Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pope Francis and The Ideologues

In the past few days there has been a story circulating around the Internet that Pope Francis called a divorced-and-remarried Argentinian woman to let her know that she could receive communion despite her marital status.  This story started in "The Telegraph" under the title, "Pope Francis 'phones divorced woman' to say she can receive Communion. This is potentially a huge story."

From the story:
The woman's husband, writing on Facebook, claims that the Pope – introducing himself as "Father Bergoglio" – spoke to his wife, who'd been divorced before marrying him and told her that men or women who were divorced and received Communion weren't doing anything wrong. He apparently added that this matter is under discussion at the Vatican.
The author of the blog is very skeptical and writes in parentheses:
"Quick health warning: given the complexity of this subject, we need much more clarity on what Francis reportedly said. I find it hard to believe that he would make such an unqualified statement."
A lot of other people had problems with the credibility of this story as well, but that didn't stop other Catholic bloggers from running with it in order to showcase the heretical Pope Francis.

From A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics:
Yikes?  I know Fr. Z and others are trying to caution, and rightly so, that this is an unconfirmed story (parts are confirmed, see below), that even if true, this is a private conversation and not a doctrinal statement, and that we don’t know all the details.
All Mostly true, but nonetheless, this story fits a pattern of established behavior and also seems to align with public sentiments expressed by Francis elsewhere, so that discounting it as totally implausible seems a bit rash:
Dallas Area Catholic quotes from another Catotholic blog: thatthebonesyouhavecrushedmaythrill, or "Bones" as he calls it:
Clearly, whatever the truth of the matter, someone is doing this undermining of the Magisterium and the Papacy on purpose. The question remains whether that person is one of the Pope’s enemies, or one of his friends, or the Pope himself.
Another "Catholic" blog, run by a guy who identifies himself only as "Mundabor", wrote this:
All this happens because we have a disgraceful Pope in love with his own popularity, with no idea of sound Catholicism, prone to stunts of all sorts, with a sovereign contempt for decency, and not very intelligent. A halfway decent Pope would never make such calls in the first place; even if he were able to put three phrases in a row that make some sense.
If you really want to subject yourself to it, you can read his full post HERE.  

These are just a couple of examples of the rash reactions you will find on some Catholic blogs.  In this day of instant communication, no one can ever let a story sit.  No one seems able to say, I really don't know enough about this to even comment on it, so why don't I just shut up so I won't be guilty of slandering or judging anyone.

The Vatican Office's response to this story was wholly unsatisfactory to most of those making the accusations against Pope Francis. Father Lombardi of the Holy See Press Office released this statement:
“Several telephone calls have taken place in the context of Pope Francis’ personal pastoral relationships. Since they do not in any way form part of the Pope's public activities, no information is to be expected from the Holy See Press Office. That which has been communicated in relation to this matter, outside the scope of personal relationships, and the consequent media amplification, cannot be confirmed as reliable, and is a source of misunderstanding and confusion. Therefore, consequences relating to the teaching of the Church are not to be inferred from these occurrences”
This obviously does not resolve the veracity or lack thereof in this story at all.  Anyone who was accused of making such a potentially heretical statement as Pope Francis would certainly seek to be exonerated if he was innocent, wouldn't he?  Since he refuses to do so, it can only be assumed that the Pope actually made this phone call and told this divorced-and-remarried woman that she could receive communion.

