Sunday, November 23, 2014

Modesty in the Lord's Sanctuary


    Choosing an outfit everyday is the dilemma many people face daily. The choosing of the outfit is based on the occasion the individual is going to. A person going to weddings, formals, proms, a job interview, funerals, etc. is likely to wear formal clothes such as suits and dresses. A person going out with friends, school, and parties might dress casual. What about church? There was time when everyone wore finer clothes on Sundays, that is where the term “Sunday’s best.” Men wore suits and women wore a dress and a headdress, either a hat or a veil. This all changed as society and time changed. Around the 1960s-1970s, it was common to see churchgoers wearing tank-tops, t-shirts, shorts etc. clothes that evokes lust than prayer. Many people dress as if they were going to the beach or even night clubbing. Shorts and clothes that reveal shoulders and backs, even stomachs, has been worn in church during the celebration of the Liturgy. They dress more for a party than meeting with the Lord. Formal clothes became a staple of the past, only found in the confines of traditional churches and formal occasions. Our clothes are as important as our being, our clothes express our inward being.


    Church has become casual to many people, even to the point that church is regarded not that special of an event to wear formal clothes. By wearing formal clothes we express the importance of the event we are going to partake of. Many ask if there is any dress code in churches. The Church, in the Scripture and her tradition, gives us a “dress code” that does not only pertains to church, but also to daily life. St. Paul tells us, “also that women should adorn themselves modestly and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly attire but by good deeds, as befits women who profess religion” (1 Timothy 2:9-10). The latest fashion trend is based on how much we can show our bodies, there is no more sense of covering our bodies. This has been a consequence of society being highly sexualized. Modesty has become for “old, boring people.” This virtue has been disregarded and shunned by many, preferring revealing clothes. It is a clear irony to do when we pray the Lord’s Prayer. Every Sunday we recite “Et ne nos inducas in tentationem”, and lead us not into temptation (Matthew 6:13). Yet many of us dress in a way that goes against this prayer. Our minds are drawn away from prayer to thoughts that, if shown to everyone, might be shameful. Christ warns us, “‘Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the man by whom the temptation comes!’” (Matthew 18:7). The Church teaches, “Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity. Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2521-2522). We are to dress that “in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” (Romans 14:13). We are living after the fall of man, we have known our nakedness and ashamed of it (Genesis 3:10), “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). Therefore, we must wear clothes that cover ourselves. Not clothes that reveals our bodies and causes us “to stumble and fall.” Christ reminds us, in the Parable of the Wedding Feast, “‘But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen’” (Matthew 22:11-14). The parable pertains to the Church and the wedding feast refers to the Liturgy. Here, both the spiritual and physical are both intertwined. The “wedding garment” refers to the soul clothed in grace. And the clothes we wear expresses our inward state of being. 
    The importance we give to our clothes shows the importance of the event we are going to. Since the fall of man, we are conscious of our sexuality, shame and covering up our body has been the consequence (Genesis 2:25, 3:7, 3:10-11). Scripture also warns of the temptation of the flesh that is brought by feminine shamelessness (Proverbs 2:16, 5:3, 7:5-27). The New Testament speaks of modesty both in the physical and spiritual: in looks, words, and behavior (Matthew 5:28; Ephesians 5:3-20; 2 Peter 2:14). Churches are insistent in advising dress codes for “liturgical ministers”, but fail to address the problem that is within the congregation.



Not acceptable for men:
Short pants, jogging pants, jeans, caps, sports jerseys, sports logo, t-shirts, beach wear, working outfits, tight clothing, and extreme piercings that are distracting.



Not acceptable for women:
Any dress or skirt that does not completely cover the knee when sitting or standing, (Slacks are not acceptable in Traditional Churches), shorts, skimpy shorts, tank tops, spaghetti-strap tops, tops with sleeves that do not reach the elbow, tops that are more than two fingers width from the pit of the throat, plunging necklines, beach wear, flashy clothing and hot colors that are distracting and that may be perceived as enticing, extreme piercings that are distracting, sleeveless, tight or low-cut clothing or dresses with long cuts or slits, tight clothing, and any and all see-through clothing.

