DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     April 8, 1999     vol. 10, no. 69


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
          Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

          Today, he exposes the false assumptions of what really happened on Calvary and then in the tomb on the third day, ridiculing those new agers and eastern mystics who claim farfetched accounts of Christ's travels and beliefs and who wrongly sylogize that the Son of God really didn't die on the cross. Pat refutes all these through medical facts and Scriptural facts, and the greatest fact of all: faith.

The speculation goes on

      The tomb is empty, let the speculating begin!!!! Well, for some this is perfectly understandable. For the Scribes and the Pharisees who worked tirelessly for His death and for the Roman soldiers guarding it.

      The Scribes and Pharisees concern is obvious, they may just have crucified the Messiah, the Son of God as He claimed. Oops! For the Roman soldiers, the concern was for another reason, and would go a long way in supporting what occurred. It was necessary for the Sanhedrin to claim that Christ's followers had robbed the grave, taking and hiding the body and claiming He rose. One thing they didn't count on though, was Roman law and the Roman soldier. The Romans used geese as early warning devices. They would feed the geese so they would be used to them. On guard duty, the geese would be let free to wander nearby. Any one coming near would cause the geese to begin honking, alerting the remainder of the guard. So, there is no way that anyone 'snuck in' and stole Christ's body. Nor is there any chance that frightened, unarmed, unskilled fishermen and others were about to take on a cohort of Roman Legionnaires. (There's a reason why the Romans had the most successful Army of all time)

      The story goes, that the guards fell asleep and the Apostles came and took the body. Well, there's the geese problem. But what if there were no geese? (Possible though improbable) If a soldier falls asleep on guard today, he gets a reprimand. In the Roman Legion, he was executed. Great incentive to stay awake.

      So, here we have the Sanhedrin saying that they were asleep, while all of Judea knew that was very unlikely. So, the rumor went out and was unstoppable, that Christ rose form the dead and was seen by many.

      Now, why do I tell you this? Because we're still speculating, but in newer, more 'enlightened' ways.

      First, we see many trying to speculate who Jesus was? I recall hearing one person asking, "Where did Jesus get all His learning?" (One would think that being the Son of God would answer that) No, they feel He 'must' have gone to India to learn Buddhism AND/OR to England to learn Druidism. Hence explaining why some Buddhist philosophy and Druid practices seem to mirror Christianity, because Christ learned them and made them part of His philosophy. This explains, to them, why nothing is written about His early life. He was off globe trotting with His Uncle Joseph of Arimathea. (Pretty good trick for a poor carpenter's son from Nazareth) [Ruhani Satsang - Leader: Kirpal Singh. "Jesus Christ was essentially a man of the East, and his teachings are imbued with oriental mysticism. It is even speculated that he spent many of his early years in India and learned from the Yogins and Buddhist monks" (The Crown of Life, Kirpal Singh).]

      They need this because to acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God is unthinkable. All the other 'religious' founders had glorious legends about them. Sidhartha (Buddha) was born to a royal family and immediately walked. And lotus blossoms grew where he walked. No such 'legend' about Christ (unless you accept the gnostic gospels, but there we see a mean little child. Killing a bird to raise to life again, and killing another child for simply bumping into him) No, Christ grew up in obscurity, as per the prophecy.

      "Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him" (Isaiah 53:1-2).

      Is it so hard to believe that God loves us so much that He would send His only begotten Son, so that we may be saved? For them yes, since to do so would mean a change of heart. A redirecting of their priorities.

      Another innovative speculation is that Jesus didn't die on the cross! This has two approaches. One is that someone did die on the cross but it wasn't Jesus, but His twin brother James. (This comes from the notion that James was a biological brother of Jesus, whereas it is more likely he was a cousin) Again, one has to search the gnostic gospels to find this one or some other 'New Age' writings. Again though, if this were true, all they had to do was produce a body. (Going back again to the difficulty of the Apostles stealing the body in the tomb to complete the 'supposed' charade.)

      The other approach is that it was Jesus on the cross, but He didn't die, but merely passed out. A group of doctors got together and, reviewing Scriptures, gave a report on the death of Christ. Their findings were that it was a miracle He survived to make it to the cross. Also, assuming that He was able to, Scripture gives clear evidence that He was dead. "But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out" (John 19:33-34).

      Romans were pretty good at knowing when someone was dead or not. But the key for us is the blood and water. At death, the blood immediately begins to separate itself between plasma and the red blood cells; hence, what they would see as blood and water.

      Another is that Jesus was on the cross, and that He did die, but only His 'essence' rose, not Him physically. (There's the problem of the body again though) This one is keen on those who think of Jesus as having two distinct natures, not even remotely connected. That is, that Jesus' 'human' nature died, but not His Divine 'spirit'. (Anthroposophical Society - Leader: Rudolf Steiner. "According to Steiner, Jesus of Nazareth was just an ordinary man until, at the age of thirty, he received the Christ-Essence during his baptism at the Jordan." (Spiritual Counterfeits Project in Berkeley, CA : Letter, Feb, 1977) Steiner was an occult medium who interpreted the Bible through clairvoyance)

      Why bring this up? Because these notions have invaded many parts of the Church. Here are some others with notions you may recognize.

      " The awakening of individuals to the realization of their own Christ-nature is what will liberate man and transform society" (Darshan The vision of Light, Roy E. Davis). "Jesus was a man who reached Christ-consciousness and was on earth to share the truth of this consciousness." (Center for Spiritual Awareness - Leader: Roy Eugene Davis. Also called Christian Spiritual Alliance.) Many in the Church tell us and our children to seek the god/dess within.

      "Jesus was a reincarnated man, the highest luminary possible. The Christ spirit in Him was a manifestation of the cosmic Christ"( Rosicrucianism).

      It is interesting that it was Fr. Matthew Fox who led many out of the Church, with the notion of the Cosmic Christ. "In order to become true members of the Church of Christ, a person must know not who Jesus was, but what Christ is. Christ, Ishvara, is the very personal force pervading the universe that guides and illuminates every aspirant ... It is not an embodied person, but rather a force in which all individual beings are divine sparks."

      The list goes on and on. The Sanhedrin tried to explain away the resurrection, the soldiers tried to explain how they didn't allow anyone to steal the body. And it goes on and on. If they acknowledge Christ, it would demand they act on it. They would have to do what St. Thomas found himself having to do: "Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.' Thomas answered and said to him, 'My Lord and my God!'" (John 20:27-28).

      Not a spirit, not an 'essence' nor a 'consciousness', but the Son of the Living God. "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed" (John 20:29).

    Pax Christi, Pat

April 8, 1999       volume 10, no. 69


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