This is from a popular Catholic blogger, Steve Skojec, who wrote in answer to the Holy See's Press Release:
This doesn’t mean anything. It also makes no sense.
Why would this woman lie if she got the answer she wanted? Why make something up?
And if she didn’t get the answer she wanted and did lie about it, only the Pope himself can say, “Yes, I spoke to her, but this is not what was said.” Since he knows this is becoming a big story, it behooves him to do this if he cares about preserving doctrinal clarity and avoiding unnecessarily scandalizing the faithful. If he doesn’t want to speak to it directly, the statement that needs to be made by the press office, with his authorization, is astonishingly simple:
“The Holy Father cannot comment on the contents of a personal phone call, but suffice to say that in his discussion he did, in fact, reaffirm the Church’s longstanding teaching on divorce and remarriage, and the conditions for the reception of communion.”
That kills the noise. Instead, this continues to get bigger and spread and affect people’s perceptions of what is really going on. The pope understands by now how fast the media machine works. He should be pretty used to creating controversy at this point, and a man in his position with his obligation to safeguard the sensus fidei would, one would assume, care a great deal about setting the record straight.
And yet…nothing.
This is EXACTLY what someone trying to change Church teaching through public perception rather than doctrinal alteration would want. If this isn’t planned, it’s the most unbelievably devilish luck.
I am forced to conclude that his silence is a form of consent. Which leads to other conclusions:
(If you want to read his other conclusions, you can go HERE.)

Oh, really?  Maybe we should slow down just a little bit.

There is a story that came out today from entitled, "Pope Francis Preaches 'Indissolubility of Christian Matrimony'".  Huh?  How can this be after the scandalous phone call he made?  According to the article, in a meeting with bishops from southern Africa, Pope Francis made the following statements:
“The holiness and indissolubility of Christian matrimony, often disintegrating under tremendous pressure from the secular world, must be deepened by clear doctrine and supported by the witness of committed married couples,” Pope Francis said.
“Christian matrimony is a lifelong covenant of love between one man and one woman; it entails real sacrifices in order to turn away from illusory notions of sexual freedom and in order to foster conjugal fidelity.”
The article continues:
Pope Francis noted the pastoral challenges presented by marital separation and divorce, even in Christian families, and the lack of a stable home for many children.
. . .

He stressed the need to continue “indispensable” marriage preparation programs that give “new hope” to young people for their futures as husbands, wives, fathers and mothers.
So what gives here? How could the Pope say one thing to the Argentinian woman and another thing to the bishops? Because he didn't!! Anyone who is willing to look at this situation without prejudice and downright hate for the Holy Father can easily see what happened. The Argentinian story was made up. But the Holy Father, out of love and compassion for the woman and her family, refused to call her on it and instead took the hit for her. 

Sure, it would have been easy for Pope Francis to have protested his innocence. But Our Holy Father truly is a man of God, and he is much more concerned about the woman and her spiritual state than how he looks in public. To have called her a liar in public could have irreparably driven her away from God and the Church. Most people without an agenda saw through this story, but the idealogues saw this as red meat and went for it. Do you think any of them will apologize? Hardly.

And for the faithful who, as Steve Skojec says, need "doctrinal clarity," then they need only look to the public on-the-record statements of Pope Francis, and not some unsubstantiated gossip.

It should also be noted that Pope Francis also spoke about abortion in this meeting with the southern African bishops:
In his comments to the southern African bishops, Pope Francis also noted the damage caused by abortion and an attitude of disrespect for life.
“Abortion compounds the grief of many women who now carry with them deep physical and spiritual wounds after succumbing to the pressures of a secular culture which devalues God’s gift of sexuality and the right to life of the unborn,” he said.
I am personally struck by the deep compassion shown in this statement as well.  I have prayed in front of abortion clinics for a few years, and I see the young women going in there to destroy their babies.  I see the look of pain on their faces, and I know that it will only get worse as time goes on.  Pope Francis shows that he understands this pain as well, and he is reaching out to these young women and rightly telling them that they, in many ways, are victims of a culture of death, as so aptly named by St. John Paul II, just as much as their babies are.  With his words of mercy, Pope Francis is inviting them to the loving forgiveness of Jesus Christ, who is the only One who can truly heal them.  

Pope Francis has so much to teach us, but as long as we keep our own prejudices so firmly in place, we will never learn these valuable lessons.  We have been given a wonderful Holy Father in Pope Francis, and it pains me that so many Catholics reject him as a "modernist" and "heretic", ready to believe the very worst about him.

