Why was Jesus born in a manger?

By Paul Dion, STL

What is the symbolism of Jesus being born in a manger?

This is the Christmas Season and of course we have a lot of questions floating around in our heads. I hope that none of you has to figure out how to balance your check book so early in the month.

But because this is a seriously spiritual season, let's consider the story of the Nativity and some of the symbolism that the Gospel Story of Luke holds. I suggest that you find a quiet corner, your favorite "dog-eared" Bible and read the first two chapters of Luke's gospel meditatively.

Luke calls the mother of Jesus, MARY. This name means "Excellence." Or, in the words of the angel Gabriel, "Full of Grace."

The carpenter who saves Mary's honor is called JOSEPH. This means "May Yahweh add."

The mother of John the Baptist is ELIZABETH. This name means "My God is fullness."

His father carries the name ZECHARIAH. This means "Yahweh has remembered."

Finally, the name JESUS means, "God saves." The same as Joshua, the successor of Moses who led the Chosen People of God into the Promised Land, thus saving them from Egyptian slavery for good. Jesus saves us from the slavery of sin.

Amidst all this symbolism we have the symbolism of the 100 mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, three Magi, the three gifts which they brought, the visiting shepherds, the singing angels and the swaddling clothes.

I could bring up a lot more, but that should be enough for now, except for the question:



Do Catholics "worship" Mary as we do Jesus?

By Paul Dion, STL

Dear readers, it has happened to again. We have been asked for the "x"tieth time the question, "Why do Catholics worship the Virgin Mary as much as Jesus?"

This question used to really get to me. It doesn't send me up the wall so much any more.

I have just returned from the Holy Land and Italy and France. I have returned from the world of the churches that are built in the name of the Virgin Mary. I have come from a country in which I personally entered three churches named St. Mary Major. I entered and visited numerous Crusader churches that carry names like, Annunciation, Visitation, Immaculate Conception, Mary, Mother of God, Birth of Mary, Dormition of Mary and Assumption, just to name a few.

Those who ask the question about worship of Mary see the same churches and monuments that we do. They know about Lourdes, La Salette, the Miraculous Medal, Medjugorie and the rest. For the most part they have The Lord and their Bible.

This is a serious question. How do you answer the question, "Why do Catholics Worship Mary as much as Jesus?"

Share your thoughts and ideas with us. Post a comment here.

What is the Old Testament root of the sacrament of Baptism?

By Paul Dion, STL

This week we bring you the easiest question that you will ever encounter here. But because it is so easy, we are going to ask a related question that will help you to stretch your minds a little bit. This will also send you to the shelf or the table upon which your Bible rests.

As you all know, the teachings of Jesus and of the Apostles find their roots in the Old Testament. This does not mean that we follow the teachings of the Old Testament word for word. It means that God revealed His wishes to His human creatures many thousands of years ago. As time went on, through the Patriarchs, the Prophets, the Kings, Jesus and the Apostles, His wishes and His commandments became clearer and clearer to us.

Now that Jesus and the Apostles are no longer on earth, Jesus left us with the Church. It is through the Church that we continue our relationship with God the Father, The Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. The Church provides us with ways to get in touch with God and to stay in touch with Him. The clearest way, and the easiest is through the sacraments. To go back to what I said before, what we believe in today had its roots in the Old Testament. We will therefore give you references to the Old Testament when it is proper to do so in this study of the sacraments.

Therefore, this week's BURNING QUESTION is: What is the Old Testament root of the sacrament of Baptism? To whom did God give it?

CLICK HERE to see the answer and a short lesson about Baptism.

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