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KUWARESMA 2014


“MABUTING BALITA NG KAGALAKAN”

 

 

EVERYONE IS INVITED!

LUMAPIT TAYO MULI SA PUSO NG DIYOS!

 

 

 

MARCH 5: ASH WEDNESDAY

Masses: 6am, “Student Mass”, 6pm

Procession of Crosses: 7pm

 

MARCH 7: FIRST FRIDAY AND RECOLLECTION:

Speaker: BISHOP DEOGRACIAS INIGUEZ, DD

 

ALL TUESDAYS OF LENT:

            Stations of the Cross by Purok, 7pm

 

ALL WEDNESDAYS OF LENT:

Bible and Faith Sharing

 

ALL FRIDAYS OF LENT:

Confessions, 6:30pm

 

MARCH 19 (WED): FEAST OF ST. JOSEPH

KUMPIL: 6am

Procession: after 6pm Mass

DAILY LENTEN REFLECTIONS

FINDING OUR WAY AGAIN:

(thanks to Catholic Update)

 

ASH WEDNESDAY: Jl 2:12–18; 2 Cor 5:20—6:2; Mt 6:1–6, 16–18

St. Paul says, “Now is the day of salvation.” Yet often we live in the past or future. Today, try living in the present. If chopping celery, chop celery. If talking with someone, pay attention. Seek God in every now.

 

THURSDAY: Dt 30:15–20; Lk 9:22–25

“Choose life,” says Moses. Jesus invites us to choose him. Jesus adds: “Deny [your]self and take up [your] cross daily and follow me.” Sacrifice one small pleasure today. Bear a cross without grumbling.

 

FRIDAY: Is 58:1–9a; Mt 9:14–15

Isaiah reveals the fasting God desires: free the oppressed, share bread with the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked. How might you do this? Praise someone, support a food bank, donate clothing.

 

SATURDAY: Is 58:9b–14; Lk 5:27–32

Jesus angered others by keeping company with tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes. What company do you keep? Is it time to broaden your circle?

 

FIRST SUNDAY: (A) Mt 4:1–11; (B) Mk 1:12–15; (C) Lk 4:1–13

Satan tempts Jesus to use his powers for personal gain, seek fame and fortune, and live a spectacular lifestyle. How can you imitate Jesus’ choice to use his powers to benefit others and to live simply and humbly?

 

MONDAY: Lv 19:1–2, 11–18; Mt 25:31–46

Jesus says, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Who are the least ones today? Do something kind for a “least” one.

 

TUESDAY: Is 55:10–11; Mt 6:7–15

When we pray the Our Father, we ask for seven things. God already knows what we need, so why ask? In asking, we may discover our deepest longings. Ask God for something today—something deep.

 

WEDNESDAY: Jon 3:1–10; Lk 11:29–32

Jonah does what God asks him to do and preaches in Nineveh. Remember, this was the second time God asked him. Thank God for giving you second chances. Give someone another chance.

 

THURSDAY: Est C:12, 14–16, 23–25; Mt 7:7–12

“Seized with mortal anguish,” Queen Esther begs God for courage. What causes you anguish— illness, finances, relationships, terrorism? Beg God for courage to face fear.

 

FRIDAY: Ez 18:21–28; Mt 5:20–26

Ezekiel says God forgives the sinner who repents—no matter how awful the sin. All sins are forgivable—at least by God. Forgive someone who has wronged you. Jesus shows you how.

 

SATURDAY: Dt 26:16–19; Mt 5:43–48

Jesus’ standard is high: “Love your enemies.” This is harder than saying prayers or performing rituals. Where are you on the ladder of love? Is God asking you to move up a rung?

EDSA REVOLUTION ANNIVERSARY

At EDSA love of God and love of country came together’

 

 

(Homily delivered by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines during the Mass for the 28th anniversary of EDSA People Power Revolution on February 25, 2014 at the Mary Queen of Peace, Our Lady of EDSA Shrine.)

