2 Reasons Why Jesus’ “Failed” Miracle is the Turning Point of Mark’s Gospel

healing of blind man

 My favorite healing story in Mark’s Gospel is the curing of the blind man at Bethsaida. God confirmed this because the lone bookmark in my study bible remained on Mark 8:22-26. I placed that bookmark over 4 years ago!

will wow gif

 Like most of the healing stories in Mark, the curing of the blind man is short. Here is the text,

22When they arrived at Bethsaida, they brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on him and asked, “Do you see anything?”g 24Looking up he replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.” 25Then he laid hands on his eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly. 26Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.” (Mark 8:22-26 New American Bible)

I call this Jesus’ “apparent failed miracle” mostly because he has to cure the blind man in stages—the cure does not happen instantaneously.  The man’s statement, “I see people looking like trees and walking”,  is the oddest sentence  I ever read in the New Testament.

It took me a long time to realize the purpose of this story. I give two reasons for why Mark 8:22-26 is the turning point in Jesus’ ministry.

patience

The healing happened in stages

This healing stands unique against Jesus’ other healings because Jesus does not heal the blind man right away. St. Jerome in Homily 79 viewed this passage allegorically to signify mankind’s gradual increase in wisdom. In other words, God’s revelation of truth throughout the Old Testament, New Testament, and current in the age of the Church is incremental.

Peter’s declaration happens immediately after this healing

I previously mentioned the significance of having a contextual reading of the Bible as a whole. Most people tend to see this as reading books in the context of other biblical books. Yet, in the case of Mark 8:22-26 a contextual reading to draw out this passage’s meaning can occur within the gospel itself.

Peter declares Jesus to be the Christ in Mark 8:30. I do not think this was a coincidence on the part of the evangelist. I believe  Mark placed the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida before Peter’s revelation strategically. He wanted to show  how God’s truth is revealed gradually.

From this point of the gospel until the end Jesus starts to ramp up his predictions of his Death and Resurrection. He reveals his identity more and more!

Living out the Gospel

I challenge you all to reflect upon this healing story and ask yourself these questions: At what stage am I at in my faith journey? Do I truly recognize Jesus to be the Christ as Peter proclaims, or am I still partially blind in my faith and seeing “theological trees”?

trees look like people


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How to Grow Your Business When You Lack Time— Hire a Social Media Manager!

Looking for help to grow your business

💡💡💡Fun fact: 81% of marketers found that increased traffic occurred with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing.
The average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds, this year the average attention span is just 8 seconds. That is less than the 9 second attention span of your average goldfish.

❓How can you grab someone’s attention with so much other competing content?

✅ Invest in making relevant, consistent, and valuable content for your audience or customers.

🕒 Don’t have time or you don’t have the skills?

That’s okay! One option is to enlist the help of a social media manager—someone in charge of developing, curating, and sharing your message on your business page.

❓Do you know that I manage social media accounts for small businesses and entrepreneurs?

✅ Currently, I am managing and creating content for Biblical Principles for Growth’s social media pages and have updated websites for other small businesses.

Why Do I Love Helping  Small Businesses?

I enjoy and find fulfillment in this work because it satisfies my creative and intellectual sides.

  • But most of all I love being able to use my God given talent of writing to help build others up.
  • Owning a small business takes a lot of dedication. I know because my mom has her own cleaning business. I recall countless times my siblings and I helped her with her work.
  • If you know of any small business or entrepreneur who is interested in building their brand and attracting more leads and clients please pass my information on to them.

I am looking to acquire new clients and would appreciate any referrals. 😊

What’s next for your business?

If you are interested in growing your personal brand’s presence on social media email me at chicoine.matt@live.com for more information. I would love to discuss setting up a tailored plan to fit your business needs.

📊 I specialize in LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

🙏 Thank you for any help you can give and hope you have a blessed week! 🙂

 

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3 Reasons Why Jesus was Baptized

In 2019, Bishop Joseph Tobin tweeted a questionable statement about Jesus’ Baptism,

“Christ stood with all of us sinners seeking redemption” and that “the sinless Redeemer was reborn in grace”.

Whether his intention was heretical or if it was simply loose and careless theology could certainly be up for debate, I wish to write to clarify the reasons for why Jesus was actually Baptized.

Jesus' Baptism

Did Jesus Require Baptism?

Contrary to the cardinal’s statement,  Jesus did not require Baptism for salvation. Christ also did not need to be “reborn in grace”.  Jesus entered the waters of the Jordan as an example for his disciples to follow.

In John 3:5 Jesus taught Nicodemus [and later us] of the necessity for Baptism when he declared, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church recognizes the importance of this passage as well:

 Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or the godparent is asked: “What do you ask of God’s Church?” The response is: “Faith!” (No. 1253).

Along with modeling the importance of Baptism, though Jesus himself did not require cleansing from sin, three additional lessons may be learned from the Event of the Baptism of Our Lord.

