Holidays/Feast Days

Since Pentecost is upon us, I thought I would share this again…

The room was pretty full. It was warm but a gentle breeze was blowing—that would change. There was fear in the room. The Roman army was a thing to be feared, they had just crucified Jesus and it was a dangerous thing to associates of an executed criminal.

They were also anxious about the promise. The only thing they knew about God descending in fire was the experience of their ancestors at Mount Sinai. When that happened they all ran and hid and said to Moses, Never let God speak to us again; you go talk with Him and come back and tell us what the said.

Pentecost was approaching. Pentecost means “the 50th day.” Fiftieth day from what? From the Passover. Almost fifty days ago the Passover lambs had been slain, and so had THE Passover Lamb. Then there was the forty mystery days when Jesus was gone but not gone—with them but not with them, at least not like before. And he kept just appearing and then disappearing.

He taught them a lot in those forty days, He had breathed on them, gave them power to forgive and retain sins, fed them loaves and fish, appointed Peter as his shepherd, commanded them to go out from Jerusalem to the world. He explained to them much about the Kingdom of God and their tasks as His emissaries.

The last meeting was the most unusual of all. He answered a few questions, gave a few instructions and without even a formal Good-bye He started going up—and continued going up until all they saw was the bottom of his sandals as he disappeared into a cloud. Daniel 7:13-14 says he went back to the glory of heaven.

They looked at each other with obvious concern on their faces—they were fearful. They locked themselves in the Upper Room to pray as He had commanded. They were praying for what they feared—fire upon a mountain, Mount Zion. They prayed for nine days, the first Novena, before the promise of the Holy Spirit fell.

We are specifically told that there were about 120 people in the room. Actually the word is “names” not people. How strange. Can you imagine me saying, “About 120 names came on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land”? This made me curious so I looked up 120 in early Jewish literature and law. Sure enough, my research paid off.

In Israel is a group of Jews desiring to leave the big city and start their own new community they needed a minimum of 120 names on a list. What was happening here in the Upper Room? A new community was being started. The word “church” in the New Testament is ecclesia which means “a group of people called out.” Even today the Knessett (lawmaking body in Israel) is made up of 120 representatives.

This certainly implies the Church is not just a loose association of like-minded followers of Jesus. It is a social structure with legal boundaries. It has it’s own legislature, courts and hierarchy. It is a “new city” with a constitution and authority. You are in or out. This is exactly what the Church is – with leaders having the authority to bind and loose, make laws and adjudicate them, include or exclude people from the organization, to forgive or retain sins. Only the worldwide Catholic Church could even begin to claim this status.

Mary is listed among the believers in that Upper Room. It was important that she is listed among the names with others. She is the mother of Jesus. She gave birth to him in Bethlehem as was, in a sense, giving birth to him again on Pentecost. What is our affectionate term for Pentecost? Can you sing “Happy Birthday, to you…”? Yes, it is the Birthday of the Church. What is being born? The Mystical Body of Christ. Who is there for the birth? The mother of course. Mothers have to be present when their child is born. Mary is the mother of Jesus the God-Man and Mary is the Mother of the Church, the Body of Christ. She was necessarily present at both births.

Mary was also there because the others were afraid of the descent of God in fire on this new mountain. I am convinced they trembled in fear not only of the Jews and Romans outside, but of the prophesied “baptism of fire” within—as they wondered and feared that might be. The gentle breeze was about to become a rushing wind.

But Mary was there to calm their anxieties. I bet she said something like, “Don’t be afraid my friends, the Holy Spirit has already overshadowed me and He was pure love. Just wait until you are bathed in His love!” The gentle breeze became a rushing wind but it was warm and

After nine days of praying the Holy Spirit fell in fire on the tenth day—which was the 50th day from the death of the Passover Lamb Jesus on the cross. The Jewish festival of Pentecost also celebrated the first fruits of the harvest.

Remember, Jesus said he was like a grain of wheat that would be buried in the ground. The grain must be buried and die to bear its fruit. Jesus died, was buried in the ground and rose from the dead as the first fruit. Now on the “Feast of First Fruits” the first of the harvest is brought to God. We learn that 3,000 people were added to the Church that day—all in keeping with the tremendous symbolism and deeper meaning to all these events.

And with these deep mysteries and truths we are just scratching the surface. Come to the Holy Land with us, get out your Bibles and study books (or Verbum Catholic Bible Study software) and dig deeper. “There is gold in them there hills” for those with eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts and minds to learn. Enter promo code STEVERAY for a 10% discount.

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St. Mark: Very Important; Very Little Known

by Steve Ray on April 25, 2021

Feast Day of St. Mark Today:

Very Important Biblical Guy, St. Peter’s Scribe, Yet Relatively Unknown
Let me introduce you to him…

StMark3CorbertGauthier“His voice boomed over the crowds in Rome as it had all around the Roman Empire. The large fisherman was aging but his voice was still filled with intensity and conviction. The thronging crowds listened with curiosity.

