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My wife walked by me this morning with a gentle touch. I winked and batted my eyebrows .

“Maybe,” she amorously added with a smile, “but I have the Catholic Moms meeting tonight.”

“Tell them we’re in the NFP window,” I said joking half-heartedly. “If any group should know about the NFP window, it’s a group of Catholic moms.”

So, what is NFP?

It stands for “Natural Family Planning.” Some people falsely believe NFP is synonymous with the Rhythm Method; it is not!

Also known as the Fertility-Based Awareness Method,(FBAM or FAM); Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an effective and fulfilling method of avoiding pregnancy 1 that has developed significantly over the past 80 years.

It’s a way for women to take control of their fertility without using chemical hormones and invasive devices. Maybe that’s why it is sometimes called Green Sex

Used most notably by practicing Catholics, FAMs have been catching on. There’s even a TED TALK about it.  So, if it’s a “female thing” why am I talking about it?

Well, as a husband, I didn’t immediately jump on board with NFP. As a Catholic, I knew I had to avoid unnatural contraception methods. However, as a male, I shamefully pushed the responsibility of monitoring onto my wife.

It is her body after all; what do I really know about it.

However, as our marriage started to grow in Love and Respect, my understanding of NFP started to grow — as did my amazement for my wife’s fertility. The more awareness I had, the more love and respect I had for her and her body.

However, my true interest in NFP came from a peculiar source: Ricardo Montalbán. Star Trek‘s Khan. Fantasy Island‘s Mr. Rourke. Yes, THAT Ricardo Montalbán. (Or at least I think it was Ricardo Montalbán.)

At the time when I was struggling with NFP — (and you will struggle at first; everyone does) — I recall watching an interview where Ricardo Montalbán discussed his faith. He was a devout Catholic; a devoted husband, he mentioned how every month was like a “Honeymoon” for him and his wife because of NFP.

Now, I searched the internet trying to find this particular interview and I found many interviews where Mr. Montalbán discussed his Catholic Faith. However, I couldn’t find this particular NFP interview. 

Of course, I began questioning whether it was actually Ricardo Montalbán?  But the image was so strong.  After discovering that he was happily married to the same woman for 63 years, I searched some more.

Sadly, I never found it.  So, was it Ricardo Montalbán or someone else?  I may never know. What I did find, however, was some articles on NFP’s “Honeymoon Effect”.  Many of them were supportive, but not overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a good example.

Regardless of where I heard about the “Honeymoon Effect,” I’m writing to let you know that it exists. 

The irony, however, is that the “Honeymoon Effect” happens over time. Unlike the blissful beginning of a marriage, the “Honeymoon Effect” comes years later — like when your youngest starts to consistently sleep through the night.

Gentlemen, there’s nothing like knowing your wife’s body biologically and spiritually. To know her cycle. To know when she is fertile. Getting to truly know how she was created! It adds wonderment and awe to your relationship.

Sure, as men, we are always prepared to have sex. So the natural rhythm of nature oftentimes alludes us. Natural Family Planning or Fertility-Based Awareness forces us to pay closer attention to our spouse and the nature of her needs. 

These methods, not only, restore the natural bond between husband and wife. They remind us what Love truly is…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres … Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4–8) 

And if you are patient, kind; if you don’t boast or dishonor; and if you’re not self-seeking, you discover yourself in the middle of a great love story where you are continually in the recurring role of the bridegroom nervously, fondly, and passionately awaiting the arrival of your bride to the nuptial bed where you two truly get to know each other.

_______________

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. He has been happily married to his wife, Jen, for over 17 years. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

When I lived in L.A, I belonged to a Christian Men’s Fellowship Group. Weekly, we would meet and study the Word. Since most of us were in the Film Industry, in one form or another, we jokingly referred to ourselves as “The Christian Underground.” (Though, there was more truth in that name than we were willing to admit.)

Before and since, I’ve never belonged to such a rewarding group of Christian brothers — and I moved from Los Angeles over a decade ago.