Fulfillment of Old Testament

Noah's Ark Baptism

Several key events in the Bible relate to water. Here are a few examples of Baptismal events foreshadowed in the Old Testament:

  • The Great Flood in Genesis 6-8
  • Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea
  • Joshua Crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says,

Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself. Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament. As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New (CCC 129).

The Baptism of Jesus is a feast to help us realize the fulfillment of God’s promises from long ago.

Prefiguring the Death of Jesus

Jesus’ Baptism foreshadowed his Death on the Cross. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI describes this perfectly in his work Jesus of Nazareth,

Looking at the events (of Christ’s baptism) in light of the Cross and Resurrection, the Christian people realized what happened: Jesus loaded the burden of all mankind’s guilt upon his shoulders; he bore it down into the depths of the Jordan. He inaugurated his public activity by stepping into the place of sinners. His inaugural gesture is an anticipation of the Cross. He is, as it were, the true Jonah who said to the crew of the ship, ”Take me and throw me into the sea” (Jon. 1:12) . . . The baptism is an acceptance of death for the sins of humanity, and the voice that calls out “This is my beloved Son” over the baptismal waters is an anticipatory reference to the Resurrection. This also explains why, in his own discourses, Jesus uses the word
“baptism” to refer to his death (18).

Death to sin [original] gives way to a new life in the sacrament of Baptism. A new life of grace occurs through the waters of Baptism.

Door Way to Adoption

According to my favorite reference book– the thesaurus, synonyms for adoption include the following: acceptance, confirmation, ratification, and support. While each of those words convey a strong and position sense of adoption the synonym that stood out most to me was embracing.

Adopted Children of God

Biological birth occurs through the profound act of sex. Unfortunately, not every child is welcomed as a gift. Sometimes unplanned pregnancies occur. Tensions arise. But people who desire adoption more often want to be parents. In the adaption process, parents actively seek out their soon-to-be children.

The Catholic Church teaches in the Catechism in paragraph 1265, “Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,” member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit.”

Enter New Life

Original sin tarnished the biology of humanity. Humans naturally seek their own will over the Will of the Father. Through the waters of Baptism original sin is destroyed. One enters into sacramental life of the Church.

Baptism of Jesus

Jesus didn’t require rebirth into the sacramental life of grace. John baptized Christ in fulfillment of the Old Testament. Christ’s baptism also prefigured his Death and Resurrection. He modeled the sacramental life in allowing himself to be baptized. German Catholic philosopher Josef Piper declared, “Adoption is the visible Gospel.” The graces received via Baptism bring new life. Baptized Christians become adopted children of God!


Do you want to receive regular updates about new posts related to why Catholicism matters in your life, writing tips, or simply want to learn more about the case of the Muffin Miscreant (there will be an update soon!)?

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Related Links

Remember Your Baptism

Why Jesus was Baptized

Why Catholics Must Have Bible A.D.D Part 6- Destructive Waters

The Sacrament of Baptism: Gateway to New Life

US Cardinal, Jesus Was “Reborn in Grace” – What?

 

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3 Qualities the Best Leaders Possess

True leadership is never self-proclaimed—instead, it is recognized by others.

What are the top three qualities in a leader?

Here is my list 👇

Gratitude

Excellent leaders thank the people they work with and for often. You can never be too grateful as long as it is sincere.

Empathy

Utilizing this ability workplace makes anyone you interact with instantly more at ease.

Consistency

Being consistent in character and work ethic is essential for a leader. Having that predictable behavior makes you a cornerstone to build a culture around and helps mitigate frustrations on days when everything goes haywire.

What do you think of my list?

What top three qualities would you consider a requirement to be a leader?

Let me know in the comments below. 😊

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5 Astonishing Facts about Your Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 2nd, 2019.


October 2nd is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. These messengers of God played pivotal roles throughout the events of the Bible. In fact, the word angel derived from the Greek word angelos which meant “messenger”.  Angels visited Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and  Gideon to name a few examples. In the New Testament, the angel Gabriel visited Mary recognizing her holiness and that God called her to be the mother of Jesus.

Growing up I was fascinated with the topic of angels. My parents always had us recite the Guardian Angel prayer before bedtime.  This tradition has continued in my family and my kids even say that prayer that before school. Catholics believe in spiritual beings, yet on a practical level and in “adult” conversations I have to admit this has been a teaching of the Church that I need to be better at living out and believing in myself.

Unfortunately, life gets busy, stress-inducing, and chaotic. It gets easy to forget out spiritual matters when all your troubles are tangible. Mortgage payments, hospital bills, strained family dynamics, or dissatisfaction at work are things people often battle. These are definitely pain points in my life. We crave truth, peace, and joy. Catholics live in the world while dreaming and hoping for the world to come. St. Augustine wrote, “Our hearts are restless until it rests in You (God)”.

The Feast of the Guardian Angels is a reminder that we should never give up hope. We always have someone to help us out even if our eyes cannot see.

An Angel for All

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 336, “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.” You. Me. Everyone now, in the past, and who will live in the future has a guardian angel to protect them from harm.