      “Rome was the hub of the civilized world and Peter preached the message of a Jewish rabbi named Jesus from the far away country of Israel.

Many in the crowd had believed in Jesus and had become part of this new society called the Church—the Church of which Peter was the acknowledged head. Standing at his side was his fellow-worker and secretary John Mark……”

For the whole story, click here.  For the story of Peter and Rome filmed on location, click here.

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Resurrection Appearances: Places & People

by Steve Ray on April 3, 2021

Here is the list of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.

Click here for the document: https://catholicconvert.com/wp-content/uploads/Resurrection-People-who-witnessed.pdf

For the podcast of my show with Drew Mariani — the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus and the institution and need for Confession, click ? below  or click this link: https://relevantradio.com/2020/04/the-importance-of-sacrament-of-confession/ My segment begins at 06:45 minutes into the show.

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Sharing the Story and Glory of Holy Thursday and Good Friday

April 2, 2021

A bunch of international young people asked me to share with them the story of Holy Thursday and Good Friday – to take them on a virtual, biblical, typological and geographical tour.

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Two Helpful Timelines for Easter Week

March 30, 2021

A lot is going on this week leading up to Easter. Here are two timelines that will help you navigate.  

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“Chair of Moses, Chair of Peter” Steve’s Article, YouTube Video and Resources

March 2, 2021

Today’s gospel reading is from Matthew 23 and Jesus mentions, “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice’.” (Mt 23:1–3). So here is a little […]

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St. Valentine’s Shows: Teresa Tomeo & Catholic Homeschooling Conference

February 12, 2021

I just did a 20-minute radio interview with Teresa Tomeo on Ave Maria Radio and EWTN which will be aired at 9:40 AM Eastern. She asked me to post my Talking Points that I sent to her along with our recent family picture, so here they are. Thanks for the great show, Teresa.   Here […]

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Boats on the Seas in the Bible — Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck February 10

February 9, 2021

A video of me discovering the place of St. Paul’s shipwreck on the Island of Malta. It is recorded in Acts 27:1 – Acts 28:10. Feast Day of St. Paul’s Shipwreck is February 10. Join me each Tuesday at 7:35 AM for our “In the Bible Series” on Son Rise Morning Show and EWTN. Today […]

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Interview with Al Kresta: The Conversion of St. Paul as the Seed of all Paul’s Theology

January 27, 2021

Jesus asked an unusual question from heaven. “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” How could Saul persecute Jesus who was safely distanced in heaven? This question was the seed that grew into the foundation for all of St. Paul’s teaching and theology. Fascinating look at how we are all in Christ and Christ is […]

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Well worth 3 minutes to watch, maybe get a Kleenex tissue

December 16, 2020

This is so sweet – and something to take your mind off of all of the garbage going on in the world. WELL WORTH the 3 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMuhj_aO3QE Beautiful Christmas commercial that will bring tears to your eyes This beautiful Christmas commercial was released in December 2020. It is guaranteed to bring tears to your […]

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Riddle: What Christmas Carol is This?

December 9, 2020

ABCDEFGHIJKMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ It is a clever riddle, but see if you can figure it out.

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“Why do you Catholics Believe Mary was Assumed into Heaven?”

November 16, 2020

Nice article from LifeTeen: About twelve years ago a teen named Billy asked me this question, “Why do you Catholics believe that Mary ascended into heaven, when it’s not even in the Bible?” He said “you Catholics” because he went to a local Bible Church but had been coming to a Life Teen Summer Bible […]

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“Be not ashamed of the Cross of Christ; but though another hide it, do thou openly seal it upon thy forehead”

September 14, 2020

On this feast day of the Triumph of the Cross, heed the words of Church Father, St. Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem (c. 315–87) in  his “Catechetical Lectures.” 13. All kings when they die have their power extinguished with their life: but Christ crucified is worshipped by the whole world. We proclaim The Crucified, and the devils […]

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Feast Day of St. Martha, loved by Jesus

July 29, 2020

Martha is often given the short shrift. She lived with her brother Lazarus and her sister Mary in Bethany where Jesus lived when he was in the Jerusalem area. She worked hard, cared for people but was criticized by Jesus, or so it seems. I don’t think Jesus was criticizing those who serve guests and take […]

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Exclusive Video: Holy Week inside Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

April 14, 2020

Join the Franciscan Friars for Easter in an exclusive – inside the Holy Sepulchre during the virus lockdown. Thanks to my friends Jeries Majlaton and Fr. Sinisa who provided me with exclusive photos and video footage inside the Holy Sepulchre during the Holy Week Triduum. The Franciscans are on lockdown inside the church and celebrated […]

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Steve’s 1/2 hour podcast: “Witnesses to the Resurrection” on Relevant Radio

April 13, 2020

After counting the different individuals or entities who were at the Tomb or later witnesses of the resurrected Christ, I came up with 15 witnesses in 9 locations. Enjoy the podcast! The interview starts at 02:40 minutes into the show.

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