Most of my brothers in this group were raised Catholic, however, at the time, only two of us practiced Catholicism as adults. Today, I believe, I’m the only member of “The Underground” who still attends Mass weekly.

Though I understand many of the reasons for their exodus — one has to go to where they believe they are being feed — nothing makes me as sad as hearing that one of the Collect has left the Church.

Bishop Fulton Sheen may have put it best when he said, “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

Most people leave the Catholic Church because they have been poorly catechized. (Most. Not all.) Additionally, most wrongly perceive how the Catholic Church worships — including many Catholics.

We don’t solely worship with song and sermon, thought that is an part of our celebration; they’re not truly the part of our worship. We worship with sacrifice; the sacrifice of the Eucharist, to be precise — and it sometimes takes a lifetime to understand that Sacrifice.

Sure, Evangelical services are uplifting. They are filled with great music. Their pastors give moving, powerful sermons. I love Evangelical Sunday services — and that’s why I don’t go to them.

Worship of the Lord is not about us. Worship of the Risen Lord is all about Him — or at least should be.

People often say, “I don’t get anything out of a Catholic Mass.” The retort of many Catholic priests or those of us who study our Faith is usually “Well, you don’t understand what’s going on.”

And maybe that’s so, but that’s not the right response.

Father Mike Schmitz has given the best responses, here and here. In both videos, he explains that there are plenty of things to get out of Mass. However, one does not go to Mass to get, one goes to Mass to give.

On Monday, I would go with anyone to a Tent Revival. On Tuesday, invite me to hear Christian brothers and sisters witness. On Wednesday, we can share in fellowship and study the Word. Thursday: Let’s all answer the Altar Call together and get slain by the Spirit. Friday: We can all quiet our minds and experience Taizé prayer. Saturday, let’s loudly sing contemporary music together in praise. But on Sunday…

Sunday is offered to us so we can disconnect from the world and all its distractions, stand before God and His awe, and simply make a sacrifice — and give. Sunday is all about God. God is Love and Love always demands some kind of sacrifice.

Love calls us to sacrifice ourselves.

In short, if you are not personally getting anything out of your Sunday worship, you’re probably doing it right.

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Father’s Day

I’ve been an author, a press secretary. Director and screenwriter. I’ve ran a congressional campaign. Advised politicians. Rubbed elbows with U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators— and once told a Governor’s Top Aide to suck it.

Been Teacher of the Year! Made PBJs for Gary U.S. Bonds, sold Moet to Eric B and Rakim, and broke break with a Maharaja.

I’m one degree of separation from the last three presidents and two degrees from Sir Paul McCarthy.

I’ve even been in the presence of a Pope and a Saint.

But when I die, there’s only one thing for which I want to be remembered — being a loving husband and dad.

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads who make a difference!


James Henry
 is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

The other day I came home and learned from my mom that my seven-year-old misbehaved for most of the day.

By the time I arrived home from work, my wife had already disciplined him and served up a consequence for his behavior before darting off to work. So, instead of hearing what happened from my bride, I sat him down and asked my son what happened.

After hearing his confession, I asked him what consequence he received for his actions.

“Mommy said I can’t watch T.V. tonight,” he confessed.

“Wow, you must’ve been pretty bad,” I replied.

Yes, he nodded.

Later that night, we prepared and ate dinner. After we cleared off the table, I plopped down on the couch to relax and turned on the television, forgetting all about the incident. As his big bro and I were scrolling through the selections on Prime, I noticed my seven-year-old son was pacing in the hall.

“What’s the matter?” I asked, having forgot that he was punished.

“I’m not allowed to watch T.V.” he said with a sigh, “and I don’t know what else to do.”

“Go read a book,” I sternly added, pretending to have remembered.

“Okay,” he pouted and went off to his room.

