Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Catholic Defender: My Deliverer

As we close out the "Year of Faith", I am reminded that Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

We are moving into the Season of Advent after next week.  We will prepare for the coming of the Lord  into human history.

With his coming into the world he has become our deliverer who will save his people from bondage.

Consider the bondage that many have willingly fallen down into. It is interesting to note that when a Catholic leaves the Church, they are seen as "fallen" Catholics or non-practicing Catholics. Have you ever heard the statement, "Once a Catholic always a Catholic"? It is true that a person can never erase their Baptism, they can still renounce it.

Many times at Mass I will have to fight back tears for family members who have abandoned the Faith of the Apostles.

I've given my story before and some of you have read the following before:

"One particular dream had the greatest impact on me. After a major debate in the room where I took on a number of those attacking the Catholic Church, I went to bed troubled. I slept hard, but I dreamed that God's Church, the Catholic Church, was dead. I felt such despair, and sadness I began to cry. I felt that the Church was in ruins and that Christ was sheding tears for His Body, the Church. I never felt such anguish, I cried so much that I woke up out of my sleep totally wet from crying. My pillow, the bed, and the blankets were all wet. I sat up as it took me a couple of minutes to realize it was a dream. I recalled my Confirmation that took place in Blue Springs Mo on September 23, 1968 by Bishop Sullivan. I renewed my vows and told the Lord that I will be a soldier for Him. I will not betray Him and leave the Church even when people around me do. I will do my best to remain loyal and stand for Him. A promise that I have tried to keep since 1978".

I often run into people who have "fallen" away from their faith and wondering on their own. I recall the 21 year old lady who I met at Seton Hospital who had left the faith for radical feminism.

She had accepted the liberal system of abortion and rejected the King of kings who loves those they "choose" to kill.

I recall the lady I met at Wal-Mart who identified me because of my Alabama hat. She was a Kansas State fan and challenged me about the upcoming game between Alabama and Notre Dame. We talked about her apostasy from the Catholic Faith for more than an hour.

There was another lady I met at HEB, a chain grocery stores well known in Texas. We talked about her "Falling" away from the Catholic Faith out in the HEB parking lot.

As a Father, if one of my children were to "fall" away from the faith, how glorious it would be to know that someone around the world were able to reach them back for Christ and His Church. That is a motivating factor as Christ Himself world leave the 99 to find the 1 who has gone astray.

Jesus is our deliverer who calls us and leads us away from the bondage of sin.

Jesus is not simply just a system of rules and regulations, but it is an actual encounter with the Risen Lord, an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict XVI, in his first encyclical states, "We have come to believe in God's love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, that gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction."

Like the encounter that changed the life of the women caught in adultry, Catholics receive the same powerful impact through the Sacrament of Confession, the Ministry of reconcilation.

Each and every Mass is an encounter with the Risen Lord, to renew the Covenant through the power of His Name.

This is why for me this can be emotional because of loved ones who no longer go to Mass, when I see children it reminds me when my children were young.

Today at Mass, a Father carried his new born child, only two days old, to the altar of the Lord. That was me at one time! I took all my children to Mass from the time of their births until they left home.

In the end, I can only be accountable for myself, even though I am responsible for others. Ultimately, we all will be accountable and so it is our responsibility to let your light shine before others, "that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father".

This Christmas Season is a renewed opportunity to offer ourselves as a perpetual gift to the King of kings, to our Deliverer.

In this journey of Faith, may we continue to march forward doing his will.

My Deliverer is the Good Shephard:

"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me; you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name. Even though I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage. You set a table before me as my enemies watch; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflowes. Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come". (Psalms 23)

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