Even the Vatican and the major basilicas of Rome have a strict dress code, where those who do not comply to this is not admitted. It forbids: hats for lay men inside the basilica, shorts/skirts above the knees, sleeveless shirts, shirts exposing the navel, shirts for women that expose cleavage, shirts which contain profanity, excessive jewelry, the use of mobile phones is also prohibited, as is smoking. 



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

JOHN 20:28


Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’
John 20:28, RSVCE

St. Thomas' proclamation baffles anti-Trinitarians, such as the Iglesia Ni Cristo. Their argument ranges from an expression of surprise to Thomas' unbelief. They argue that Thomas was in a state of error or unbelief when he proclaimed this. This is expressed by their apologist's statement:

Take note of what the Lord Jesus Christ said to Thomas before he made the statement recorded in John 20:28. Jesus said to him, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. DO NOT BE UNBELIEVING, but believing.’… Remember that when Thomas made the statement recorded in John 20:28 he was not in the act of preaching and he was from a state of unbelief, thus it is not surprising if he committed mistake.

(http://theiglesianicristo.blogspot.com/2013/12/john-2028-my-lord-and-my-god.html?m=1)

1.) DOUBTING THOMAS 


The Iglesia Ni Cristo argues that St. Thomas' statement must not be taken as a proclamation due to the preceding verses (Jn. 20:27). They contend that this was a expression given by an unbelieving apostle. However, the contrary is given by Jesus. Indeed Thomas was in a state of doubt prior to his encounter with the Resurrected Lord. However, St. Thomas did not continue in his disbelief. If we read the following verse, we come to understand that what St. Thomas expressed in verse 28 was a result of belief. 

Jesus said to him, ‘You have believed because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’”
John 20:29, RSVCE

It is very clear that what Thomas said was in the state of belief. Christ affirmed what Thomas said by saying, "You have believed." It is very clear that it was not out of doubt that Thomas said such thing, but out of belief. And this Christ blessed. 

2.) MY LORD AND MY GOD



καὶ ἀπεκρίθη Θωμᾶς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου.
(kai apekrithē thōmas kai eipen autō o kurios mou kai o theos mou)
ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ 20:28, Greek Orthodox Church 1904

Thomas' statement from Greek is “Ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου” (o kurios mou kai o theos mou). What is interesting that the text, if translated literally, gives a much more powerful effect on St. Thomas' statement. St. Thomas' statement given in Greek is, “The Lord of me and the God of me."

3.) TO MY GOD AND YOUR GOD


Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’
John 20:17, RSVCE

The INC apologist argues, “THOMAS’ STATEMENT CONTRADICTED JESUS’ STATEMENT… Take note that the Gospel that wrote that Thomas stated 'My Lord and my God' was also the Gospel that wrote that the Lord Jesus Christ explicitly stated, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God,' also 'My Father is greater than I,' and 'Father…this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God…' Obviously, Thomas failed to remember these words of his Master. Thus, Thomas statement in John 20:28 contradicted what His Master has taught Him.” They argue that Christ's statement in John 20:17 contradicts Thomas' statement in verse 28. Making Thomas in a state of ignorance and error in his statement. 

Such statement shows complete ignorance of who Christ is. Christ was not only Divine, but also fully human. Part of being human is to acknowledge God and to worship Him. Christ, in His human nature, here recognized the Father and praises Him. What is interesting is that Christ did not say "our Father" and "our God", rather He said "my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” What Christ implies is that God's Fatherhood towards the apostles and the disciples is not the same as Christ's relationship with the Father. In our sense we are the Father's adopted children (Romans 8:15), children of God by grace (John 1:12). Jesus is the Son of God by nature (John 1:18). Jesus clearly put a distinction between Mary Magdalene and the apostles. This suggests that there is a different sense between the relationship of the Father and Son and ours with the  Father. It also suggests that there is a different sense of how God is related to Christ and us.

