17 March 2012
The 10 Commandments, Extracted from Exodus, Chapter 20:
1 Then God spoke all these words. He said,
2 'I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you lived as slaves.
3 'You shall have no other gods to rival me.
4 'You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth.
5 'You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God and I punish a parent's fault in the children, the grandchildren, and the great-grandchildren among those who hate me;
6 but I act with faithful love towards thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 'You shall not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, for Yahweh will not leave unpunished anyone who misuses his name.
8 'Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
9 For six days you shall labour and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath for Yahweh your God. You shall do no work that day - you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.
11 For in six days Yahweh made the heavens, earth and sea and all that these contain, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why Yahweh has blessed the Sabbath day and made it sacred.
12 'Honour your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land that Yahweh your God is giving you.
13 'You shall not kill.
14 'You shall not commit adultery.
15 'You shall not steal.
16 'You shall not give false evidence against your neighbour.
17 'You shall not set your heart on your neighbour's house. You shall not set your heart on your neighbour's spouse, or servant, man or woman, or ox, or donkey, or any of your neighbour's possessions.'
The Golden Calf - Extracted from Exodus, Chapter 32:
After leading the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses went up Mount Sinai 40 days and 40 nights with God
1 When the people saw that Moses was a long time before coming down the mountain, they gathered round Aaron and said to him, 'Get to work, make us a god to go at our head; for that Moses, the man who brought us here from Egypt - we do not know what has become of him.'
2 Aaron replied, 'Strip off the gold rings in the ears of your wives and your sons and daughters, and bring them to me.'
3 The people all stripped off the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron.
4 He received what they gave him, melted it down in a mould and with it made the statue of a calf. 'Israel,' the people shouted, 'here is your God who brought you here from Egypt!'
5 Observing this, Aaron built an altar before the statue and made this proclamation, 'Tomorrow will be a feast in Yahweh's honour.'
6 Early next morning they sacrificed burnt offerings and brought communion sacrifices. The people then sat down to eat and drink, and afterwards got up to amuse themselves.
7 Yahweh then said to Moses, 'Go down at once, for your people whom you brought here from Egypt have become corrupt.
8 They have quickly left the way which I ordered them to follow. They have cast themselves a metal calf, worshipped it and offered sacrifice to it, shouting, "Israel, here is your God who brought you here from Egypt!" '
9 Yahweh then said to Moses, 'I know these people; I know how obstinate they are!
10 So leave me now, so that my anger can blaze at them and I can put an end to them! I shall make a great nation out of you instead.'
11 Moses tried to pacify Yahweh his God. 'Yahweh,' he said, 'why should your anger blaze at your people, whom you have brought out of Egypt by your great power and mighty hand?
12 Why should the Egyptians say, "He brought them out with evil intention, to slaughter them in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth?" Give up your burning wrath; relent over this disaster intended for your people.
13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom you swore by your very self and made this promise: "I shall make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and this whole country of which I have spoken, I shall give to your descendants, and it will be their heritage for ever."
14 Yahweh then relented over the disaster which he had intended to inflict on his people.
15 Moses turned and came down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, tablets inscribed on both sides, inscribed on the front and on the back.
16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing on them was God's writing, engraved on the tablets.
17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, 'There is the sound of battle in the camp!'
18 But he replied: No song of victory is this sound, no lament for defeat this sound; but answering choruses I hear!
19 And there, as he approached the camp, he saw the calf and the groups dancing. Moses blazed with anger. He threw down the tablets he was holding, shattering them at the foot of the mountain.
20 He seized the calf they had made and burned it, grinding it into powder which he scattered on the water, and made the Israelites drink it.
Moses then made a serpent out of bronze and raised it as a standard
-Extracted from Numbers, Chapters 21:
1 The king of Arad, the Canaanite living in the Negeb, learned that Israel was coming by way of Atharim. He attacked Israel and took some prisoners.
2 Israel then made this vow to Yahweh, 'If you deliver this people into my power, I shall curse their towns with destruction.'
3 Yahweh heard Israel's words and delivered the Canaanites into their power, and they destroyed them in accordance with their curse. Hence the place was given the name Hormah.
4 They left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt round Edom. On the way the people lost patience.
5 They spoke against God and against Moses, 'Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in the desert? For there is neither food nor water here; we are sick of this meagre diet.'
