*BEST OF DTB #122* The Catholic Defender: We Want A King

Posted by John Benko - November 23rd, 2013

 (Editors note) The last calender Sunday of the Liturgical year is the Feast of Christ the King.  Pope John XXIII instituted this Feast to remind modern man that no matter how technical and sophisticated man becomes, Christ is still the King.

“In his old age Samuel appointed his sons judges over Israel. His first-born was named Joel, his second son, Abijah; they judged at Beersheba. His sons did not follow his example but sought illicit gain and accepted bribes, perverting justice. Therefore all the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, ‘Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your example, appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us” (1 Samuel 8:1-5).

This is a most important scripture because the people of God were asking for a man to be placed in a position to judge the people. Up to this point, God was their King, he lead the nation using Judges such as Samuel.

Previously, at Mount Sinai, the people gathered to hear the word of the Lord given to Moses, “On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking and God answering him with thunder. When the Lord came down to the top of Mount Sinai, he summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up to him. Then the Lord told Moses, ‘Go down and warn the people not to break through toward the Lord in order to see him; otherwise many of them will be struck down. The priests, too, who approach the Lord must sanctify themselves; else he will vent his anger upon them”.

Moses received the 10 Commandments from the hand of God, the bible says, “When the people witnessed the thunder and lightening, the trumpet blast and the mountain smoking, they all feared and trembled. So they took up a position much farther away and said to Moses, ‘You speak to us, or we shall die’. Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid, for God has come to you only to test you and put his fear upon you, lest you should sin. Still the people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the cloud where God was” (Exodus 20:18-21).

Up to this time, the Lord had been speaking to Moses, but the people were able to know that the Lord was with them, leading them, a cloud by day and fire by night. Samuel marks the end of the time of the Prophets and begins the time of the Kings.

Saul would be the first King of Israel, but because of his disobedience, his throne was given over to another, King David. This is highly important because God promised David that his linage would last forever.

At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel told Mary “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom there will be no end”.

Jesus literally is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He is the Priest, Prophet, and King. What the people could not accept at Mount Sinai, Jesus fulfills, what the people couldn’t accept at Ramah, Jesus again fulfills.

Today, we have largely lost the concept of a King because of our democracy. Our society wants to make the Church a democracy. That will not happen as the Catholic Church is the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus is the head of the Church, however, until He returns, Jesus placed St. Peter in charge, the keys of the Kingdom belong to the Pope.

One of the constant struggles of the Church is to spread the word of the Lord to all the nations. The past 2,000 years, there have been much progress, yet, we have much to go in accomplishing our mission.

The Roman Empire was brutal for centuries against the Church. This past Christmas, my wife got me a movie entitled, “The Eagle” staring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell. I really liked this movie and I came away with a unique perspective as it is centered in about 120 A.D. Britanica (England).

Rome had been developing countries, building roads, conquering much of the known world. The Lord would certainly utilize this opportunity to spread His Church. There were some attributes that the Romans held that were strong bonds. Their word was their bond.

In the movie “The Robe”, Richard Burton starred as a Roman Soldier who crucified Christ and the story is about the Robe and it’s affect on him. When he came to terms with who Jesus is, the Soldier offers St. Peter his sword, his possessions, his whole being.

That is important and this was plainly seen in the movie “The Eagle”. The Quest to regain his Father’s honor, Marcus Aquila with the help of a slave, went into the highlands to retrieve the golden eagle lost by his father in a battle. The story builds when they find the eagle.

The Church would ultimately convert the Roman Empire about 200 years later with the conversion of Constantine, who served in Britain. I have been raised to have a deep love for America and the Flag of the United States. The Church is to go to all the nations and bring the gospel to all who will accept it.

Jesus uses the cultures many times to reach the nations. Jesus is King of Kings and this can convert cultures. The Blackfoot Indians on their Reservation during the season of Lent would carry crosses 7 miles doing the Stations of the Cross. The oldest to the youngest capable for the journey would carry crosses wearing ancestral clothing.

The Polish have a similar tradition. Honor and integrity are important attributes to have as did the Roman, Christ restores all peoples into a friendship with God through His Church.

