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.

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:

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.

40 Reasons for Coming Home: Reason # 13

Reason # 13: The Warning.  Jesus says quite plainly in the Gospel of John, “Amen, Amen I say to you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and Drink his blood, you have no life in you.” So the warning is clear enough: if we don’t receive Holy Communion each Sunday, we are starving ourselves spiritually and are dying, if not already dead, spiritually. I once quoted this text to a woman who was away from the Church and she said, “Oh, I have life in me.” “Well,” I said, “I’m just telling you what Jesus said, and he says you don’t.” 🙂 I wasn’t gonna back down. Sometimes we just have to stick to what scripture says!

And really, we ought to just listen to Jesus here and not get into arguments based on our own subjective self-evaluation. Besides, no one is a fair judge in his own case!

So here is a powerful reason to “come home” to the Eucharist.  Without Jesus in Holy Communion, you starve. Come on home now; you gotta eat! Don’t block your blessings! An old Gospel song that we sometimes sing says, “Come over here, where the table is spread, and the feast of the Lord is goin’ on!” Enjoy this video of the old Gospel song in a Catholic Context.

40 Reasons for Coming Home: Reason # 12

Reason # 12: The Promise. The Lord Jesus makes some pretty powerful promises to those who faithfully and fruitfully receive his Body and Blood in Holy Communion: I am the bread of life, who ever comes to me will never hunger…I am the living bread that comes down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread I will give is my flesh for the life of the world…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day…whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him…the one who feeds on me will have life because of me…Whoever eats this bread will live forever. (John 6:35ff).

 

So here is a central reason to come home: Holy Communion is not some empty ritual; it is a partaking of the living Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. Many people today have lost touch with the power of the Eucharist. Sadly, many people put more faith in Tylenol than in the Eucharist, since when they take Tylenol they expect something to happen. But they expect little or nothing from Holy Communion. But look at the promises of Jesus! He promises radical transformation and new life to those who receive with faith. Take Jesus at his word!

 

Try not to understand the Eucharistic promises in a magical way. Sacraments, in order to be fruitful, require that we receive them with faith and that we be open to their full effects. It is an absolute truth that everyone who receives Holy Communion truly receives the Body and Blood of Christ. But not everyone receives it as fruitfully. Picture two people at an Art Museum. One person is a well-trained artist who appreciates art history; knows color, shadow, and techniques; knows the personal styles and stories of artists and the subjects they paint. The other person has no such training, or even an appreciation for art. Now both of them look at the same work of art, say a Rembrandt, but the one appreciates it richly while the other is downright bored. This is how it can be with the Sacraments. The Lord makes wonderful promises to us if we receive the Eucharist, but what we bring to each Holy Communion is also important. Beg the Lord to help you grow in appreciation for his greatest gift—the gift of his very self in Holy Communion. If you do, I promise you, Jesus will bring forth in you new life and powerful transformation that will usher you right into eternal life. It is Jesus who promises, and Jesus always keeps his promises. Reason # 12  to come home is the promises of Jesus in the Eucharist. He promises his True Presence and amazing transformation to those who receive it with faith.

The following video explores the true presence and recent miracles that confirm Jesus’ promise in the Eucharist. I think the video is very balanced and scientific in its exploration of these miracles.

Diversity on Display – The Extraordinary Form of the Latin Mass

From a reader comes this Question:

Some churches in the Archdiocese, including the Cathedral, offer a Latin Mass. Some have a “traditional” Latin Mass. Someone told me they’re different, but couldn’t say how. Can you explain it?

What’s up with confessing to a priest?

Written by Laura Kramer

We recently received the question: Why do Catholics need to confess to priests rather than to God?

 

Hm last time I check, we did need to confess to God.

 

In fact, within the first 5 minutes of Mass on Sunday the whole congregation recites together The Penitential Rite which goes like this:

 

I confess to almighty God,

and to you, my brothers and sisters,

that I have sinned through my own fault,

in my thoughts and in my words,

in what I have done,

and in what I have failed to do;

and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,

all the angels and saints,

and you, my brothers and sisters,

to pray for me to the Lord our God.

 

Again, during the Sacrament of Confession after I have admitted my sins I say the Act of Contrition:

 

O my God,

I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,

and I detest all my sins,

because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell;

but most of all because they offend Thee, my God,

Who are all good and deserving of all my love.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace,

to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.

Amen.

 

Yes we do confess to God.

 

Now let’s talk about the role of the priest. Some make the mistake of thinking that the priest forgives sins, but a few quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) should clarify that:

 

Only God forgives sins. Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, “The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” and exercises this divine power: “Your sins are forgiven.” Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name. (CCC #1441)

 

In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ’s solemn words to Simon Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (CCC #1444)

 

When he celebrates the sacrament of Penance, the priest is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep, of the Good Samaritan who binds up wounds, of the Father who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return, and of the just and impartial judge whose judgment is both just and merciful. The priest is the sign and the instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner. (CCC #1465)

 

The priest is truly instrumental in bring us back into communion with God and the Church.

 

Now sometimes when people ask this questions about confessing to a priest, I wonder what’s beneath the surface. (Yeah I was a psychology major…) Inherent in the question “Why confess to a priest?” there seems to be an aversion to priests as if to say “Why waste my breath?” What is our attitude toward priests? Are priests not our brothers? Our fathers? Our elders? Our mentors? Our pastors? Are they not here to pray for, support, guide, and teach us?

 

What’s so strange about opening up to another person, trusting him, and receiving support and prayer from him? I don’t think it’s strange at all when you think about it on a human level. Actually I think trust, support, and prayer as we strive to amend our lives is something we could all use a lot more of!

 

Haven’t been to confession in a while? Contact one of the priests on this blog! With trust, support, and prayer they will guide you through the Sacrament of Confession and bring you back into a life of grace in God’s merciful love!