Category Archives: Theology

May 8, 2019 – Prosperity and Good Health

Fr. Linsky began with the first Mass reading from Acts 8 about what happened in the very early church after the stoning of Deacon Stephen.

Acts 8:1b New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE) Persecution of the Church. On that day, there broke out a severe persecution[a]of the church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.[b]

I think it is always a good idea to consider the footnotes when reading the Bible to get some idea of what Bible scholars are thinking. That is not to even suggest they are always right, but their comments, usually based on original languages and historical, theological, and literary context, are worthy of consideration and may be enlightening. Here is the text for footnotes (a) and (b) found at this LINK.

Fr. Linsky focused attention on the severe persecution, contrasting that with the way prosperity and good health are sometimes today presented as the major benefits of the Christian faith. Such slanting of the Gospel (Good News) is sometimes referred to as prosperity gospel or prosperity theology.

Catholic theology is more aligned with early Church teaching that the Christian faith empowers us to deal with adversity and suffering, offering them as sacrifices, even as we continue to think positively about the true good news we have heard and gifts we have received and the eternal abundant life we have been promised if we persevere.

A few of us have engaged in some online discussion about a couple of articles on the prosperity gospel. First was a blog post by Southern Baptist Convention President Dr. Albert Mohler, JR., Would You Trade Eternal Life for A Ferrari? The False Gospel of Prosperity Theology. You can read his blog post HERE.

I am not up-to-date with typical Southern Baptist theology of today, but what Dr. Mohler writes rings true with what I learned there in the middle of the last century and with what Southern Baptists I know today believe and practice.

The subject of Dr. Mohler’s post was an insightful article published, of all places, in the Financial Times. The article, by Edward Luce, is entitled A preacher for Trump’s America: Joel Osteen and the prosperity gospel. FT articles are usually available only to subscribers, but this one seems to be accessible HERE. It is all about Mr. Luce’s visits to Joel Osteen’s Houston TX Lakewood Church and his interview with Osteen. It’s worth your time (and money) even if you must do a $1.00 trial subscription.

All this made me think about a chart I created a few years ago about Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Fruits of the Holy Spirit, Virtues, and Vices. I have shared it before, but here it is again, all based on Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Church.

Here is the blog post in which I first published that chart, October 2010, while in the St. Peter’s RCIA class preparing for Confirmation at Pentecost 2011. Suffice it to say that neither prosperity nor good health shows up on the chart. There are, however, several items related to preparation for and dealing with whatever adversity we may face and with putting love of others ahead of concerns about ourselves.

PS: Special thanks to Steven for sharing his personal experience with prosperity theology and a clear explanation of it.

September 19th, 2018 – St. Januarius

St. Januarius

Here is information on St. Januarius. He is the patron saint of blood banks, and I am off this morning to the Red Cross Blood Center for my 111th blood donation since retirement.

Diocletian Persecution

St. Januarius lived, and was martyred, during the Diocletian persecution of the Church. Here is a somewhat difficult to read excerpt from Fox’s Book of Martyrs about that persecution.

Ecclesiology: Study of the Christian Church

As we think about the problems we, the Church, face today, consider the meaning of “ecclesiology. “Here is a document on The Ecclesiology of Vatican II  available at the EWTN website. Here is a quote from it: “If until that time (Vatican II) we had thought of the Church primarily as a structure or organization, now at last we began to realize that we ourselves were the Church.

Given that idea of us as the Church, here is my personal current interpretation. I’m not putting this forward as truth but just as testimony to encourage thinking about ecclesiology.

Added 9/21/18: Mass Readings today include this great passage on ecclesiology, St. Paul writing to the Christians in the Church at Ephesus: “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” – Ephesians 2:19-22

Bishop Barron Q&A Online

And, finally, yesterday Bishop Barron went online on reddit.com for a Q&A with anyone wanting to ask him a question. Many prominent persons have done the same on a Reddit feature called “Ask me Anything.” I’m sure it wore the Bishop out. His responses to the questions are worth reading HERE.