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Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

Some say reading the Bible is very dry. One does not feel connected to the scriptures nor is able to be spiritually powered by the Word of God. For others, reading the Bible is a source of spiritual inspiration that gives meaning in living one’s life to the fullest. What about the youths of today? Does reading the Bible gives meaning to what you believe in living a Christian life?

But, Cardinal Bertone acknowledged, according to the summary of his statement released by the Vatican, the Bible often does not “rouse particular interest and affection in the young, especially adolescents.”

“Compared to the living testimony of a believer, faith transmitted through the holy Scriptures largely provokes only indifference, indifference which is accompanied by a large dose of ignorance and above all by a great difficulty in perceiving its vital value,” he said. The cardinal cited a 1995 study that showed those who most frequently fail to come into contact with the Bible are between the ages of 14 and 19.

Read about “A Secret For Making Youth Read The Bible” at Zenit.org

Take a poll and share your thoughts.

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Bible Quiz No.2

Try to complete the Bible Quiz by matching the first column with the second. Try to attempt all questions before you click for the answers. Have fun…

___ 1. Captured Ark of Covenant
___ 2. Lying-in place for the babe
___ 3. God’s sign to Noah
___ 4. Substance used to form Eve
___ 5. Occasion where wine ran out
___ 6. Paul’s letter
___ 7. Interpreter of dreams
___ 8. Wrote of taming the tongue’s malice
___ 9. Cursed to eat bread until returned to dust
___ 10. Searcher for strays
___ 11. Widow’s contribution
___ 12. Son of Cain
___ 13. What evil ought to be repaid with
___ 14. God’s command to Adam and Eve
___ 15. Action that frightened the disciples
___ 16. Peter’s description of the devil
___ 17. Strugglers in Rebekah’s womb
___ 18. Agreement made at Horeb

a. A devouring lion
b. Enoch
c. Philistines
d. James
e. Manger
f. Wedding at Cana
g. Two small coins
h. Galatians
i. Adam
j. Rainbow
k. Good Shepherd
l. Adam’s rib
m. Covenant
n. Jesus’ walk on water
o. Esau and Jacob
p. Be fertile and multiply
q. Blessing
r. Joseph

Answers Bible Quiz No.2

Ratings:
18 – 16 answers correct: Outstanding
15 – 12 answers correct: Good
11 – 9 answers correct: Novice

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Gifts & Fruits

A small group discussion among friends during the weekend that touched on the Gifts and Fruits. Not the kind of gifts like presents nor fruits that you find in the market. Rather it is the Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Fruits of the Holy Spirit. In scripture, the Holy Spirit has been described by biblical authors in many ways having forms like: wind or breath of God (“Ruah” of Yahweh), light, dove, tongues of fire.

From the prophet Isaiah,
But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord. (Is 11:1-3)

The 7 Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Wisdom, Piety, Fortitude, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fear of the Lord. These Gifts are made available to all without exception. The purpose of such Gifts are for witnessing and evangelization. These 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit from Isaiah were described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. (CCC 1831).

In the letter of St Paul to the Corinthians,
Now in regard to spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware. You know how, when you were pagans, you were constantly attracted and led away to mute idols. Therefore, I tell you that nobody speaking by the spirit of God says, “Jesus be accursed.” And no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes. (1 Cor 12:1-11) Do read the chapters of 12, 13 and 14 to have a contextual understanding in its entirety.

These Spiritual Gifts from St Paul tells about the Charismatic Gifts – Gifts, not given to all but to a chosen few for a special purpose according to God’s will.

From these Spiritual Gifts sprout the Spiritual Fruits. The Catechism of the Catholic Church described the 12 Spiritual Fruits as:

The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.” (CCC 1832).

Reflection:
How have we made good and active use of the 7 Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit freely given to us that have blossom into some or all of the 12 Spiritual Fruits.

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Bible Quiz No.1

Starting a series of Bible Quiz for some fun and enjoyment to share with all readers and perhaps to share with your loved ones.