Whenever a person was in error in the Scripture, they are reprimanded right away. For example, when Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra they showed them that they were not the gods Zeus and Hermes, but only humans and commanded them to worship the true God who made Heaven and Earth (Acts 14:14-15). In Revelation 19:10, the angel rebuked John's show of worship. In Acts 12:22-23 we read that Herod Agrippa received the praises of the crowds as a god and not give it to God, "he was eaten by worms and died" (Acts 12:23). Yet Jesus did not correct Thomas. It suggests then that Thomas was not in error as the Iglesia Ni Cristo insists. Rather, Thomas was accurate in his statement. 


Sunday, July 13, 2014

1 TIMOTHY 4:3, Meat or Food?


Bro. Ventilacion and the Iglesia Ni Cristo shows their ignorance in their knowledge of Old English. In Old English, "meat" was synonymous to "food." Bibles written in old English shows this, e.g. Douai-Rheims and King James Version. 

And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour, even the memorial of it, unto the LORD.
Leviticus 6:15, King James Version

Then said he unto me, This is the place where the priests shall boil the trespass offering and the sin offering, where they shall bake the meat offering; that they bear them not out into the utter court, to sanctify the people.
Ezekiel 46:20, King James Version

Modern translations uses "fine flour of the cereal offering” for Leviticus 6:15 and “bake the cereal offering” for Ezekiel 46:20. We clearly can see that "meat" in Old English was used in reference to all kinds of food, animal flesh and agricultural products. 


As we can see, in old Elizabethan English the word "meat" was synonymous with the word "food." In an online Elizabethan English dictionary, the word "meat" is defined as “Definitions meat (n.) 1 food, nourishment, meat (n.) 2 edible part, meat (n.) 3 foodstuff, fodder, scraps” (http://www.shakespeareswords.com/Search.aspx). The word "meat" came from an Old English word "mete". “The word meat comes from the Old English word mete, which referred to food in general.” (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meat). It did not only describe animal flesh, but all types of food. The Iglesia Ni Cristo bases it's doctrine in a complete ignorance of this fact, believing that in 1 Timothy 4:3 the correct understanding is "meat" of an animal. If we examine it closely, the Greek word used is “brōmatōn” (βρωμάτων). This word is a plural form of "bróma" (βρῶμα). Bible dictionary defines "bróma" as “food of any kind.” (Strong's Concordance 1033). The Greek word for "meat" is not "bróma", but "krea." "Kreas" (κρέας) is defined as “flesh; plur: pieces of flesh, kinds of flesh.” (Strong's Concordance 2907). 

It is better not to eat meat (krea, κρέα) or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
Romans 14:21, New International Version

Saturday, July 12, 2014

THE EUCHARISTIC EFFECT

The Eucharist is very important to the Church. The Church defines the Eucharist as “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Catechism 1324). It is what gives us life because we receive Him who is life (John 1:4, 5:26, 11:25, 14:6). “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you  eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;’” (John 6:53). Without the reception of the Eucharist, St. Paul says, we “are weak and ill, and some have died” (1 Corinthians 11:30). That is the reason why the Church calls the Eucharist the source of Her life. It is also here that we receive grace that enables us to do God's will (2 Corinthians 9:8, 12:9; Ephesians 3:20; Philippians 4:13). It is what energizes us to walk with God “and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Apart from receiving, we return the results of the grace received. The works of the Church are offered to the Father together with Christ's once and for all sacrifice on Calvary. We unite with Christ the results of our love of Him (John 14:15). The love we show to Him and to others is sacrificial in its essence. We sacrifice time helping the poor and needy. We sacrifice our self in missionary works. We sacrifice personal leisure helping our neighbor and visiting the sick and in prison. We sacrifice resources to feed the hungry. All of the corporal works of mercy requires a sacrifice from us. We give up something to share the love we first received from Him. Along with Christ's sacrifice we offer ourselves as “a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). The Church tells us what this living sacrifice we offer to God is, “For all their works, prayers and apostolic endeavors, their ordinary married and family life, their daily occupations, their physical and mental relaxation, if carried out in the Spirit, and even the hardships of life, if patiently borne—all these become "spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ".(cf. 1 Peter 2:5) Together with the offering of the Lord's body, they are most fittingly offered in the celebration of the Eucharist. Thus, as those everywhere who adore in holy activity, the laity consecrate the world itself to God” (DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH, LUMEN GENTIUM, no. 34).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Comentario sa Exodo 20:4-5


