It would seem that Satan and other evil spirits did know Jesus was God, at least in some general way. Scripture reports: Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God" (Mk 3:11). Another time a demon cried out: I know who you are -- the Holy One of God!" (Mk 1:24). There are similar passages (e.g. Mk 1:34 and Luke 4:41).
That said, we ought not to conclude that Satan had a comprehensive or flawless knowledge of Jesus, and the full plan of salvation. Had Satan such a complete knowledge, especially of the plan of God, he would not have inspired the crucifixion of Jesus, the very means by which he (Satan) was defeated.
Hence, there is evidence that Satan had a basic understanding of Jesus’ divinity, and plan, but one that was limited, and likely flawed to some extent, due to his intellect being darkened by sin and rage.
However, when Satan tempted Jesus, it was only to his human nature and his human will that he could appeal, even though he knew Jesus also to be God.
One of the common objections of my adult son raises about going to Church is that all the sin and hypocrisy in the Church is intolerable to him. Any advice on what to say about this?
Well, of course, this is one of the objections that Jesus had to face from the Pharisees: This man welcomes sinners and eats with them (Luke 15:2). It’s a remarkable thing, Jesus is found among sinners, even hypocrites. He is not found in the perfect places of our imagined “church.” He is not simply found in the places or company considered desirable, he is found where he is found: among sinners. Indeed, one image for the Church is Christ, crucified between two thieves!
As for hypocrisy, we do well to wonder if any human being on this planet, save for the most heroic saint, is utterly free from this ubiquitous human problem. Surely your son cannot consider himself wholly free from it can he?
In terms of mission, the Church is a hospital for sinners, and that means sinners will be found there. But so will medicine of the sacraments, the wisdom of Scripture, healing, and encouragement, admonishment, too. And yes, sinners…even some in critical condition. We know our sin. That is why we have confessionals in every parish. Pray God, we always have room for one more sinner.
As for those who seek for Christ apart from the Church, i.e. apart from his Body: no can do. Christ is found with his body, the Church. He associates with sinners and holds them close. He incorporates them into his body through baptism and seeks them when they stray.
Tell your son that Jesus loves sinners and is not too proud to be in their company and call them his brethren. Join us!
A non-Christian friend of mine says that Jesus was a false prophet because he wanted to eliminate almost all the Jewish customs and laws. Is this true?
No, Jesus was and is a true prophet. Jesus says he has not come to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). Moses prophesied that a prophet like himself would one day be raised up (Deuteronomy 18:15-19) and, following the Resurrection, both Peter (Acts 3:22) and Stephen (Acts 7:37) testify that Jesus fulfilled Moses’ prophecy.
A key way Jesus demonstrated that he was a true prophet was in telling the Pharisees that no sign would be given them except the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:38-40). He demonstrated this first by rising from the dead, as Jonah was three days in the belly of a whale (Jonah 2:1). But the other aspect of the sign of Jonah was getting the Gentiles to repent and turn to God. For Jonah, it was getting the people of the great city of Nineveh to repent.
With Jesus, we see something much more dramatic. Jesus commissioned his apostles to make disciples of “all nations,” including the “Gentiles” (Matthew 28:19). We see that accomplished in a significant way through the Catholic Church he founded. Catholic means universal, which is appropriate, since with God’s fundamental support the Church has made disciples throughout the world.
Jesus is the Incarnate Word, the God-man (John 1:1-3,14). Jesus cannot help but be a true prophet and indeed the greatest ever.
When a loved one is dying and in pain, is it okay for doctors to give them painkillers that inadvertently shorten their life? What is the Church’s teaching on pain control to the point of becoming unconscious for an end-of-life situation?
In Catholic moral theology there is a principle called “double effect.” This principal states that an action that has two effects - one good and one bad - is permissible if the following are true:
In some situations it may be necessary to sedate dying patients in order to relieve their pain. In such situations the secondary effects of the drugs used may hasten the death of the individual. This secondary effect may be permitted if the above listed principles are fulfilled. Pain management for a dying person is permissible for the following reasons:
A patient may be rendered unconscious only if there is no other reasonable way to achieve pain relief. However, should that be the option that is left, it is indeed perfectly moral. Please keep this principle in mind when you are caring for loved ones who are dying.
What are the "entrance antiphons" and "communion antiphons" and why do we sing them at Mass?
The entrance antiphon and communion antiphons belong to what are called the Propers of the Mass. The Propers of the Mass are certain Scriptural texts, besides the readings, that are prescribed by the Church for the entrance and communion rites based upon the liturgical season and particular celebration of the day. These antiphon scriptural texts were started in the 6th century by Pope St. Gregory the Great and were re-issued by the Second Vatican Council to help us connect the three-year cycle of Mass readings with the sung entrance chant and the communion chant. Listening and singing along with these scriptural chants helps you to delve more deeply into the meaning of the Eucharistic liturgy and prepare you for hearing and responding to God’s spoken Word which you are about to hear in the Mass readings.
The Church allows both the entrance antiphons and communion antiphons to be sung by the cantor or choir with the congregation responding, the choir and cantor in alteration, or the choir alone. While the priest is receiving the Eucharist, the communion chant is begun, its purpose being to express the spiritual union of the communicants by means of the unity of their voices, to show gladness of heart and to bring out more clearly the “communitarian” character of the procession to receive the Eucharist. The Roman Missal goes on to say that the music at Communion may be extended appropriately to include a congregational hymn, singing by the choir or cantor, and/or instrumental music.
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