 

Father Nilo (Mangussad, rector of EDSA Shrine) did not invite me tonight. I volunteered. I sent him a text message and I asked him for the schedule of 5:30 (pm) on February 25 and he said it would be Father Benjo. So I texted Father Benjo and I said, “May I say mass on February 25 at 5:30?” And both of them said “Yes” and gave me permission.

 

EDSA People Power is 28 years old and so is my priesthood. I am 28 years a priest. I’m as old as EDSA People Power. When the Church sent me to Bataan each time I looked back at EDSA, I looked back at EDSA with gratitude, with happiness, with joy, and with pride. And now in Dagupan I still remember EDSA People Power with so much fondness and someday when I’m old and wrinkly I will sit down and write my memories about EDSA 1986. But I have mixed feelings today. On one side I am happy and grateful to remember, but on the other side I am sad and lonely and I ask myself, “is this all that is left?” After 28 years is this all that we can gather to thank the Lord for an event that made Filipinos 10 feet tall in the family of nations. I cannot resist returning to the Gospel, and returning to the question of the Lord after he cured 10 lepers and only one returned, and said, “Where are the other nine?”  But I am not here to accuse you. I am not here to make you sad. I am not here to contaminate you with my sadness and loneliness. I am here to bring you joy, the joy of the Gospel, the joy of the Lord.

 

So with remnants like us and a bishop coming down from the north to be with you and to celebrate and to make sure that the EDSA spirit is not forgotten, then I ask myself, “What is EDSA about?” The celebration of the EDSA anniversary has taken many faces, it has taken many forms. For some people, they celebrate it on the 22nd of February, the focus is the military. For some people they celebrate it on February 25, evening, because that was the time when the former president fled. For some people it is noontime of February 25 because that was the time when the first Lady President took her oath. For some people it is salubungan; for some people it is confetti. For some people it is picnic. For some people it is being offered a boiled corn by a beggar. What is EDSA really about?

 

Brothers and sisters you can approach EDSA from any angle but just don’t forget one component. You cannot tell and retell the story of EDSA without God. You can tell the story of Tita Cory but don’t forget that she prayed the rosary with us. You can tell the story of Cardinal Sin but do not forget that he was first man of God and the Church before being a man of the streets. You can tell the story of the military, of the businessmen, of the professionals, of the soldiers, of the nuns, but please remember all the time, that the soldiers, the nuns, the businessmen, politicians, cardinals, bishops and priests, all of them will be nothing if God did not walk with us on this hallowed ground in 1986. Sometimes we forget, and sometimes we claim the honor that belongs to God as our own.

 

Tita Cory has passed on to eternal life and so has Cardinal Sin, and so has many EDSA heroes, but my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter how you retell the story of EDSA, I plead with you on bended knees, do not forget the rosaries you prayed; do not forget the image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Heart that we put on top of tanks. Do not forget the bibles that we read. Do not forget the concrete pavements that we knelt on, into midnight, into the morning, praying the rosary for deliverance from slavery. There can be no EDSA story without God. But it seems God is so used to being set aside. Even if we set him aside he continues to bless us, it seems. But our country, our government cannot move on if it continues to ignore God. I am not even talking about Church. I am just talking about God. Muslim or Protestant, Buddhist or Hindu, Christian, Iglesia ni Kristo, whatever, we must always remember that our lives are in the hands of God.

 

But what did we do in EDSA 1986 that made it so extraordinary? It is this. Our faith in God got married with our love for country. At EDSA love of God and love of country came together. That love of country is not alien to somebody who follows the Lord. And love of country would be empty unless it is grounded on the love of God. Through the years after EDSA 1986, the spirit has been manipulated, abused, raped, prostituted. But we must always return to it. EDSA was a gift from God and it will always be so. Can we do it all over again? I don’t know. Do we have to do it all over again? I hope not because 20 years of dictatorship and four days of EDSA should be more than enough for us never to repeat the mistakes of history. Shall we live it again? God forbid no more because if we have to do it again it will only mean we have not learned our lesson. Cardinal Sin used to say, tongue in cheek, “to err is human; to forgive is divine; but to repeat is stupid.”

