Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Welcome, Papa - Boy, Do We Need You NOW!
Today, Pope Francis arrived at the White House where he was greeted with the necessary pomp and circumstances. Papa looked tired from his recent triumphant arrival in Cuba, but he took the time to make his first ever speech in English, greeting the faithful and the unfaithful with the same love and compassion. He is, as the media likes to proclaim, The People's Pope. While I have no idea what that is supposed to mean, I know that he is the leader of The Church Jesus Christ founded, the successor to the Apostle Peter and the Servant of the Servants of God. He is The Pope, and I for one am thrilled he is here.
Many others who dabble in Scripture and Christianity have seized upon his visit to the United States as the sign of the eminent end of the world (click here for an interesting article on this phenomenon/). The predictions are fast an many - from Mormons to Fringe Catholics, everyone wants to pin down the time and date of the end. I don't claim to understand this either; I mean, if we did know that it was going to happen on September 28 at 2PM I would think the people who would be the most upset would be NFL Season Ticket holders. After spending all that money, I would be demanding to speak to Jesus.
Then again, what would I say? 'I want a refund'? It's the end of the world, Leslie. What are you going to do with a refund?
The Pope comes with a message that is simple and direct - so simple and direct that most people miss it by a mile. He comes with an open heart and open mind and complete honesty. We are what we are, this Church Jesus founded. We are dusty, we are dirty, we are traditional and we are wounded. We are filled with sinners who hope to persevere to the end of the race and understand that while no one can snatch us from the Hand of God we can certainly jump out of His loving grasp whenever we decide that we have a better idea. We cannot earn His love, but if we do not demonstrate it then we are lying when we say we have Faith. We cannot earn our way into heaven, but we better be ready to give an accounting to Jesus of what we did on earth when we had the chance or we know we will not be recognized among the sheep.
We cannot change Truth to suit you....but we will try and help you live by that Truth as best you can, one day at a time.
Every true Catholic knows we are not saved by a single act or prayer. Every Catholic knows that it takes work to make our Faith alive. Every Catholic knows that you do not leave The Eucharist because you have a political agenda that does not jive with Catholic teachings. Those who do leave have a lot of explaining to do and I keep them in prayer, because I would not want to have to stand before Jesus and say, "I left You because I did not like the men you chose to be Apostles".
During the Papal Visit, my prayer is that the fires of their Baptism be reignited for all Catholics. I dream of them all returning to the one true Church. I wish for them the joy of the Gospel, the fullness of faith and The Eucharist - the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
And if this is the end of the world, I hope Jesus recognizes me for who and what I am....
Help me, O Lord. Save me, O Christ. Love me, for I am a sinner in need of salvation.
Jesus, I trust in You.