Ang pinagbawal sa Exodo 20:4-5 ay hindi ang pag-gawa ng mga imagen, pero sa pagsamba sa mga ito. Ang mga versicolong nakapalibot nito ay nagpapatunay sa ganitong pag-unawa, sila ay nagtutukoy sa pagbigay ng pagsamba sa Dios lamang. Sa versicolo 3 mababasa natin na bawal magkaroon ng ibang dios, "Huwag kang magkaroon ng ibang mga Dios sa harap ko" at sa versicolo 5 mababasa natin na ang Dios ay mapanibughuin. Ang Dios ay nagbigay ng dahilan kung bakit sya "mapanibughuin" dahil sa pagbigay ng pagsamba sa mga ginawang bagay, “Huwag mong yuyukuran sila, o paglingkuran man sila; sapagka't akong Panginoon mong Dios, ay Dios na mapanibughuin” (Exodo 20:5). Sa Exodo 32:8 mababasa natin na ang gumawa ng guyang binubo at ito ay sinamba nila. Sa Levitico 19:14 mababasa matin na ang paggawang pagka-dios ng isang bagay ang ang pinagbawal. Ang pagsamba sa isang imagen ang pinagbawal sa Levitico 26:1 at sa Deuteronimio 5:8-9. Ang tunay na pinagbawal sa Ikaunang Utus ay ang pagsamba sa imagen, ito ay napakalinaw'ng basahin sa 2 Mga Hari 17:12.

Ang dahilan kung bakit kasali sa versicolo ang utus na "Huwag kang gagawa para sa iyo ng larawang inanyuan" ay ang mga Judeo ay madaling mahulog sa pagsamba ng mga dios-diosan, bilang parte sa isang mundo na sumasamba sa mariming mga dios. Sila ay madaling ihalintulad ang Dios na hindi nakikita sa mga bagay na nakikita, katulad ng mga hayop (Makikita natin sa pag-gawa ng guyang binubo, Ex. 32:8) at ng mga tao (Awit 135:15-17; Deuteronomio 4:28). Dahil hindi pa nila nakikita ang Dios, hindi rin nila kayang ilarawan ang Dios na hindi nila nakikita (Deuteronomio 4:15-16). Ito ay binago sa pagkatao ni Cristo, dahil ang Dios ay nagpakatao (Juan 1:1, 14; Felipos 2:6-8; Colossas 1:15; Hebreo 1:3).

Ngunit, mali ang pagunawa sa Exodo 20:4 kung ang pinagbawal ay ang pag-gawa ng mga imagen, ito ay gumagawa ng pagkakasalungatan, kung ganito ang pagunawa natin sa versicolo. Merong mga versicolong mababasa kung saan ang Dios ay umutus na gumawa ng imagen at siya ay tumangap ng handog na imagen (Exodo 18:25-22; Mga Bilang 21:4-9; 1 Samuel 4:4; 6:5; 11, 17-18; 1Mga Hari 6:23-36, 7:27-39; 2 Mga Cronica 3:5, 7, 3:10-14, 3:16, 4:2-5, 13, 15, 5:7-8). Kung basahin natin ang Exodo 20:4-5 sa contexto na ganap na pinagbawal ang mga imagen, ito ay iminungkahi na ang Dios ay sumalungat. At ito ay impossible na gawin ng Dios, “Hindi niya maipagkakaila ang kaniyang sarili.” (2 Kay Timoteo 2:13, SND).

