By Father James D. Zatalava
©Catholic Online 2005
In Matthew 28:16 we read: “The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."
Jesus’ last words before his Ascension constitute a command to all Catholic Bishops (the eleven) to convert (make disciples of) all non-Catholics everywhere (all nations). Jesus leaves orders behind that this is to be accomplished in two phases. First: flowing water is to be used (baptizing) so that all converted human beings (all nations) will flow into the divine life of the one (and only) God who is a Trinity of persons (In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit).
The second phase consists in converting all men (and women) by means of persuasion (teaching them to observe). That which is to be taught is not just some of what Jesus taught, but everything He taught (all that I have commanded you). Some of what Jesus taught is found in the Bible, but not every thing He taught is found in the Bible. The Bible itself admits this. In chapter twenty of his Gospel John writes: “30. Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of (his) disciples that are not written in this book. 31. But these are written that you may (come to) believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.” And again, as if to emphasize the point of the error of Sola Scriptura, he writes in chapter twenty-one: “24. It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. 25. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.”
Where do we find out about the things not written in the Bible that Jesus considers a pretty important part of that ALL I have commanded you? Every Catholic over the age of eight has heard that there are two intermediary sources of revelation of Truth. Scripture and Tradition. Of course, both intermediary sources flow, as it were, from the single primary source, Jesus Christ. Everybody knows that Scripture is what’s written in the Bible. However, not every one is willing to admit that Tradition is what Jesus Christ’s own divinely instituted Church (And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.) says it is. Remember also Matthew 16:18 “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
We Catholics who live in the twenty-first century are surely the most fortunate of all mankind. Not only do we have all the Scriptures between the two covers of the book called the Bible, but we have all of Tradition between the two covers of the book called the Catechism.
The first Trinity, which is essential for the truly authentic Catholic practicing the faith revealed by Jesus Christ, is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The second trinity, which is mandatory for the thoroughly informed Catholic responding to Jesus’ last command (teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you) is the Bible, the Catechism, and a tube of superglue. Liberals should superglue the Bible on top of the Catechism. Conservatives should superglue the Catechism on top of the Bible. Neither should ever let either be separated from the other.
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