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Q & A


Why did Joseph, originally from Bethlehem in Judea, reside at Nazareth in Galilee instead?

Joseph relocated to Nazareth from Bethlehem for economic opportunities, as his trade as a carpenter had limited prospects in Bethlehem. Mary’s father, Joachim, hailed from Nazareth, while her mother, Anne, came from Bethlehem.


Was Mary an eternal virgin?

According to the apocryphal book, The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary, the blessed mother had made a vow of virginity at the Temple of Jerusalem while living there from the age of three. Hence, she asked Angel Gabriel how she, a lifelong virgin, could give birth to a child. This was also the fulfilment of another prophecy: “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel” (Isa 7:14). Thus, the virgin birth became a prophetic sign of the Messiah’s arrival. The Catholic Church and some other Churches teach the perpetual virginity of Mary.

Mary wondered how she could give birth to a child. Though betrothed to Joseph, she had taken a vow of virginity, and its breaking was against God (Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine). Her concern was losing her virginity to become the mother of the Saviour. However, she is the virgin-mother of the Son of God. Her doubt made the angel reveal more about the mode of incarnation.

Like the first parents, Jesus originated not by sexual union, but from God. The conception happened through divine intervention, which was an exception to the natural law. All three persons of the Most Holy Trinity were involved in the Mystery of the Incarnation. The angel clarified that the second person of the Most Holy Trinity was now becoming incarnate. For this, the Holy Spirit would descend on Mary and the power of God the Father would overshadow her like the Shakina cloud overshadowing the Ark of the Covenant. In the New Testament, Mary became the new ark that carried the Word of God.

Mary was glad that she could be the mother of the Son of God without losing her virginity. God sought the consent of Mary like a father asking the consent of his daughter for her marriage. Marian scholars are of the opinion that Mary conceived at the very moment she gave her ‘fiat’ (yes / consent) to the angel.

The virginity is morally lost not by giving birth or by any other cause, but by sexual union. In Mary’s case, this did not happen. Mary, in her apparition in Mexico on 12 December 1531 to Juan Bernardino, said that the Church should title her as “The Ever Virgin, Holy Mary of Guadalupe.” Thus, she herself has revealed her virginity.


Was Joseph married before marrying Mary? Why was he married to Mary?

The apocryphal writings present the story of Joseph’s marriage. These writings are non-canonical books. So, they may be true or mythical. However, they help us connect the gaps in the Biblical narratives. According to the Apocrypha, when Joseph was 40 years old, he married Salome (Melcha or Escha). They lived together for 49 years and had four sons and two daughters. The youngest was James the Less, also known as “the Lord’s brother”.

This story helps us to understand the brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in the gospels (Mk 6:3; Mt 13:55-56). “A year after his wife’s death, as the priests announced through Judaea that they wished to find in the tribe of Judah a respectable man to espouse Mary, then twelve to fourteen years of age. Joseph, who was at the time ninety years old, went up to Jerusalem among the candidates; a miracle manifested the choice God had made of Joseph, and two years later the Annunciation took place.” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08504a.htm). Joseph’s role, though married to Mary, was to protect her life and her virginity. However, God called him also as the Redeemer’s foster father.


Why was Mary betrothed to Joseph at a young age?

According to non-Biblical books, Mary’s parents Joachim and Anne were childless. God gave them an extraordinary child in their old age, as He did to Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Joachim and Anne had promised God that they would entrust their child to the Temple for the Lord’s service. So, they brought Mary, when she was three years old, to the Temple and offered her as they had promised before her birth. While Mary grew up in the Temple, her aged parents died. A girl could not continue in the Temple once she attained puberty. So, between the age of 12 and 15, the priests betrothed her to Joseph, whom God had chosen to marry her, and Joseph took Mary from Jerusalem to Nazareth.


Why did Joseph and Mary have to go to Bethlehem to register for census?

The Roman custom was to register in one’s own domicile because the pagans did not care about their ancestry whereas the Israelites kept their genealogy tracing back to the 12 sons of Jacob. Since they had to register the census according to their tribes and clans, they had to go to their own native land.

Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, was a descendant of David’s son Solomon. Mary was a descendant of King David’s son Nathan. So, we have two genealogical accounts of Jesus through the ancestral lines of Joseph by Matthew and of Mary by Luke. These show that Jesus is the “Son of David” from both by blood (Mary) and by right (Joseph).

Since the ancestors of Joseph and Mary were from Bethlehem, the birthplace of David, they had to go there for the census. They travelled over 150 km from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a journey that would have definitely taken many days.


Why did the Evangelist report that Joseph and Mary went up to Bethlehem and later went down from Jerusalem to Nazareth?

On the map, Bethlehem is below or south of Nazareth. The text could read “went down from Nazareth.” Bethlehem, which is near Jerusalem, is at a higher altitude than Nazareth in Galilee. So, the one travelling from the north to the south was climbing up. Joseph and Mary would have obviously been weak, especially on account of her pregnancy, which must have made climbing more difficult.

Though travelling from Jerusalem to Nazareth was from south to north, the evangelist records they went down because Jerusalem was situated 2,474 feet and Nazareth 1,138 feet above sea level. If they were passing through Jericho, the usual route to avoid Samaria, they would descend deeper because Jericho is 846.5 feet below sea level. The distance between Jerusalem and Jericho is about 28 km, and within that distance, the travelers would descend more than 3/4 of a km in elevation. So, the expression of one travelling to Jerusalem from anywhere is “going up” and returning from there is “going down”.


Why King Herod the Great wanted to kill baby Jesus?

The Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar had appointed Herod as king of Judaea (40/37 BC – 4 BC). However, the Jews questioned his legitimacy because he was not of King David’s lineage but of a mixed blood. Herod’s father Antipater was an Idumean, a non-Jew. The Jews could accept only a true Davidic descendant as their king.

Based on their scriptures, the Jews insisted that their rightful king should always be of the lineage of David. So, Herod was anxious about the rejective mentality of the Jews towards him, and he was vigilant in safeguarding his kingship. His fanaticism for power made him kill even his wife Mariamne, her mother Alexandra, his sons Antipater, Alexander, and Aristobulus. Such an insane and power-obsessed king would eliminate an infant born as the legitimate king of the Jews to replace him. The Jews in the whole of Jerusalem were troubled because they knew how Herod would get rid of any king born as their liberator.

Herod was afraid when he heard from the Magi that a licit king had been born for the Jews. Since he could not identify the infant king, he gave orders to have all children below two years of age in and around Bethlehem killed, even as the Holy Family was prompted by an angel to flee to Egypt and live there for some time as refugees.


According to Matthew 2:11, the Magi went into the house and saw the child Jesus. Why does the Evangelist mention house and not a stable?

According to the scholars, by the time the Magi arrived, Jesus might have grown a few months, and the Holy Family might have found someone’s house for their temporary stay in Bethlehem until Mary could travel back to Nazareth with the baby. So, Matthew writes the Magi entered not a stable, but a house.


How did the parents of Jesus happen to overlook the absence of the boy Jesus on their return trip? Was it sheer negligence on the part of Joseph and Mary, or perhaps of Jesus?

The evangelist does not offer any clarity on this. Apparently, once the Holy Family reached the Temple, Jesus moved about independently. Since Jesus had officially reached adulthood, Joseph and Mary gave him freedom to move around by himself or with his friends. He was interested in spending time with the religious scholars who were teaching the pilgrims on the Temple premises. “Many people shall come and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.’ For from Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isa 2:3).

On the last day of the feast also, the Holy Family visited the crowded Temple before their departure. Even then, Jesus went to the teachers of the Law as before. The return journey of Joseph and Mary was also with the same pilgrims from Nazareth as a caravan. Joseph was travelling with a group of men and Mary with the women, even as the teenagers and youth enjoyed each other’s company in the caravan. So, the parents thought Jesus was with his friends from Nazareth or with one of them. Notably, mishaps of separation of children from their parents was normal in the crowded feast at Jerusalem.

