The Old Testament in the Heart of the Catholic Church
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Read Ps 108:1. Read Ps 40:7-10. Read Ps 49:1-3. In biblical tradition, your ''heart'' is

a.   far removed from the place where you make your decisions.
b.   the hidden place where you are truly yourself.
c.   the shallowest and least trustworthy part of yourself.


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In the Catechism the bishops united with the Holy Father teach that Christianity

a.   has a closeness and a link to the Jewish faith unlike any other.
b.   must treat the Jewish faith the same as any other religion.
c.   should have less respect for the Jews, since they rejected the Messiah.

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In the Catechism the Holy Father and the bishops teach that both Jews and Christians await the Messiah. What's the difference in their waiting?

a.   For Jews, the Messiah remains hidden until the end of time.
b.   Jews will be condemned by the true Messiah on the last day.
c.   The true Messiah will turn out to be someone besides Jesus Christ.

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''Christ'' is just the Greek word for ''Messiah.'' ''Christ Jesus'' is another way of saying ''the Messiah, Jesus.'' In the Catechism the Holy Father and the bishops teach that the Jewish waiting for the Messiah ''is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.'' [CCC 840] That sounds important. What does it mean?

a.   An added element of dramatic suspense in the Jewish people's waiting for the Messiah is that they do not know Jesus, nor understand that he is the Messiah.
b.   The Jewish rejection of Jesus is like a drama, in which, on the Last Day, the Jews will be condemned by the very Messiah they did not know.
c.   The real history of the world is the story of the dramatic struggle between the Old and New Covenants, until finally the Old Covenant loses.

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Read Gen 3:9-13. Now read in the New Testament, the Letter to the Hebrews, Heb 10:5-7. Read CCC 2568. CCC 2568 teaches that between

''God's sorrowful call to his first children: 'Where are you?...What is this that you have done?' and the response of God's only Son on coming into the world: 'Lo, I have come to do your will, O God.'''

- - - comes what?

a.   The end of the world.
b.   The Fall of our first parents.
c.   The revelation of prayer.

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Abraham has done much in obedience to God previously, but the very first time Abraham directly speaks to God in the Bible, he does not praise God. He does not thank him. He quietly reminds God of his promises to him. Read Gen 15:2-6. Read the remarkable passage, Gen 18:16-33. Abraham even dares to intercede before the LORD on behalf of other men.

Read Gen 28:10-22 in which God renews his promise to Jacob, grandson of Abraham. Now read Gen 32:24-30, a mysterious passage in which Jacob wrestles with God and is given the name which makes him the ancestor of God's people: Israel.

You now have enough mastery of Genesis to read CCC 2570-2573, which teaches regarding the patriarchs' experience of prayer. Read CCC 2570-2573 now. <<

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Read Ex 33-34 (Yes, two whole chapters, now). In response to Moses's prayer (re-read Ex 33:12-16), God

a.   does not relent.
b.   renews his covenant.
c.   takes back sin.

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Re-read Ex 32:7-14 and Ex 33:7-16. Apostasy is forsaking God, after you have known him and believed in him. Now read CCC 2576-2577 to learn what the Catechism teaches about Moses's prayer. <<

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The Bible is the very ''speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit'' [Dei Verbum 9, Vatican Council II]. So, of any mere man who claims to know what the Bible means, it can always truly be said:

a.   Always be certain that you have a perfectly pure heart.
b.   To find the real truth, you must look deep inside yourself.
c.   Who are you, to tell God what his own Word means?

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The books

First and Second Maccabees

occur just before or just after the Psalms?

a.   Just before.
b.   Just after.

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The Protoevangelium (''first gospel'') is

a.   the first two chapters of the gospel according to St. Mathew.
b.   the account of Creation that makes up the first two chapters of Genesis.
c.   the promise of redemption made to our first parents after the Fall.

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Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy || Joshua Judges Ruth 1 Samuel 2 Samuel 1 Kings 2 Kings || 1 Chronicles 2 Chronicles Ezra Nehemiah || Tobit* Judith* Esther 1 Maccabees* 2 Maccabees* Job


Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Songs Wisdom* Sirach* || >> Isaiah << Jeremiah Lamentations Baruch* Ezekiel Daniel || Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi

The Old Testament books with a star * are not any more or less important than the others. The star indicates that the Catholic Church definitively professes and knows these books to be part of the sacred writings, the inspired Word of God [cf. CCC 120], but that they are specifically rejected by the Jewish people, and called ''apocryphal'' (of doubtful inspiration) by Protestants.

