Scripture and the Catholic Church - Topics: Mary and Baptism


#1

Hello all,

I have seen many apologetic resources regarding scripture, however I have found that discussion on the forums is a better way to get all kinds of insights that aren’t found in a Q&A apologetics webpage. I want to start posting on scripture here regarding (especially) protestant objections to Catholicism.

The first I want to talk about is baptism. In Matthew 3:11 John the baptist says that while he baptizes with water, Jesus will come and baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. I have heard a lot of protestants make the claim that this baptism of the Holy Spirit is different from the external sign that comes from water baptism, that the two are separate things with the former being an internal change that comes about from the Holy Spirit inspiring faith and repentance. The way evangelicals understand baptism of the Holy Spirit is kind of the way we understand a conversion of the heart. It is what they call being saved. I am wondering how Catholics can explain this separation of baptism with water versus baptism of the Holy Spirit as John the Baptist presents it here.

The second thing I am wondering about is devotion to Mary. I myself am very devoted to Mary. But I have a hard time responding when certain scriptures are brought up concerning her. First I want to address the wedding feast at Cana. My wife was reading Hail Holy Queen the other day, and Scott Hahn had said that the wording of the passage when Jesus says “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” is better translated as “What would you have me to do?” But I don’t understand how this can be if you read the entire quote: “Woman, what have I to do with thee? My hour has not yet come.” This sounds as if Jesus is rebuking Mary for asking for a miracle when it is apparently not yet time for his ministry to begin. I have also heard Catholics say that this verse proves that Jesus will do whatever Mary asks of Him, so therefore it is wise to ask for Mary’s intercession. But if I recall correctly, there are times when Jesus does miracles based on people’s reactions to his words, basically at times to prove a point, as with the healing of the paralytic or with the healing of the Roman centurion’s servant. There are times in the gospel that it seems Jesus performs miracles even when it seems like he would rather not. I do not see an obvious special place for Mary’s request versus anyone else’s requests in the gospels. Am I missing something?

Secondly, on the Marian front, I want to address scripture that my brother pointed out. As Catholics we are taught to honor Mary because she is the mother of Jesus Christ. But my brother Zach showed me an example in the scripture where a woman does exactly this and is rebuked by Jesus:

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”
He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
Luke 11:27-28

This is hard for me to figure out. It totally sounds like Jesus is saying that Mary is no more special than any of His followers. Another example scripture that seems to prove this point further is the following:

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
"Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Mark 3:31-35

Forgive me if it sounds sacrilegious, because that is not how I mean it. But it really sounds as if Jesus is not placing Mary in any special place, and is discouraging His followers to do so as well, saying that anyone who does God’s will and obey God’s word is just as much an equal to Mary and is one of His brothers, and sisters, and mother.
What is your explanation?


#2

I would recommend splitting this into two separate threads (one on Baptism and one on Mary) to make the conversation easier to follow.

I don’t have time at the moment for a lengthy reply, but just a quick observation on the Cana story. If Jesus’ words to Mary were meant as a firm rebuke, then I’d have to wonder why he went ahead and changed water into wine. In the end, he did do what Mary asked.


#3

This isn’t that uncommon for Jesus in the scriptures. One of the examples given in the OP was when he cured the paralytic. He initially just said “Your sins have been forgiven,” but it wasn’t until after people questioned him and said “who is this man that he can forgive sins?” that he miraculously healed the paralytic in order to show that he was really God. But this was not until after rebuking the people who were doubting him. Such a passage said nothing about the authority of the people awaiting a miracle, but rather about Jesus’ willingness to do miracles in order to show the power of God.


#4

Who is a better example than Our Lady of doing God’s will? Also note in John 2 when Jesus addresses Mary as “Woman” (as he also does at the Cross), he is using the same Greek word used in the Septuagint (Greek OT translation used by the Jews of the day) for Eve BEFORE the fall. Rather than a sign of disrespect, this appears to be a prophetic statement that Mary ushers in the “New Creation”. (Thanks to Tim Staples - “Behold Your Mother” for these insights)


#5

I am studying Mary right now so I am going to skip the Baptism for now.

From the Ignatius study Bible. “what have you to do with me” literally means “what to me and to you”. This is an idiom when used is a response to a person’s request, either stated or implied, the speaker sometimes capitulates to the expressed will of the other (2 Kings 3:13) and sometimes not ( 2 Sam 16:10). Jesus complies with Mary’s request and it is evident that Mary is confident that he will respond favorable. On a side note Scott Hahn does the Ignatius study Bibles so these are his words above. Also, the term “woman” was a title of respect and endearment in antiquity.