With that, I kindly asked my mom if she would mind keeping him company. She quickly agreed to read with him, impressed that he first honestly confessed and then voluntarily forfeited television without having to be reminded. I was impressed, as well.

Later, when his mom arrived home from work, I called him out of his room and praised him in front of her, for accepting his consequences. I also came clean and told him that I had forgotten that he was punished, then boasted to my wife that her reminded me.

Together, we praised him. “You are definitely on the path of becoming a strong Christian man” I added with a sense of pride, then we sent him off to bed with hugs and kisses.

Full disclosure, as a father, I don’t know what I’m doing to bring about such an amazing behavior.

The only thing I may do differently than other dads is that I constantly remind my boys that it’s my job to make sure they grow up to be strong Christian men.  I also share with them with my hope that on the day that I open my eyes in Heaven, I will find my entire family standing at my side — along with their families.

Maybe that’s the secret? Or maybe the secret is just having the love and support of a strong Christian woman as a wife?

I don’t know.  

Right now, I’ll take it — either way. 

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

When I was a kid, we all gathered around the television on Sunday nights and watch “The Wonderful World of Disney“. Every now and then, Walt Disney would introduce a show or pitch a product.

There was something magic about those nights.

Walt Disney’s ideas were all so new. His love for his product undeniable. If there was a new technology, Walt presented it on screen — humbly giving all the credit to the men and women who helped bring that new tech to life.

On Easter Sunday, I couldn’t help but to reflect on those days while my family gathered around the flat screen to watch the premiere of “The Chosen” Season Two.

Before the show began, the series creator, Dallas Jenkins appeared and talked the his show — just like Walt.

Walt Disney - Quotes, Frozen & Pictures - Biography

Dallas teased a new episode and pitched new things, singing “www dot the chosen gifts dot com” — just like Walt.

Here’s Walt Disney singing with the Sherman Brothers.

The greatest connection between the two, however, was how the nation came together to watch something wholesome that they created, with a sense of unity.

I wonder if Walt has been looking down at Dallas from the Heavens at all this? If so, I’m sure he smiles every time he hears the slogan Get used to different, thinking “Why didn’t I come up with that?”

This Tuesday, April 13, Season Two: Episode 2 will be released. If I had one thing I would change about “The Chosen” it would be that Dallas premiere new episodes and continue bring people together on Sunday nights — just like Walt … and just like Christ intended.

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Recently, I received a text with a link to a short clip titled “Jordan Peterson cries talking about Jesus.”

I watched the clip and responded.

Immediately, the exchange continued.

Like Jordan Peterson, I often rely on scientific means to BELIEVE.

Though today I don’t subscribe to the 1960’s Hippie imagine of Saint Francis of Assisi, his writings did inspired me to leave home and study Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana. As my scientific knowledge increased, my Faith grew stronger.

For example, the scientific discovery of Fetal microchimerism better formed my understanding and acceptance of the Catholic Church’s Marian Dogmas. My blogpost The Theology of Jesus’ Blood Type explains how science helped seal my Faith in the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist.

In fact, the Church uses science all-the-time.

The Church calls in scientists to try to disprove every alleged miracle or apparition.[1] For example, the Lourdes Medical Commission, while documenting thousands of extraordinary cures, has only validated only a handful of them. [2] Additionally, the Church sends a Promoter of Faith to interrogate and challenge those who are promoting someone’s sainthood. You might know that person as The Devil’s Advocate.

It is his duty to suggest natural explanations for alleged miracles, and even to bring forward human and selfish motives for deeds that have been accounted heroic virtues.

The ultimate weapon of the Devil’s Advocate: The Scientific Method!

God knew many of us would need more than blind faith to follow Him. That’s why there’s science.

The Church is steeped in science — and always has been. *

Take Saint Thomas the Apostle. Thomas needed evidence to believe and became the first Saint to use the Scientific Method!

Scripture tells us that Christ didn’t leave the Apostles faith to chance so he gave them evidence. He appeared to them, not once, but twice — when Thomas was present.