The possibility of the mishap was: While Joseph and Mary were packing to return from Jerusalem, Jesus might have been with them. The parents let him go with his friends along with the caravan. When the caravan started from the Temple, the parents did not pay attention to Jesus presuming that he was in the company of the travelers, especially other teenagers from their native place. Walking in groups from Jerusalem, reaching Nazareth could take four to six days, depending upon their speed. Only when they came for an overnight stay after a one-day journey, the parents realized Jesus was missing. He was immersed in listening to and questioning the religious teachers on their interpretations of the Law different from the truth. He was interested in how they interpret the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. Only late in the afternoon he might have realized his parents had already left without him. With no worry, he stayed at the same lodge where Joseph and Mary remained during the feast days and continued worshipping and conversing with the teachers in the Temple.

Joseph and Mary were worried about the absence of Jesus in the caravan that comprised the villagers from Nazareth and neighboring villages. The parents searched for Jesus among the relatives and friends who were travelling in different groups or encamping in different tents or lodges.


Why Nathanael (Bartholomew) asked Philip, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (Jn 1:46).

Biblical scholars attribute distinct reasons for this question from Nathanael –

  1. Nazareth was a small village with around 400 inhabitants. So, people could expect nothing significant from there.
  2. Notably, Nathanael wasn’t just asking about the place of Messiah’s origin but also questioning the possibility of anything good coming from the place. Some believe that this was because of the jealousy or prejudice between Cana and Nazareth that were neighboring villages.
  3. There could possibly have been an ill reputation attached to Nazareth during that period. People from neighboring villages might have been looking upon the Nazoreans with contempt because of possible unacceptable behavior on their part or some awful events that might have occurred there. So “can anything good come….?” could mean, not even any person of nobility or thing of excellence could ever come from Nazareth. This became clear later when Jesus progressed in his public ministry there. “He did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith” (Mt 13:58). “He was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mk 6:6). They were all filled with fury and led Jesus to the brow of a hill to hurl him headlong (Lk 4:28-29). So, “He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum” (Mt 4:13).
  4. Nathanael who was an expert in the Law and the Prophets, could not find any supporting prophecy of the Messiah coming from Nazareth. According to the Evangelist Matthew, “He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazorean’” (2:23). However, there is no direct mention of Nazareth in the Old Testament other than a resemblance of the name Nazareth with Isaiah 11:1 that states: “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” The word for shoot or bud is nēser, which resembles the name Nazareth. Unlike Matthew, Nathanael could not find this relationship between the words.
  5. The prophecy of the coming of the Messiah was from Bethlehem, the City of David. “But you, Bethlehem- Ephratha, least among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; whose origin is from of old, from ancient times” (Mic 5:1). Being unaware of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, it was reasonable for Nathanael to doubt the arrival of Jesus as the Christ from Nazareth.


Why did Jesus preach on the open ground, instead of in the synagogues or Temple?

Though Jesus preached in the synagogues and the Temple, he had to move to the lakeshore of the Sea of Galilee and other open areas because of the resentment of the conservative Jews who opposed him. However, he had the advantage of accommodating the enormous crowd on the open ground that no synagogue could contain. The Gentiles, the Publicans, and others who were ineligible, or uninterested in the synagogue service, could also meet Jesus by the lakeshore. Besides, he could avoid the disturbance of the antagonists in the synagogue.


Why did Jesus warn the demoniacs sternly not to publicize his identity as the Son of God?

  1. Though Jesus did not deny others acknowledging him as the Son of God, he did prohibit the demons from doing so because their witness would be a discredit to Jesus in that it would imply that he was working with them as a team. An accusation of the Pharisees against Jesus was, “This man drives out demons only by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons” (Mt 12:24). Besides, many of the demoniacs might not be demon-possessed but mentally imbalanced people.
  2. The concept of Messiah for Jesus and the popular concept of the Messiah were different. For Jesus, the Messiah came to love, serve, and to sacrifice himself for all people so that those who believe in him and keep his commandments might attain salvation. Contrarily, the popular concept was a worldly conqueror who might lead the Israelites for their liberation from foreign rule. Jesus needed time to train his disciples and educate the public on his ministry so that they could follow him in reaching the heavenly crown through the cross of salvation. So, after major miracles, Jesus asked his beneficiaries not to publicize the favors they had received.
  3. Any prior claim of messiahship could endanger the life of Jesus before his appointed time of self-sacrifice. He needed time to accomplish his mission in the world by preaching to the public and preparing his disciples to continue his mission in the world.