May God Bless Pope Francis and guide him in all his actions and words, and keep him safe from the wolves.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Divine Mercy Sunday: A Day and A Message of Hope

This Sunday, April 27, is Divine Mercy Sunday. This year it is even more special than usual because two popes - John XXIII and John Paul II - will be canonized that day. Divine Mercy Sunday was instituted by soon-to-be St. John Paul II in the year 2000. Saint John Paul II gave us this Feast in compliance with the explicit request in 1931 by Jesus Christ Himself to St. Faustina, who was canonized on that first official Divine Mercy Sunday, April 30, 2000.

Why did Our Lord want to give us this feast day? Dr. Robert Stackpole explains on the website in an article entitled, "Divine Mercy Sunday", which you can read HERE,
First, why did Jesus ask the Church, through St. Faustina, to institute the Feast of Mercy? As recorded in Diary entry 965, Jesus said to Faustina:
Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them ... the Feast of My mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity. Secretary of My mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice is near.
In short, the main reason that Jesus wanted this Feast to be established is that He wanted to "throw a lifeline," so to speak, to souls who are perishing, souls who are drowning in sin and despair. That lifeline is this Feast, with all the tremendous promises of graces and benefits which Jesus attached to it. As He said to St. Faustina, He wanted to make this Feast day a special "refuge and shelter" for the "consolation" of souls. In Diary entry 1517, Jesus said: "the Feast of My Mercy has issued forth from My very depths for the consolation of the whole world." In short, Jesus gave us this Feast as both a comfort and a lifeline for souls.
As I have posted previously, I believe Divine Mercy is the essence of the message of the Catholic Church in the world today.  In our human reasoning we look at the world around us brimming over with evil and human suffering, from abortion to war to euthanasia to immorality, the destruction of the family, and on and on and on, and our answer to it is to raise our voices in condemnation and let everyone know that unless they repent they are headed to the lowest depths of hell.

But in the 1930's, Jesus - who has a much better and clearer picture of the evil in this world than we can ever have - appeared to a unknown and seemingly insignificant little nun in Poland and explained to her why He wanted the Feast of Divine Mercy to be instituted by the Church, as quoted by Dr. Stackpole.  This message from Jesus Christ is the exact opposite of condemnation:
My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the First Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.  (Diary 699)
Through St. Faustina, Jesus told the world that He is not here to condemn us but to pour His Mercy upon us if only we will say Yes to Him.  In fact, He tells us that "mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy."  Jesus Christ says plainly here that the only path to peace is through His Mercy.  It is only when we accept the loving forgiveness of Jesus Christ, when we wash our souls in His Precious Blood and allow Him to change our minds and hearts that we will find true peace.   He does this not through words of condemnation but through pleas to accept His Mercy.

One of the devotions given to St. Faustina by Jesus is the Divine Mercy Novena, which starts on Good Friday and culminates on Easter Saturday.  Our Lord told St. Faustina:
I desire that during these nine days you bring souls to the fountain of My mercy, that they may draw therefrom strength and refreshment and whatever grace they need in the hardships of life, and especially at the hour of death. 
On each day you will bring to My Heart a different group of souls, and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy, and I will bring all these souls into the house of My Father. You will do this in this life and in the next. I will deny nothing to any soul whom you will bring to the fount of My mercy. On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My bitter Passion, for graces for these souls.  (Diary 1209)
The following are the souls for whom we are to pray each day (as taken from the EWTN website):
DAY 1 (Good Friday) - All mankind, especially sinners
DAY 2 (Holy Saturday)- The souls of priests and religious
DAY 3 (Easter Sunday) - All devout and faithful souls
DAY 4 (Easter Monday)- Those who do not believe in Jesus and those who do not yet know Him
DAY 5 (Easter Tuesday)- The souls of separated brethren
DAY 6 (Easter Wednesday)- The meek and humble souls and the souls of children
DAY 7 (Easter Thursday)- The souls who especially venerate and glorify Jesus' mercy
DAY 8 (Easter Friday)- The souls who are detained in purgatory;
DAY 9 (Easter Saturday)- The souls who have become lukewarm.
This novena covers every soul on earth.  And as Jesus commanded St. Faustina, we are to "immerse them in the ocean of My mercy."  Our Lord is doing everything He can to remove the great barriers that exist between mankind and Himself, barriers that we created but which can be torn down and erased by turning to His Great Mercy.  As Jesus said to St. Faustina, "bring souls to the fountain of My mercy, that they may draw therefrom strength and refreshment and whatever grace they need in the hardships of life, and especially at the hour of death."

