40 Reasons for Coming Home – Reason # 20 – The Final Wish of a Dying Friend

Reason # 20 – The Final Wish of a Dying Friend – Consider the following scenario. You are crossing the street with a friend and suddenly as if out of nowhere a large truck is bearing down on you both. Your friend sees it coming and pushes you out of the way but takes the full force of the hit himself. Coming to your senses you run to your friend who lies dying in the road. In grief you lament his imminent death and thank him for saving your life. You say, “What can I ever do to thank you for what you have done?!”  And he says, with his dying breath, “Please go to Church and remember me at the altar every Sunday.”  ….Would you do it? …..Of course you would! This is the final wish of a dying friend who saved your life. 

Well, isn’t this what Jesus did? Just before he died for us he left us a last request: “Do this in remembrance of Me.” Do what? you might say. Here is Jesus request in context:  The setting is the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples on the last evening before he died. As he sat at table with them he said,  “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover  with you before I suffer…” Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.  So here is what we are to do in memory of Him: celebrate the Holy Mass, receive Holy Communion! It seems so little and yet so many have drifted away from this last request. It must have been important to Jesus since it was his final request.

So here is a powerful reason to come home, to fulfill the final wish of a dying friend, a dying Savior and Lord who saved your life, who died in your place: “Do this in memory of me.”  The Book of Psalms also says it so well: “What return (what thanks) can I ever give the Lord for all the good he has done for me?! The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call on the name of the Lord.” (Ps 116:13) What a beautiful line to remember as you see the priest lift up the Chalice at every mass and remember the final wish of a dying friend.

Vocations – that tug in your heart?

The following video is one of the more intriguing vocation videos I have seen. And it is from an interesting source. The video also illustrates well the general theme of this blog that the longings we experience are ultimately about God, whatever our vocation. Sister calls her longing that “tug in her heart.”

Stem Cell Research – the Catholic Teaching

Because of the hype surrounding Stem Cell Research, Catholic teaching on this matter is often misunderstood and misrepresented. The basic facts on Catholic teaching are these:

  1. The Catholic Church does not oppose all stem cell research. We oppose embryonic stem cell research but we support adult stem cell research.
  2. We oppose embryonic stem cell research because it involves the killing of a human being. Some may say it is only an embryo but,  raise your hand if YOU started out as an embryo. The truth is that human life proceeds in stages from conception to natural death. No one of these stages is more or less sacred than another. At the moment of conception a unique human person is created. Everything we will physically ever be is present at the moment of conception. The truth is that every human person goes through stages. I spent time in my mother’s womb. When I was in my 20s I was young , tan and trim, lately I am more old, white and fat. I currently am 47, balding, graying, and carrying a bit more weight than I should. Before you know it I’ll be getting my AARP invitation. Before I least expect I will become a senior citizen and head into  the autumn of my life. Every stage is sacred. We can’t just say, “Well,  certain stages of human development are not deserving of our respect.
  3. Adult stem cell research is a promising field and should be encouraged. In it we use our own stem cells which is safer and means that someone else doesn’t have to die to improve my life. Many cures already exist that have come from adult stem cell research.
  4. Embryonic stem cell research has produced no cures. The body tissue produced through this procedure is unstable and tends to produce tumors. Further, and most importantly, another human being has to die so that I can possibly be cured.

Well, enough from me. I encourage you view the following videos when you have time. They set forth the basic Catholic teaching that we share with many other Christian denominations and others in the Scientific field.

This first video is six minutes in length and explains the opposition to embryonic stem cell research:

This second video (12 minutes in length) is produced by the Michigan Catholic Conference and expands on the first video

40 Reasons to Come Home – Reason # 18 – The Good Priests

Reason # 18 – The Good Priests. Much has been written lately about the sins of some priests who horribly committed sexual abuse. May God bless those who were victims of such priests. But the vast majority of priests are good, holy and dedicated men who given themselves selflessly to God and the service of his people. I can testify to many good priests who helped me along the way.  The priests who serve us in the Church are not perfect men but most all of them love God and his people. They work long hours and are present at some of the most difficult and joyful moments of our lives. Most of them are quiet servants, answering late night phone calls, celebrating early masses, sitting through long meetings and patiently listening to our concerns, struggles, joys and hopes, questions, and doubts. They celebrate the Sacraments with devotion, both for God and their people. And truth be told most Catholics love their priests, pray for them, respect them  and value their service.

So here is a reason to come home: many good priests are waiting to serve you and celebrate the significant moments of your life. Many good priests await your return.