Sa madaling salita, ang pinagbawal ay ang paggawa ng imagen upang sambahin. Ang pag-gawa nitong bilang isang dios. Ang pinagbawal ay ang pagsamba sa imagen, hindi sa pag-gawa nito.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

EXODUS 20:4-5, Commentary


The prohibition in Exodus 20:4-5 is not on the making of images, but on the worship of an image. The verses around it supports this understanding, they speak of giving adoration to God alone. Verse 3 speaks of having no other gods, “You shall have no other gods before me.”, while in verse 5 we read that God is a jealous God. God explains His jealousy in the worship or adoration of created beings, “you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God”. In Exodus 32:8 we read that the calf was seen as being god and was given adoration. In Leviticus 19:14 we read that the prohibition is on the deification of an idol. Worship of an image is prohibited in Leviticus 26:1 and in Deuteronomy 5:8-9. It was more on the worship of an image that the Commandment was centered on, clearly seen in 2 Kings 17:12


The reason why the verse includes "You shall not make for yourself a graven image” is that the ancient Jews were prone to idolatry, being in a polytheistic world. They were prone to imagining the unfathomable God through things that is visible, such as animals (seen by the making of the golden calf, Ex. 32:8) and humans (Psalm 135:15-17; Deuteronomy 4:28). Since they haven't seen God, they couldn't represent the Invisible God (Deuteronomy 4:15-16). This would change as the result of the Incarnation, when we have seen God who became man for us (John 1:1, 14; Philippians 2:6-8; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3).


However, it is incorrect to read the verse by those words. Reading it as a prohibition on images is wrong, it would create a contradiction. There are various verse where God orders the making of images and accepted images as offerings (Exodus 18:25-22; Numbers 21:4-9; 1 Samuel 4:4; 6:5; 11, 17-18; 1 Kings 6:23-36, 7:27-39; 2 Chronicles 3:5, 7, 3:10-14, 3:16, 4:2-5, 13, 15, 5:7-8). If we read Exodus 20:4-5 in the context of an absolute prohibition on images, it would suggest a contradicting God. Which would be impossible, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13, RSVCE).


In short, the prohibition is on the making of images for the sole purpose of making it an object of adoration. Giving it the same treatment as being a god. The prohibition is on the worship and adoration of an image, not in the making of it. 

Peter the Rock


Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” 
Matthew 16:18, New Living Translation

Jesus spoke Aramaic, as we can see in the same Gospel Jesus speaking in Aramaic, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ (Matthew 27:46). So Jesus must have spoken in Aramaic when he delivered the words in Matthew 16:18. The word he called Peter was “Kepha”, the Gospel of John records this (Cephas). In Aramaic the word “Kepha” means “rock”, so Christ said to Peter, “You are Kepha, and this Kepha I will build my Church”. And from a translation of Aramaic Peshitta,

who is in heaven my Father but my church I will build Keepa this and on Keepa are that you I will give to you will subdue it not of Sheol” 
Mattai 16:18, Peshitta Aramaic/English Interlinear New Testament (The Preaching of Mattai)


http://www.peshitta.org

And from reading John 1:42, we see that it was in Aramaic, Peter’s name was a translation of the original Aramaic.

Hebrew: you Kefa and upon this kefa

Old Syriac (C): Anath-her Kipha, v’all hode kipha

JOHN 1:42

You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which means “Rock”). 
Holman Standard Christian Bible

You are Simon, son of John: you shall be called Cephas” –that is to say, Peter (or ‘Rock’)” 
Weymouth New Testament

Thou art Simon, the son of Jonas, thou shalt be called Cephas,’ (which is interpreted, A rock.)‘ 
Young’s Literal Translation

As one Protestant commented on this (John 1:42), “The stone, or rock, is a symbol of firmness and steadiness of character – a trait in Peter’s character after the ascension of Jesus that was very remarkable.” (Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes [1834]). Peter (Cepha-Rock) was called that by Christ, taking from the original language Christ spoke. We cannot deny that Christ called Peter Cepha. Even other verses in the Bible call Peter “Cepha(1 Cor 9:5, 1:12, 3:22, 15:5; Gal 1:18, 2:9, 2:11). If Peter was not the “Rock”, why does Paul and Christ Himself call Peter “Kepha”?