We all know the story. Thomas couldn’t believe in the resurrected Christ until he personally made an Observation.

Though John’s Gospel has Thomas silent at the moment of Christ’s visitation, Thomas had previously formulated a Hypothesis eight days before when he said, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

Thomas was given a chance to test his hypothesis with an Experiment when Christ had His incredulous disciple reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side.

Thomas had both felt and seen the physical evidence of the Resurrected Christ, and was able to Draw a Conclusion, when he said “My Lord and my God.”

Finally, Thomas Communicated the Results, traveling the four corners of the globe spreading the Good News to the blessed who have not seen, but believe. Tradition, in both the East and West, has Thomas preaching in the regions south of the Himalayans, including India, where he suffered martyrdom in Madras.

This was not the first time that Thomas showcased his inquisitive mind. Earlier, in the 14th Chapter of John’s Gospel, Thomas asked the question: “Lord, we know not whither thou go; and how can we know the way?”

Maybe that’s why Thomas is also known as Didymus, meaning Twin — because he’s the spitting imagine, in heart and soul, of all of us who draw our conclusions by using the scientific method.

Who knew that following the science could lead one to follow Christ.

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

* NOTE: I figured some readers would have a problem with the line “The Catholic Church is steeped in science — and always has been” due to the Galileo Affair. With that, here’s a LINK to my blogpost of this incident.

Image by James Chan from Pixabay

Most American Christians believe that all Christians celebrate Easter on the same day. In fact, 2016, one of the U.S. presidential candidates, wrote this:

This weekend, Christians of every denomination remember the most transformative event in history – Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection – the ultimate sacrifice that redeemed the whole world.

The fact is not every Christian denomination celebrates Christ’s resurrection on the same Sunday. This year, for the majority of Americans, we celebrate Easter on April 4th.  However, our Orthodox brothers and sisters, celebrate the resurrection in May. (May 2nd to be exact.)

So, why are there two Easters?

Historically, the early Church did not have a set date for Easter.  In fact, not every Christian remembered Christ’s resurrection on Sunday.

The Catholic Encyclopedia informs us, that according to Irenaeus, “St. Polycarp, who like the other Asiatics, kept Easter on the fourteenth day of the moon, whatever day of the week that might be, following therein the tradition which he claimed to have derived from St. John the Apostle, came to Rome c. 150 about this very question, but could not be persuaded by Pope Anicetus to relinquish his Quartodeciman observance.”[1]

Interesting!

After that controversy ended, the Catholic Encyclopedia states that:

“…the second stage in the Easter controversy centers round the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325). Granted that the great Easter festival was always to be held on a Sunday, and was not to coincide with a particular phase of the moon, which might occur on any day of the week, a new dispute arose as to the determination of the Sunday itself. The text of the decree of the Council of Nicaea which settled, or at least indicated a final settlement of, the difficulty has not been preserved to us, but we have an important document inserted in Eusebius’s “Life of Constantine” (III, xviii sq.). The emperor himself, writing to the Churches after the Council of Nicaea, exhorts them to adopt its conclusions and says among other things: “At this meeting the question concerning the most holy day of Easter was discussed, and it was resolved by the united judgment of all present that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day. . . in the city of Rome and in Africa, throughout Italy and in Egypt. . . with entire unity of judgment.” [2]

As already stated, we don’t have the exact words of the great council, but we may safely infer from scattered notes that the council ruled:

  • that Easter must be celebrated by all throughout the world on the same Sunday;
  • that this Sunday must follow the fourteenth day of the paschal moon;
  • that that moon was to be accounted the paschal moon whose fourteenth day followed the spring equinox;
  • that some provision should be made, probably by the Church of Alexandria as best skilled in astronomical calculations, for determining the proper date of Easter and communicating it to the rest of the world.

This was not a perfect solution. But it appears, by 525 AD all the Christian communities of the world were celebrating the Resurrection of Our Lord on the same Sunday.

