Friday, February 18, 2011

Is Christianity just Social Justice?

Many Catholics today believe that what God wants from Christians is to help the poor and and less fortunate. That that is the main call for Christians. The problem with that is that we don't need Jesus or even Christianity for that matter to help us. We just need Oprah or any 'good hearted' teacher or even the government to tells us and lead us and we can make the world a better place. They even evidence scripture and saints and to instruct us in the way.

If that is the case,  that Jesus came to show us and teach us only how to server the poor and  help the downtrodden then why did He not do it? There is no example in the New Testament where Jesus fed the poor or built a house for the poor or gave his coat to the poor or even money to them. He never even told His followers to do this! He did say blessed are the poor in spirit. But that is not those in poverty. In fact He even told Judas when he complained that expensive perfume was being wasted on Him and it could help the poor, Jesus rebuked and said the poor you will always have.

If that is all the gospel is calling us to lets go back in time before the modern era when there was no TV, telephone, cars etc.... which is 99.9% of man's history. Let's say you live in 'town' in the year 900 in what is now Spain and everyone is Catholic. Most people were agrarian, maybe less than 200 people in town and scattered around in nearby farms. there are no other town for 20 miles. Most people never ventured outside the area, which is the case for most people in history. How many 'poor' people did you come in contact with in that town? How about the hungry, the naked. How many prisoners do you think they came in to contact with in their town?, etc. Let's say there were10 poor people there struggling to survive.. If everyone just did a little there would be no one with any physical needs and all is well, now what? There are no more 'poor' people in town. Is my spiritual life over? Have I 'earned' heaven now and can sit back and eat, drink and be merry? Doesn't make sense if this is how people lived through much of human history and the Gospel only requires them to 'help the poor'?
I think modern catholics must be filled with guilt over the poverty in the world today and think and have to reduce Christianity to simply 'help' the poor and their will be peace on earth and good will toward men.
This is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ Jesus came to "heal the broken hearted" and "set captives free". These are the first words He spoke publicly about himself. He also said 'repent and believe in the gospel in one of his first sermons at the beginning of His ministry. He also said He came to be 'crucified'. For what? Sin. This is never a part of the modernist theologians or their followers. He came to free us from the bondage of sin and give us eternal life as children of God. This is the greatest 'poverty' in our world and always has been.
The social justice gospel didn't require the Son of God to die on the cross or even for the church and the sacraments to be instituted. We just need a telethon and a government program to give us heaven on earth.
It's a sad and terrible error in the social gospel. the only sin is not helping the poor or the not accepting the diversity of people and 'let people live' their own lives as they see fit.
Also the 'ones' preaching this are single priests, nuns, theologian etc. Who have no families to take care of or living to earn. They have everything  provided for them. They don't face near the difficulties married people face. It rather a good gig in today's world.  So they look out on the world and see how easy they have it and see the poor and those treated unjustly and pontificate to us that that is what we must all do. Indeed God is calling us all to do it!
 Married people already feed the poor and cloth the naked and heal the sick everyday, all day, towards our children who would die from starvation or sickness or neglect is we didn't tend to them and scrape by financially to do this. WE have nothing left at the end of the day, so according to the social gospel we are terrible Christians cause we are not saving the 'poor'. I think your reading of the gospel is eschewed and maybe guilt ridden. Yes, Jesus can set you free as well if you turn to Him. He