 

Let us allow EDSA to make us wiser. Let us allow EDSA to keep us vigilant. In EDSA 1986 we told the whole world, God is with us. At EDSA 2014 the question I throw to you is, “Are you still with God?” The issue is not God is with us. The issue is: Are with God or have we strayed from the path of God.

 

I will return to Dagupan but I leave with you one request. Please take care of this hallowed ground. This church, this place minus Megamall, minus Robinsons Galleria, this place is sacred. Please take care of it. Even if you are only one of the ten lepers who would thank the Lord, take care of it nevertheless. Even if you are only a handful remnant remembering our moment of glory, stand on this holy ground nevertheless. You know why I asked Father Nilo for permission to say Mass tonight? It is because I need the spirit of EDSA. I will return to Dagupan strengthened, invigorated, energized because this church is special; this hallowed ground will always remain holy. Take care of it, against all odds. And please tell your children and your children’s children that EDSA is holy and it is people that will keep it holy, and that is you.

 

If they want to celebrate EDSA in Cebu; if they want to celebrate EDSA in Baguio; if they want to celebrate EDSA in Mindanao, let it be. But for you, EDSA Shrine community, stand on this ground because here on this ground, you and I and God had a brief loving encounter for four days and history cannot be changed anymore. On this hallowed ground, for four sacred days the blessed Virgin Mary walked with us; the Lord of Peace walked with us. Keep it sacred, no matter where you go, because here you will always find the living God. 

gabay sa aral ng Iglesia ni Kristo na salungat sa aral ng Kristiyanismo

TEACHINGS OF THE IGLESIA NI CRISTO (A QUASI-CHRISTIAN SECT IN THE PHILIPPINES, NOW CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF FOUNDATION) AND COMMENTARY (MATERIAL THANKS TO THE CBCP).

(FOR THE GUIDANCE OF THE CATHOLIC FAITHFUL WHO ARE ALWAYS TARGETED  BY THE GROUP FOR CONVERSION TO THEIR RELIGIOUS BODY)

 

PART I: Basic Teachings of the Iglesia ni Cristo[1]

I.               The Bible (p.13)

The Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) believes that the words of God are written in the Bible; that when the Bible speaks, God Himself speaks. So, when the Bible is silent, the Iglesia ni Cristo is silent, too, for it recognizes no other basis and authority in serving God except the Bible.

II.             God (p.15)

There is only one God. He is unchangeable: “For I the Lord do not change” (Mal. 3:6, RSV). He did not and will not, become man or anything. He is immutable: contrary to the belief of those who teach that Christ is God that became flesh. Christ is man, not God. And God is not man. “For I am God”, He emphasized, “and not man” (Hos. 11-19).

He alone is God (Ps. 86:10). “For I am God, and there is no other” (Is. 45:21-22; Is. 46:9-10; Dt. 32:39, RSV). The INC interprets these as proof against the Trinity of Persons in one God.

III.           Man (pp. 17, 19)

Indeed to fear God and to keep his commandments is the whole duty of man (Ecc. 12:13). It is man’s duty to serve God. In return, God will bless “the bread and water” (symbols of man’s livelihood) of those who serve Him (Ex. 23:25). To them, the goodness and mercy of God will abide (Ps 23:6), above all the blessings of salvation and life everlasting.

Because of sin, man was separated from God thereby losing his right to serve and deify (sic) God (Is. 59: 2). It was God Himself who provided the means by which man could return to Him: the precious Blood of Jesus Christ which served as atonement for man’s sin (Eph. 2:13; Col. 1: 20-21).

The members of the Church of Christ which our Lord Jesus Christ purchased with His own Blood (Acts 20:28) are the only ones benefited by His death. To them alone, the right to serve and deify (sic) God is restored.

