The Mission of the Church – Part Three

The Second Vatican Council’s center was missionary and evangelistic, engaging the world in more positive and effective ways, addressing the decline in faith in the western world.

After John XXIII began the council, Paul VI continued it, perhaps as a much more significant council than John envisioned. Events from the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, the civil rights movement, the rise of the drug culture, the escalation of the war in Vietnam, all produced a tumultuous time.

The council reaffirmed the teaching of the Church for all time, but there were many contrary trends that Paul VI had to combat.

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The Mission of the Church – Part Two

This is an exciting time to be Catholic.” This episode picks up the rousing theme where the last left it off. Vatican II stressed the Church’s need to engage with the modern world. The popes that followed have, with unrelenting urgency, urged every Christian to take up the task of mission. This episode sounds the call anew – in the words of Pope St. John Paul II: “the moment has come to commit all the Church’s energies to a new evangelization.”

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The Mission of the Church – Part One

The goal of this series is to equip Catholics to live out the mission of the Church, which is to proclaim Christ to the whole world. We will explore what this means for the faithful laity using the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The documents of the Second Vatican Council will be examined through the hermeneutic of continuity, which was championed by Pope Benedict XVI among others. This council has continued what the Church has always said, but stated with a new vigor and a focus on reaching out to the modern world. Vatican II was a council of reform, not a radical break with the past. The next six sessions will explore several important Papal Encyclicals and other Church documents from Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, and Francis. These documents will help us grow in faith and learn to share our faith with others. 

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Exodus 16 – Conclusion

The Hebrews consecrate the Tabernacle and all of the preparations are completed one year later, even washing the hands and feet of the priests in the middle of a desert. God has created a people fit for God, and we must strive not to fall back into slavery to sin because of it.

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Exodus 15 – Building the Tabernacle

Exodus repeats much of the information regarding the tabernacle in the final chapters, signaling the restoration of Israel to God’s favor.  The Hebrews finish the tabernacle according to God’s design.

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Our Next Bible Study: Elijah, the Great Prophet of God

Dear friends:

Elijah was the great prophet of God. Though he left us no writings, his actions and teachings are recorded in I and II Kings. … Elijah appeared at a critical moment in the history of Israel to challenge a tyrant and turn the nation back toward God. … Every Christian needs to learn about this great prophet.

Our Easter Bible study this year is on the Prophet Elijah. The four-week series begins the week of April 29. We’re back to our three-day schedule again: Tuesday nights at St. John Fisher, Wednesday nights in Charlotte, and Thursday mornings at the St. Irenaeus Center. For meeting times and more information, download our flyer (here). And tell your friends!

May our Lord bless each of you and your families in this Easter season.

Exodus 14 – Moses as Mediator

After the great sin of the golden calf, Moses asks God to see His glory to know His ways. God shows Moses His reflected glory, but shields him from His face. God writes the tablets again, with no changes, to present to the people as a covenant. God instructs the Hebrews to worship Him alone, for He is a jealous god. This jealousy is a desire for an exclusive relationship, as we can see in James 4:5 and 2 Cor 11:2. God also commands that the Hebrews observe the Sabbath and the harvest feasts.

Moses comes back to the people, but shields his face with a veil to prevent the people from seeing God’s glory fade. This veil separates the people from God, but Jesus removes that veil, as Jeremiah 31:31ff prophesies.

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Exodus 13 – The Golden Calf

When Moses delays in coming down from Mt. Sinai, the people demand an idol of gods to go before them. Aaron makes a bull out of the people’s gold, in the form of some of the Canaanite gods, and declares it to be the god that brought the Hebrews out of Egypt. God proposes to kill the Hebrews and make a great nation out of Moses, but Moses intercedes for the people. God, through Moses, directs the tribe of Levi to slay those notorious in the production of the golden calf, and for that, the tribe of Levi is ordained for service to the Lord. God tells the people that He will not be among them, for they are a stiff-necked people and He would consume them. He orders the people to take off their ornaments and mourn, and God resides in the tent of meeting outside of the camp.

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Exodus 12 – Ordination of Priests

The law defines the high priest’s garments, which includes the twelve tribes of Israel for a remembrance to God. The ordination of priests also includes an ablution which relates to baptism, which can be seen also in Heb 6:1f. God also identifies things that are holy and not for outsiders in the ordination process. There is also a description of the incense altar in the tabernacle.

The people would be taxed for the upkeep of the temple, and this was a way to show the participation of the people in atonement for their sins.

Before the close of the revelation at Sinai, God reiterates the importance of keeping the Sabbath.  The tablets are then completed and given to Moses.

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Exodus 11 – Holy Things

The book of Exodus dedicates significant space to the description of the tabernacle of the Lord. This may be difficult to read through, but it is important to the understanding of the worship of God. The Ark of the Covenant points to Mary (as we can see in Luke 1:35 and in the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, similar to 2 Samuel 6, and Revelation 12), and the holy place of the tabernacle and the holy of holies are but a shadow, or type, of what exists in Heaven. This description is seen as well in the book of Revelation.

The Ark of the Covenant is overlaid in gold and a cover called the Mercy Seat, where God is enthroned, is over it, with two cherubim, angels with wings and human faces. Inside were the tablets of the ten commandments, Aaron’s staff, and a jar of mana. These things reflect the Word of God, the priesthood, and the bread that came down from Heaven, respectively.

The table of the bread of the presence is also described, which is a table that contains 12 loaves of bread, offered to God but also shared by men and a symbol of God’s covenant with man. Also in the holy place is a lampstand, which has a figure of budding almonds, a sign of life which may also be reflected in Num 17:8, where budding almonds also show favor from God.

The tabernacle was a tent that was constructed to be erected whenever they were in a place and was designed to be movable. The tabernacle tent is a box decorated by rich curtains, divided into a large holy place separated by a veil from a much smaller cube of the holy of holies.

God wishes to dwell with His people, to sanctify the space where His holy place is, God asks us to give freely to worship Him in the way that He commands us, and that this sacrifice should be a worship of some value. This reverence and value increases as the holy things get closer to the Ark of the Covenant. Unholy worship can be punished, as were Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10.

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