Further, Jesus says that "You will do this in this life and in the next."  The saints in heaven and even the poor souls in purgatory continue to intercede for us just as they did when they were here on earth.  To be one with Christ is to be one in His Great Sacrifice on the Cross, to join with His Sorrowful Passion, as we pray in the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Do we bring souls to Jesus Christ through words of condemnation?  Are those in heaven sitting before Christ and condemning us?  Or are they interceding with words of love and mercy on our behalf?  If in the next life we will be interceding on behalf of sinners with mercy and compassion, how can we possibly believe that our actions should be any different while we are on earth?  Is it really our job as followers of Jesus  Christ to confront with words of condemnation those who are entrapped by their sins and completely unable to break free on their own?

Our Lord did not direct St. Faustina to confront sinners.  He told her, and us, to bring sinners to His Mercy through our prayers, always invoking the Passion of Jesus Christ.  He told us, through St. Faustina, to be willing to sacrifice for others, joining our sacrifices with His Great Sacrifice on the Cross. 

It is so easy to get on our high horse and look down on the rest of the world, pointing out their sin and telling them they are a bunch of pathetic losers.  But that is not why Christ died that horrible, bloody death on the Cross.  He took on our sins and went to His Cross to show the world how much He loves all of us.  We who have accepted that great Mercy into our lives and been transformed by it, are now given the great responsibility and duty to spread this message of Mercy and Love to others.  

Unfortunately, that is not how some people see it. Some people think that this idea of Divine Mercy, despite the fact that these are direct commands from Jesus Christ, is "pampering sinners". Michael Voris once again sadly gives us the perfect example of this thinking. He just did a Vortex episode entitled, "Easter Division", which you can watch HERE. In this Vortex, Michael Voris makes the argument that the purpose of the Church is, believe it or not, to cause division:
Know this and learn it well – if the world .. meaning your family, friends and neighbors who live in opposition to the truths of Christ don’t see a stumbling block in you, a cause of division – then you are living your faith as a coward – as Judas.
You have made compromise with the world. You are appeasing the Prince of this world at the cost of worship to your King.
You are a dead or wounded soldier, brought down by your own lack of fidelity and cowardice to confront the kingdom of Hell.
Really, Mike?  Just how do you reconcile Our Lord's words to St. Faustina, that we should be praying for the world and "immersing them" in the ocean of His Mercy, with being a "stumbling block" and causing division?

St. Paul gave the exact opposite message as he wrote in Romans 14:13:
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.
In fact, Voris would probably condemn St. Paul for writing the following as recorded in II Cor. 6:3:
We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.
What did St. Paul do in his ministry?  Verses 4-10:
Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
In other words, St. Paul suffered on behalf of sinners in order to bring them to the saving message of the Gospel.  And as he wrote, he acted "in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God."  No words of condemnation or division.

Those who would agree with Michael Voris about causing division will no doubt point to subsequent verses in II Corinthians 6: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (verse 14) St. Paul also quotes from the prophets, "Come out from them and be separate" (verse 17). However, to use this to justify causing "division" is a canard because there is a big difference between being "yoked" with unbelievers, i.e., taking part in their sinful conduct, and condemning unbelievers. Condemnation is a stumbling block to people, and St. Paul says he will not do that. How can we expect to bring people to Christ when we are pushing them away with our words?

