Day 365: The Beginning and the End

Revelation 21:1-27 All of creation is renewed and the Bride of Christ—the Church, the New Jerusalem— is presented at the wedding feast of the Lamb. The Kingdom of God ushered in by the Messiah has now reached completion and full perfection. The Kingdom of God in our present age has begun but remains in a state of growth and transformation until the end of time. The twelve gates and twelve foundations of this holy city represent the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Twelve Apostles, indicating continuity between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. In an anagogical sense, the Church on earth is a type, or figure, of its definitive homeland, the New Jerusalem of Heaven. (CCC 117, 756-757, 1042-1048, 1090) 


Ch 21:2-4 The New Jerusalem descends from the sky, a place of splendor and perfection where the blessed will behold God face to face in the Beatific Vision. These verses provide a glimpse of the state of eternal glory that will be enjoyed in Heaven. (CCC 770-771, 1044-1045, 1186, 2016, 2676) 


Ch 21:6 Alpha and the Omega: These first and last letters of the Greek alphabet are a metaphor for God's eternity, stressing that he is the creator of the universe and the ultimate purpose of all creation, especially of the human person. (CCC 1044-1045, 1137) 


Ch 21:7 He shall be my son: Through Christ's Redemption, we are all elevated to the status of a son or daughter of God. (CCC 460, 857, 1045, 1138, 2788-2793) 


Ch 21:16 The Holy of Holies in the Temple was a cube-shaped room. The angel's measurement of the New Jerusalem reveals that it, too, is cubic. Because the entire city is the dwelling place of God, no Temple or Holy of Holies is necessary. In Heaven, God will be immediately present to the faithful at all times. (CCC 433, 600) 


Ch 22:1-5 The new Heaven and new earth is a return to the innocence of the first creation, with the Tree of Life as a source of healing. The curse of Adam and Eve is no more, and the threat of sin and evil is nonexistent. The communion of the faithful with God has been perfected. (CCC 1137) 


Ch 22:4 They shall see his face: The greatest reward and happiness that goes beyond human comprehension will consist in the Beatific Vision, seeing God face to face. (CCC 1023-1029)

Ch 22:6-15 Revelation is a prophetic work in keeping with the Jewish tradition. It is above all a call to repentance and to perseverance to be prepared for "what must soon take place." (CCC 528, 1470, 2084, 2095-2097) 


Ch 22:16-21 We pray in the Nicene Creed, "I look forward to the resurrection of the dead / and the life of the world to come"; the Church on earth, led by the Holy Spirit, is on a journey toward the perfection of the Kingdom of God and the fulfillment of her mission. The essential message of Revelation is to persevere in fidelity and constant struggle for holiness as all the faithful long to see Christ when he comes again. (CCC 524, 671, 757, 2016-2819, 2550) 


22:20-21 Christ promised he will come "soon"; until that day, we are called to seek holiness and growth in virtue to be ready to meet him when he comes—strong in faith, fervent in hope, and limitless in our love for God and neighbor. (CCC 451, 1061-1065, 1130, 1402-1403, 2853)

Hebrews 11:1-22 Faith involves trust and confidence in God's word even if it cannot be verified by our human senses and reasoning. The virtue of hope springs from this combination of faith and confidence. Faith is fundamental to salvation since it requires faith to truly please God and to have a personal relationship with him. The Church recognizes, however, that those who do not know of Christ or the Gospel through no fault of their own can be saved if they seek God, desire to do his will, and follow their consciences the best they can. (CCC 46, 847-848, 1814-1816) 


Ch 11:1 Things not seen: We cannot see God directly as he is, face-to-face, but by faith we know God and, therefore, have a personal relationship with him. Faith is a belief in something not perceptible by the physical senses. This is described in the hymn Pange Lingua, which speaks of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist: "Faith for all defects supplying / where the feeble senses fail." (CCC 146-147)

Ch 11:3 True "creation" is to bring something into existence out of nothing. By this definition, a carpenter does not create a table; rather, he builds a table using wood and nails that existed before his work began. God, however, created the universe out of nothing through his Word, God the Son. (CCC 286) 


Ch 11:4-7 Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Many of the faithful who lived before the Flood were exemplars of trust and faith in God. The faith and holiness of Enoch, who was assumed into Heaven (as was the prophet Elijah), prefigures that of Mary, a model of faith, who was also assumed into Heaven. (CCC 145, 161, 848, 966, 2569) 


Ch 11:8-22 Abraham and other figures of the patriarchal era of Israel exhibited great faith in God's promises even though they would die before they would ever see these promises fulfilled. They accepted their vocation and trials in this life as they eagerly looked forward to the coming Messiah of God's promise. Christians live in hope of extending to many others the Good News of the Gospel and reaching eternal life. (CCC 144-145, 2570-2571) 


