• Sarah Raad


Without FAITH, I may try to assume that this CONTRIVANCE was man-made, but with FAITH, I know that God Himself – through the Holy Spirit – CONTRIVES ALL THINGS!

Road to Emmaus (Michael Torevell)

A few weeks ago, I was talking about Sacred Scripture with a loved one.

As we were discussing the various representations and the rich symbolism and allusion back to Old Testament prophesies in the Gospel accounts of the Passion and Death of Our Lord, this person asked me a very simple question.

And his question was… “Don’t all the coincidences in the Bible relating to the birth, life and death of Christ seem contrived?”

What he was really trying to say through that question was… “Don’t you think that the authors of the Bible just made this stuff up to suit their purposes?”

It is a commonly asked question after all. I mean if the writers of the various books of the Bible had enough time they could easily formulate their texts to suit a message that would serve their purposes. But I in turn must ask, “What purposes?”

What did the early writers (the early Catholics) have to gain by recounting the stories of the birth, death and resurrection of Christ?

Did they gain power and wealth and position? No. In fact, they received the opposite. They left everything, took up their Cross and followed Him.

Did they gain popularity and happiness in this life? No. In fact, they received the opposite. They were persecuted (and remain persecuted today in many parts of the world) and they suffered (and continue in many parts of the world to suffer) for their faith.

Did they gain anything that could be explained in merely human terms? No. In exchange for writing down and professing their faith in the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, Catholics LOST – not gained – everything in this world.

Accordingly, in order to suffer ridicule, persecution and death, the early Catholics believed in Christ – God made Man – and followed Him… And knowing that, it becomes harder to accept that there was some sort of man-made agenda that led to the CONTRIVANCE of Sacred Scripture…

And so – in short – I do believe that the Bible is CONTRIVED… The New Testament (and the Old for that matter) are PERFECTLY CONTRIVED... This is not a criticism of the Bible – but evidence of its authenticity! You see, what my loved one failed to realise is the impact of FAITH in this discourse. You see, without FAITH, I may try to assume (albeit in a weak and flawed manner) that this CONTRIVANCE was man-made, but with FAITH, I know that God Himself – through the Holy Spirit – CONTRIVES ALL THINGS!

And in understanding that, I can consider the First Holy Mass celebrated just days – hours really – after the Resurrection of Christ…

“… And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he (Christ) interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself. So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained Him, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So He went in to stay with them. When He was at table with them, He took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised Him; and He vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?’” (Luke 24:13-35).

During that Mass on the way to Emmaus, Cleopas and his companions (disciples of Christ) listened to the Liturgy of the Word, as God Himself recited Sacred Scripture and reflected on it in the first homily. Then they participated in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, where Christ “…took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them…”

And I reflect on that today because that first Mass, too, was contrived. And how I thank God for that! For I cannot imagine – for the life of me – how we would have ever learned how to celebrate this MOST sacred sacrifice of the Holy Mass, if Christ Himself had not contrived to teach it to us, and the Holy Spirit had not contrived that Saint Luke would write it down and that the apostles (and bishops and priests) would continue to offer it…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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