QDo scapulars actually keep you from hell?

A: From what I have read, scapulars began with the Benedictine Order and were eventually adopted by other religious communities. Even now we have men and women who are not members of professed or consecrated communities wearing scapulars as well.

he scapular is a symbol for you and me “putting on Jesus Christ.” Another way of putting it is that we wear the “yoke” of Christ. We are reminded to become more like Jesus in our everyday lives and to keep him ever close to us.

While your question focused on the avoidance of hell, what seems best would be that scapulars point us toward heaven.  Scapulars direct us toward the good things that Jesus has given us.

For those who like to know the origins of words, the word “scapular” comes from the Latin “scapularium” or shoulder cloak.  How blessed we are with the opportunity to physically put on a small garment reminding us that you and I have in our baptism put on Christ.

QWhy did men have more wives than one back when Jacob in the Old Testament was alive?

A: This is a very good question as well for the Bible is quite descriptive on the holy men of old who were married to a number of women, all at the same time! Unlike our time as Christians where Jesus tells us that, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh” (Mt 19: 5); namely, marriage is between one man and one woman. Back in ancient times this was not so clear for a number of reasons.

The one reason we should address is that the understanding of marriage was different back then in those uncivilized times. Communities or families were most concerned about having as many children as possible as quickly as possible for the sake of the family. Also, many children did not make it through childhood for they did not have proper health care that we enjoy in 2014. In Jacob’s era (Jacob eventually became the person Israel), it was the norm for men to have multiple wives.

Thank goodness, over time and with the specific instruction of Jesus we have seen marriage go from a domestic necessity to a sacrament which reflects Jesus the bridegroom married to his bride, the Church.

QWhy wasn’t God down on earth with Jesus?

A: Here is a good question regarding the Holy Trinity. Jesus is the Son of God, and as we read in the Gospel according to John, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1: 14). Or, in another part of the Nativity story of Jesus where Joseph, in the midst of a dream, is informed by an angel that he will have a foster son and he will name him Emmanuel, which means, God is with us.

We also know that there are three persons and one God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. And, God the Father was with his Son Jesus all the time.

I apologize if this answer has all of a sudden become somewhat confusing, but that can happen when we explore the mysteries of our faith.

n other words, God was with Jesus all along for Jesus is God, as Jesus exercised his ministry of salvation here on earth. Just as God the Father never left Jesus even when Jesus was on the Cross, he will never leave us.

     As we begin another school year, may our prayers be for all of the students, teachers, staff members and administrators as our youth learn about the trueness of their faith in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. May we never forget that Jesus is the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life for humanity.

To “Ask the Bishop,” address questions to Joseph M. Taylor, catechetical consultant and youth ministry coordinator in the Diocese of Steubenville Office of Christian Formation and Schools.

Address “Ask the Bishop” to Taylor at P.O. Box 969, Steubenville, OH 43952; or email him at jtaylor@diosteub.org. Taylor also can be reached by telephoning the chancery, (740) 282-3631.