Here is a beautiful Video that celebrates the ministry priests among us:

Wondering About Wrath

Today’s Gospel read at Catholic Masses (where the “A” readings were not used) was about Jesus cleaning the Temple. Clearly in this passage Jesus manifests anger. Why is Jesus angry? Why is he throwing tables over and driving people out? Is this anger a sin? But Jesus never sinned! So how can we understand his anger? In fact, there are a lot of verses all through the Bible that speak of God’s wrath, or anger. How can we understand it and square it with his mercy and patience?

I preached a sermon on these topics today here at my Parish, Holy Comforter – St. Cyprian.  You can get it here: The Whys and Wherefores of Wrath

A more complete listing of my sermons is here: http://frpope.com/audio/recordings.php

40 Reasons to Come Home – Reason # 17 – Jesus is Here Right Now

Reason # 17- Jesus is Here Right Now. If I were to credibly announce to the Washington DC area that Jesus Christ was going to come down from heaven and appear in my Parish Church of Holy Comforter – St. Cyprian, the place would be packed! Media Satellite trucks would line the block. Crowds in the hundreds of thousands might well gather; all to see Jesus. But the truth is, Jesus IS here, right now. He presides as High Priest at every liturgy we celebrate. He remains present in our tabernacle. He’s here! He preaches the sermon, stands at our altar and feeds us with his Body and Blood.

 The Choir in my Church often sings the Gospel song “Jesus Is Here Right Now.”  while we receive Holy Communion. Are you looking for Jesus? Here’s here, right now! A great reason to come home.

Here are two powerful videos that celebrate the True Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament: “God in the Streets of New York.”  Behold how Jesus walks the streets of New York and see the remarkable reactions of many people in the video. Some glance shyly, others reash out to touch, others cry out from a distance, one man throws open his window and cries “Glory.” The second video is actually the same footage, but a musical version, a remix or sorts.

Custody of the Eyes and Ears

One of the difficulties of living in the modern world is that we can easily come under the influence of philosophies and errors that can mislead us. There are also many sinful influences that can corrupt our moral life. There is a traditional concept in the moral life known as “Custody of the Eyes” wherein a person is very careful as to what he allows himself to see. (cf Job 31:1; Mat 5:28; Psalm 119:37, etc.) And these days, in a world in which sound has a very profound influence, we also need to be very careful as to what we allow ourselves to hear.  We must be careful to avoid evil, erroneous, and tempting influences. To put it more positively, we must actively seek constructive and truthful influence. We do this by keeping careful company, attending to the daily reading of Scripture and the study of the faith, and intentionally exposing ourselves to what is good, true, and beautiful.

Paradoxically, the modern world with all its problematic influences also provides us with many opportunities to craft our world and its influences. There are many options today insofar as how we choose to get our information and what we will allow to influence us. In the past we were stuck with just three networks and a few newspapers and magazines. Now there are endless possibilities available through the Internet, cable TV, and individual devices such as iPods.

I seldom watch television anymore. When I do, it is carefully selected: usually DVD-based viewing. I spend alot of time with instructive and helpful websites and blogs to get my information. I also spend a lot of time walking and driving with my iPod loaded “Catholic.”

There are many wonderful podcasts out there today that can both entertain, edify, and instruct you in the faith and in wholesome matters. Why don’t we start sharing what some of those sites and podcasts are so that we can help each other in the “custody” of our eyes and ears?

Let’s be clear, the sites and podcast you suggest should be orthodox, edifying, and instructive in the true faith. Let me get started by suggesting a few podcasts and sites I find helpful. Use the comments section to make your own suggestions.

EWTN has some great podcasts of its shows here: EWTN PODCASTS. I especially like the “Open-Line” call-in shows during which listeners to EWTN Radio call with questions about the faith.

EWTN and Catholic Answers also offer a huge number of talks, debates, and classes as mp3 downloads here: Catholic Talks and Teaching

I Podcast my own sermons, talks, and Bible Studies here: Sermons by Msgr. Pope

Lots of varied Catholic podcasts and other media formats are available here: SQPN

Patrick Madrid, a Catholic teacher and apologist, has a lot of material (some free, some for purchase) available here: Patrick Madrid

John Martignoni,, another Catholic teacher and apologist, offers a lot of free mp3 downloads here: Bible Christian Society

A 12-part Series by Scott Hahn on Mary is here: Hail Holy Queen

I know there are countless others but that’s a start. Please suggest others.

So here it is. Custody of the eyes and ears does not mean just shuttering your world and living with your head in the sand. It means directing your gaze in the proper direction and listening to what really helps. Load your iPod and get started. Before you know it, your mind and heart will begin to change, and little by little, you will acquire the mind and heart of Christ. Load those iPods with something Catholic and start walking (it’s a great way to lose weight too)!

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