IV.           The Church (pp. 19, 27, 29, 34, 37, 39; 61; 63)

God’s law requires that every man shall suffer death for his own sin (Dt. 24:16). Christ, as Savior, took upon Himself what the divine justice demands by creating the one new man (consisting of Him as the Head and the Church that He built as the Body) thus, assuming accountability for the sins of the redeemed (Eph. 2:15).

Christ died on the Cross for His Church. And His death signifies the redemption only of the members of His Church, and not of anybody else (Eph. 5:25).

(a)   Baptism

Just as Christ died on the cross and after death He was buried, so also is he who receives baptism is buried. And just as Christ did not remain but in the grave but rose from the dead by the glory of God, so also those who are baptized do not remain immersed in the water (Rom 6:4). To effect such “burial” the one baptizing and the one who is to be baptized must both go down into the water (immersion). 

(b)  Membership in the Church of Christ is necessary for salvation

Any man can enter Christ (“I am the door…” – Jn. 10:9) by becoming a member of Christ’s Body which is the Church that He built, or the Church of Christ (Mt. 16:18; I Cor. 12:27; Col. 1:18; Acts 20:28, Lamsa Version). So the Church is necessary. But not just any Church; only the Church which is the Body of Christ wherein God’s will is fulfilled that all men be gathered in Christ as members and consequently attain salvation and eternal life. This is God’s plan of salvation.

(c)   Faith is not enough: one must be part of the Church of Christ

Therefore, to reject the Church is to reject our Lord Jesus Christ. Because to reject the Body is to reject its Head. It does not suffice therefore to accept Christ alone and disregard the Church to attain salvation. The faith-alone-in-Christ-and never-mind the-Church concept is a false doctrine and a dangerous one at that.

Faith is made perfect if it is accompanied by works (James 2:22). A man may wholeheartedly believe in God and in Christ but so long as he is outside the Church of Christ – meaning he has not complied with the command of Christ and therefore his faith is without works – he remains condemned to the lake of fire.

Evidently, the place of reconciliation is the Church of Christ. To be reconciled to God and be saved, one must become a member thereof. Unless he becomes a part of the Church of Christ or Body of Christ he is not embraced by the redemptive death of Christ; he is imperiled by the impending penalty for sinners (Jn.8:24). He is, in short, doomed.

(d)  The true religion should be called “Church of Christ”

Our Lord Jesus Christ called the Church that He built, “My Church” (Mt. 16:18). Any Church not built by Christ would not be called by Him “My Church”. The true Church built by Christ is called by name. It is the mark set by Christ Himself to identify His sheep (Jn. 10:3). What’s in a name? So far as the true Church is concerned, salvation is in the name (Acts 4:10, 12).  To adhere to any religion not bearing the name of Christ does not belong to Him. 

The Apostles aptly called the one and only true Church that Christ built, Church of Christ (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Version) or Iglesia ni Cristo, in Pilipino. This is the only true Church, the one upon which the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ is called (Acts 15:17-18). 

(e)    The new chosen people of God

Man cannot be saved by his own works much less by his faith alone. Rather, God elects the people on whom He shall bestow the gift of salvation. He sets them apart to be godly before His sight and hears them when they call upon Him (Ps 4:3).

After the fall of Israel, a new and chosen generation was elected by God to a royal priesthood, bestowed with the right to offer praises and homage to Him. They were called to the Kingdom of His Son – the Lord Jesus Christ (I Pt 3:9; Col 1:13). These chosen people are the members of the Church of Christ. They, being in Christ, are “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). 

V.             Jesus Christ (pp. 21, 23, 25)

The Lord Jesus Christ has unique attributes which cannot be found in any other human being. Christ is the God-appointed Savior of mankind. Such exclusive office is the very purpose for which Jesus Christ was born. Not only is Christ appointed by God as Savior and Mediator, He is to be reverenced by all: “But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord” (I Pt 3:15). He is the only man who is sinless, as Apostle Peter testifies: “He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips (I Pt 2:22, RSV). He is the only advocate of the sinner (I Jn 2:1, RSV). 