Why the Pharisees opposed Jesus?

The Pharisees were apprehensive about John’s baptism of repentance. The Sanhedrin was the custodian of the Jewish ceremonies and rituals. John baptized without their approval. Only Elijah, a prophet, or the Messiah were supposed to do it. So, the Pharisees questioned John through their representatives, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?” (Jn 1:25) Besides John, there came Jesus, whose popularity because of his miraculous healings was phenomenal. So, more people came to Jesus for the Baptism of repentance based on his message. That also bothered the Pharisees.

Another issue of the Pharisees was the number of disciples John and Jesus were each gaining. However, they tolerated John because he disclaimed himself being the Messiah; he was not against the Law but was only asking people for a spiritual renewal. The heightening reputation of Jesus, his “deviant” teachings that went against their practices, the immense number of people gathering around him, the increasing number of people becoming his disciples, and their transformation of life through the baptism Jesus performed through his disciples bothered the Pharisees. Since John publicly introduced Jesus as the Messiah, his listeners and disciples were turning to Jesus. This movement of acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah would become a threat to the Sanhedrin and the Jewish aristocracy. So, they wanted to get rid of him before the situation got worse.


Why did the Samaritan woman come alone from a long distance to fetch water at noon? (Jn 4:7).

The women in Samaria would not allow her to get water from their wells because of her terrible reputation (Jn 4:18). Though the usual time to approach the well was in the morning or evening, she could reach there only by noon because of the long distance she had to walk.

Another view is that she was not from the city of Samaria but a Samaritan living in the locality. Since other women abhored her coming with them to the well in the morning or evening, she might have chosen the noon time so as to be alone to fetch water without any nuisance posed by the presence of others.

Why the “Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans”? (Jn 4:9)

John the Evangelist gives an explanatory note like this to the reader who obviously does not know the rivalry between the Jews and the Samaritans. The reason for the disparity was the difference in faith, especially for erecting the pagan temple at Mount Gerizim as a rival to the Temple of Jerusalem. God had instructed the Israelites not to mingle with idolatrous worshippers to protect their loyalty to God. Even Jesus spoke of the Samaritan as a foreigner (Lk 17:16-18). However, Jesus appreciated their compassion for others and accorded them high esteem as in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:29-37).


Why Jesus disagreed with the Jewish leaders on their teaching and practices?

There was no prophet in Israel for over four centuries after the Prophet Malachi who lived around 450 BC. During this inter-testamental period with no prophet, the Jews developed diverse groups and interpreted the holy scriptures according to their own ideas and interests. They promoted certain ancestral traditions as divine laws and made people’s lives unnecessarily burdensome (Mt 23:4). This is precisely what Jesus strongly objected to and tried to restore the God-given laws to their original spirit and intentions. That unfortunately caused conflict between him and the Jewish groups. According to Jesus, the ceremonial laws attributed to the ancestors were not binding. So, Jesus was not a destroyer of the Law and the Prophets and an abolisher of ancestral traditions. He came to fulfill them by restoring the true spirit behind them (Mt 5:17).


What literary tools did Jesus employ to convey his teachings effectively?

Jesus utilized various literary techniques or figures of speech within his teachings to impart spiritual truths in a manner that resonated with his audience.

  1. Allegory

An allegory is a storytelling method where characters, events, or parts of the story stand for bigger ideas, moral values, or historical events. In these kinds of stories, the actual story is usually meant to share a deeper, symbolic message. Allegory helps to explain complicated ideas or truths in a way that’s easier to understand and more interesting, letting the listeners or readers think about and understand the deeper meanings in the story. For instance, in the Gospel of John, Jesus portrays himself as the shepherd and his disciples as sheep (Jn 10:1-18), symbolizing his role as their guide and protector.