Ch 11:19 God told Abraham to offer up his own son in sacrifice as a test of his obedience. Abraham obeyed, and the angel of God stopped him before the sacrifice took place (cf. Gn 22:1-20). This happened on the third day after God had given his command. Isaac is a type (TYPOLOGY!!), or figure, of Christ, the Son who would be offered in Sacrifice; the third day prefigures Christ's Resurrection. Through their painful trial, Abraham's faith and trust in God never wavered. (CCC 2572) 


Ch 11:23-40 The story of Moses prefigures the Redemption of Christ. Just as the Israelites were freed through the blood of a spotless lamb, we are saved through the Blood of Christ, the spotless Lamb of God. The Israelites wandered the desert for forty years before they could enter the Promised Land; we sojourn on earth as we await the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life. Like the Israelites, it is our challenge to remain faithful despite whatever sufferings or setbacks we experience along the way. (CCC 147, 1521) 


Ch 11:32-38 The list of martyrdoms and near-martyrdoms here may relate to several episodes found in Scripture. 

Stopped the mouths of lions: This might refer to Daniel, who survived a night in the lion's den (cf. Dn 6:16-24). 

Quenched raging fire: This calls to mind the three young men who were unharmed in the furnace (cf. Dn 3:23-27). 

Tortured, refusing to accept release: The woman and her seven sons in the second book of Maccabees suffered terribly at the hands of the pagan Seleucid king Antiochus (cf. 2 Mc 7). 

Sawn in two: This describes the torturous death suffered by the prophet Isaiah, according to Jewish tradition. (CCC 2473, 2506) 


Ch 12:1-11 Christ presents the ultimate example of patience and persevering fidelity to the will of his Father through his sufferings and Death on the Cross. He traveled to Jerusalem willingly, knowing that he would be arrested and crucified. In our present condition, suffering and struggle are inevitable, and temptations and difficulties will always accompany us. With prayer, discipline, and the grace of Christ, however, we can overcome these obstacles and, at the same time, grow in holiness. (CCC 569, 598) 


Ch 12:1-2 Cloud of witnesses: The faithful figures from history who have gone before us serve as a marvelous example of fidelity. The Communion of Saints in significant part includes the powerful intercession of the saints in Heaven. All the faithful, living or dead, are united in Christ. The sacred images of the saints in our churches and homes call to mind the importance of holiness for the whole Church and for ourselves personally. 

Every weight: To carry a burden while running slows the runner. As we run toward eternal life, we must drop any burden that hampers our growth in holiness such as sinful habits and excessive and inordinate attachments. (CCC 147, 165, 1159-1162, 1477, 2683) 


Ch 12:5-6 A good parent disciplines his or her children out of love in an effort to form the children properly. In like manner, God allows trials in our lives so that our faith and virtues may increasingly mature (cf. Prv 3:11-12). (CCC 270, 1709, 2009, 2223, 2520) 


Ch 12:8 Illegitimate children: Under Roman law of the time, legitimation of newborn children did not follow birth automatically. A positive action by the father was needed. Therefore, children who were not recognized by their father had no legal claim on their father's inheritance. 


Ch 12:12-29 The Old Law taught us to do God's will out of duty and fear; the New Law invites us to do God's will out of love. We honor and glorify God by leading virtuous lives and striving to imitate Christ in all aspects of our lives. (CCC 2012) 


Ch 12:12-17 Despite hardships and challenge, the faithful must persevere in living the virtues required for sanctity, the ultimate goal— unlike Esau, the firstborn of Isaac, who gave up his inheritance in a weak moment to his brother Jacob for a temporary and fleeting pleasure. Everyone, until they depart this life, runs the risk of being unfaithful to their call to Heaven. (CCC 162, 1821, 2013-2016) 


Ch 12:22-24 An image of the heavenly liturgy. In contrast to the theophanies of God at Mt. Sinai that so terrified the Israelites, the heavenly liturgy of the New Covenant in which the faithful participate at every Eucharist—is one of celebration and unity. Our weekly participation in the Mass is so vital to our spiritual lives that it is a Precept of the Church. 