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*BEST OF DTB #185* The Catholic Defender: Spiritual Communion With The Whore

Posted by John Benko - May 13th, 2012

In the recent debates with Non-Catholics, some of them make the claim that the Catholic Church is the “Whore of Babylon” first described in Revelation 17:1-6. John quickly identifies who this Whore is in verse 18 saying, “The woman whom you saw represents the great city that has sovereignty over the kings of the earth. To St. John, this could only be one city! In Revelation 11:9, St. John identifies where and who this great city is saying, “There corpses (the two witnesses) will lie in the main street of the great city, which has the symbolic names ‘Sodom’ and ‘Egypt’ where indeed their Lord was crucified. This is Jerusalem. The Whore of Babylon is Jerusalem and it is no great surprize that St. John recognized the Soverignty of God in Jerusalem.

As I considered this truth, another issue took center stage. Those who believe the Catholic church to be the Whore of Babylon are still awaiting for the Kingdom to be established by Jesus Christ. They are waiting for the establishment of His kingdom. This is an important difference. Jesus already established His Kingdom! He did this 2,000 years ago when he established His Church giving it His authority. This is why they see the Catholic Church as a worldly institution and they believe it comes from the anti-Christ.

Of this kingdom, the Prophet Daniel writes, In the lifetime of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people; rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and put an end to them” (Daniel 2:44). Did Jesus establish this kingdom when he first appeared in human history, or is this kingdom yet to come? This seems to be the question between Catholics and Protestants.

Daniel further writes, “One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

Daniel speaks of a kingdom and a king. This kingdom is founded by this king who has an everlasting reign with an everlasting kingdom. All the nations will serve him. The question remains, when is the establishment of this kingdom and the coronation of this king?

Daniel gives an important clue writing “One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, He received dominion, glory, and kingship”, this is a prophetic utterance of the Ascension of Jesus.

Jesus said, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). It is interesting that Jesus identifies himself with a question, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is? Jesus is clearly identifying himself with Daniels prophecy. This is an important answer to the question of when Jesus established the kingdom!

It was Simon Peter who said in reply, “Your are the Messiah (the Christ), the Son of the living God.” Jesus as the Christ is truly the “Son of David”, who sits on the throne of his Father David. Jesus is the king that Daniel writes about. Jesus replies to Peter, You are Peter (Kapa) and upon this rock (Kapa) I will build my church (kingdom), and the gates of the netherworld (the jaws of death) shall not prevail against it. Jesus is establishing his Church, his kingdom right here and now! At this point, Jesus continues, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what ever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:13-19).

The question is often asked, “If the Catholic Faith is the Kingdom of God on earth, why is there sin and why have some Catholics done evil in the sight of the Lord”? This question disturbs me greatly, but there is an important answer to it. Matthew 13 Jesus gave the parable of the weeds among the wheat, after dismissing the crowds, Jesus explains, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man (remember Daniel’s “son of man”), the field is the world, the good seed the children OF THE KINGDOM. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age and the harvesters are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect OUT OF HIS KINGDOM all who caused others to sin and all evildoers. It is clear that the Kingdom of God has been established and there will come a judgment.

Of this Kingdom, Isaiah said, “No weapon fashioned against you shall prevail; every tongue you shall prove false that launches an accusation against you. This is the lot of the servants of the Lord, their vindication from me, says the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17).

The Non-Catholic is trying to save Catholics calling the Church this “Whore of Babylon”. As you can see, this is not the case, the Catholic Faith is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ and set up as his kingdom that will never fall to anyone. The Roman Empire fell in 476 A.D., yet the Church remains. Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead and this kingdom will have no end.

This coming Friday, I will be standing up for the Catholic Church and her teaching on the Eucharist. Jeremiah 31:34 says, “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt (passover); for they broke my covenant and I had to show myself their master, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord”.

Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords fulfilled this prophecy of Jeremiah. On the night Jesus was betrayed, at the Last Supper, Jesus said, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28).