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pride comes before the Fall

Pride is something that is never preached about. All manner of sins of the flesh and greed and murder might get mentioned by a priest or minister is your lucky, but never pride.
I have witnessed in myself and many other devout Christians fall into greater sin because of pride. Many great ministries and works of God have been destroyed or lost their effectiveness because of this alone. Whether its from financial irregularities or sexual misconduct the root cause is pride. Even great healing ministries and works for the poor and religious and lay communities have crumbled or been destroyed because of the sin of pride. Pride that said We have the Truth. We are the Only ones teaching the Full Gospel. We have miracles occurring in our meetings. We are helping the most people. We are Holy people.  YOU are not as fruitful as we are. We are loved by all. We have the best music ministry in town. All this comes from pride and presumption. We lose site of the fact the ONLY by God's grace can we produce spiritual fruit. That comes from a life of prayer and examination and obedience to authority.
St. Ignatius required his religious to perform an examnen every day, even multiple times a day in order to root out sin which causes spiritual blindness. Few of us look for the pride in our lives. We are stealing God's glory by claiming we accomplished this or that for the kingdom. Or believing in our own righteousness  is because we have disciplined ourselves we think into praying regularly or performing some other spiritual exercise. We are the branches not the vine. If the branch is out off from the vine the branch dies. Jesus is the vine. We are only capable of sin without his grace.
The list of famous people and ministries in the past 30 years who have been destroyed because of this is unbelievable. Most were producing great fruit but lost their way blinded by their own self importance and accomplishments. They let go of the ONE who planted and nurtured the vine
Lay Charismatic communities, Religious communities, individual ministries Protestant and Catholic  are no more because of pride which opened the door for other sins, lust, greed, arrogance and the rest of the seven deadly sins. It's heart breaking and a scandal to the world.
We must examine ourselves in light of the gospel that we are redeemed and made holy only by the grace of God won at Calvary by the shedding of the blood of Jesus which opened the floodgates of grace for humanity.
The Pharisees were full of this kind of religion. They constantly pointed out everyones sin and believed they were the only ones keeping the complete Law and its commandments. Jesus had to repeated try to straighten them out, but I guess it took the destruction of the Temple  after Jesus' resurrection to open their eyes.
God help us not to wait that long.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's called the Altar

Sadly, many today don't recognize the Sacrifice of the Mass anymore. We hear and sing much  about the Table of the Lord or the feast. But that is not the primarily purpose of the Mass. It is to re-present the sacrifice on Calvary by Jesus for our sins.  That is why we have an Altar and a priesthood to offer the sacrifice of Jesus to the Father for our sins.
For me the most important words of the Mass are when the priest says in the Eucharistic prayer, "We offer you...." This is when Jesus is re-presented to the Father for our sins. We are at Calvary witnessing the sacrifice for our sins. This is where the victory for us is won. The vicory over sin and Satan and the door to Paradise is now opened.
I always laugh a bit when I hear Protestants tell their people to come up to the altar and recieve Jesus, and many have a table in their sanctuary. But their is no sacrifice offered at their service or priest present.
We as Catholics continue the sacrifice the Jews offered in the temple but with the Perfect Offering required for our sins, Jesus the Lamb of God.
Remember the Fatima prayer taught by the angel to the Children, '  I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences ...' And the Divine Mercy prayer, 'I offer you  the body and the blood, of our Lord Jesus...'
Maybe this is what God wants us to recall as well, namely The Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross for sin which takes place at every Mass.

Monday, January 3, 2011

True Christian Love

Today more than ever we need Our Blessed Mothers' help in renewing Her Sons Church. There are huge armies of enemies within and without. I don't know which are more powerful. The Church can not be renewed any longer with programs and bazaars. Only deep prayer and living a holy life can change the Church and the world.

I've been reading about the 1st and 2nd century Christians and have come to the conclusion that the majority of us who call ourselves Catholics or christian have a very low understanding of what kind of love God requires of us. St. Paul reminds us "while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." Who do you know who would die for sinners? Give their life for the liberal nun, pedophile priest, democratic house minority speaker, Hollywood porn producer? We are quick to condemn these people yet these are the people Jesus died for and asked us to love. "He sends rain on the just and the unjust".

I was thinking recently about those Amish who went to the funeral of the man who murdered some of their school children and told the family they forgave him. That is the love Christ calls us to as believers. 
Yet,  we can hardly love our family and friends much less our enemies, and we think we are good Christians if we do no commit mortal sin. This is so far from what it means to be a Christian. Most of us live at a kindergarten level of Christianity. These Amish were living as mature Christians no matter what their beliefs are about the tenants of faith.

Maybe this is why we don't go to confession anymore. We think we are pretty good Christians yet like the Churches in Revelations I think we are far from our first love.