Were the Pharisees really bad guys?
“By what authority are you doing these things?” (Mark 11:27–28). With this and similar questions the gospels relentlessly portray Jesus’ opponents—the chief priests, scribes, elders, Pharisees, and Sadducees—as bad guys who resisted Jesus at almost every turn and conspired to have him killed.
The gospel accounts, however, tend to lump these folks together and offer very little information about who they were. Understanding them better helps us to grasp why the New Testament depicts them as such villains.
It’s fair to say the gospel writers, like all ancient historians, ‘played’ with history
People today tend to think that history is pretty much about facts. Though history is always interpreted, the aim of history is to uncover facts to paint a picture of the past as it more or less happened. So to ask if the gospels are historical is the same as asking, “Did things really happen that way?”
Faith and prayer involve a lot more than solutions to personal difficulties.
When my mother was a girl, she lost a ring that meant a lot to her. Given that she was a very devout child, she did what any right-thinking Italian American in her neighborhood would do: Go to the statue of St. Anthony of Padua in church and pray for the ring’s return. A few days later she was passing the statue, and at the feet of St. Anthony lay her ring. Miracle? Or the work of someone—maybe a janitor—who found the ring and put it in a place where its owner would likely find it?
There are five conditions set down in canon law by which a baptized Christian who is not Roman Catholic can receive with us.
The smarty-pants answer is that it happens all the time. There’s no security check at Communion stations. Ushers seldom rack up more than a couple of Communion-line tackles in a long career. So every Sunday just about everyplace, a Lutheran or Presbyterian or Druid sneaks in. Perhaps the person has not read the statement of the U.S. bishops printed in the worship aid about who’s in and who’s out when it comes to Holy Communion. Perhaps they are operating on the theology of their own churches, which can be summed up by saying that once you’re in the water, you’re at the table.
Over the course of history the season of preparation for Easter Sunday has ranged from one day (in the first century) to 44 (today in the Roman church).
"The 40 days of Lent" has always been more of a metaphor than a literal count. Over the course of history the season of preparation for Easter Sunday has ranged from one day (in the first century) to 44 (today in the Roman church). Officially since 1970, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sunset on Holy Thursday.