Try to complete the Bible Quiz by matching the first column with the second. Try to attempt all questions before you click for the answers. Have fun…

___ 1. Paul’s replacement for old practices
___ 2. Searcher of every mind
___ 3. One eager to release Jesus
___ 4. First appointees in the Church
___ 5. Advisor to King Ahab of Israel
___ 6. Believers in resurrection and angels
___ 7. Likened to noisy gongs
___ 8. What basic commandment requires
___ 9. Thrower of the first stone
___ 10. Solomon’s sin
___ 11. One mourned by David
___ 12. Definition of good neighbour
___ 13. Eloquent speaker
___ 14. Returnees to Bethlehem
___ 15. Multiplied widow’s oil
___ 16. Memorial feast
___ 17. Shared in Moses’ burden
___ 18. Lied about Joseph’s conduct

a. A prophet
b. Pilate
c. Those without love
d. A new self in Creator’s image
e. Pharisees
f. Wife of Potiphar
g. Aaron
h. Seventy elders
i. Absalom
j. Anyone without sin
k. The apostles
l. Following strange gods
m. Ruth and Naomi
n. Passover
o. One who shows mercy
p. Elisha
q. Love of God, brothers, and sisters
r. The Lord

Answers Bible Quiz No.1

Ratings:
18 – 16 answers correct: Outstanding
15 – 12 answers correct: Good
11 – 9 answers correct: Novice

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Why? Because it is the Word of God. The word `bible’ comes from the Greek word `biblia’ meaning `books’. The Bible is a collection of books written by biblical authors inspired by the Holy Spirit. God speaks to us through the inspired scriptures contained in the Bible. It shows us the way that leads to Him. In the likes of buying a new car, the driver is given a manual to know how to operate the various features of the car, place the key into the ignition before driving it.

How? This is the tricky part. Comprehending the scripture passages could have different meanings to different people.

Example: Luke 14:26, where Jesus says, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” – Does Jesus mean that we must literally detest our own relatives? Or did the Aramaic language spoken by Jesus mean something else?

From the literal approach by reading it at face value, Jesus is asking you to hate your loved ones and yourself before you can become his disciple. Pretty contradictory to what you understand the teachings of Jesus where he invites us to love God and to love one another as he has loved us. Perhaps a more in-depth understanding in the use of Language, Culture, Translation, Interpretation are needed to understand the scriptures. Not that Jesus is asking us to hate and detest our loved ones and ourselves in the above example. Rather, he is asking us to place things in its corrective perspective.

So how will you interpret when reading the Bible? Catholics are encouraged to interpret the Bible according to the objective principles endorsed by the Church in the contextual approach. To experience the scriptures by reading the Bible within the living Tradition of the Church.

There are numerous resource tools that are available to the reader to gain a better understanding of scriptures of which some are:- St Jerome’s Bible Commentary, A Catholic Guide to the Bible (Author: Fr Oscar Lukefahr), other materials like A Guide to Bible Reading.

Perhaps in your next moment when you are about to pick up your Bible for a read, remember the acronym P.R.I.M.A. which may help you to experience God’s love through the scriptures.

P = Pray in a quiet surrounding before you read.
R = Reflect on the scripture passage and ask how do you feel.
I = Imagine by placing yourself at the scene of the event at that time.
M = Meditate on what you have read and ask yourself what is God trying to say.
A = Act on it by living your life in the way God invites you to do.

For the Bible is more than just a book, it’s your Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth.

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lazarus
In yesterday’s homily presented by the celebrant on how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, there was another side to the meaning of this Gospel passage about co-operating with God for miracles to happen. Sharing with you this enlightening perspective.

In the Jewish culture, the Jews believed that after three days when a person has died, the soul will leave the body. It was unthinkable for someone like Lazarus who has been dead for fours days with a badly decomposed body to be actually raised back to life. This is impossible and beyond logical reasoning. There were four sets of prime characters represented in this text – Martha, Lazarus, the crowd of Jews who were skeptical about Jesus’ ability to raise Lazarus and those who were unsure but yet carried out what Jesus instructed them to do.

Are we like:-

1. Martha – Whose brother Lazarus have died and saddened that Jesus was not present any earlier but yet believed that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. She believed that whatever you asked of God, He will give. Martha placed her entire faith in Jesus whatever the outcome may be.

2. Lazarus – Being friends of Jesus, we could be physically alive but spiritually dead. At Jesus’ call, will we, like Lazarus, respond to rise up from our deathly tomb and live in the light again?

3. Skeptical crowd – At times, perhaps we have acted like the skeptical crowd. Never beyond my wildest imagination and scientific reasoning that such an impossible can happen.

4. Tomb stone removers – For those who removed the stone at the entrance of the tomb and unwrapped the linen cloth from Lazarus, they just did what Jesus instructed though they could be “sitting on the fence” whether to believe such an impossible can happen. Nevertheless, they just did what Jesus instructed and their belief was reinforced when Lazarus came out of the tomb very much alive.

Perhaps we can examine ourselves as to how we have co-operated with God’s graces by placing our faith in Him to experience the little miracles that happen in our daily lives.