I would recommend the following 12 minute video on Mary.

youtube.com/watch?v=xg2OQ_iPTv8

Jesus just uses the word rather. Rather does not mean instead. He is not saying no my Mother is not Blessed, he is point the woman away from flesh and towards the spirit. He is saying the blessed are the ones who hear the word of God and obey it. So in essence he is saying yeah I know she is Blessed, not for who she is, but she is blessed among women because she more than any other human alive heard the word of God and obeyed it.

I can’t answer this question for you. Maybe Jimmy can:

catholic.com/blog/jimmy-akin/who-are-jesus-mother-and-brothers


#6

Jesus is paying tribute to his mother and correcting a misunderstanding among the Jews of what it means to be God’s chosen people.

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:27-28 )

Many Jews thought that they were special because they were Jews by birth. Genealogy was very important to prove you were part of God’s chosen people. Jesus is correcting this view, stating that you are not blessed because you happen to be born of Jewish (or Catholic) parents but because you hear and obey God’s word.

No one heard God’s word clearer than Mary. No one obeyed what she heard better than Mary. This is why Mary is blessed among woman.

Mark 3:31-35 is the same.

-Tim-


#7

Never heard this explanation before. :thumbsup:

New about the importance of genealogy so makes perfect sense.

Thanks


#8

Born again evangelical Christians take “born again in water and Spirit” to mean amniotic fluid from human birth, which is then followed by an altar call later in life where you ask Jesus into your heart to be born again.

That is, of course, a rather silly interpretation to arrive at a particular conclusion. In other words, you don’t need to do anything else other than asking Jesus into your heart in order to be saved.

While Jesus may have questioned Mary, He did not break a direct commandment from God and dishonor His mother. That would be absurd. Also notice that He did indeed perform the miracle at His mother’s request/command.

On YouTube, watch EWTN The Journey Home and the interview with Dr. Wesley Vincent - a former Evangelical. He concluded that Protestants often make a choice to interpret scripture in a way that seems “less Catholic”. He also makes note of this type of interpretation in reference to Mary.


#9

Thanks so much!

The problem you’re having in not correctly understanding what the BIBLE means:)

Here are 2 sites FREE to check out:

drbo.org/

Look up 2 Peter 1: 19-21 & its explanation & 2 Pet 3:14-18

Here is a Catholic Commentary to aid you

haydock1859.tripod.com/

Are you aware that the FORUM limits space? This fact makes it difficult to reply fully to your great post:)

BAPTISM IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD in the light of John 3: 5 & Mt 28:19-20
The Holy Spirit is a component of EACH of the 7 Sacraments: Baptism included

As for Mary, please look for a private message from me

The Cana account is a very profound teaching. Here’s why

Look at Lk 1; 26-35 & note that BOTH Mary and Joseph were keenly aware that Jesus was the Messiah; the Son of GOD.

The not the following:

Mary approaches her son in confidence

Mary seemingly ignores the WORDS of Jesus; and say’s DO WHAT EVER HE TELLS YOU Jn 2:5

Behind the scenes of this discourse:

Mary is concerned in charity about the reputation of the couple

[perhaps?] Unknowingly Mary in asking Jesus to EXPOSE His Divinity is factually rushing the death of Her Son.

Jesus tells her “Cf. My time has NOT yet come” & and STILL Mary guided by the HS persist in asking a son seldom refuses the gnats of a MOTHER that CAN be granted

NOTE: that Jesus does NOT however call Mary “MOTHER”; rather “women” Jn 2:4. This is a critical point. NOW look up John 19:25-28, and NOTE that Jesus again refers to Mary as “WOMEN” just before He gives Her literally to humanity as OUR Mother."

In ASKING Mary “what is this to Me & THEE”; Jesus is really asking her; Mother, are you sure that you want ME TO introduce my Divinity NOW?" In other words: MY TIME HAS NOT YET COME: do YOU what me to do this anyway?

Mary, INSPIRED by the Ho,y Spirit replies: Cf. DO IT!:thumbsup::

This then is a thumbnail explanation.

The miracles of Jesus; each and every time; some more evident than others is a TEST of FAITH. Even this Cana experience was testing Mary’s Faith in the guidance of the HS who prompted her.

Look closely at all of them and you’ll discover a GOD-TEST of “faith” for someone present there:thumbsup:

Blessings,

Patrick.


#10

I thought this was nuts from the first moment I heard it. I guess it was so ingrained in me to think of this as a sacramental reference I never even thought of such a wild speculation.