So, what happened?

Why do Russian and Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter or Pascha, on one Sunday and everybody else celebrates the Resurrection of Our Lord on another Sunday?

Well, the Gregorian calendar happened — kinda.

According to Wiki: The Gregorian calendar, also called the Western calendar and the Christian calendar, is internationally the most widely used civil calendar. It is named for Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October 1582.

Wiki states: The calendar was a refinement to the Julian calendar amounting to a 0.002% correction in the length of the year. The motivation for the reform was to bring the date for the celebration of Easter to the time of the year in which it was celebrated when it was introduced by the early Church. Because the celebration of Easter was tied to the spring equinox, the Roman Catholic Church considered the steady drift in the date of Easter caused by the year being slightly too long to be undesirable. The reform was adopted initially by the Catholic countries of Europe. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox countries continued to use the traditional Julian calendar and adopted the Gregorian reform after a time, for the sake of convenience in international trade. The last European country to adopt the reform was Greece, in 1923.

Blah, blah, blah-blah, blaaaah!

However, the Orthodox Church vigorously opposes the use of the Gregorian calendar, writes Fr. Jon Magoulias, a Greek-Orthodox priest at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Modesto, California.

This, he informs us, resulted in the West and East celebrating all Church feast days on different dates, the Orthodox celebrations always falling thirteen days behind the Western. [3]

In 1923, Fr. Jon Magoulias continued, an inter-Orthodox congress was held in Constantinople attended by representatives of some, but not all, Orthodox churches. This congress made the very controversial decision to follow a revised calendar that was essentially the same as the Gregorian calendar, for all things except the celebration of Pascha, which continued to be calculated according to the original Julian calendar. The result being that today the Orthodox celebrate most feast days, like Christmas, Epiphany and the rest, at the same time as Western Christians and only Pascha and the feast days that are connected with it like Pentecost and the Ascension, are dated according to the Julian calendar and celebrated on different dates. [4]

Fr. Magoulias stated that for Orthodox, it is important to maintain the teachings and traditions of the Church intact and pure [5] — and I would argue, for Catholics, this applies as well.

But remember, I said the problem was that “the Gregorian calendar happened — kinda.” Well, the kinda is kinda important.

Well, Catholics believe Easter Sunday formula handed down by the First Ecumenical Council, held in Nicea in 325 AD is: The first Sunday which occurs after the first full moon (or more accurately after the first fourteenth day of the moon) following the vernal equinox. For Orthodox Christians, the formula is this: Pascha is to be celebrated on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, following the first day of Spring (March 21 on the Julian calendar), but always after Jewish Passover — and that’s the kinda that makes all the difference!

Because of this difference, Christians celebrate the most Holiest of our Holy days on different days. By doing this, it appears to me, that we are acting more like they who divided His garments by casting lots than those followers who near the cross of Jesus stood.

Personally, I think holding on to the tradition of the Julian calendar is a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face. We know it was an inaccurate measuring tool. It’s definitely not Divine. So, why continue to use it?

I understand that Orthodoxy can also point to Canon VII of the Holy Apostles to counter any argument against the Julian calendar.

For those unfamiliar, Canon VII states: If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Easter before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed. However, in the same breath, Canons XLV and LVX of the Holy Apostles respectively state: “Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he had permitted them” and “If any clergymen, or laymen, enter a synagogue of Jews, or of heretics, to pray, let him be both deposed and excommunicated.”

To that I ask: “How close are these Canons adhered to today by Orthodox clergymen or laymen alike today?” (For the record: My Lutheran wife and I often hold hands in prayer and my kid’s dojo is held in the hall of a synagogue. Just saying.)

Now, I would never ask anyone to compromise their beliefs, but there has to be some wiggle room here. It’s also not my intent is not to pick on our Orthodox brothers and sisters — alone.