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Restoring the Torah

The Pentateuch or Torah, the first five Books of the Old Testament beginning with Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. An interesting vodcast from National Geographic on Restoring the Torah

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Gospel Lk 12:49-53
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

At first glance, reading the above Gospel passage of 19th Aug 2007 seems to suggest that Jesus came to create chaos and division. The celebrant, in the opening of his homily gave the correct interpretation of this scripture passage to the congregation. That the scripture passage is not about the purpose of His coming but the consequence.

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Book of Daniel (Ch 6): And Darius the Mede succeeded to the kingdom at the age of sixty-two. Darius decided to appoint over his entire kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to safeguard his interests; these were accountable to three supervisors, one of whom was Daniel. Daniel outshone all the supervisors and satraps because an extraordinary spirit was in him, and the king thought of giving him authority over the entire kingdom. Therefore the supervisors and satraps tried to find grounds for accusation against Daniel as regards the administration. But they could accuse him of no wrongdoing; because he was trustworthy, no fault of neglect or misconduct was to be found in him. Then these men said to themselves, “We shall find no grounds for accusation against this Daniel unless by way of the law of his God.” So these supervisors and satraps went thronging to the king and said to him, “King Darius, live forever! All the supervisors of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, nobles, and governors are agreed that the following prohibition ought to be put in force by royal decree: no one is to address any petition to god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king; otherwise he shall be cast into a den of lions. Now, O king, issue the prohibition over your signature, immutable and irrevocable under Mede and Persian law.” So King Darius signed the prohibition and made it law. Even after Daniel heard that this law had been signed, he continued his custom of going home to kneel in prayer and give thanks to his God in the upper chamber three times a day, with the windows open toward Jerusalem. So these men rushed in and found Daniel praying and pleading before his God. Then they went to remind the king about the prohibition: “Did you not decree, O king, that no one is to address a petition to god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king; otherwise he shall be cast into a den of lions?” The king answered them, “The decree is absolute, irrevocable under the Mede and Persian law.” To this they replied, “Daniel, the Jewish exile, has paid no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you issued; three times a day he offers his prayer.” The king was deeply grieved at this news and he made up his mind to save Daniel; he worked till sunset to rescue him. But these men insisted. “Keep in mind, O king,” they said, “that under the Mede and Persian law every royal prohibition or decree is irrevocable.” So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions’ den. To Daniel he said, “May your God, whom you serve so constantly, save you.” To forestall any tampering, the king sealed with his own ring and the rings of the lords the stone that had been brought to block the opening of the den. Then the king returned to his palace for the night; he refused to eat and he dismissed the entertainers. Since sleep was impossible for him, the king rose very early the next morning and hastened to the lions’ den. As he drew near, he cried out to Daniel sorrowfully, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has the God whom you serve so constantly been able to save you from the lions?” Daniel answered the king: “O king, live forever! My God has sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not hurt me. For I have been found innocent before him; neither to you have I done any harm, O king!” This gave the king great joy. At his order Daniel was removed from the den, unhurt because he trusted in his God. The king then ordered the men who had accused Daniel, along with their children and their wives, to be cast into the lions’ den. Before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. Then King Darius wrote to the nations and peoples of every language, wherever they dwell on the earth: “All peace to you! I decree that throughout my royal domain the God of Daniel is to be reverenced and feared: “For he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be without end. He is a deliverer and savior, working signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, and he delivered Daniel from the lions’ power.” So Daniel fared well during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

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Mk 10:19-27

You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.'” He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”

Literally squeezing a camel through the eye of a needle? Cannot lah! How to? What does the entire context means when Jesus said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter into the kingdom of God?

The rich man “went away sorrowful;” and the Lord said, “How hardly shall he that has riches enter into the kingdom of heaven!” And by putting forth a comparison He showed the difficulty to be such that it was absolutely impossible. For every impossible thing is difficult; but not every difficult thing is impossible. As to how difficult it is, take heed to the comparison; “Verily I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” A camel to go through the eye of a needle! If He had said a gnat, it would be impossible. And then when His disciples heard it, they were grieved and said, “If this be so, who then can be saved?” What rich man? Give ear then to Christ, you poor, I am speaking to the people of God. You are more of you poor than rich, do ye then at least receive what I say, yet give heed. Whosoever of you boast of your poverty, beware of pride, lest the humble rich surpass you; beware of impiety, lest the pious rich surpass you; beware of drunkenness, lest the sober rich surpass you. Do not glory of your poverty, if they must not glory of their riches. Source : New Advent

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