For those of you who have a problem with the Catholic Church changing the Sabbath Day to the “Lord’s Day”, this is a discision of the Kingdom of God on earth. For those of you who want to restore the Old Testament law of Moses, the Catholic Church ruled on this at the Council of Jerusalem in 49 A.D. Jesus said, “You see all these things, do you not (refering to the Temple in Jerusalem)? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:2). The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. fulfilled the Old Testament law, the priesthood of Levi was no more. Now it is the priesthood of Christ, a new and everlasting covenant, a new and everlasting kingdom.

Those of you who continue to cast your sword like Don Quixote at an invisible straw man, you can certainly share in the spiritual communion with the “Whore of Babylon”, you can continue to join her in rebellion against the Kingdom of God by refusing to submit to God’s authority, His Catholic Church. You can join those who support abortion, gay marriage, secularism, socialism, and what ever else you can join.

Those of you who are Catholic, I encourage you to deepertruth, to discover the depths of grace, the faith of the Apostles and Prophets, the Kingdom of God on earth. Jesus is coming to judge the living and the dead, may your oil lanterns be full and ready, Amen.

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*BEST OF DTB #144* The Catholic Defender: Our Desert Experience

Posted by John Benko - February 26th, 2012

We all can reflect on the road we have traveled. Many of us can identify what the “desert experience” is. Lent is a great opportunity to take self-inventory to see what stands in our way or what we need to do to grow closer to the Lord.

You may know someone who has been addicted to drugs, pornography, alcohol, cigarettes maybe gambling. When we or a family member has been addicted to something like the above, it can be very difficult for the family.

Sometimes we tend to bring on these desert experiences on ourselves. But not all, some of us have faced abuse, neglect, due to someone who was in control.

There are many people today who are in prison because they themselves were abused and unloved, regardless of any desert experience we have endured or gone through.

There is a light on the other side of the tunnel. There is hope!

Soldiers who are deployed and face danger can identify with this. Families who sacrifice normal family life give daily when their loved ones are on a year long deployment. This is a sacrifice few can appreciate because they do not know what it is for a parent to be gone for a 12-15 month deployment.

The Catholic Church gives us a wonderful opportunity to place our journey and unite it with Jesus Christ.

Through Jesus Christ, we can find strength and necessary healing from our past desert experiences.

Luke 4:18-19 quotes Isaiah 61:1-2, saying “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord”.

Jesus, through his life, death, and resurrection, has brought salvation to the world. No matter what sin we have done, no matter what has happened to us, we all need his help.

St. Paul writes, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers loved by God, how you were chosen. For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction. You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit, so that you become a model for all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves openly declare about us what sort of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-10).

There is a lot here to consider. We see the importance of prayer in the working of our faith, the labor of love. We see a glimpse of the Trinity as St. Paul invokes the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, showing our hope, our love, and his choosing of us to accomplish his will.

St. Paul infers the Catholic Faith on a couple of instances, “our gospel” covers all the deposit of faith given to the Apostles.

St. Paul also notes that his listeners were “Imitators” of the Apostles which comes through the Holy Spirit. This gospel is proclaimed by the Catholic Church as they went forth teaching and spreading the Faith despite great affliction.

Through their preaching and witness, they turned people away from the worship of idols.

Jesus delivers us from whatever desert experience we have faced. Jesus established the Catholic Faith that is sent by Jesus to proclaim the “Good News”, to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to recover the sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

This is the Catholic Faith, it has been handed down to us, yes, entrusted to us by the Lord himself through His Apostles.

If your sitting on the fence, if you have been abused or have been living in sin, St. Paul offers this advice: “Working together, then, we appeal to you not to recieve the grace of God in vain. For he says: ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, ond on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).

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Christmas day post mortem

Posted by John Benko - December 26th, 2011

As you woke up this morning, maybe you felt something like I did- eyes a little bleary from having stayed up late, head a little sore and still ringing from the laughter and Christmas music. Maybe, like me, you have assorted aches and pains from the annual family Christmas day football game.

Maybe you have that bittersweet cocktail going on – 2 parts let down, 1 part relief, 1 part dread at getting back to work and facing a new year. Hopefully, you didn’t have a Christmas day flat tire, like I did.