(a)  Jesus Christ is not God

Despite His uniqueness when compared to all other men, Christ remains man in His state of being. Christ is never the true God. He is a true man (“But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God” Jn. 8:40). When Apostle Mathew gave his account of the birth of Christ, he said that in the womb of Mary was a child (Mt 1:18), not a god.

Christ, since birth, was subjected to the experiences and circumstances of human life, inherent in all men (sin, of course, excluded). The true God has no beginning nor is He a son of man (Ps 90:2; Num 23:19). He is Spirit (Jn. 4:24); He does not grow weary (Is 40:28), does not sleep (Ps 121:4). The true God is immortal (I Tim 1:17).

So Christ could not be God. Neither could He be God that became man, nor could He be both true God and true man at the same time. Christ is a man. But God is not man (Hosea 11:9). Therefore Christ is not God.

 

VI.           The Apostasy of the Church (pp. 43)

 

The Church established by Christ Jerusalem in the first century did not continue to exist. It has apostatized. But it does not mean that those who were responsible for the apostasy established another Church; that same Church strayed away from the pristine Christian faith.

(a)   The doctrine of demons

Apostle Paul foretold (sic) the Christians then that there will be a departure from the faith because some will give heed to “deceitful spirits or doctrines of demons” (I Tim 4:1). According to him, after his death, men will arise who will speak perverse things to draw away the disciples of Christ after them (Acts 20:30). The perverse things which they will speak are the doctrines of demons, two of which are “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats” (I Tim 4:3).

Apostle Peter called them false prophets who will bring in destructive heresies denying  the Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, by rejecting Him as Head of the Church, as the stone foundation and by rejecting His name (2 Pt 2:1; Acts 2:36; 4:10-12; Eph 2:20).

Another distinguishing mark of the apostates is the one described by Apostle Paul: “the man of sin … showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:3-4).

(b)  The Catholic Church: apostate Church

One does not need to go too far to learn that the Catholic Church upholds and teaches the two above-mentioned doctrines of demons. The Catholic Church denied the Lord Christ’s Headship by putting Peter and the Popes in His stead. It denied the Lord’s position as the stone foundation, again by putting Peter in His stead. It rejected His name, Christ by sporting such an unscriptural name as Roman Catholic Church. And the Pope’s  usurpation of the Fatherhood of God (God being the Father of Souls) fits well to Apostle Paul’s description, of the man of sin. So now the Catholic cannot evade the accusing finger of his biblical revelation. The Catholic Church is the apostate Church. This also proves beyond doubt apostasy was a fact. 

VII.         The Re-establishment of the Church (p.47)

The sheep of Christ with promise belong to three groups. The first and second groups – the Jews and the Gentiles – were already called and already in the fold during the time of Christ and the apostles. The third group was still “far off” and they are not yet called then; they are yet to be called by God (Acts 2:39) to become one flock or one Church of Christ (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Version).

So when the Iglesia ni Cristo appeared in the Philippines in 1914, a prophecy was fulfilled, a prophecy which God Himself told: “From the Far East will I bring your offspring” (Is. 43:5, Moffat).

(a)   Iglesia ni Cristo: the Church from the Far East

The north (Protestant Church which came to the Philippines from North America) will give them up, and the south (Roman Catholic Church which came to the Philippines from Rome in southern Europe) cannot keep them back. For God said, “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth” (Is. 43:6). 

These children of God from the Far East (Apostle Peter said they are the ones who “are afar off”) belongs to the third group of Christ’s sheep. They are called by the name created by God for His glory: the name Christ. This name is called upon the children of God in the Far East. They are called Church of Christ because they are the one flock (Church) of Christ (Is. 43:7; Acts 2:36; Phil. 2:9; Rom. 16:16).

