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(LifeSiteNews) — On this two-part episode of The Bishop Strickland Show, Bishop Joseph Strickland discusses the Coptic Orthodox Church’s reaction to Fiducia Supplicans, the freedom offered us by Christ, and his recent letter to all the baptized.

Strickland begins Part 1 offering commentary on the Gospel reading for the Solemnity of St. Joseph, taken from the first chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel. Strickland notes that the solemnity belongs to one of only a handful of saints who have more than one feast on the liturgical calendar, and that one of his favorite titles of St. Joseph is “Terror of Demons.”

Commenting on the Gospel, Strickland says that it tells us who Joseph is – a faithful Jew who shows fidelity to the Jewish law, and that when he discovers Our Lady is expecting, does the “honorable thing” and seeks to divorce her quietly. God intervenes, however, by speaking to Joseph in a dream through an angel, telling him not to be afraid to take Our Lady as his wife.

It is this that Strickland points to as one of the beautiful things about the passage. “It touches on some themes that will be repeated over and over again,” he says. “One of those themes is ‘be not afraid,’” he continues. “Another [one] of the themes that it touches on, at the end of this passage … [is] ‘She will bear a Son and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’”

Strickland observes that we know by Catholic faith that Christ conquers sin and death, and underscores that Christ will save His people. He also maintains that it is important to take heed of this Gospel and what it is telling us. For Strickland, there are many “dimensions” to the statement “be not afraid,” one of them being a fearlessness at acknowledging our sins so they can be “washed away,” originally through baptism, but then by confession. There are those, he further explains, who do not speak of this reality, and that there are forces that work against what the Gospel is telling us. 

To save from sin, Strickland declares, is striking for our times. “To eliminate that, that’s the only reason we’re given in this passage of the Gospel,” Strickland asserts in reference to the Incarnation. “The voice says that He will save His people from their sin. This is why He’s named Jesus, and that’s the purpose of Jesus’ coming.”

“To ignore sin gives it more power in the world, and we’re seeing that in too many ways, and in the life of the Church,” he continues. Strickland further posits that the passage is an occasion of rejoicing. Christ, in part, came to free from sin. Sin, meanwhile, inhibits the ability to be open to God’s grace.

Also in the first part, Strickland comments on the decision of the Coptic Orthodox Church to cut off ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church because of Fiducia Supplicans.

Strickland believes the move makes it clear that while some would attempt to say that the Church is not blessing sin, “it’s very clear to the Coptics what the Church is doing, and what it can’t do.”

“It’s so interesting how God works,” Strickland observes, “to have these separated brethren really correcting the Bride of Christ that is the Catholic Church.” While we must continue to strive for unity, unity itself a mark of the true Church, it is evident to Strickland that “we’ve got a very long way to go.”

He also believes the Coptic reaction reminds us that what is going on is about “fragmenting more and more the Church.” Referencing accusations made against him that he is divisive, Strickland responds that “the division is caused when we start to play games with the truth.”

Further, while people have spilled much ink arguing that Fiducia Supplicans is not about the blessing of same-sex “couples,” the Copts seem to know what is happening. Strickland further states that Scripture and Tradition, despite the document, have not changed, nor will they change. Connecting the issue to the Gospel, Strickland says that Christ, the Truth Himself, became incarnate to save us from our sins, and to suggest that what was sinful in His time is now no longer sinful is “devastating, destructive, divisive,” and that it must stop.

Strickland begins the second part of the episode offering a commentary on John 8:31-42. For him, the passage reminds of the challenges faced by those who originally heard Christ and of the ones we face.

He also draws attention to Christ’s words that the truth will set us free. To remain in Christ’s word, Strickland notes, is to truly be His disciple. If we remain in Christ’s word, we remain in the word of the Truth Incarnate, and He will set us free. While the world grasps at things that look like they give freedom, these freedoms are illusory and false and will quickly pass away. The freedom of Christ, however, lasts forever.

“When we’re not staying rooted in the Incarnate Word that is Jesus Christ, who is Lord of the universe for all eternity, the Son of God … then we’re not really free,” he says. The thought reminds him of the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe, leading him to encourage people to partake of Cardinal Raymond Burke’s novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Returning to the tilma, Strickland notes that the image on it has yet to fade after centuries. “If we want things that last, we need to turn to Jesus Christ,” he says.

Also in the second part of the episode, Strickland discusses his recent open letter to the baptized, explaining that the inspiration to write it came from reflecting on Exodus 33:18-23, a passage he reads on air. 

He notes that one of the challenges for our time is seeking to see the glory of God. “Because we come from God, I think it makes perfect sense, that there’s something in us that wants to see the glory of God,” he says. “And the sad thing is, so often we get sidetracked into merely settling for the glory of this world.”

Strickland states that the passage from Exodus reminds him that we must acknowledge we can never fully see the glory of God in this life: “We’re not built for it. It’s bigger than we can take.”

He hopes that the letter reminds people that “through Jesus Christ that longing [to see God’s glory] is fulfilled like never before.” While the glory is still veiled in a sense, with many seeing Christ without seeing the glory of the Father, John’s Gospel makes clear that when one sees Christ, one sees the glory of God.

To watch all previous episodes of The Bishop Strickland Showclick here to visit LifeSite’s Rumble page dedicated to The Bishop Strickland Show.