Speaks more graciously: Abel's murder put Cain in danger of death by retaliation (cf. Gn 4:8-16), but the Death of Christ results in forgiveness of sins and salvation. (CCC 1021, 1111, 2188) 


Ch 13:1-6 Hospitality, works of mercy, respect for the sanctity of marriage, detachment from worldly goods, and trust in divine providence are among the attitudes and practices that reflect a solid commitment to Christ. (CCC 2179, 2447-2448) 


Ch 13:2 Several figures of the Old Testament welcomed angelic visitors without being aware of their identity. These include Abraham, who took in strangers at his tent (cf. Gn 18:1-21); Lot, who protected an angel from the townspeople of Sodom (cf. Gn 19:1-3); Gideon, who received encouragement from an angel (cf. Jgs 6:11-24); and Tobias, who was safeguarded in his travels by an angel (cf. Tb 5:4-9). The Church commemorates the angels and their work in her liturgy and her liturgical calendar. (CCC 328, 331-336) 


Ch 13:3 Visiting the imprisoned is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy. Christ included it in the Parable of the Last Judgment (cf. Mt 25). (CCC 2447) 


Ch 13:4 All sexual acts outside of the marriage covenant are inherently sinful. These sins include adultery, fornication, homosexual acts, masturbation, and other immoral acts involving the misuse of sexual faculties. (CCC 2351-2365, 2380-2381, 2387-2389)

Ch 13:7-19 Christ and his message are unchanging. The eternal truths that he revealed were for all people of all times. We were not made for this world but for the next world; therefore, we must persevere in faith, continuing to praise God in all that we say and do in a "sacrifice of praise." Prayer, good works, sharing our goods with the needy, and obedience to Church authority are key ways to please God. (CCC 1269, 1802, 2032-2040, 2044) 


Ch 13:10 Read in light of an earlier reference to how we approach God and enter his sanctuary "by the blood of Jesus" and "through his flesh," this is likely a reference to the Eucharist, which involves partaking in the true Body and Blood of Christ. The altar of the New Covenant is the Cross of Christ, where his Body and Blood were sacrificed, but it may also refer to the altar where the Eucharist was celebrated. (CCC 1182) 


Ch 13:14-15 The city which is to come: This is Heaven, which is the New Jerusalem. 

Sacrifice of praise: The celebration of the Eucharist, the Mass, is a perfect Sacrifice that surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Testament. (CCC 1330, 2796) 


Ch 13:20-25 Timothy, one of Paul's co-workers, was the addressee of two Epistles in the New Testament. This is the only reference in the New Testament to Timothy having been imprisoned. 

Saints: The faithful on earth, the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and the blessed in Heaven, are all called saints, which means "holy ones." These three states represent the Communion of Saints. (CCC 632, 946-948)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Key Event 70: The Second Coming of Christ

The first coming of Christ was for the salvation of the world, in order that those who believe in him "should not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3:16).  Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1) according to their works (Rom 2:6-11).  This will happen at an unexpected time (Mt 24:36-51).  Thus, Christians are encouraged to be watchful (Mk 13:32-37).  At that time, God will establish a new heaven and a new earth where he will eternally dwell with all the redeemed, where there is no pain, sorrow, or mourning (Rev 21:1-8).

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven thank you. Father in Heaven, thank you. Thank you. In Jesus’ name receive our thanks. Amen.”