But maybe, just maybe, you are like the Grinch this morning, puzzling till your puzzler is sore about how Christmas came without Ribbons and came without tags and came without packages boxes or bags. (We had to open presents Christmas Eve). Maybe, like me (and our green friend), once again, the true meaning of Christmas shone through and you are feeling the strength of 10 grinches plus 2 (that’s 12 grinches for those in Washington DC).

What a magnificent Christmas this was for me (and not just because I threw 7 touchdowns, as we won the family football game) Christmas was wonderful this year because it was a day of connection, a day of reconciliation. Maybe not full reconciliation but (at the risk of torturing the metaphor) a day when the ball was moved down the field considerably.

Whether you credit the Angel Clarence or the ghost of Christmas past, there is just something about the magic of Christmas the heals the troubled soul. Thornton Wilder had it right-

In the war of love,
only wounded soldiers can serve.
~ from “The Angel that troubled the waters”

Only when you have suffered, can you truly empathize with those who suffer, only when you have truly loved, unselfishly, can you truly know and receive love. My family of wounded soldiers all fought on the same side yesterday.

Great and wondrous gifts were exchanged , gifts that could not fit under the tree. Fellowship, forgiveness, contrition and reconciliation. These are the only things that make us truly human. These are the only things that make life worth living.

The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
~John 1:5

So, in a manner of speaking, Christmas brings a new lease on life- not physical life, which is here today and gone tomorrow- but spiritual life which conquers and endures forever. Spiritual life that flows from God and through us, Grace that breaks down walls and crashes through barriers and makes whole the broken-hearted and restores peace to the troubled soul. It renews us, it recharges us, us gives us hope. A light to follow, a light to celebrate, a light to emulate.

In June of 2 BC, a spectacular event took place in the night sky over the middle east, as the planet Jupiter conjoined with Venus. The Magi would have seen it as the definitive sign to begin their journey from Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq).

In this area of the world, the daytime temperature can exceed 130 degrees in June. They would have traveled by night. They would have traveled in the darkness, led by the great light. Yes, the great light of the Bethlehem Star (Jupiter), but even more, by the great light of the child it led to.

2The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.

3Thou hast multiplied the nation, and hast not increased the joy. They shall rejoice before thee, as they that rejoice in the harvest, as conquerors rejoice after taking a prey, when they divide the spoils.

4For the yoke of their burden, and the rod of their shoulder, and the sceptre of their oppressor thou best overcome, as in the day of Median.

5For every violent taking of spoils, with tumult, and garment mingled with blood, shall be burnt, and be fuel for the fire.

6For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.

~Isaiah 9

Your Christmas tree cannot duplicate that light, it can only symbolize it, but what a magnificent symbol it is. Remember, when you were a child and you gazed in wonder at the lighted tree? Imagine how your heart will leap, when you gaze upon the Light Himself?

If only for a few hours yesterday, enraptured in the love and fellowship of family and friends, I had another foretaste- another sip- of the joy that awaits. I will hold this in my heart beyond January 6th, the end of this blessed Christmas season.

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*BEST OF DTB #119* The real message of Christmas

Posted by John Benko - December 25th, 2011

Life changes fast, doesn’t it. This Christmas day is my 48th but it is the first one in which there were no presents under our tree on Christmas morning. Very strange. Christmas morning next year is likely to be the second, as we hope to celebrate Midnight Mass in the church built over the very spot where our beloved Savior was born in Bethlehem, more than 2 Millenniums past.

To a disbelieving world, our faith seems rather peculiar and bizarre and, to be quite frank,we quarrel enough amongst ourselves to give them cause to make sport of it. “Some King you have” they must think, “born in a place where animals feed, scorned and ridiculed by some of His own relatives, crucified for a crime He did not commit so His followers could fight amongst themselves for 2,000 years”.

Laugh if you must, but I take great comfort from the fact that I have a King that wants to meet where I am. Especially since I could not hope to reach Him.

For those pondering how they might find God, if He exists, the journey would logically begin as an intellectual pursuit. Where should I begin to look? would be an understandable starting point but it would lead to an equally understandable frustration, for there is no shortage of deities laying claim and no shortage of sects within each religion. How could one hope to find God?

One can’t by oneself, and that is just the point of Christmas. You cannot find God. You must seek Him, then let God find you, knowing in your heart, that He will, if you will only let Him.