This is certainly not to say that Paul never verbally corrected anyone. However, the people he corrected were those within the Church who should have known better, such as the Corinthians who allowed and even approved of a blatant sinner within their midst (I Corinthians 5). Once the Corinthians accepted St. Paul's correction, he encouraged them with love and kindness. And St. Paul further told the Corinthians that they should show love and acceptance to those who offend. From II Corinthians 2:
5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
The difference between separating ourselves from the sin of others and condemning them is further clarified in James 4:11-12:
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
Following is Michael Voris' answer to the above scriptures:
The Church of Nice goes on and on incessantly about love of neighbor, but at the end of the day, is perfectly content to let their neighbor be damned for everyday offenses against almighty God like contraception, adultery, homosexuality, and so forth.

See, the Church of Nice isn’t really all that Nice. It’s all just a show. They don’t like the Church Militant because they are convicted in their consciences of their pitiful lack of fight – of militancy.

And if there is one thing that the Church of Nice detests, on principle and in practice – it is division. And here is where the adherents of the Church of Nice are dead wrong. In order to achieve the unity that Our Lord begged for, there must be division.
Michael Voris conflates mercy and compassion with being "perfectly content to let their neighbor be damned for everyday offenses against almighty God like contraception, adultery, homosexuality, and so forth."  That is a completely deceptive and false statement.  Using this logic from Michael Voris, we would have to say that Jesus Christ was content to let people be damned when He refused to condemn those who were crucifying Him and instead said from the Cross, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."  Mercy does not mean accepting people's sins.  It means praying that sinners will accept the love and forgiveness of God.  That is what the Divine Mercy Novena is all about.

Michael Voris derisively uses the term "Church of Nice" (a term many Catholics, including myself at one time, have unfortunately adopted from Voris) to describe those who do not agree with the absurd and destructive philosophy that unity is born of division.  Michael Voris, if he was to be totally honest, would most certainly put St. Faustina, St. Paul, St. James and even Jesus Christ Himself in the category of "Church of Nice" because they preached against attacking one another in the Church.

Voris gives us St. Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost as an example of one who is not afraid to cause division:
The very first words spoken publicly about the resurrection were charges of complicity leveled against the Jews by St. Peter himself at Pentecost.

Talk about saying something divisive right out of the gate. No political correctness there with him, no siree. He came right out with it – and not just once – but TWICE.

Men of Jerusalem – this Jesus whom you crucified God raised from the dead!
Voris doesn't give us any exact quotes from scripture, so I will. St. Peter starts out by quoting from the prophet Joel, a very upbeat and encouraging message (Acts 2:17-21):
‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
No words of condemnation or division there, just words of hope: "and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." No one is left out of this message of hope and salvation. Everyone is included.

St. Peter then goes on to explain to the people what had happened only a little more than 50 days prior to that day on which he spoke:
Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Do you hear any words of condemnation there?  Yes, St. Peter did say that these Jews were complicit in putting Christ to death, but he also said this was done according to "God's deliberate plan and foreknowledge."  St. Peter explains that "it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him."  St. Peter couched the words of accusation with words of hope.

Then, in verse 36, St. Peter tell the Jews the good news that this Jesus whom they crucified is their Lord and Messiah:
Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.
As the very next verse, verse 37, tells us, "When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?' " It was not words of condemnation that brought the people to this point. It was being told that yes, they are sinners, but they have a great Lord and Messiah who gave everything to save them from their sin. St. Peter, in this famous sermon, was immersing the people in the ocean of Christ's Mercy, just as Our Lord told St. Faustina almost exactly 2000 years later.

In response to the question of what they should do, St. Peter gave them the beautiful Gospel message He had received from Our Lord (Acts 2:38-39):
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.
Yes, St. Peter told the people that they were sinners and responsible for the death of Jesus Christ, but the primary message from St. Peter was that Christ had died and been resurrected in fulfillment of God's Great Divine Plan to save mankind from their sins.  This is the message of the Gospel, the Good News that we are to spread around the world.   Contrary to the assertions of Michael Voris, there were no words of division in St. Peter's message but exactly the opposite - words of encouragement, hope and unity.