When I reverted back to my Catholic Faith several years ago, it was because I lost a bet. Funny how God works, isn’t it? I had not been a practicing Catholic for almost 25 years. I only went to Mass on Easter and Christmas to make my parents happy. I even attended protestant churches for a while. My search for meaning even led me to dabble in Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism. None of those things felt real to me. All I can tell you is what I experienced. In 2015, I made a bet with a friend from Catholic school regarding our favorite football team, the Washington Redskins. They’ve been a terrible team for so long so I was sure I would win the bet regarding their losing record at the end of the season. Lo and behold, I lost the bet and had to pay up $100. My friend insisted that I keep the money. In lieu of the money, he wanted me to go to Confession. At first, I adamantly refused. I didn’t even believe in it so why bother. But my friend refused to budge. So ok I had to go to Confession. Whatever. I had been many times before and never felt anything about it so this should be easy right? I decided to take it seriously and go. I confessed every single sin I could think of over the last couple of decades. And I do mean EVERY SINGLE SIN. After the priest absolved me, I went to pray my penance. It was at that moment that I felt God speaking to me for the first time in my life. Now, it was not a “voice from Heaven” or something bold like that. It was this intense warmth and squeezing feeling all over my body and inside my heart telling me, “You are EXACTLY where you need to be right now.” I started crying. I’m not a cryer typically. But there I was in the pew crying because I finally realized I was Home. And here’s the thing that made me wonder. WHY did I take it seriously? After all, I didn’t really believe in it. Yes, I’m a Cradle Catholic so I’ve received all the Sacraments save for Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick. So I know what Confession is. But why did I take it so seriously? I had been a lapsed Catholic for almost 25 years. I even quoted and believed all the anti-Catholic tropes you can think of when I was away from the Church. What changed in me? I think you know the answer to that. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “God calls man FIRST.” I’m living proof that’s true. After that experience, I threw myself into learning about our Catholic Faith. Among the many things I learned are the four signs of a Dynamic Catholic (Thank you, Matthew Kelly!!): Prayer, Study, Generosity, and Evangelization. The first three are pretty easy. But I didn’t know how best to go about evangelizing Catholicism. And that’s where The Bible in a Year came in. I knew this podcast was going to be something I listened to religiously, pardon the pun. I love Fr. Mike Schmitz after discovering him on YouTube after that day in Confession. I also knew that he speaks really really really fast and I should probably write down what he says since I wouldn’t be able to remember it all. So I started taking notes in a Google Doc. I shared it to the Facebook Group Page of Ascension Catholic Bible Studies. And that is where I met my partner-in-crime J.J. He first introduced himself by asking if I wanted to turn my notes into a website. Being the somewhat cynical person that I am, I told him no thanks because I thought he was trying to scam me. Thankfully, J.J. listened to the Holy Spirit instead of me and turned my notes into the website you see before you today. I was amazed at his talent and fire for this project. This whole study guide has been a labor of love for me, J.J., Dustin, John, and all the others behind the scenes who support us. I’m truly humbled and in awe of how many people use the study guide to help them with listening to Fr. Mike and The Bible in a Year. I have received countless messages from people all over the world telling me how much the podcast and study guide have impacted their lives. I’ve even had people asking me, a very broken person, for advice regarding their Faith. Thanks to Fr. Mike and Bible in a Year, I learned not only WHAT to say, but even Scripture to back up what my friends needed to hear. Speaking of friends, I have made some new life-long friends from all over the world from New Zealand to Ireland on this journey. I am sure many of you have as well. Wouldn’t it be great one day to meet and have some baklava and pray a Rosary together? If it doesn't happen in this life hopefully we will meet in Eternity. It’s been such a humbling, invigorating experience to be your scribe for 365 DAYS. Wow…I did not realize the endeavor I chose would be something so life affirming. I had so much fun coming up with the song and music video as a thank you to Fr. Mike and everyone at Ascension Presents. They reached out to me during the year to thank me for the effort I put into the notes and study guide. Everyone from Ascension has my eternal eternal gratitude. All I wanted to do was spread our Catholic Faith. There really is no other motive. That is why I always refused to publish the study guide into a book and sell it. There are a multitude of reasons why not. Here’s the most important one. This project was inspired by the Holy Spirit. The notes belong to Him, not me. I happen to be pretty decent at taking organized notes. If they help even ONE person either revert to their Catholic Faith or convert to Catholicism, then it is all because of God. That is why they will ALWAYS be free for anyone who wants to use them. I’m grateful that you all appreciate my sense of humor. I hope you understand I always do it in a respectful way when it comes to our BEAUTIFUL FAITH. Think of all the things we’ve learned! We now have answers to a lot of questions we may have had about Catholicism. Now the question is, “Where do we go from here?” Do you plan on going through The Bible in a Year again? That is awesome! I do too! 

BUT…(as Fr. Mike is SO FOND of saying 😉) is there more we could do? I mean Jesus told us to spread the Good News to ALL NATIONS. I’ve spent the past 365 DAYS making this study guide and it’s been the most amazing experience. It is read by 140,000 users in 143 countries all over the WORLD. Do you realize what that means? The Bible in a Year Podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz is being listened to in almost every part of the WORLD!! Our next goal should be to get the podcast to Antarctica. It only makes sense. My Faith is even more on fire for Jesus. And it’s all because I listened to Him when I asked how I could help. Many people have asked me how they could thank me for writing the notes and making the study guide for them to use. I always refused any sort of monetary remuneration. But, I now know what I would like as a sort of “payment.” I would like you to tell at least one person you know who has maybe fallen away from the Faith, or maybe doesn’t believe in God or Christianity, about this Podcast and the Study Guide. Share it with them. Heck, keep sharing it on the Ascension Facebook Group or any other group you are a part of. Share it on your Twitter, Instagram, ummm…YouTube…you know, social media. You know how awesome this year has been. Why WOULDN’T you want to share it? All it took for me to come back to my Faith was losing a bet, something so trivial. Imagine how you could impact someone’s life by sharing The Bible in a Year with them!! Something NOT so trivial! Thank you all for being there for me on this journey with your prayers, Christmas cards, and baklava!! I couldn’t have done this without you.  

I’m praying for you…

Please pray for me…

And PLEASE pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, especially for those who have been forgotten and have no one to pray for them...

I can’t WAIT to see you tomorrow!!