My brother in law Tony helping the poor

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Time for Positive Changes in the Catholic Church

OK, I know a lot of people are going to cringe at what I am about to say but here it's time for positive and peaceful changes in our Catholic Church!  There it is.  Over the past several weeks we have been hearing gospel stories which involve Mary Magdalene.  Here is what we know about Mary in a brief synopsis.  First, she was a follower of Christ, she was one of only 3 people who stood at the foot of the cross during Jesus' crucifixion, she was the first person to arrive at the tomb on Easter Sunday, she was the first person whom Jesus appeared to after the resurrection, and she was commissioned to "go and tell" her brothers what she has seen after her encounter with the risen Christ.  

We can not over look her importance in the life of the church.  She was the first person chosen to bare witness to the resurrection and the first evangelist.  WOW.  It's amazing since you must also consider the position women held (or didn't hold) in society over 2000 years ago.  Jesus was sending a message.  He was telling them (and us) that women were not to be looked at as less than human beings.  In fact, there are MANY women in the New Testament that remarkably engaged in great conversations with Jesus, and ultimately great conversion.  Some of these vital stories and women were; Mary the Mother of Jesus, Martha, Mary, the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultry, and the woman who washed His feet with her hair.  In fact, these women were used as examples of obedience, loyalty, friendship, and conversion.  Many men (other than the apostles) were not as good examples of the above.  Take for instance, Pilot, Harod, the rich man who could not sell his material possessions.  I am not saying women are MORE important in the Bible, after all Jesus is a man, by they were not LESS important either.  

When we were kids, my oldest sister was notorious for telling on the other kids.  If she saw you do anything that my mom or dad would not be happy about she would most certainly tell on you!  In our church right now I see so many things that make me sad, so many articles and stories that cast my church in such a dark and negative light.  It makes me so sad and even angry.  I have to wonder, maybe it got this way because there were no big sisters to tell to mom and dad.  I have to believe that if women were present and respected in the church 30 - 40 years ago, there is no way these atrocities would have continued.  Where was the presence of a good women?  

Maybe now the church will not just give women "jobs" within the church but actually give them some "authority" as well.  Too many good and passionate women are looked at like agitators or problem makers.  The funny thing is, so was Jesus!  The Pharisees thought he taught "perverted" doctrine, but they misread Jesus' passion for a chance at positive change.  Let's not be modern day Pharisees and judge our sisters (and brothers) by our standards.  Let us try to see the women in our lives, and especially in our church, as leaders and "mothers" to our priests, helping them to stay focused on Christ and nudging them to stay on track for their own good, as I am sure my sister would have said it was, and even telling "mom and dad" when necessary.  Accountability is everything moving forward.  If we want to build a positive image for the Catholic Church moving forward, we must be held accountable to everyone, not just brother priests.  Look to your mother for guidance.  She will neither let you get away with anything, or let you get hurt!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

To Rise

He is risen!  Happy Easter Everyone, may you experience the joy and hope of a brand new day!  One of the best things about Easter is the time in which we celebrate it; at the beginning of Spring.  It is the perfect time to rise above the darkness of a long a dreary winter; it is the perfect time to reflect on where we are going, both as Christians and as humans.  Like spring, Easter is a time for new beginnings!  

For my readers who are not in Cleveland, you will be happy to know that we have been blessed this past week with some absolutely beautiful weather.  The temps have been in the 70's and 80's and Easter Sunday, although they are calling for a little rain shower, should be another glorious day.  But Easter is more than just a season, it is a challenge and a special calling for each of us.  What are we being called to do?  Rise!  How can a mortal body rise, you ask?  Simple, we rise above.  

Have you ever heard or used the phrase "take the higher road?"  This is what I'm talking about.  As Christians, we are asked to rise above many things, like pettiness, rudeness, jealousy, anger, the need to retaliate, the desire to pervert, selfishness, sadness, and temptation.  We have a perfect example in the resurrection of Christ on how to do this.  He shows us that when we take the higher road we have chosen to "rise" above these things.  

Let us take this opportunity to be the Christians we are called to be this Easter season and let us begin by taking His rising more seriously.  With God all things are possible, even rising ourselves...body and soul.  We are more than just flesh and blood we are spirit as well, and we have the ideal example of how to live in the spirit by encountering Jesus rising every day in our own lives.  We can be examples to others of doing what is right not necessarily what is popular.  When we are being challenged and we want to take the easy way out, let us take a moment to see the fork in the road and choose the road that will lead us closer to our own resurrection.  The goal here is to live in eternity with God and so we must decide how we will get there. 

So many of you have invested in those GPS systems for your car (I haven't yet but then again, where do I go?) For those of you who have them, don't you think it's great to have someone telling you what do to every step of the way so that you don't make a mistake and get off track and lost?  We have a spiritual GPS also, it's called the Bible.  Read it.  Commit it to memory so that when you are confronted with which road to travel you will be sure to take the high road, the road that leads to salvation, albeit, the road less traveled.  

Happy Easter to you and your families.  May the Lord guide you and bless you on your spiritual journey to "rise" above....