6 At this, God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel.
7 The people came and said to Moses, 'We have sinned by speaking against Yahweh and against you. Intercede for us with Yahweh to save us from these serpents.' Moses interceded for the people,
8 and Yahweh replied, 'Make a fiery serpent and raise it as a standard. Anyone who is bitten and looks at it will survive.'
9 Moses then made a serpent out of bronze and raised it as a standard, and anyone who was bitten by a serpent and looked at the bronze serpent survived.
In Exodus 20:4-5, it is stated that “ You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth. 'You shall not bow down to them or serve them.”
I went to the Churches and I saw statues of Mary, Joseph and other Saints placed in these Churches, do the Catholics worship them?
Here’s the Answer for you based on Accredited Church Teaching and Interpretation, we shall make it simple so that even a child could understand:
Logically, a statue is a statue, be it made of wood, porcelain, clay or any other material, it is always a statue and not a living thing. Each of them is a man-made article, be it placed in the Church or at home or any other places.
There is no Church Teaching stating in any Church Document that the spirits of the Saints are residing in these statues, making any of them special… 8-)
Thus, when they are in any way defective or broken, reasonably, they would need to be thrown away like any other trash into the dustbin, even they have been blessed by a priest earlier.
Statues are placed in Churches to remind us of God and other Saints. For example, when we see the statue or picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it reminds us of the divine love of Christ, who willingly died on the cross to save us...
This has the same meaning as keeping the pictures of our love ones, these pictures are not our love ones and they only remind us about their love for us and the pictures help us to recall all the beautiful memories we have with them… I am sure you agree with me as I saw you taking photos for the same purpose. 8-)
If you see anyone touching any statue in the church lovingly, do not be alarmed or be misinterpreted, they are merely showing love to that particular Saint etc.. They are not worshiping a statue, it is just like a child kissing the picture of his mother who loves him, obviously, the child knows that the picture is not his mother… 8-)
So dear fellow Catholic Brothers and Sisters, this is for you:
Please be “more reserve” in future, or others would think that we are breaking God’s Commandments and becoming a cause of scandal to them. 8-)
With the above mentioned records in the Books of Exodus and Numbers, we see that although Yahweh God forbids us to make any carved image and worship them, as in the case of the “Golden Calf”, He had instructed Moses to make “a serpent out of bronze and raised it as a standard, and anyone who was bitten by a serpent and looked at the bronze serpent survived”.
Is God contradicting Himself? Obviously not. Look at what’s the difference between “the Golden Calf” and “the Bronze Serpent raised as a standard”, “the Golden Calf” is not the god who led the Israelites out of Egypt, a place of slavery. But the “the Bronze Serpent raised it as a standard” represented Christ who was to come into the world; by being crucified on the cross, He has then redeemed the world… anyone who looked at the crucified Christ on the cross and let himself be transformed by Him, would be saved… Once again, to be exact: “The Bronze Serpent raised it as a Standard” is obviously not “Jesus Christ crucified on the cross”.
To be more specific, let’s also talk about Catholics saying Novenas to various Saints, what’s the meaning?
When we say that we are saying a novena, such as attending the Novena session on Saturday in the various Churches, to request the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray for us, we are obviously not praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary, breaking God’s Commandments.
Don’t we always ask our friends to pray for us when we are engaging on a difficult task or mission? Thus, it would be perfectly normal for anyone to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph or other Saints to pray and intercede for us. Believe me, their prayers are even “more effective” than our friends or relatives, as they have proven victorious in life, having won God’s favour and now enjoy eternal bliss. Being united with God, they would be more than happy to help us as they love us. Don’t you think I am right?
And again, by kneeling and/or bowing in front of the Church Altar and the Tabernacle, we are doing homage to the Almighty God who is our Creator, not worshiping any statue... In Encouragements-10, we have highlighted to all the real presence of Christ in the Tabernacle of each Roman Catholic Church, in the form of bread ... And in each Holy Mass, the Holy Spirit transforms the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ for our consumption… Jesus Christ is not only God, He is also a living human being like us; as stated, His blood group is “AB”. Don’t you agree that many of us have the same blood group as Him ? 8-)
17 March 2012