To Catholics, I ask you to answer this: Is there 100% certainty that you got the Easter formula correct? It appears that the formula was never written down. Even the Colonel’s fried chicken recipe and secret recipe for Coca Cola are written down somewhere. And since even the followers of the Apostle John got the formula wrong and later adjusted their practice, maybe we can conclude our date formula for Easter does not meet the standard of “an infallible Church teaching”?

Maybe?

The Good News (pun intended): Christians of every denomination did remember the most transformative event in history – Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection – uno die et uno tempore per omnem orbem in 2017.

The bad news is this isn’t going to happen again until 2034!  We need to change this.  There’s only one person who can initiate this change: Pope Francis.

Source: Günther Simmermacher | Pixaby

Here’s several ways you can address a letter to him.

  • His Holiness, Pope Francis PP. / 00120 Via del Pellegrino / Citta del Vaticano
  • His Holiness Pope Francis / Apostolic Palace / Vatican City
  • His Holiness Pope Francis / Vatican City State, 00120

Do not write “Italy” on the envelop as the country. The Vatican is considered its own independent nation

If we don’t unify now, after 2017, Christians will not celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ on the same day and at the same time throughout the world until 2034. Maybe that’s why the enemy is having such an easy time as of late. Think about it.

Kalo Pascha 2017!

IMG_1353

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Lamb
Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Have you ever read something you wrote in the past and thought, “Wow, I wrote that?”

That’s exactly what I did when I stumbled upon and read this email that I sent in 2010! It appears that it was a written response to an email sent to me by very close friend.  His email contained the blog article posted in  Biblical Archaeology Society’s Bible History Daily titled “Was Jesus’ Last Supper A Seder?”  The link in the email no longer works.  However, I googled the article and found the new link HERE.

After I completed the email, I Cc’ed it to many of my close friends.  Today, I am sharing it with you.  Enjoy!

Thank you for the link to the interesting article.  I enjoyed reading different perspectives on a tradition that has been celebrated in the Church for almost 2000 years.  With that, I am Bcc’ing it to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ for their enjoyment.  But before I do, I’d like to make a few points where I believe the author erred.  

Like many Christians, the author makes the grand mistake in believing that the synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John do not match. Therefore, his judgment that the Last Supper cannot be a Passover meal is sadly incorrect. 

Though not a Seder, which he correctly mentions was a tradition created after the fall of Jerusalem, all four Gospels do place the Last Supper on the same day,  Holy Thursday, … let me explain.

In Jewish tradition, if Passover (Nisan 14) lands on the Sabbath, Friday night, which the Gospels dictates was Good Friday, the pascal lamb slaughter occurs on Nisan 13, since slaughtering lambs is “work,” and the Passover feast takes place immediately following the slaughter, that night, which would be Nisan 13; or it is moved to Saturday night, Nisan 15, which is why Mark writes, “The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were to take place in two days’ time.” 14:1

With that, Luke 22:7 mentions that the Passover meal takes place on “day of sacrificing the lamb”, which was Nisan 13; Matthew 26:17 “on the first day” — again Nisan 13 — because, as Mark tells us, Passover (or the night of Passover meal) is now taking place over two days [Nisan 13 or Nisan 15]; and John 13:1 confirms this by stating that the meal took place on Nisan 13 “before the feast of Passover” (Nisan 14.)  [NOTE: St. John’s use of this term will make more sense when the Quartodecimen Controversy is discussed below.] 

Therefore, the Last Supper took place in all four Gospels on Thursday, Nisan 13.

What does this mean?  It means that the only lamb slaughtered on Nisan 14, the only sacrifice that took place on Nisan 14, the true Passover, was the sacrifice of the true Pascal Lamb, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, Whose Blood washed away our sins. 

Truthfully, that’s all that really matters. 

Spiritually, the following does not really matter.  However, I promised to mention the Quartodecimen Controversy. So for you Die Hards, I’ll continue.  And, I’m on Spring Break….  

