Artifacts & Biblical History

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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How Big was Noah’s Ark

by Steve Ray on March 23, 2021

It was a big boat at a time when big boats did not exist. It was a feat of genius ingenuity. You can read the instructions for building in Genesis 6:14-22.

We are also told that the ark is a picture of the Church and salvation. In the ark Noah passed through the waters which is a type of baptism.

St. Peter writes, “God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now” (1 Pet 3:20–21).

Jesus says we are born again by water and Spirit which fulfills the prefiguration of Noah and saves us (John 3:3-5).

With all those animals in the ark I wonder who was in charge of cleaning up the mess. I grew up on a small farm and it was my job to use the pitch fork to scoop up the nasty straw and spread it on the garden every day.

The sons of Noah must of had a monumental task every morning and the smell must have been nauseating.

But sometimes it is worth wading through nasty stuff – I mean piles of poop to get to heaven. We too live in a world full of sin, suffering and abuse, but we persevere and the reward is salvation (Matt 24:13).

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A painful price is paid when one reaches his hand into a swarm of bees to swipe some of their honey. Stingers fly and welts flare. I know. I raised hives of bees as a boy and once I was stung 35 times in one day. And that was with protective equipment!

Wild honey is not collected from wild bees without burning pain and suffering. Today there is protective equipment and methods to harvest honey, but in times past it took a man willing to experience bitter pain today for the sweet rewards later.

There seems to be a principle built into the real world that is expressed with maxims such as “good things take time,” and “no pain no gain.” A paycheck is preceded by forty hours of work. Muscles appear after weeks of sweat equity and exercise.

Shortcuts seldom pay off and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Achievement takes effort and rewards are given to those who work hard.

Suffering is shunned by most people. Pain is avoided. We usually chose the path of least resistance. It seems most people are hard-wired for pleasure, relaxation and personal gratification. Following these baser impulses rarely reap the rewards human beings aspire to.

The number forty is used symbolically in the Bible over and over again. Jewish and Christian tradition has known this from the beginning. Forty is the number of testing, suffering, fasting, repentance and self-denial.

It often precedes new beginnings and new stages of salvation and restoration. Noah’s flood lasted forty days, Israel wandered in the wilderness forty years, Jonah gave Ninevah forty days to repent, Elijah fasted forty days and nights—as did Jesus in the wilderness.

John the Baptist wandered in the Judean Wilderness east of Jerusalem. He wore rustic clothing and suffered the pain of harvesting his own wild honey. He ate his wild honey with locusts, another word for a grasshopper.

Such hopping insects were declared “clean” foods for the Jews (Lev 11:22). I once jokingly told a group of pilgrims I “loved living the Bible in the Holy Land” and if they found a grasshopper I would eat it like John the Baptist had done. They went on a mission and found a 4” wiggly grasshopper. I had no choice but to imitate the Baptist. (See me eat it here.)

In the summer months, the wilderness of Judea hovers around 120?. John looked and acted a lot like Elijah the prophet and it was from this exact location that Elijah was assumed body and soul into heaven.

No wonder the Pharisees questioned if John was the Elijah who was to come. He was baptizing repentant Jews about thirty miles down from the mountains of Jerusalem and about three miles from the ancient community of Qumran.

John undoubtedly associated with these devout Essenes who had moved to the hot wilderness to seek God and become the Children of Light. The wilderness, like the number forty, is usually associated with seeking God and a sincere holiness brought about by self-denial and isolation.

Christian tradition from the earliest times understood the spiritual benefits of established periods of fasting, repentance, prayer and self-denial. This practice of self-abandonment to the wilderness for forty days was incorporated into the liturgical year. It was called Lent. The word originates from an old English word meaning “spring” and was used because Lent, the time of fasting and prayer was practiced in the spring of the year in preparation for Easter.

 John the Baptist wandered in the wilderness to mortify the flesh and earthly desires, focusing his mind and heart on things above. He was seeking holiness and spirituality. Jesus was driven by the Spirit into the same wilderness to be tempted by the Devil and prepared for his ministry.

The Church wants us to share in this deeper life of God. Lent is a time set aside so that we can join John in the wilderness—setting aside the distractions of daily life and earthly pursuits, turning to God and prayer.

Of course, it is not as easy for most of us since we have families, work schedules, diapers to change, houses to clean and on and on. The Lord and the Church understand this completely. But even the daily service of a family, the quality labor provided on the job and extra love shown to others can be an act of penance and self-giving.

We can all fit in time for confession, a bit more prayer and spiritual readings, deny ourselves a few extravagances or pleasures and seek to get closer to God. It is never easy—it wasn’t for John, Jesus or others who wandered for forty days looking for a deeper walk with God and a richer human experience.