We Don’t Transform into Angels

It is common for people to post in reaction to the death of a love one: “He/she just received their angel wings in Heaven!” Angels are separate beings from humans. If you go to Heaven in Union with God after you die, you will remain yourself. You will receive a gloried body, but you will not become an angel.

Continue reading

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7 Ways to Shield Yourself against Anxiety!

Captain America Shield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every day we have a choice. We either give into the pressures of daily living or to crumble upon the weight of stress. The constant flux of life makes stress inevitable.

Despite, the fact that stress will always surround me in some way, shape, or form I should not despair. Instead, I have learned to shield myself against the pressures of this world and the snares the Devil lays out to try to entrapment. Here are seven ways to arm you against anxiety:

***NOTE: These are only suggestions. Some of the strategies may not be applicable to your situation at this time in your life. Please use these shields against anxiety as it suits your needs/situation.***

Prayer

1 Peter 5:7 states, “Cast all your worries upon Him because he cares for you.” The Holy Spirit truly does work in mysterious ways. I am currently in a training class for my new position and the title of the session is A.R.E. in the Workplace. Perhaps it was a coincidence; I rather see it as perfect divine timing.

Prayer is communication with the Divine Creator of the Entire Universe. It involves a dialogue not a monologue. Much of my spiritual journey had me focus on my end of communication—asking God for my wants. I did not always listen. Something I have done to open communication is to be more deliberate in my gratitude.

michael scott tears of joy

Music

 Along with prayer, song safeguards me from anxiety. I used to listen to rock music; however, four years ago I made a shift in the type of music that played in my car. Because the words we hear impact our daily living, my shift to living to positive and uplifting Christian music protects me from the chaos life throws my way.

Counseling

 Together with prayer and encouraging music, monthly counseling appointment defends myself from the foray caused by the foibles of myself and my fellow neighbors. Counselor is a title given to the Holy Spirit as well. Between my professional counseling sessions, I can rely on the aid of the Holy Spirit to console me against daily anxiety.

Reading

 A fourth shield in my armory against anxiety is frequent reading of good books. According to Frederick Douglas, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” While this quote is not necessarily an absolute truth, I will attest to that reading can be a doorway to freedom. As I journey into the literary universes of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, to name a couple of my favorite authors, I am afforded respite from the toils of work. Through the written word I am also able to travel—in a sense – back in time to meet holy men and women and learn about they existed in a world that was not their home.

2 Timothy 4:7

Exercise

St. Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7 provided a timeless example of the spiritual life, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” I joined cross country in high school and my passion for running continues today. During a stressful week I defend myself from the snares of anxiety by taking my children out in the jogging stroller for a short run. During my neighbor circuits, I was able to reflect on how my day went and how I may be able to improve on my shortcomings.

Medicine

Anxiety medicine does not work for anyone so feel free to disregard this point. However, pharmaceuticals for stress help me to limit the anxieties I impose on myself. Consistent usage of doctor prescribed anxiety medication is beneficial to my unique situation. It took me a long time to acknowledge that outside help was necessary to relief intense stress.

Sacraments

God loves humanity so much that he implemented a support system for his adopted children to utilize to shield against the prowess of the Devil. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church number 1436,

Eucharist and Penance. Daily conversion and penance find their source and nourishment in the Eucharist, for in it is made present the sacrifice of Christ which has reconciled us with God. Through the Eucharist those who live from the life of Christ are fed and strengthened. “It is a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sins.35

The Holy Spirit absolves me of my sins when I have an authentic contrition. Along with forgiveness, I receive grace to stave off future temptations. When I face despair and doubt in Divine Providence often the sacrament of Confession is the only thing that bring me back to the life of faith!

overcoming anxiety

Whether I am in the shadows of a desolation or experiencing consolation, I found these seven shields an effective defense against the constant assault of anxiety. I will continue to fight the good fight to become the best version of myself and not succumb to impatience, anger, or doubt. I pray that you take up this challenge daily as well!

Related Links

Exercise is a shield against stress

3 Incredibly Simple Tools to Incapacitate Anxiety

3 Reasons Why Life is Confusing like a Maze

 

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Why I Became a Writer

Why, How, What

 

 

 

 

 

 

🔷 Everything we do in life is a process or a journey. It takes time, patience, understanding, willingness, collaboration, humility, and gratitude.

🔶 Writing has been my passion forever. Made me a better person

    —a more patient parent,
    —an empathetic employee,
    • —a forgiving friend

the more I write and share with the world.

🔷 Our world is impatient, angry, assuming, unforgiving, and divided. I imagine a world where more people know how to communicate with both TRUTH and CHARITY.

🔶 I believe it is my purpose in life to provide content that provides real unity that goes beyond the screen of our phones.

🔷 As a Catholic, my Church has been scandalous. This resulted in the world and many members of the Body of Christ losing trust in an institution that is meant to lead to Truth!

🔶 I am here to help earn that trust back—not for any personal gain, but because I need to share my gift as a means to thank God for every blessing in my life!

❓Do you have any genuine questions or concerns about Catholicism you want me to address in future posts/articles.

Tell me in the comments ⤵️

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