(b)  Significance of July 27, 1914 

They are the other sheep of Christ who will be called “from the ends of the earth”. The ends of the earth signify the time before the end of the world or the second coming of Christ which is signaled manifestly by “wars and rumors of wars” (Mt 24:6). This war occurred in 1914 and was better known as the First World War. It was during that time that the children of God in the Far East or in the Philippines were called. Indeed, at the outbreak of the war on July 27, 1914, the Iglesia ni Cristo was concurrently officially registered in the Philippine government.

VIII.       The Messenger (“Ang Sugo”): Felix Manalo

Felix Manalo was the messenger of God instrumental in the re-establishment of the Church of Christ after it was apostatized.

Isaiah 46:11 articulates one of the prophecies on the Last Messenger of God: “Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed and I will do it” (RSV). In this prophecy, the bird is from the east and the man, who is also the bird, is from a far country. So this bird of prey who is a man of God’s counsel or who does the counsel or word of God (Ps 107:11) is from the Far East or the Philippines. (Note: In INC doctrine, the Philippines is the Far East; it is not merely in the Far East.)

He is called bird of prey because the sons and daughters of God from the Far East or the Philippines are being hindered by the north and the south (representing Protestantism and Catholicism) and the messenger of God has to bring them out of these two religions (Is. 43:6).

Felix Manalo also fulfills the prophecy in Revelation 7:2-3: “Then I saw another angel rising where the sun rises, carrying the seal of the living God…”

IX.          The Resurrection of Christ and of His members (i.e., of the Iglesia ni Cristo)

To redeem the members of His Church (i.e., the parts of the Body of the one new man He created) Christ being their Head, died for them. He died on the Cross, was buried, was resurrected by God on the third day, and after forty days He was gloriously taken up into heaven.

Those who will resurrect into life everlasting are those who died as members of the Church of Christ, and since they are Christ’s they will experience the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6) for “the dead in Christ shall rise first” (I Tim 4:16). Then shall come to pass that which is written, “I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18, RSV).

X.            Felix Manalo

He was born on May 10, 1886 in Taguig, Rizal province. After the death of his mother (Bonifacia Manalo) he decided to use her surname instead of his father’s (Mariano Ysagun). With the introduction of Protestant teachings at the turn of the 20th century, he first joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was trained in the Methodist Theological Seminary and became an evangelist. In 1907 he moved to the Presbyterians, and became a pastor after attending the Union Theological Seminary. In 1910, he joined another group called “Christian Mission” because he preferred their way of baptizing by immersion. The following year he joined the Seventh-Day Adventists, eventually becoming a pastor. But soon after, he left the group.

Unsatisfied with the various Christian groups, he set out to examine the different teachings he was exposed to. In 1913 he isolated himself in his room for two days and three nights, and compared all those teachings with what is found in the Bible. He emerged from that isolation convinced that he had found the truth, and that he felt obliged by God to proclaim it.

He died on April 12, 1963. 

PART II: Some Comments on the Teachings of the INC 

1.     While professing reverence towards the Bible, the INC interprets it to suit its doctrines, no matter how arbitrarily it is done (the “proof-text approach” abused). It selects a version of the Bible as long as the name “Church of Christ” comes out. For instance: Acts 20:28 (for this, the Lamsa version is used; the majority of Bible translations say “Church of God”). And as a scriptural basis for the mission of Felix Manalo, the INC uses the translation of Isaiah 43:5 according to the Moffatt version).

a)     George Lamsa (1892-1975), the author of “The Holy Bible from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts” based his translation of the New Testament on Aramaic, not Greek. Even Protestant Bible Scholars question Lamsa’s orthodoxy. Lamsa’s Bible is accepted by the INC, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christadelphians. Based on his other writings (he wrote 21 books), his beliefs on the Holy Trinity, on Jesus Christ as a divine Person with a true divine nature and a true human nature are not in accord with the Christian faith. He is considered a follower of Nestorianism (declared erroneous in AD 431 in the Council of Ephesus). For him the Holy Spirit is not a Divine Person but “influence”, “effectiveness”, “hidden power”. The INC follows this teaching on the Holy Spirit. 

