Monday, February 17, 2014

Catholic Q&A: Part 36

This post continues my series of short answers to common (and not so common) questions about Catholicism. For the previous parts in the series, see the "Catholic Q-A Series" blog label.

Why did Aaron give in so easily to the Israelites to make them a golden calf?

I don’t really know. Aaron's job was to be Moses' representative or spokesman. He was supposed to be utterly subservient to him. We see that as long as he did that, he was fine. But, as soon as Aaron exerted his own will, he got into trouble, as evidenced not only by the golden calf incident but also by the scolding he received from the Lord when he spoke against Moses' decision to marry a Cushite woman (Num 12). Aaron had a specific role to play in God's plan for the people during their slavery in Egypt and their Exodus. For whatever reason, he was never really good at acting outside of that role.

Why didn’t Ananias and Sapphira get a chance to repent before they died?

First some background information: Ananias and Sapphira were the ones who made the apostles think that they were donating all the proceeds of the land that they sold when they were really keeping some of it for themselves (cf. Acts 5:1-11).

Now, why weren’t they given a chance to repent? Because they just weren’t. People don't always get a chance to repent before they die. Death does not always come when we expect it. This is why it is so important to remain in a state of grace. That said, only God knows the heart. He knows how sorry we are for the sins we have committed, even if we do not have the chance to express that sorrow with some act of repentance. Perhaps Ananias and Sapphira were able to cry out to God, in the silence of their hearts, before they died. We will never know.

Is it lawful for someone to take the host from the Eucharistic minister, dip it in the chalice, and eat it?

No, it is not. Dipping the host into the chalice is called intinction. While this is a lawful way to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord, the communicant is not allowed to do this himself. Instead, the Eucharistic minister dips the host into the chalice and then places it on the communicant's tongue. For more on this, see the document from the US bishops: Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America, nos. 49-50.

Rom 16:22 says that Tertius wrote the Letter to the Romans. I thought Paul wrote it. Can you explain?

Paul is certainly the author of the Letter to the Romans. He began by declaring his authorship of it. “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ … To all God’s beloved in Rome” (Rom 1:1, 7). This means that Tertius was his secretary. In other words, Paul dictated the letter to Tertius, and Tertius wrote it down.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

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