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  • Writer's pictureNnaemeka Ali, O.M.I

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

Welcome to my new website – The iPriest. Here, I discuss different issues – mission, society, language, literature, theology, Bible, and so on. In recent weeks we have assisted in different debates where the Bible has been used, once more to discriminate against different minority groups. And we have all heard people push forward an ideology based on the assumption that the Bible said this or that. We have also, in different moments assisted in the “holy homophobic” treatment of others in the name of God of the Bible.

Fortunately, a close look at the origin of the scriptures might give us enough reasons to ask if all those decisions taken in the name of God are really what he wanted of us. This is why a layman Bible 101 will be exploring the relationship between what we read from the Bible and what God intends to tell us. In other words, we would want to understand to what extent is the Bible God’s message in his own words.

A layman Bible 101 will be a series of texts that will, without any pretext, examine the Bible as a Holy Book. We will try to explore different topics. Among other ones, we will have a look at the books and the inspiration of the Bible, Inspired Writers (hagiographers), the Competent Copyists, the canonization of the Bible, the interpretation of the Bible, and so on.

As a non-expert, it will neither be a master class nor a sermon session as I do not also intend to preach to any audience. I’m simply going to ask, publicly, those questions all those who did an introduction to the Bible ask privately.

Layman Bible 101 might shock those who ignorantly think they are Bible specialists simply because they had a religious encounter that exposed them to the power of the scriptures. These good Christians might be scandalized by certain questions that this series will tempt to raise. It could also be seen as irrelevant by Bible scholars as they are often tempted to take these types of questions for granted.

In whichever group you find yourself, simply know that I write, first, for myself and later for those who are not afraid to ask questions. And that I am a partisan of Saint Peter’s injunction:

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

This series should not also be a pretext for non-Christians to question the legitimacy of Christianity. The same lens could be applied to any other religious text or creed and the result will not be better. So, if you are not afraid to embark on such a journey, you are welcome. And please, feel free to share your points of view or ask any questions you think worth looking at. I wouldn’t promise to answer your questions but remember that every answer is a new question and every question a new answer.

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  • Writer's pictureNnaemeka Ali, O.M.I

One of the most important personalities in soteriology is Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary. But he is also one of the less known individuals among the minds behind the natural upbringing of the Man whose death on the cross brought us salvation. The Bible hardly go beyond evoking his name in the life of Jesus apart from the pre-nativity periods and some few allusions to the infant narrative of our Lord’s history.

Who then is this less known personality that guided the mother and the child of the Holy family? In Matthew 1:1, we are told that his father is Jacob, and that he is of Davidic lineage. In verse 19 of this same chapter, the scrupulous Jewish evangelist, Matthew tells us that he is not only a just man but also a respecter of others.

Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”

It is this his last quality that made him decide to send away Mary secretly to preserve her honour and dignity.

We will meet him again when he is asked to run away to Egypt to save the infant Jesus from King Herod, or to return home at the death of the King (Matt. 2:13–14, 19–23). Another one of his great and silent characters is humility. He never questioned God throughout these moments of the incomprehensible ordeal to save the Holy family.

This character always kept him behind the scenes in almost all the life events of Christ.

During the presentation at the Temple (Luke 2:22–40), Joseph’s name was barely mentioned in verses 22 and 39, and what he did, thought and felt were kept silent throughout the narrative. Both Simon and Anna sang the glory of Jesus, and the joy and future hardship of Mary, but none talked about Joseph.

when the 12-years Jesus was found at the Temple, after 3 days of searching (Luke 2:41–52), he was again behind the scenes. We heard the mother question Jesus, but nothing was heard from Joseph.

When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ’Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you. (Luke 2:48).

And even in verse 50 where we were once told what the mother did, nothing was again said about our dear friend, St Joseph.

“Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” Let us ask God to give us the necessary grace, especially, we the male folk, to overcome our male chauvinism and accept that humility is a virtue and not a weakness.

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  • Writer's pictureNnaemeka Ali, O.M.I

Avez-vous déjà demandé pourquoi on ne sait pas grande chose sur Saint Joseph ? Pourquoi parle-t-on plus des Apôtres et d’autres saints que de Saint Joseph ? Comme vous, je n’en sais pas autant. Mais, à mon temps libre, je me pose des questions de ce genre. Je me demande aussi pourquoi pour trop longtemps, la religion a cherché à exalter surtout ce qui apparait très spectaculaire. C’est malheureusement le péché de toutes les religions.

Beaucoup nous diront que même la Bible ne dit pas beaucoup de choses sur Saint Joseph, et c’est vrai. Pourtant, on a de fois cette belle habitude d’en formuler si nécessaire. Malheureusement, notre bon Saint Joseph n’en bénéfice pas autant.

Est-ce que c’est parce que Joseph n’entrait pas dans cette catégorie des hommes forts? Il était probablement si humble qu’on ne savait pas comment le classer. Et au bon profit de Jésus — Dieu fait homme, et Marie — celle qui a enfanté le Fils de Dieu, on a repoussé notre bon Joseph dans l’ombre. Et même quand on en parle, on lui plaque l’image d’homme chaste comme si la chasteté est un trophée pour un homme marié.

Voilà pourquoi je trouve cette musique de Georges Moustaki comme le meilleur hommage à notre cher Joseph.

Joseph par Gorges Moustaki

Voilà c’que c’est mon vieux Joseph

Que d’avoir pris la plus jolie

Parmi les filles de Galilée

Celle qu’on appelait Marie

Tu aurais pu mon vieux Joseph

Prendre Sarah ou Déborah

Et rien ne serait arrivé

Mais tu as préféré Marie

Tu aurais pu mon vieux Joseph

Rester chez toi tailler ton bois

Plutôt que d’aller t’exiler

Et te cacher avec Marie

Tu aurais pu mon vieux Joseph

Faire des petits avec Marie

Et leur apprendre ton métier

Comme ton père te l’avait appris

Pourquoi a-t-il fallu…

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