b)    James Moffatt (1870-1944), A Scottish scholar, later on a professor of Church History at the Union Theological Seminary, New York, he published his Bible translation in 1926, known as the “Moffatt, New Translation”. In his desire to make the Bible readable, he freely translated and paraphrased many passages, and even changed the established order of the Chapters. Thus, Moffatt renders Isiah 43:5, that Felix Manalo used as source of the identify of God’s last messenger (Felix Manalo) as: “from the Far East will I bring your offspring”. The Revised Standard Version (RSV) says: “I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you”.

2.     While the INC frequently says “Our Lord Jesus Christ” in its official publications, it denies His divinity. But in the Greek Old Testament, “Lord” stands for the divine name Yahweh. From the early beginnings of the Church the name “Lord” (Kyrios, in Greek) has been used as an expression of faith in Jesus Christ’s divinity. “So then, as you received Jesus as Lord, and Christ, now live your lives in Him…” (Col. 2:6); “… and every tongue should acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11). See also 2 Peter 1, passim.

The INC’s teachings on Jesus Christ are a mere repetition of the “heresies”of the early centuries of Christianity, in particular, “Monarchianism” of the second century. Monarchianism taught that God is only God the Father; thus, it denied the Trinity, the eternity of the Logos (the second Person),and reduced the Holy Spirit to a mere “force” of God the Father; consequently, Jesus Christ is not God. This is the same belief held by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Unitarians.

How does INC interpret John 1:1? –-- “In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. “Word” refers to God’s “purpose” that Christ would be created, and this was fulfilled at his birth in Bethlehem. Using Moffatt’s translation (“and the Word was divine”), the INC says that the “Word” had a divine quality, but it is not God.

From the beginning of her history, the Church has always defended the mystery of Jesus Christ’s being “true God and true man”; the Church never wavered from asserting Jesus’ true and complete human nature (with a human body and a human soul) as much as it has defended His being a divine Person (“consubstantial with the Father”, as we say in the Creed).

3.     The revelation about the Holy Trinity is at the heart and source of the entire Christian Faith. The “Creed” that was formed as a result of the Ecumenical Councils of Nicea (AD 325) and Constantinople (AD 381) stress the divinity of the Second Person (“The Word”) and of the Third Person (“The Holy Spirit”) of the Holy Trinity. When the INC denies that there are three distinct Persons in one God it closes its mind to the obvious statements of the Lord Jesus Christ about this mystery (e.g., Gospel according to John; Mtt.28:19).

Consequently, the baptism in the INC is not equivalent to a Christian baptism.

4.     The INC claim that the Church committed apostasy in the 1st century (after the death of the apostles) is indefensible:

(a)   Carefully study the History of the Church, from the 1st century up to the present. The INC implies that the numerous Christian martyrs of the first 300 years were mistaken in their beliefs. 

(b)  If the Church had apostatized that early, then the Holy Bible that the INC is using as the only source of its teachings does not merit the INC’s reverence and faith. For, which authority decided which books should be considered divinely inspired and thus deserved to be part of the New Testament? ---- The Catholic Church. It was in the Synod of Hippo (North Africa) in AD 393 ---- that St. Augustine participated in ---- that the Canon of 27 New Testament books as we know it now was formally accepted. 

5.     In the past centuries, every “new prophet” who claimed to be a messenger of God --- in order to strengthen his credibility ---- would say the same thing: the Church committed apostasy in the early centuries. Thus, they consider themselves founders of a “Restorationist church”. If in the 21st century, a new messenger would accuse Felix Manalo of having committed apostasy (by using the same Bible texts used by Mr. Manalo), what defense would the INC offer? If each “new prophet” interprets the Holy Scriptures according to his own mind, then the cycle would be endless, and the biggest loser would be God Himself (non-believers would scorn the Bible even more).

