have to have a Church Council
“Ok, there’s a challenge out there to what EVERYONE already believes about the living Faith of the Church, the living Tradition of the Church. We have to DEFINE this and DEFEND it against those who challenge it.”
And that is why we get to Paragraphs 121-123 talking about the Old Testament
Paragraph 121 says, “The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture.”
Fr. Mike doesn’t know how many people he has heard over the course of the last couple of years going through the Old Testament in the Bible in a Year, they were wondering WHY DO WE HAVE TO READ THIS??
THIS SEEMS SO FOREIGN!!
THIS SEEMS SO UNNECESSARY!!
The Church has heard that before!!
Paragraph 123 mentions the primary person who began this HERESY called MARCIONISM
His name was Marcion!!
Marcion claimed that with the arrival of the New Covenant, with the arrival of the New Testament, and with the arrival of Jesus, ALL THE BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT ARE RENDERED USELESS!!
THEY ARE NO LONGER IN EFFECT!!
THEY ARE NULL AND VOID!!
THAT WAS A HERESY!!
Because the Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture.
Paragraph 121 continues, “Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value, for the Old Covenant has never been revoked.”
We talked about DIVINE PEDAGOGY before
What does PEDAGOGY mean?
It means that God takes a RAW PEOPLE
These people DO NOT KNOW WHO HE IS
These people DO NOT KNOW GOODNESS
These people DO NOT KNOW JUSTICE
These people DO NOT KNOW TRUTH
God has to REVEAL that HE IS GOOD
God has to REVEAL that HE IS JUST
God has to REVEAL that HE IS TRUE
God has to REVEAL that HE LOVES THEM
He has to start SOMEWHERE
Dei Verbum states in Paragraph 122, “Even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional, the books of the Old Testament bear witness to the whole divine pedagogy of God’s saving love…”
So The Old Testament had matters both IMPERFECT and PROVISIONAL
What does that mean?
It means that God was teaching at a FIRST GRADE LEVEL who He is
Here is God teaching at a SECOND GRADE LEVEL what Justice is
Here is God teaching at a THIRD GRADE LEVEL…and so on and so forth
These are PROVISIONAL THINGS
For example, the rules regarding Temple purity
Because the Temple was to PREPARE US for TRUE WORSHIP of Jesus Christ in Spirit and in Truth in the NEW COVENANT
So they were PROVISIONAL TEACHINGS
FOR A TIME
FOR A PLACE
FOR A SEASON
TO GET US READY FOR THIS NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT that we celebrate and enter into in the Mass!! 🤯
It does NOT render those things USELESS
It does NOT mean they are NO LONGER DIVINELY INSPIRED
It just means we understand them as PROVISIONAL TEACHINGS
There are OTHER TEACHINGS that are NOT PROVISIONAL IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS!!
They are NOT PROVISIONAL!!
They are CONSTANT!!
They are teachings that are TRUE AT ALL TIMES
They are teachings that are TRUE IN ALL PLACES
They are teachings that are TRUE FOR ALL PEOPLE
We venerate the Old Testament as the TRUE WORD OF GOD
Paragraph 123 says, “Christians venerate the Old Testament as true Word of God. The Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New has rendered it void (Marcionism).”
Now let’s go onto the New Testament
SO SO POWERFUL!!
The quote from Dei Verbum actually quotes Romans 1:16!!
Paragraph 124 says, “The Word of God, which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, is set forth and displays its power in a most wonderful way in the writings of the New Testament.”
SO SO POWERFUL!!
First, understand that here is God’s revelation of HIMSELF to US
Paragraph 126 talks about how the New Testament was FORMED
There were three stages in the formation of the Gospels
First is THE LIVE AND TEACHING OF JESUS
WHAT HE DID
WHAT HE TAUGHT
Then we have ORAL TRADITION
People TALKED about this
They were given the light of the Holy Spirit!!
And THEN we have the WRITTEN GOSPELS
So here is Jesus
Then we have the Apostles
TALKING ABOUT THIS
Then we have the written Gospels
THIS IS SO SO POWERFUL!!
The Gospels are at the heart of ALL OF OUR LIVES!!
THEY SHOULD BE!!
Fr. Mike has read about SO MANY SAINTS who would keep a copy of the Gospels on them AT ALL TIMES (I do that thanks to several Catholic apps like Regina Caeli or Laudate!! 😃)
We pull out our phones and flip through whatever
These saints had this little book of the Gospels
In their down time, they pulled out the Gospels and just ALLOWED THE LORD TO SPEAK TO THEM
Through the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
INSPIRED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT!!
There’s something we can learn from that
We might still have our phones
Wouldn’t it be great if on our device we had the Word of God?
We have it in podcast form….THE BIBLE IN A YEAR WITH FR. MIKE SCHMITZ!!😁
But wouldn’t it be great to have an app for the READINGS OF THE DAY (Word Among Us!!😁)
Or an app where we could read the Gospels (Regina Caeli!!!😁)
We could do what those great Saints of the past have done
We can keep the HEART OF THE SCRIPTURES, THE FOUR GOSPELS, BEFORE OUR EYES
IN OUR HEARTS
THIS IS AN INVITATION!!
Fr. Mike is SO SO PROUD OF ALL OF YOU!!
We are going to keep picking up speed
Keep moving forward
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!