As Catholics, whenever we have questions and doubts about our faith and practices, we should not just give up. Instead, we should study and try to understand why we do what we do and believe what we believe.
The Catholic Bible has more books than other Christian denominations because it includes some additions to the books of Esther and Daniel and the seven Deuterocanonical books:
- 1 Maccabees
- 2 Maccabees
I am not in the position to say why they are included in the Catholic Bible and why they are not included in those of other Christian denominations. But one of the reasons they were heavily contested was because these books were not part of the Hebrew canon. However, they were part of the Greek Septuagint which were used by the early Church.
In today’s Gospel reading, it mentions one of the feasts which can be found only in two of the Deuterocanonical books.
“The feast of the Dedication was then taking place in Jerusalem.” — John 10:22
“Then Judas and his brothers and the entire assembly of Israel decreed that every year for eight days, from the twenty-fifth day of the month Kislev, the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary.” — 1 Maccabees 4:59
“On the anniversary of the day on which the temple had been profaned by the foreigners, that is, the twenty-fifth of the same month Kislev, the purification of the temple took place. By public decree and vote they prescribed that the whole Jewish nation should celebrate these days every year.” — 2 Maccabees 10:5,8
Why is this important?
Because the Gospel according to John is part of all the Christian Bibles. If it mentions parts that can be found only in the Deuterocanonical books (or what other Christian denominations call apocrypha and some even consider, sadly, as false writings), then somehow, those books are validated.
But then, it may be further argued that the Feast of the Dedication cannot only be found in the Deuterocanonical books, but also in religious practices and traditions during that time. (Otherwise, where else can the Feast of the Dedication be found?) Then, it somehow validates our belief that the teachings of Jesus (and the Jewish customs and traditions which Jesus also followed) were passed not only through Scripture but also through Tradition.
What does this mean for us, Catholics?
As Catholics, whenever we have questions and doubts about our beliefs and practices, we should not just give up on our faith. Instead, we should study and try to understand why we do what we do and believe what we believe. There is a basis for our beliefs and our practices.
We are called not to follow blindly, even our Church’s teachings, but to make an effort understand — especially the Scripture and the Tradition — with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Make an effort to understand your faith. Seek His guidance as well.
P.S. You can start understanding your faith by reading the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is truly a treasure of our faith. You can buy them from your parish or bookstore.