The placement of the Last Supper on conflicting days leads the author of the article into more error.  For example, he twists the Quartodecimen Controversy as a “Semitic plot” when he writes “… to encourage Christians to celebrate Easter on Passover would it not make sense to emphasize the fact that Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples just before he died?”

The writings of the Church Fathers, however, tell us that it was the followers of the author of the Gospel of John, St. John the Apostle — especially St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrma — who celebrated Easter after Passover (Nisan 14), not the followers of the synoptic authors, Matthew, Mark, & Luke, which would put in question that author’s belief that ‘John gets the Post-Passover date of the Last Supper correct.’ 

Quartodecimen stands for 14 — as Nisan 14.  This practice caused “controversy” because the early Christians who followed this practice (e.g. the early followers of St. John the Apostle) celebrated the Resurrection of the Lord on the third DAY after Nisan 14 not the SUNDAY following Nisan 14.

On a side note, Easter, like Passover, is still “lunar” based.  Easter ALWAYS falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon that follows the first day of Spring — unless you’re Orthodox. More on that here.

Finally, and even less important, the author continues to error when he writes, “The Orthodox churches preserve the earlier custom of using leavened bread.”

The Maronites (Syrian and Palestinian Christians), the Churches of Jerusalem and Alexandria, and the Armenians, all use unleavened bread.  

According to St Thomas Aquinas, in the beginning, both in the East and West, unleavened bread was used.  When the sect of the Ebionites arose, who wished that the Mosaic Law should be obligatory on all converts, so leavened bread was used [to combat the heresy]; and when this heresy ceased, the Latins again used unleavened bread, but the Greeks retained the use of leavened bread.  In short, leaven bread was used to break the heresy!

With that, the Latin rite can use leaven bread if no unleavened bread is available and vice versa; which means that it is a strongly held tradition (small t) that Jesus used unleavened bread at the Last Supper.  Latin-rite Catholics follow this tradition because of the belief that a “good Jew,” which Jesus undoubtedly was, would NOT have “leaven” in their house during the days of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, which begins on Nisan 14 and continues until Nisan 21… 

However, the Last Supper took place on Nisan 13.

I’m not a theologian, but like I tell my wife “If I can figure this stuff out….”

Maybe much of the connection between Christ and the Passover lamb is lost on us English-speakers because we use term Easter to refer to the feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord.  Most of Christian world uses a variant of the word Pascha (Greek: Πάσχα).

  • Latin – Pascha or Festa Paschalia
  • Greek – Paskha
  • Bulgarian – Paskha
  • Danish – Paaske
  • Dutch – Pasen
  • Finnish – Pääsiäinen
  • French – Pâques
  • Indonesian – Paskah
  • Italian – Pasqua
  • Lower Rhine German – Paisken
  • Norwegian – Påske
  • Portuguese – Páscoa
  • Romanian – Pasti
  • Russian – Paskha
  • Spanish – Pascua
  • Swedish – Påsk
  • Welsh – Pasg

Pascha is a transliteration of the Greek word, which is itself a transliteration of the Hebrew Pesach, both meaning Passover.

Recently, I discovered an interesting tidbit about the pascal lambs and the shepherds who visited the Infant Jesus at the time of his birth.  Some evidence points to the fact that the sheep that these shepherds tended to, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, where the Temple lambs raised to serve in Temple sacrifices, including Passover.  These lambs were believed to be “wrapped in swaddling clothes” (Luke 2:12) to protect them and keep them “without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:19)

According to tradition, these “unblemished” lambs were sacrificed on Nisan 14 between noon and 3pm — the same time Christ hung on the cross.

The Passover “lamb in which was commanded to be wholly roasted,” wrote Justin Martyr,, a second century Christian, “was a symbol of the suffering of the cross which Christ would undergo. For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of the cross. For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb.”

In short, Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes of way the sin of the world.”

Blessed Pascha! Chag Peasach Semeach!

