Call no Man Father the Jesus Flip Flop?
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Once again, it's an election year and politicians are out courting the American voter.
From the promise of healthcare repeal, to the vow to cut taxes, to the guarantee of new jobs.
Oh, and let us not forget, the pledge not to commit adultery - for a third time. Politicians will do and say anything in simple exchange for our approval.
Yet, if history is a reliable indicator in all things political, the odds are quite certain those behind these counterfeit commitments will eventually, flip flop.
By no means, a recent political deficiency, flip flopping can be traced back to Governor Pilate's death sentence of Jesus Christ.
For gospel accounts tell us, the Roman Governor's original pledge was to have Christ "...flogged and then release him (Luke 23:16)."
In an effort to assuage the raucous crowd, however, we are later told Governor Pilate flip flopped on his commitment and adjudged "...their demand" of crucifixion "should be granted (Luke 23:24)."
Moreover, there are those who, perhaps, inadvertently take it a step further and affix the "flip flop" stamp to Christ himself.
We speak of those who advance the falsity, the Catholic Church blasphemes when addressing her priests (mere men) as father. It should come as no surprise, those who launch the accusation come equipped with, you guessed it, a scripture verse.
Be warned, however, those of us Catholics who refute the allegation, are locked and loaded with a veritable arsenal of biblical verses. And refute the shallow claim, we shall. For as we will see, to issue such a claim against The Church is to reduce the Lord to the level of a political "flip flopper." And that, is blasphemy in its truest form.
Now, the verse these accusers discharge against The Church comes by way of Matthew 23:9, which states: "Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven."
Seems straight forward enough. The accusation must be true. The Catholic Church blasphemes.
There is only one problem with this prognosis. And that is, in the very book of Matthew, Jesus calls Abraham, father, when telling the parable of Lazarus to his disciples (Matthew 3:9).
In fact, in Genesis 17:4 God himself (Jesus), tells Abraham: "My covenant with you is this: you are to become the father of a host of nations."
Is Jesus, a flip flopper, does The Church blaspheme? Then we must also conclude the Apostles of the Lord were not much better.
For in Acts 7:2 St. Stephen, when addressing the Jews, states: "My brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia..."
As we see, the Apostle Stephen's blasphemy and flip flopping is two-fold, for not only does he refer to Abraham as father after being instructed by the one for whom he eventually dies, not to do so, but he also refers to the Jews as fathers.
In like manner, Acts 22:1 tells us St. Paul is guilty of the same "blasphemy" when he states: "My brothers and fathers, listen to what I am about to say to you in my defense."
Oh, but scripture tells us Paul is a serial blasphemer. For in Romans 4:16-17, the Apostle states:
"For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift, and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not to those who only adhere to the law but to those who follow the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us, as it is written, "I have made you father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into being what does not exist."
Note the repeated use of the moniker, father. Yet, Paul is just getting started. In 1 Corinthians 4:15, the Apostle dares to say this:
"Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel."
The audacity, the sheer blasphemy of the man. And even the Apostle whom Jesus loved, John, states: "I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning (1 John 2:13)."
So what is going on here? Is Jesus Christ about as honest, or dishonest, as Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? Is The Church founded by Christ truly blasphemous? Of course not.
This is a simple, obvious case of reading scripture out of context and ignoring the time period in which the scriptures were written.
In the time of Jesus, the Roman Emperor exulted himself as God. Incense was burned in worship of him and the people were expected to pray to him as if he were God himself. In turn, some Pharisees and sadducees suffered from a form of the same iniquitous bug.
This is what Jesus is addressing in the infamous, Matthew 23:9 verse. This is why prior to this verse, we find Jesus stating the following in verses 5-7:
"All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi."
In other words, there were those in Jesus' time, not unlike some of today's political and spiritual leaders, who dabbled in the act of self-exultation.
Matthew 23:9 is meant for the haughty Jewish fathers who would eventually reject Christ - God made flesh. Not for those humble fathers who would humbly serve him and his holy Catholic Church.
See you at the ballot box.
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