We need to ask ourselves, is the work of a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, one of confrontation leading to division?  Or is it to bring the healing message of mercy and salvation?  Do we look at our Lord on the Cross and see condemnation and division, or do we see Divine Mercy and Love?  What is it that we want to bring to the world?  What is the message that will save the world?  Michael Voris tells us that everything he does is to save souls.  Yet, it seems he wants to do it his way, with harshness and condemnation, and he ridicules anyone who doesn't agree with him.

This Sunday, April 27, 2014, two popes will be canonized.  They were both popes who did much to spread the message of mercy and hope of salvation to the world.  They both saw a world that is in immense pain and suffering, and they sought to bring healing.  These two popes lived the following command from Jesus Christ as told to St. Faustina,
I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine toward the souls of sinners. Let no sinner be afraid to approach Me.  (Diary 50)
Both John XXIII and John Paul II embodied the following passage from the diary of St. Faustina:
In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My People. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy.  (Diary 1588)
Jesus Christ Himself tells us that "My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice."  We need to take these words to heart.  It goes against everything that we humans regard as "common sense" that as the world descends into evil in a way that could have never been envisioned in history, Jesus Christ comes to us not with words of condemnation, but with the great message of His Mercy.  He says He does not want to punish us.  This is the message of Jesus Christ:

Sunday, April 20, 2014


I love to watch old movies from the 30's and 40's, and yet I am very much sobered when watching these movies because I realize that 99% or more of the people I am looking at in the movie, who seem so alive, are actually now very dead, and one day I will join them.  It is a a fact of life which cannot be negotiated in any way.

All of us live with the fear of death, our own death and that of those we love.   No matter how much happiness and satisfaction we may find in our lives, we know that one day it will all come to an end.

But today, Easter Sunday, we celebrate the victory over death. Jesus Christ has risen and conquered death and sin, and there can be no greater message. "You shall not die." St. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:55
“O death, where is your victory?
Where is your power to hurt?”
As Catholics, we celebrate the physical death of our saints because we know that is the day they entered into eternal life, into glory and eternal bliss in the presence of God.  It is Jesus Christ, the God Man who died a horrendous death on a cross and then rose to life who made this possible for us.  It doesn't matter how black our sins are, it doesn't matter what we have done in life.  If we are willing to coming to Our Lord and let Him cleanse our soul in His Precious Blood, we can be made whole and enter into True Life with Him.

Here is a very joyous, upbeat video which I think really expresses it well.  I have included the lyrics below:

Have a wonderful, happy Easter (which lasts all week long) as we celebrate the great victory over death.

For all the earth had trembled,
The sun had hid its face,
All the men that walked with him
Had turned and run away,
They crucified Our Savior,
And laid Him in a tomb.
The Life that once brought love and hope slipped away that afternoon.
Satan gleamed with pleasure that day at Calvary,
For he thought he had won a mighty victory.
And like him all of the demons of hell began to cheer,
Oh but little did they know that their end was drawing near.
Cause early Sunday morning just like Jesus said,
He broke the curse of sin and death and He rose up from the dead.
Now we have a new beginning in a Kingdom that has no ending. 
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!!
Jesus Is Alive!
Death has lost its victory and the grave has been denied.
Jesus lives forever.
He’s Alive! He’s Alive!
He's the Alpha and Omega
The first and last is He.
The curse of sin is broken,
And we have perfect liberty
The Lamb of God is risen.
He's alive! He's alive! 
He’s the author and the finisher of our faith,
The Stone they threw away is the Cornerstone today.
Death has no more victory and the grave has no more sting.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!!
Wonderful Counselor, A Mighty God is He!
The Everlasting Father, He’s the Precious Prince of Peace.
He’s the Word that lives forever.
He’s Alive! He’s Alive!

Oh Hallelujah!
Jesus is Alive!
Death has lost its sting, and the grave has been denied.
Jesus lives forever! He’s Alive!
He’s Alive!
He’s Alive!
Jesus is alive!

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