That, my friends, is the real message of Christmas. We could not find God, so He found us. We could not justify ourselves before God, so mercy found us. We could not see through the darkness, so light found us. If you have ever been lost in the woods at night, you know what I am talking about.

If you cannot find God, be still and believe, and let Him find you. Then, and only then, can you fully apprehend the miracle that is Christmas. Until you apprehend the miracle of Christmas, solving the riddle that is life is hopeless and your life, regardless of how prosperous, or tragic, will be nothing more than vaporous vanity.

In solving the message of Christmas, the message of life is solved and even the most painful life, plods on with perserverence and hope, and ends in rapturous joy.

The message of Christmas is how God chose to deal with sin and the misery caused by it. The blight of sin caused paradise on earth to be exchanged for a cold, lost and dying place. God’s Justice makes removing that penalty impossible and so, each day, we suffer and we watch others suffer.

The shocking and piercing reality of God’s love for us, as Jennifer Fulwiler (former atheist turned Catholic) so brilliantly put it, was that God’s response to suffering was not to eliminate it but to plunge Himself right into the middle of it.

So, Jesus did not choose to remove the chill from the night air around Bethlehem, He chose to be a baby, shivering in that air just like the shepherds. To a helpless world, He came as a helpless child. He was like us in all things except sin.

All things means all things. Have you ever felt frustrated? sad? grief-stricken? abandoned? God is with us in all these things.

A few year’s ago, a very blasphemous song came out called
What if God was one of us?

If God had a name, what would it be?
and would you call it to His face?
If you were faced with Him, in all His glory,
what would you ask, if you
had just one question?

and yeah, yeah, God is good
and yeah, yeah, God is great,
and yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us.
Just a stranger on the bus.
trying to make His way home.

If God had a face, what would it look
like and would you want to see,
if seeing meant that you would have to
believe in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints,
and all the prophets?

and yeah, yeah, God is good
and yeah, yeah, God is great
and yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,

What if God was one of us,
just a slob like one of us,
just a stranger on the bus,
trying to make his way home,
nobody calling on the phone,
except for the Pope, maybe in Rome?

The point of this song is to suggest that, even if there is a God, it is of no benefit because He cannot relate to me. God is up there, with Jesus and all the saints and the prophets and we are down here. The message of the song is that God is, in fact, not one of us. The message of Christmas is that God, in the person of Jesus, in a stunningly real way, is one of us.

The entire dilemma is played out in the Crucifixion scene where you see, in dramatic fashion, the suffering of Christ and the right response contrasted with the suffering of Christ and the wrong response. It is more than just claiming faith in Jesus, in mere words.

The bad thief told Jesus, in so many words; You cannot be God because I suffer. The good thief said, in so many words; Yes, I suffer, Yet, you are God.

Atheists often argue that if God cannot remove all suffering from the world, He is either not all-powerful or He is not just.

They rationalize that if a merciful God has power over the world, in which He reigns, He cannot fail to eliminate suffering. Therefore, since He cannot do this, they choose not to believe. They have it backwards. Unbelief is not caused by suffering. Suffering is caused by unbelief. It is a disbelieving world that has pushed God’s mercy aside and cast their lot with Satan. If this world is choosing Satan, God’s Justice demands that the world understand the consequences of that decision. If you let the roaring lion out of the cage and he devours an innocent child, can you blame anyone but yourself for the child’s death?

In the same way, each one of us bears at least some responsibility in fostering a culture of darkness or a culture of light. Is it rational to think it unjust that an innocent child suffers and dies or that a loving father is killed in a car accident? Yes, it is rational to feel that way. It can even be commendable, to a point.

Sure, it is less selfish to ask where God is because my family member suffers than to say where is He because I, myself suffer. It is less selfish still, to ask why innocent children and strangers suffer.

Yet, words are not enough. God is not indifferent to the suffering of the innocents but it is not God preventing God from healing, it is man. For God is not only One of Us but One with Us.

