Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Do We Care?

This morning I am pondering the sacrifice of our Lord. How I wish I was not the cause of His death! Like Peter, I am prone to say, "Lord, You will never wash my feet!" But, of course, His reply is the same as it was for Peter. "If I do not wash you, you have no part with me." The phrase is intended to recall our baptism. Baptism is tied to the cross. We are buried with Christ, and raise with Him to newness of life. All of this means that because we are sinners, we are in dire need, moment by moment, of the Grace that flows from His cross. None of us are exempt. Each of us must participate in, and receive from, Christ's sacrifice if we are to have any hope of salvation.

This is a humbling position. I would rather work this out on my own. I do not like the feeling of being in the debt of someone else, even if it is God. But that is where we are. We are sinners! That means we are beggars before the well of Grace. If our Lord does not provide us with His life-giving water, then we perish. There is no other hope.

Having said that, I must also deal with the other side of things. That is, a presumption on God's Grace. Do I care that He has given Himself for me? When I go on willfully sinning, assuming on His Grace, I show that I really do not care. How this must grieve, and even anger, the heart of God!

I pray that I will ponder His sacrifice more and more. In doing so, I hope that I will make much more of an effort to overcome sin. As I do, I ask for an outpouring of God's Grace. May we all do the same as we bear witness to the awesome love and matchless Grace of our God in our Lord Jesus Christ!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Corpus Christi

Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is so pivotal to our Faith as it focuses on the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. As Catholics, we believe that Jesus is fully and truly present in the bread and wine. It actually becomes the true Body and true Blood of Christ after it has been consecrated. It is a wonderful and powerful teaching of the Church as it reminds us that there is Grace in the Sacrament. Through it we receive forgiveness of sins and are given strength to live in holiness.

But unfortunately, as with so many things, greater numbers of Catholics are losing faith in this critical doctrine. They do not believe Jesus is truly present. Therefore they do not take attendance at Mass very seriously. In fact, in many cases, they just stay away from Mass altogether.

Catholics have the opportunity to receive Christ in the Eucharist every Lord's Day, and in most places, every day. In the midst of the various trials we face in our lives today, this is a most precious offering. Jesus is present to His people. He comes to us to aid us in the things we encounter. With such a remarkable opportunity, why do we pass it up?

It is my prayer this day, and always, that God will open our eyes to see the power of this Sacrament. May we come to see Jesus and may we be continually changed through the Grace of Jesus in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Feast of St. Matthias

Today is the feast day of St. Matthias. He was chosen to replace Judas after the ascension of our Lord. We don't know a lot about him, but he was numbered with the apostles and preached the Gospel in other places just as the rest of the apostles did.

Matthias is probably not a name that is familiar to all. He certainly does not have the prestige of Peter, James, John, or even Paul. But he labored faithfully. Through his efforts many lives were touched. Joined collectively with the other apostles, he changed the world forever by his faithfulness to tell others about Jesus even to death.

For a great portion of my life I have been convinced that if I am going to do anything significant for the Lord, it will need to be on a grand scale. But St. Matthias shows me that it isn't necessarily true. He labored in relative obscurity, but he made a great difference. I want to imitate him in this. I want to be faithful to God's call regardless of how great or small.

I may not be able to change the world, but I hope I can make a difference in my small part of it. And in the grand scheme of things, as my minute contribution is joined with so many others, we really are changing the world.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Call Me Un-Patriotic

As with most people, I am keeping an eye on the progress of the Democratic nomination. Last night Barack Obama seemed to have taken a critical lead over Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, the Republican nominee, John McCain has the luxury of some relative peace and quiet before he has to go head-to-head with the winner of the Democratic ticket.

I don't particularly like the way the election is shaping up. I don't feel like there is a real choice for those of us who hold consistently to a pro-life/pro-family ethic. Most people of this persuasion seem to assume that the Republicans are the party for them. But increasingly, this seems inconsistent to me. The Republicans are for war and capital punishment. That's not consistently pro-life. Conservatives balk and say that execution of those who are guilty is right and just. But that begs the question of who is guilty. Is another nation guilty because they have an opposing ideology to our own? Can we be absolutely certain that those we find guilty in a court of law are indeed guilty?

On the other hand, it is well known that the Democrats are the party pushing abortion on demand, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and the gay agenda. So clearly, one could not in good conscience vote for them.

John McCain has been trying to get into the White House for the last several years. He strikes me as a man willing to say or do anything to achieve his goal. He is plainly for embryonic stem cell research so he is not pro-life even from that standpoint. But he also has said he intends to continue with the program begun by President Bush. As for Iraq, this is inevitable as we now have a moral obligation to stay the course and attempt to clean up some of the mess we made. But what about other nations? What about the so called "war on terror" as a ruse for executing our own agenda in nations that we don't particularly like- such as Iran?

In addition, McCain says he will appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court. But how do we know he will. He also has a history (until recently campaigning for the conservative vote) of moving toward the moderate position, looking for opportunities to work hand in hand with Democrats on a number of issues. That in itself is not wrong. But it does highlight his tendency to change his position for political expediency. In short, how do we know he can be trusted?

So here is my dilemma. I cannot vote for the Democratic nominee regardless of who it is. I really don't feel that I have a better choice in John McCain. So what do I do? At this point, I don't intend to cast a vote for either person. I will most likely vote on other candidates (if I can find one) in other races and on other issues. I believe in taking responsibly our duty as American citizens to vote. But right now my vote is to not vote. Until I can find a candidate who can hold to a morally consistent position, I cannot give my vote to anyone. My abstinence is the exercise of my right to vote and to say I am not limited to the substandard choices presented to me. I demand excellence in my leadership. And I will hold out till I get it.

What do you think? I would really like to know. Because there is a part of me that is looking to be talked out of this position. And then again, there is a part of me that wants to talk everyone else into my position.