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

Image by Prawny from Pixabay

The Palm Sunday Gospel reading always gets me.

Every time the Collect has to say “Crucify Him” I get chocked up. This year was no different. In fact, I couldn’t even get out the words.

As a pious teenager, I refused to cry out “Crucify Him!” along with everyone else in Church, believing that I would not be among those calling for Jesus’ execution. However, as I get older, I realize that I not only would’ve been among those in the crowd; I probably would’ve suggested a good place to buy a quality hammer and nails.

As tradition would have it, I fell to my knees after hearing the words, “But Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed His last.” I removed my glasses and wiped my eyes dry then stood and listened to the rest of the Gospel reading, hiding my tears.

The homily followed — and it was simple.

Everything that Jesus went through, he did it for YOU,” Pastor reminded us all. “Yes, He came to save the world. However, he died just for YOU!

Christ would have gone through everything we just read. He would’ve suffered and died on the Cross even if YOU were the only one His death would have given eternal salvation.”

God personally whispered those exact words into my ears while the Gospel was being read, moments before they were spoken from the pulpit to the Collect. That’s why I was crying.

God Almighty, the Great I AM, loved me so much that He took Flesh, suffered extreme humiliation, and brutal torture before being publicly executed, just so He could share His eternal kingdom with me, a sinner — and, He would do the same thing all-over again just for YOU.

So, be like Christ. Make this Holy Week all about YOU.

James is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, The Christmas Save and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL 

As a writer, James has been featured on The Inside Success Show, Bob Salter (CBS Radio),  Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.  
Beyond writing, James worked with At-Risk youth in Southern California for over six years.  His contributions to the classroom — featured on local television and in the LA Daily News and the Los Angeles Times’ Burbank Leader — earned him the honors of “Teacher of the Year”.    James was also twice honored by a CASDA Scholar as the teacher who had the greatest influenced that student.   As an educator, James also appeared twice on America Live with Megyn Kelly.
Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.   Besides his books, you can follow his musing on this blog Corporation You.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Image by PublicDomainArchive from Pixabay

As parents, we thought we did everything right.

We researched the schools, the neighborhood — after a three-year search, we bought a house on a private, dead-end with only two neighbors so our kids could be safe from strangers.

We had six wonderful years.

But that all ended after one neighbor sold and the new homeowner turned the house into a year-round Short-term rental.

Now, because of foul language and a list of inappropriate behaviors, we’re not comfortable letting our children outside without adult supervision. We’ve become security for the Town and Front Desk Clerk against our will.

We had no idea how Short-term rentals could disrupt the life of a neighbor.

Neighborhoods are built for neighbors, not strangers. In the last year and a half, we’ve estimated that over 400 strangers have “lived” next door. That’s 400 strangers who have had access to our children.

As a father and a husband, that’s a frightening thought. Sure, we can move, but to where? They’re everywhere and can pop up in any neighborhood.

Even when there’s a good guest, you’re on edge wondering when the next disruption will arrive — and complain to the Town once too much and you’ll get threatened to be silent. Speak up again and you get served papers and sued — just like what has happened to us!

Though frustrated, we have no ill-will against the guests. They’re on vacation and should have a place to unwind and let loose.

But there are places for that and proper zones — far away from residential neighborhoods.

James is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, The Christmas Save and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL 

As a writer, James has been featured on The Inside Success Show, Bob Salter (CBS Radio),  Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.  

Beyond writing, James worked with At-Risk youth in Southern California for over six years.  His contributions to the classroom — featured on local television and in the LA Daily News and the Los Angeles Times’ Burbank Leader — earned him the honors of “Teacher of the Year”.    James was also twice honored by a CASDA Scholar as the teacher who had the greatest influenced that student.   As an educator, James also appeared twice on America Live with Megyn Kelly. 

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.   Besides his books, you can follow his musing on this blog Corporation You.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

You can support James and his family, and help them with their lawyer fees, by purchasing one of his books mentioned above. 

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