Skip to comments.This Sunday’s Gospel: “Catholic” in the Bible
Posted on 07/21/2013 3:58:29 PM PDT by NYer
I once got a harsh letter from a Baptist lady protesting that she could not find the word Catholic anywhere in the Bible.
True, the earliest occurrence of the term is in a letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch, written 20 years after the last book of the New Testament. But the idea that the Church is catholic pops up everywhere in the gospels and epistles. The Greek word catholic comes from the word for wholeness or fullness. The catholic church is not just a regional sect for an exclusive little group. Rather it must include the whole family of God over the whole world, welcoming all, from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation (Rev 7: 9). In addition, the catholic church cannot pick and choose which doctrines are trendy and convenient, but must be faithful to the whole truth. Paul points out that the essence of his apostolic call was to be a catholic teacher: I became a minister of this church through the commission God gave me to preach among you his word in its fullness . . . we admonish all men and teach them in the full measure of wisdom, hoping to make every man complete in Christ (Col 1:25, 28, NAB).
One day, the fullness of life and truth came walking into the living room of a pair of sisters named Martha and Mary. They immediately recognized the privilege of having Jesus in their home and set to work fulfilling the sacred duty of hospitality.
The problem was, they had conflicting ideas of what that duty entailed. Marthas response is very recognizable, especially by those familiar with Mediterranean culture. Bring out the coffee, the wine (what kind do you prefer?), make sure the china and silverware are laid out in proper order, get out a full assortment of hot and cold hors doeurves (make sure the hot are really served hot!).
Mary thought that the supreme compliment that she could pay to her divine guest, even more than world-class refreshments, was to give him her full attention. The fullness of truth had come to her home to nourish, enlighten, and transform her. Not to receive and unwrap this wonderful gift would be an insult to the giver.
Marthas mistake was not that she attended to the guests bodily needs. The story of Martha and Mary is not an endorsement of laziness and passivity. In Gen 18:1-10 God visits Abraham in the form of three travelers, and Abraham and Sara pull out all the stops when it comes to food and drink, and this was good.
Marthas problem was that she allowed the activity of hospitality to become a distraction. She couldnt see the forest for the trees. She lost her focus and actually got mad that her sister would not join her in her frenetic fussing.
Mary kept her focus. She was not passive attentiveness to the fullness of truth is supremely active. Thats why the contemplative, monastic life has always been held in the highest esteem in the Catholic Church.
I was once told by a monk that the greatest sin of the modern world is not its lewdness but its busyness. We live in the most distracted, frenetic society of all time. It is tempting in such a society to think we are good Christians and deserve applause because we look God from time to time out of the corner of our eye.
But the fullness of truth, the fullness of life, the fullness of grace deserves our full attention. Jesus really cannot be merely a part of ones life, but must be the center of ones life. It does not mean that our life cant be full of activities. But unless we preserve some quiet time each day to sit at his feet as did Mary, our action will become distraction and well be as snappy and unhappy as Martha.
Actually “catholic” just means universal or ubiquitous, which when the name came into vogue, it was. It’s not something with doctrinal meaning as far as I know (as a non-Catholic).
My main criticism is NOT that catholic is not in the Bible, but the nomenclature itself. The RCC should be re-named as the New and Improved Pharisees!!! For clarity’s sake.
Lest anyone be led astray and just for clarity’s sake, you’ve omitted the caveat “in my unlearned opinion”, yet again.
**not something with doctrinal meaning as far as I know **
Oh, but his has a tremendous doctrinal meaning straight from the mouth of the Bible.
“Many (All) are called, but few are chosen.”
Christ came and died for us all. You, me, the people who hate Catholics.
Christ died for the Jews, the Mexicans, the Muslims, the Lutherans, the Presbyterians, the perverts — absolutely everyone.. Christ died for EVERYONE!
But not everyone accepts him. And so few will be chosen to enter heaven.
What church do you belong to bipolar bear?
Does it have a phone number and an address?
Did you know you can talk to God anywhere you are in the world? You don't need a phone number either. The early Church was Christian Jews. Look for Messianic Jewish Synagogues in your neighborhood.
So you’re a messianic Jew yourself?
Thank you for posting this reflection by Dr. D’Ambrosio. The story of Martha & Mary and their reactions to Jesus’ visit has become a favorite of mine; it reminds me of where and when to focus.
“Mary thought that the supreme compliment that she could pay to her divine guest, even more than world-class refreshments, was to give him her full attention. The fullness of truth had come to her home to nourish, enlighten, and transform her.”
As Christians, we all must remember that we follow Jesus; we must not be distracted by doctrinal disputes and trivialities over things such as “is the KGV Bible” better than the “Douray” or perhaps only reading it in the original Greek. Jesus is our center and h
His sacrifice is the gift of salvation He have us.
Bwahahahahaha! Still at at ey?
It starts out with “I once got a harsh letter from a Baptist lady” and then to we all know “catholic” isn’t in the Bible, it went downhill from there. I merely suggested a name improvement . . .
Jesus will be here soon.
Odd, that the thread discussing baptists would immediately get hijacked, eh?
Good morning. Odd that people have a dislike for Messianic Jews when that is exactly what Jesus and the Disciples were. Odd that a church would name itself something with no association with the Bible. At least New and Improved Pharisees!! has a Biblical connection.
Are you, or are you not a messianic Jew?
Why do I think you are always trying to trap me? What’s with all of the personal questions instead of theological ones? What do you care what where I go or what I call myself? Do you have a problem with Messianic Jews?