So, when we see so much suffering in the world and we accuse God Why do you see all this suffering and do nothing?, expect the index finger of God to point back at you, as He charges you with the same question. This is the miracle of Christmas and the miracle of Christianity and the message of the cross. To the bad thief, Jesus may say;

My child, right now, I cannot remove your suffering. You may not understand
why at this time but your suffering is the result of sin- your sins, and the sins of

My justice demands that I must passively allow your suffering for a season
but I would not do so, even for a second, If I were not able to bring from it, a
greater good.

So, my child, though I cannot end your suffering right now, I choose, for
love of you, to join you in it. Yes, I am able to take us both down from the
cross, but then, how would I save you? So, I choose to suffer, not to prevent
you from suffering, but to join you in it and give it immeasurable

As humans, we can suffer and we will suffer. We suffer in different ways and to different degrees and for different durations. Some complain bitterly over even the smallest sufferings and some show awe inspiring courage, in the face of unimaginable suffering. Suffering is a fact of life. What differs is the response to suffering and that is both a response to the unimaginable love of God and the equally incomprehensible malevolence of the destroyer. Both are played out in the Holy season we call Christmas and beyond.

On Christmas day, we celebrate the child who would embrace suffering to fuse Divinity and humanity in the most selfless act of love the world has ever seen, and will ever see. Three days later, we lament the slaughter of the Holy innocents, those who had to die at the bloody hands of Herod who gave himself wholly over the malevolence and pride of the evil one.

The former says to the guilty I must suffer and die, so you can live, the latter says to the innocent, you must suffer and die, so that I can live as I want.

Two responses to the person of Christ. The first is reflected in the true love of God exemplified by a grieving parent watching their child suffer, wishing they could trade places. The second, by a child molester mopping up his selfish and disgusting urge with an innocent child. Though these are polar extremes, the truth should not fail to meet you where you are.
For each day, you choose, of your own free will, to heal suffering, to cause suffering or to be indifferent to suffering. Only the first leads to Heaven, where suffering is vanquished. The others lead to hell, where souls are plunged in a universe of suffering.

Jesus does not desire that last, tragic end for us. In fact, so much does He desire rescuing us from the fire that He came down here to be with us and like us. Many of my protestant friends have it wrong. They think salvation is something Jesus does for us. No, it is something Jesus does with us, uniting our sufferings to His and working out our salvation through us. (Colossians 1:24-25, Phillipians 2:12)

Jesus is one of us. That is the message of Christmas. That is the message of Christianity and that is the message of the Catholic church. We could not find Him, He found us. We could not stretch up to reach Him, He stooped down to reach us. Our suffering is in vain, He gave it value. If Jesus is not in your life, it is not because He does not knock, it is because you do not answer. You do not seek Him and you do not answer when He seeks you.
The Angels appeared to the shepherds and proclaimed the good news for all people…..even the stranger on the bus.

So, my Christmas wish to those who hold Him dear is that you will stoke that flame and make it burn hotter and brighter that others may see it. To those who had Him and lost Him, try TRY to find Him again. He did not leave you nor forsake you. He was with you when you suffered and He did not give up on you when you failed Him. Search again for Him who is your only hope. To those who never had Him (or only did with a shallow effort), give us a chance to show Him to you. If you will only attempt to come to understand why this time and this faith, is so sacred to us, we will try to find you where you are and show you how to become whole.

Merry Christmas

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*BEST OF DTB #111* T.U.L.I.P. It’s not only un-biblical, it’s un-Christian

Posted by John Benko - November 18th, 2011

I do not take lightly the assertion that a particular Christian denomination is actually anti-christian but the sect of Calvinism does qualify. Let me explain why Calvinism, like Mormonism or Jehovah Witnesses, does not present genuine Christianity, but an evil counterfeit.

The beliefs of the cult of Calvinism are summed up in the acronym TULIP. Let us examine what this heretical set of beliefs are and how they stand at stark variance with the nature of God. Thus, you will see that Calvinism, like contemporary Judaism, Islam, Mormonism and the Witnesses present a false Christ.

Total Depravity
The Calvinist notion of the condition of man is that all men are totally depraved. Scripture, of course, refutes this nonsense in too many places to count.
Here is just one;

Luke 15 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there
was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.

Let us remember that, at this point, neither Zacharias or Elizabeth had ever heard the name Jesus.