We buy honey in the store and few of us like John are willing to reach into a hive and grab the honey at great cost. But like John we can impose a bit of self-denial upon ourselves, entering into penance, prayer, repentance and self-denial—though it often feels like reaching for the honey. The minimal pain of Lent can bring about the sweetness of holiness.

These places in the desert still exist. We can walk through the ruins of Qumran, see the mist over the Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab in Jordan and stand on the shore of the River Jordan at the place Jesus met John. We can walk with Jesus in the with his forty days of temptation when he stepped out of the wilderness. No prayer or sacrifice, no self-denial or charitable act will go unnoticed by God. The sweetness of the Spirit will certainly be our reward.

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Debunking 5 Biblical Myths Accepted by Many as True

March 16, 2021

There are three “truths” I have been asked about many times. Often people tell me these as though they’re explaining to me something I’ve never heard before. However, in each case, there is no historical, biblical or actual basis to any three of them. In each case they started being taught in recent times and […]

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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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Discovering the Place of Paul’s Shipwreck on Island of Malta on the Feast Day!

February 10, 2021

You would not have wanted to be with St. Paul today because February 10 is the Feast Day of the Shipwreck of St. Paul on Malta. I have been on ships in the Mediterranean many times and I make a practice each time of going out on the deck on a stormy night and imagining…. […]

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Were Christians Killed in the Roman Colosseum?

February 8, 2021

Most guides today in Rome will give you an instant and ready reply, “No, Christians were not killed in the Roman Colosseum! ” Of course I heard the exact opposite when I first went to Rome multiple times in the 1980’s. St. Ignatius of Antioch was martyred in the colosseum, three hundred yards from his […]

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My Free St. Paul Timeline and Info on our St. Paul Cruise

February 2, 2021

Janet and I are leading our regular St. Paul Mediterranean Cruise and “Seminar at Sea” this October. We will be taking our 8 oldest grandkids. We are visiting 10 biblical sites related to St. Paul, Mary, St. John and more. We will start out from Athens, visiting Corinth, Thessaloniki, Berea, Neapolis, Philippi, Istanbul, Pergamum, Ephesus, the […]

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400 Silent Years between the Prophets and the Coming of Christ?

December 21, 2020

When I was a Protestant we spoke of the “400 years of silence” between the last of the OT prophets (Malachi) and the coming of Jesus. Is that correct? I was asked this question earlier today. I have been enjoying The Chosen TV series, ever since I saw an article where Dr. Janet Smith gave […]

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A Walk through the Holy Land with Steve Ray and John Evans

December 9, 2020

This was a delightful discussion between myself (Steve Ray) and a passionate Catholic John Evans. It is loosely entitled “A Day in the Life of the Holy Family”. I hope you enjoy this YouTube.

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A Walk through the Holy Land with Steve Ray and John Evans

December 9, 2020

This was a delightful discussion between myself (Steve Ray) and a passionate Catholic John Evans. It is loosely entitled “A Day in the Life of the Holy Family”. I hope you enjoy this YouTube.

Read the full article →

Ultimate Biblical Run through Jerusalem! Take a Virtual Pilgrimage even though Israel is Closed

November 28, 2020

Want to go on a pilgrimage all around Jerusalem on foot? Back in 2011 when my knees were still strong I took off through all the holy biblical sites and documented them with videos and pictures. The iPhone technology was not as good in 2011 as it is today, but it was an exciting 3-hour, 6.5 miles run […]

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Dear Protestant: Where Did You Get Your Bible?

November 22, 2020

From Little Catholic Bubble website Leila@LittleCatholicBubble Dear Protestant: Where did you get your New Testament? At least a couple of times every week, Protestants use New Testament verses to show me where the Catholic Church is wrong about something. I always make them take the necessary step back by asking the following: “Where did you get your […]

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Segment on Spirit Catholic Radio on Works of the Law

October 29, 2020

I was just called with a 10-minute warning and asked if I would fill in to talk on Spirit Catholic Radio’s “Good Book Club” discussing Galatians 2″11-21. So I did! To understand the New Testament one must place themselves in 1st-century Jewish-Roman culture. Here is a picture of the Jewish St. Paul, which is probably […]

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Quiz on Bible Cities: How Many Can You Guess?

October 27, 2020

This was a fun little quiz. Not hard at all. Let me know how many you get correct/ https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/4917821/jewish/Take-the-Biblical-Cities-Quiz.htm

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St. Paul and the “Evil Beast” People of Crete

October 12, 2020

Before the virus hysteria, we were touring the island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. We had about 100 happy cruisers along with us on this pilgrimage. St. Paul visited this island after his two-year imprisonment in Rome around AD 63. After his release St. Paul set out again on apostolic travels. During this time he and […]

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