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Prophecies are proof
In answer to the letter that questioned how God could have a "chosen people" when he loves all of His creatures. The Jews are definitely God's chosen. They were chosen to bring the message of the Messiah and to prophesy His life and works right down to His birth in Bethlehem, His ministry on earth and His death.
The prophecies were Christ's credentials to prove He was the Messiah.
A number of times He stated that He was doing something to fulfill a certain prophesy given by one of the Jewish prophets — Matt 21:4-5, Matt 11:10 and Matt 4:14-16.
As for the scourges Egypt suffered, the Pharaoh was warned ahead of time, yet chose to defy God again and again. So who was at fault?
The Jews first were scattered and then called back from the ends of the earth, just as prophesied. During the six day war with Egypt, there was evidence that God's hand was with them. Even the New Testament states that they are God's chosen people.
As for war, the Blessed Mother prophesied at Fatima in 1917, that a second World War was coming if man did not stop sinning and that war was a punishment for sin.
End to images
I was reading the Bible and I encounter these three verses that make me think very hard as a concerned Catholic: Leviticus 26:1, Deuteronomy 5:8/27:15, Exodus 20: 4-5.
Those verses state: "Do not make idols or set up carved images, or sacred pillars or sculptured stones for you to worship them. I am the Lord your God. Cursed is anyone who makes an idol — a thing detestable to the Lord, the work of skilled hands — and sets it up in secret, then all the people say, "Amen."
"God" is a jealous "God." He will not tolerate his creation worshipping or bowing down to a "God" other than himself.
I pray to "God" directly and a lot of Catholics do that too. If that is the stand of Catholics, then we don't need images at the altar. But as years go by, idolatry and fanaticism are becoming common to some Catholics. It's true that images could be inspirational. Display them at home, do not put them on the altar where the priest and parishioners bow, kneel and celebrate the Mass. "God" does not want anybody to bow; much more to kneel, kiss, bow, praise, etc. to those images.
Do we have a reason to justify that Catholics need images to have faith or to pray to? A priest can make changes and remove the images at the altar. It's not easy, but each of us has to make an effort to remove the ancient tradition in the form of paganism and do our part to make things right in the eyes of "God."
In response to "Pope Francis desires to draw remarried people to Christ" (Voice, Oct. 7), I propose the following scenario:
A married woman is having an affair with her parish priest. They both feel guilty and decide to "remedy their situation" by ending their commitments to marriage and the priesthood.
The abandoned husband finds solace in parish life. He coaches his daughter's basketball team and volunteers with the men's group. The daughter grows up, joins a youth group and falls in love. But now her mother and the ex-priest wish to "integrate into the parish life."
The daughter now starts to have second thoughts about marriage. Her father is disgusted and stops participating in the church. In time, their friends start feeling uncomfortable and the parish loses a lot of its life. And the fallen woman and ex-priest start to look elsewhere to "remedy their situation."
What was once a haven for a hurt father and child is now admitting wolves in sheep's clothing. I do not want to sound unsympathetic to the remarried couple. I do appreciate our pope wanting to follow the spirit of St. Francis who reconciled a wolf with a village. But before we integrate fallen Catholics, priests need to minister the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To live in harmony with the church, we all need to honor the words of Our Lord, "Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more."
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