6.     The INC’s claim that the Catholic Church apostatized because it changed its original name (“Church of Christ”) ignores that part of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: “I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church”. It is obvious in this sentence that the word “catholic” is an adjective (from the Greek katholikos: universal), expressing an essential characteristic of the Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ. The use of the name did not begin in the 4th century: “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church” (St. Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr, a discipleof St. John, apostle; died at the end of the 1st century).

7.     Like all “exclusivist” doctrines, the INC appropriates as its own Revelation 7: 3:8 --- the “sealed ones”, the 144,000 members of the twelve tribes of Israel, are the only ones to receive salvation. In contrast, the Catholic teaching is this: yes, every person has the obligation to seek the truth and embrace it; however, “those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do His will as they know in through the dictates of their conscience ---- these too may achieve eternal salvation” (lumen getium, 16; CCC 846-848).

8.     In the Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini (2010) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote: “Where the faithful are not helped to know the Bible in accordance with the Church’s faith and based on her living Tradition, this pastoral vacuum becomes fertile ground for realities like the sects to take root” (no. 73). 

a)     In order to reach out to all souls (those already part of the Church as well as those who are not), he added: “The Holy Spirit, the protagonist of all evangelization, will never fail to guide “Christ’s Church in this activity. Yet is important that every form of proclamation keep in mind, first of all the intrinsic relationship between the communication of God’s word and Christian witness (no. 79). 

b)    “For this reason, the priest himself ought first of all to develop a personal familiarity with the word of God. Knowledge of its linguistic and exegetical aspects, though certainly necessary, is not enough. He needs to approach the word with a docile and prayerful heart so that it may deeply penetrate his thoughts and feelings and bring about a new outlook in him --- ‘the mind of Christ’ (1 Cor 2: 16)” (no. 80).

 



[1] These teachings are from the book This is the Iglesia ni Cristo (‘The Church of Christ”), an official publication of the INC; thus, this text is a faithful copy of the book (the page numbers indicated refer to the same book). Some subheadings have been added.

 

6th SUNDAY

Affair of the Heart

Readings:
Sirach 15:15–20
Psalm 119:1–2, 4–5, 17–18, 33–34
1 Corinthians 2:6–10
Matthew 5:17–37

 

Jesus tells us in the Gospel this week that he has come not to abolish but to “fulfill” the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets.

His Gospel reveals the deeper meaning and purpose of the Ten Commandments and the moral Law of the Old Testament. But his Gospel also transcends the Law. He demands a morality far greater than that accomplished by the most pious of Jews, the scribes and Pharisees.

Outward observance of the Law is not enough. It is not enough that we do not murder, commit adultery, divorce, or lie.

The law of the new covenant is a law that God writes on the heart (see Jer. 31:31–34). The heart is the seat of our motivations, the place from which our words and actions proceed (see Matt. 6:21; 15:18–20).

Jesus this week calls us to train our hearts, to master our passions and emotions. And Jesus demands the full obedience of our hearts (see Rom. 6:17). He calls us to love God with all our hearts, and to do his will from the heart (see Matt. 22:37; Eph. 6:6)

God never asks more of us than we are capable. That is the message of this week’s First Reading. It is up to us to choose life over death, to choose the waters of eternal life over the fires of ungodliness and sin.

By his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has shown us that it is possible to keep his commandments. In baptism, he has given us his Spirit that his Law might be fulfilled in us (Rom. 8:4).

The wisdom of the Gospel surpasses all the wisdom of this age that is passing away, St. Paul tells us in the Epistle. The revelation of this wisdom fulfills God’s plan from before all ages.

Let us trust in this wisdom, and live by his Kingdom law.

As we do in this week’s Psalm, let us pray that we grow in being better able to live his Gospel, and to seek the Father with all our heart. ---  Scott Hahn, Ph.D.

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6:30 PM

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AMANG MAPAGMAHAL

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AT MGA PARING LINGKOD.

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STO. TOMAS DE VILLANUEVA,

IPANALANGIN MO KAMI.  

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