Saturday, June 01, 2013

Catholic Q&A: Part 32

This post continues my series of short answers to common questions about Catholicism. For the previous parts in the series, see the "Catholic Q-A Series" blog label.

Is Clement and Linus in the Bible the same men that would later become popes?

It's difficult to say for sure, but traditionally these are considered to be references to future popes. Clement is mentioned in Phil 4:3. He became the fourth pope. Linus is mentioned in 2 Tim 4:21. He became the second pope.

In Mark 6:48-49, it says that Jesus meant to pass by them, but the apostles saw Him anyway. Does this mean that Jesus failed in what He was trying to do?

First of all, here is the passage in question:
And he saw that they were distressed in rowing, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out;
Now, when it says, “He meant to pass by them”, this could mean that He wished to go undetected, or it could mean that He wished to walk in their direction. He “passed by them” as in, alongside them.

Now, if Jesus wanted to be undetected, then He would have been undetected. I think Mark meant that Jesus wanted to walk toward them or alongside them. This is confirmed by the parallel passages in Matthew and John, where we read that “he came to them” (Mt 14:25) and “they saw Jesus … walking near to the boat” (Jn 6:19).

Somewhere in 2 Chronicles it says that if you turn your back on God then He will turn His back on you. I have trouble believing that God would do that. Can you explain this for me?

The closest thing I could find to the passage you are referring to is 2 Chron 30:9, “He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” The opposite of this is basically what you have in mind. If you do not return to Him, then He will turn his face from you.

When God turns away from His people, it is a punishment for sin. This does not mean that he completely abandons them. Instead, He withdraws His blessing and His protection from them because with their lives they refuse Him ... but He will never forsake them. As St. Paul said, “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every man be false” (Rom 3:3-4). "He will not fail you or forsake you" (Deut 31:6).

God is always waiting for us to return to Him and to take us back and shower us with His blessing. Sometimes He even blesses us when we don’t deserve it!

Pax Christi,


Anonymous said...

When I read the question on Mark 6 (“Jesus meant to pass them by”) I was reminded of Tim Gray’s study on Mark where he refers to God’s action of “passing by” Moses and Elijah. I can’t remember exactly where Dr. Gray says this but here is the comment from Dr. Mary Healy’s commentary on Mark from the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series:
“Mark is deliberately using the language of a theophany, a manifestation of God’s awesome presence and power. God had revealed himself to Moses and Elijah by ‘passing by’ them (Exod 34:6; 1 Kgs 19:11), and in Job: ‘He alone stretches out the heavens and treads upon the crests of the sea…Should he come near me, I see him not; should he pass by, I am not aware of him’”

Nicholas Hardesty said...

Very interesting, thank you for that! I had never made that connection before.

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