One of the key findings of modern scholarship regarding the Old Testament is the scholarly consensus that the book of Isaiah

a.   could not have been written by a single author.
b.   could only have been written by one single author.
c.   had no real ''authors'' as we would understand the term.

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Read Isa 1:1. Hezekiah was king of Judah around 700 BC, before and after the fall of the northern kingdom, Samaria. Now read Isa 45:1. Cyrus was the king of Persia who released the Jews from bondage in Babylon in 538 BC (that is, over 150 years later). Is it likely that the same Isaiah is responsible for both chapter 1 and chapter 45 of the book of Isaiah?

a.   Yes.
b.   No.
c.   Maybe.

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Modern scholars see three main authors in the book of Isaiah. The writings of the prophet Isaiah of Jerusalem, who lived around 700 BC, are set down (with what most scholars say is some additional material) in chapters 1-39. This part of Isaiah is known to scholars now as ''First Isaiah.'' The prophets Amos, Hosea, and Micah were contemporaries of Isaiah.

Scholars identify a second writer, ''Second Isaiah,'' as the author of chapters 40-55, and ''Third Isaiah'' as the author of chapters 56-66. Second Isaiah is thought to have been a prophet around the time of the end of the exile in Babylon. Third Isaiah is said to have originated somewhat later, as Jews faced the harsh realities of resettling and rebuilding Jerusalem after the exile. Most scholars think that while Third Isaiah might have been written by the author of Second Isaiah himself, more probably a disciple or disciples wrote it.

Most scholars also believe that the writers of Second and Third Isaiah somehow thought of themselves as being in the tradition of the original Isaiah. In other words, they see the book of Isaiah as having both unity and continuity with the prophet Isaiah, in spite of its multiple authorship. >>

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Isaiah sees God, trembles at his own lack of holiness, and is called to prophecy a coming desolation, with only a remnant to survive it. Read Isa 6. Now read in a similar vein Isa 5:1-7. However, Israel is a light to the whole world (to the nations). Read Isa 2:1-5. Also read Isa 9:2-7. The Church refers to Isa 9:6 in the Entrance Antiphon of masses on Christmas day.

Second Isaiah is a collection of short poems proclaiming the liberation of Israel and the restoration of Israel. Read Isa 40:1-5. This famous poem is the beginning of Second Isaiah. Even in translation you may notice differences in style between it and First Isaiah. Second Isaiah contains the Servant Songs particularly treasured by the Catholic Church as showing forth the reality of Jesus the Messiah. >>

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Many scholars say that Third Isaiah, chapters 56-66, may have been compiled from several sources but at least in part portrays a post-exilic community having returned to Jerusalem and now in conflict and disarray. Read Isa 58:12. The problem evidently was that the ''ancient ruins'' were not being rebuilt quickly, and that there was much poverty. Isaiah links the two. Helping the needy will create what is needed to restore Jerusalem. Read Isa 58:1-12.

The prophet Haggai, prophesying around the same time and seeing the exact same situation, takes a completely different view: God is punishing the people for neglecting his Temple. Rebuild the Temple, and prosperity will follow. Read Haggai 1:2-11. The Old Testament preserved both viewpoints.

Third Isaiah ends (Isa 66:24) with a grisly image of doom for the enemies of the LORD (if you must know, their dead bodies are consumed by fire and eaten by worms for all eternity), but prior to that is a message of great hope which is picked up in the book of Revelation. Read Isa 65:17-25. Finally, read Isa 61:1-2, which Jesus taught referred to himself (read Luke 4:16-21). <<

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The Church firmly teaches that Jesus Christ is

a.   one person.
b.   two persons.
c.   partly one person and partly another.

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Some people have said that the man Jesus, the human being, is a different person from Christ, the Son of God. The Church firmly teaches that Jesus Christ is

a.   one person.
b.   two persons.
c.   partly one person and partly another.

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The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ is truly God, and transcends any specific person and any specific time or place.

The Catholic Church also teaches that Jesus Christ is truly man, which means that he is a very specific person, who can be named and identified, and located in time and place.

Is this a different Christ? Jesus Christ is

a.   one person.
b.   two persons.
c.   partly one person and partly another.

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Jesus Christ is fully present under the appearances of the very specific host that you receive at Communion.

Jesus Christ died on the Cross at Calvary about two thousand years ago.

Is this a different Christ? Jesus Christ is

a.   one person.
b.   two persons.
c.   partly one person and partly another.

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copyright (c) 2001 John Kelleher. All rights reserved.