Unconditional election.This spiritual rat poison stipulates that God is not at all concerned with the matter of sin as pertains to salvation. In fact, this blasphemy actually has God randomly choosing who He will or will not save according to no particular reason at all. This nullifies God’s Justice. This doctrine is also explicitly refuted by Scripture.

Romans 2
1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: 7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; 8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does
good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.
Limited Atonement

This heretical piffle states that Christ did not die for all but only for certain people. Once again, the Scriptures say exactly the opposite;

Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

Hebrews 7:27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
Hebrews 9:12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Hebrews 10:10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

Irresistible Grace
This doctrine states that all who are called by God’s Grace, and chosen by Christ, cannot resist accepting that Grace. Again, complete nonsense.

John 670 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71* He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.

Perserverence of the Saints
Calvinists hold that those who have received God’s Grace cannot help but persevere in Holiness. Once again, teaching exactly the opposite of what the Bible does.

2 Peter 220 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22* It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit , and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.

Flush the T.U.L.I.P and Do what ever you can to purge this demonic poison from the earth by teaching people that it is from the god of hell, not the God of heaven.

Please catch our Blog talk radio show on this topic. It is entitled Zach and Felipe, hoisted by their own petard.

*BEST OF DTB #55* An open letter to our followers

Posted by John Benko - February 6th, 2011

Dear follower of Deeper Truth Blog,
When I tell you that myself, and the other contributors to this website are deeply humbled by your support and interest, it is no idle boast.

To God be the glory. We are happy merely to be His unworthy servants. Please do not ever make the mistake of believing that we are any holier than you, in any less need of the Grace of Almighty God.

If we posses some bit of knowledge of the truths of Jesus that lead you forward on your journey, of course we are happy about this. Yet, this is not of any credit to us. If the Good Lord has chosen to entrust us with this Spiritual gem or that, it was for His glory and for the edification of His body, the Church.

With a profound sense humility,we offer you what has been given to us freely- that which we could never possibly repay. We offer you the counsel of personal experience that has led us to the sure and certain knowledge that any life that is not a God-centered life is one of futility.

It is not enough to know OF God. Even the demons know this much (James 2:19). Yet, it is not enough, either to say you know Jesus and follow Him, even as you revile His Church. Jesus built the Catholic Church upon the Rock of Peter and it remains His singular vessal of salvation.

Make no mistake, there is not one drop of Grace, dispensed for Salvation that is not dispensed through the Roman Catholic Church. This is not to say that it is impossible for a non-Catholic to be saved, it merely upholds the truth that even those who are saved that, through no fault of their own, cannot find their way all the way home to the Catholic Church, are saved through the Catholic Church.

Between leading a brother or sister back to Catholicism, or not doing so, it is obviously preferable to do so. If we can be even a tiny part of that faith journey, we give glory to God for allowing us to have done so.

In my life, I am what you would call a back-slider. A man placed on the right road that had to learn how to overcome his own addictive, self destructive, unreasoning will. I have had a very unique ability to make things far more difficult on myself than they needed to be and, as a result, brought needless suffering to many people- including those I love. I carry a deep sorrow and regret for these transgressions, not just for the consequences they brought, or even for the consequences they would eventually have brought should they not have ceased (hellfire).

My greatest regret is that these were sins against Love and against He who IS Love.

That I have moved from mere attrition to contrition does indicate progress on my journey but, even in this, I must guard against the sin of pride. If I am contrite it is not of me. It is God who convicts, God who leads to repentance, God who forgives and God who heals. (I have some ways to go in this last category). If I am contrite, it is only because I have cause to be. It is of no credit to me. To tell you the truth, if God were to hit me with the full force of my lifetime of sin, with the full weight of my debt to Him, how could I stand?

The suffering and death Our Lord endured for us- Could I drink of that cup? Could you? I shudder to think that my way to salvation would require such a walk. Could I survive even the scourging? No, not a chance.

We, as contributors to Deeper Truth, stand in awe of what Jesus did for us and fight the daily battle between presumption and scrupulosity, ever mindful of the enemy, ever reaching toward the King. We are profoundly grateful that you take time to examine what we produce and will always to to produce that which is worthy of your high expectations.

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