  1. Parables

Parables are simple stories used to illustrate moral or spiritual lessons. They convey deeper spiritual truths and moral lessons to his audience. Jesus frequently utilized parables as a teaching tool throughout the New Testament.

In the Parable of the Sower (Mt 13:1-23; Mk 4:1-20; Lk 8:4-15) Jesus draws a parallel between sowing seeds and sharing the message of the kingdom of God. Each type of soil symbolizes a distinct response to this message: some outright reject it (hard soil), others initially embrace it but later abandon it (rocky soil), some become entangled in worldly distractions (thorny soil), while some accept it and yield a bountiful harvest (good soil). This allegory emphasizes the significance of being open-minded and persistent in embracing and applying Jesus’ teachings.

In the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-32) Jesus recounts the tale of a father with two sons. One son requests his inheritance prematurely and wastes it in extravagant living before repentantly returning to his father. Meanwhile, the other son stays obedient but grows bitter when his father joyfully welcomes back his wayward sibling. The father, symbolizing God, exhibits unwavering love and forgiveness for both sons. This allegory communicates themes of repentance, forgiveness, and the limitless love of God for all who seek Him.

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37) Jesus recounts a narrative of a man who is assaulted, robbed, and abandoned on the roadside. Despite the indifference of passing religious figures, a Samaritan, typically scorned by the Jewish community, stops to tend to him. The Samaritan’s compassionate deeds exemplify mercy, neighborly love, and transcendent empathy, defying cultural and religious divides. This allegory urges listeners to extend kindness and empathy to individuals of all backgrounds, irrespective of societal or cultural distinctions.

  1. Metaphor

A metaphor is a linguistic device that establishes a comparison between two unlike entities to clarify abstract concepts. For instance, in John 8:12, Jesus proclaims, “I am the Light of the world,” metaphorically portraying himself as a guiding force and source of salvation. Similarly, in John 15:1-8, Jesus states, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” In this context, Jesus isn’t actually a vine, but rather, the metaphor of a vine signifies his role as the origin of life and sustenance for his disciples.

  1. Similes

Similes are comparisons between two unlike things, often introduced by the words “like” or “as”. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus compares a wise man who builds his house on the rock to a foolish man who builds his house on the sand. This simile illustrates the importance of building one’s life on the solid foundation of Jesus’ teachings. Another example is Matthew 10:16 where Jesus advised his disciples: “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves”

  1. Personification

Personification is a figure of speech where human characteristics are attributed to non-human things, animals, or abstract ideas. It’s often used to make inanimate objects or concepts more relatable or vivid. Here are some examples of personification in Jesus’ teachings:

“I am the gate for the sheep” (Jn 10:7). Here, Jesus is not literally a gate. He personifies Himself as a door, symbolizing that He is the only way to heaven. Jesus personified wealth as mammon (Mt 6:24; Lk 16:9) to show how greed can prevent salvation. “You are the salt of the earth” (Mt 5:13).

  1. Hyperbole (Exaggeration)

Hyperbole creates a heightened effect through deliberate exaggeration, often employing boldly overstated statements to add emphasis without the expectation of literal truth. Examples of this can be found in Jesus’ teachings:

Jesus said, “If your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away” (Mt 18:9). This statement is not meant to be taken literally as an action to pluck out an eye. Rather, Jesus emphasizes the seriousness of sin and the necessity for drastic measures.

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Mt 19:24). Jesus utilized this hyperbole to underscore the immense difficulty for a wealthy and selfish individual to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for their misplaced priorities, stating, “Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel” (Mt 23:24). Here, hyperbole is employed to highlight their tendency to focus on minor issues while neglecting more significant matters.