But the lenghts to which one must go! One member of CAF claimed that baptism had nothing to do with water!


#11

Wow, I did not know that. Thanks for your contribution.


#12

The first I want to talk about is baptism. In Matthew 3:11 John the baptist says that while he baptizes with water, Jesus will come and baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. I have heard a lot of protestants make the claim that this baptism of the Holy Spirit is different from the external sign that comes from water baptism, that the two are separate things with the former being an internal change that comes about from the Holy Spirit inspiring faith and repentance. The way evangelicals understand baptism of the Holy Spirit is kind of the way we understand a conversion of the heart. It is what they call being saved. I am wondering how Catholics can explain this separation of baptism with water versus baptism of the Holy Spirit as John the Baptist presents it here.

My first thought is the difference between the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.

Also one thing that n-Cs generally miss is the level of (scripturally mandated) catechesis that precedes these sacraments. (In the case of infant baptisms of course that is through the parents and Godparents) but that is really no different than Jewish circumcision in that sense. (See The Case For Infant Baptism)

In confirmation and adult baptisms we have a time of faith formation that is more in line with the great commission of Matthew 28 in that the church indeed works at obeying .
***"[19] Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."


[FONT=Georgia]As[/FONT] [FONT=Georgia]for the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” that so many Pentecostals and charismatics preach about, most (but not all) tend to over emphasize speaking in tongues to the neglect of all other gifts found in 1st Corinthians 12-14. Having been in the Assembly of God for some time I am not a fan of that theology as in my own experience there was a great deal of shows of spirituality at church that didn’t transfer into the lives of those same folks in daily living…which means it wasn’t real. :frowning: "Nuff said about that, okay.

I think the difference is one of levels of conversion. Whereas one is converted at baptism, one’s conversion is (or should be) deepened at confirmation. I know they have changed the liturgy but at my own confirmation I was given a light slap which was to remind me that I should be ready to suffer for the faith. I think it would be a good thing to revive that liturgical practice but with instruction on what we as Catholics may be facing in the times to come.
[/FONT]


#13

With regard to Mary…please keep in mind that in my case you are speaking with someone who is Militia Immaculata, a knight consecrated to the Immaculate Virgin Mary for the spread of the kingdom Jesus throughout the whole world. So I have a special and deep devotion to Mary. :slight_smile: (Militia Immaculatae: International Center )

Jan Wakelin explains that passage in Luke here. And the other passage is dealt with in Mary Matters by Tim Staples

You might also avail yourself of these two CA blog articles.
Is There a Queen in the Kingdom of Heaven?
Is There a Queen in the Kingdom of Heaven? Pt. II

I hope this helps. :thumbsup:


#14

#15

It sure does, that is some solid material right there.


#16

There are two baptisms in the new testament: John’s and Jesus’.

John’s was one of mere and only repentance in order to prepare the people for Jesus. John said he must decrease while Jesus must increase. So John’s baptism was only about preparing for the real baptism to come … that of Jesus’.

In the Acts, there was a man named Apollos who was baptizing with John’s baptism only. And he was then corrected and told of Jesus’ baptism and to use that one.

Jesus’ baptism meant that the Holy Spirit would reside in the soul of a person and that person would become a temple of the Holy Spirit. So Jesus’ baptism is referred to as a baptism of fire of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said to Nichodemus in John 3, that a person is born into the kindgom of heaven by water and … the spirit. Water washed away sin, allowing a clean home for the Holy Spirit to come and reside in.


#17

John’s baptism was the Jewish ritual purification bath known as a Mikvah. It was for purification and symbolized conversion and repentance. It is still used today.

myjewishlearning.com/article/why-immerse-in-the-mikveh/

You can see ancient mikveh baths all around Israel to this day.

-Tim-


#18

Pretty wild, all right. They’ll do anything to avoid the meaning of the verse.

It’s not even logical, it’s like saying you have to be born first, that is, you have to exist first! Like, duh. Who isn’t born of amniotic fluid? Kind of redundant.

Evangelicals need to read their Scripture in the proper order. They need to start with the first sermon of Peter, in Acts 2:38, “You must repent and everyone of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that you may have your sins forgiven and receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” (The New Testament in Modern English)

This statement is foundational. It is the first sermon and comes before all other public preaching, including Paul’s.

Peter makes it clear you must turn from your sins, and then have your sins washed away in baptism, and then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Jews of that time knew only of water baptism, so that is how they would understand it. And it is how we should understand it.


#19

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