  1. Idioms

Idioms are phrases or expressions that convey a figurative, non-literal meaning. Jesus employed idiomatic expressions such as “If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit” (Mt 15:14) to illustrate how those spiritually blind can inadvertently mislead others who are similarly lacking insight. He also advised, “When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well” (Mt 5:39), teaching his followers how to respond to aggression with non-violence. Jesus encouraged going beyond mere obligation with the statement, “Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles” (Mt 5:41). Additionally, he cautioned, “Stop judging, that you may not be judged” (Mt 7:1), emphasizing the importance of refraining from passing judgment on others in order to avoid receiving judgment oneself. The intended messages of these phrases transcend their literal meanings.

  1. Sarcasm / Irony

Sarcasm uses irony to mock or convey contempt. Jesus occasionally used irony to emphasize a point or to challenge the thinking of his listeners. Here are some examples of sarcasm Jesus used sometimes in hyperbolic style against his adversaries:

“Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel” (Mt 23:24). Here, Jesus criticizes the Scribes and Pharisees on their tendency to focus on minor issues while neglecting more significant matters.

“Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?” (Lk 6:39). This remark is aimed at the false teachers, who claimed to be spiritual leaders but were leading people astray.

“The last will be first, and the first will be last” (Mt 20:16). Jesus expressed this at the end of his parable on the workers in the vineyard (Mt 20:1-15) to criticize the Jewish leaders who neglected the less fortunate in the community.

When some Pharisees advised Jesus to leave the area because Herod wants to kill Jesus, he replied, “Go and tell that fox …” (Lk 13:32). This is a sarcastic way of stating that Herod is cunning and untrustworthy.

  1. Repetition

Repetition of key phrases or ideas serves to emphasize the presentation. Jesus repeatedly spoke of his passion, death, and resurrection (Mk 8:31; 9:31; 10:33–34).

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus began each beatitude with “Blessed are …” (Mt 5:3-12) to underscore the blessings bestowed upon those who live in accordance with God’s will.

Following his resurrection, Jesus greeted his disciples with the words, “Peace be with you,” as they were gathered behind closed doors due to fear of the Jews (Jn 20:19-26).

Jesus posed the question “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” to Peter three times (Jn 21:15-17), receiving an affirmative response each time. This exchange allowed Peter to counteract his threefold denial in the courtyard of Annas.

Is it Biblically necessary to confess sins to priests?

The Biblical passages that refer to confessing sins to a priest are as follows:

  1. Jesus granted Peter the authority to absolve sins, stating, “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” (Mt 16:19). Peter, as the leader and representative of the college of apostles, received this authority.
  2. In a post-resurrection appearance, Jesus instructed his disciples, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20:23). Thus, all the apostles and their successors, the bishops, were bestowed with the authority to forgive sins on behalf of Jesus.
  3. James advises, “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven” (Jm 5:14-15). He further encourages, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful” (Jm 5:16). These verses also affirm the forgiveness of sins through the intercessory prayer of priests.

Is there any proof for purgatory in the Bible?

Several passages in the Bible discuss the concept of purgatory:

  1. Judas Maccabeus “took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection in mind; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead” (2 Macc 12:43-44). The passage suggests praying for the dead is beneficial, implying a state beyond earthly life where purification may occur.
  2. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny (Mt 5:25-26). In this allegory, the guilty person does not get capital punishment or perpetual imprisonment. He is condemned to be in prison until the compensation is fully met. Depending on the seriousness of the offence, his term can be short or long. When we apply this example in the spiritual context, we are approaching God, our judge, at the end of our life in this world. Though He will reward us for our faithfulness to Him and our good deeds for others, we cannot reach Heaven with rivalry in our life. If we do not attempt a reconciliation or settle any damage done, we will be punished. The duration of this purification depends on the gravity of one’s offenses. This implies purgatory because the imprisonment is not permanent like hell, and most people are not saints or sinners at the time of their death. They are not worthy of going directly to Heaven and not grave sinners to go to eternal punishment in Hell.
  3. Matthew 12:32 states that speaking against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but speaking against the Holy Spirit cannot, “either in this age or in the age to come.” This suggests the possibility of forgiveness beyond earthly life, hinting at purgatory as a state where sins can be expiated after death.

These passages contribute to the theological understanding of purgatory as a place of purification after death for souls not yet ready for heaven, providing hope for forgiveness and salvation beyond this life.

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