The Gospel of Pick and Choose

So there I was, in a friendly but heated discussion of “The Truth” with a non-denominational fundamentalist, who I’ll call Bill (not his real name). We had talked on the phone before and it always seemed to end because it got too late and we both had to work in the morning.

The topic was on the Catholic’s belief in the Real Presence. I encouraged him to look closer at John 6 and how Jesus explained that He is the life-giving bread. We, as Catholics, do believe that we receive Him into our bodies when we take the bread and the wine into our mouths. It’s the source and summit of our faith…that we “eat His flesh and drink His blood”. My fundamentalist friend argued that Jesus was only referring to the bread as a symbol of His body and the wine as a symbol of His blood….not the actual thing. He did not believe in the real presence. As much as I could without getting angry, I restated that Jesus’ own disciples left Him because this teaching was too hard to take. “They took Him literally 2000 years ago, why don’t you take Him literally today?” I asked. Realizing that this was too direct and not willing to go in for a kill shot, I interjected an anecdote by saying to Bill that he probably would have been one of the ones to leave Jesus because of the difficult teaching. His response was a definite “maybe, maybe not.”  I laughed to ease his discomfort with my comment.

The conversation then turned to salvation and whether faith is all that is needed or if works played any role in us getting to heaven.  Of course, I claimed that faith without works is dead and that faith is our starting point. I also admitted that in no way can we work our way into heaven….it has to be “Both/And” not “Either/Or”. He argued that God so loved the world that sent His only Son and whosoever believes in Him will never die. So, he claimed, ALL we need to have is faith and believe that Jesus was the savior and we will be in heaven when we die, guaranteed. Then he asked me a very good question…”Why did Jesus tell the good thief on the cross next to Him that he would be with Him in paradise?” The thief was a sinner his whole life….how come he gets to go to heaven after a life of sin?  Bill answered his own question with, “Because he simply believed that Jesus was the savior.” I said, “Amen! His life began at his physical death, because he was baptized by intention and the thief repented right there on his cross. What a merciful God we have!”

I countered with another question, “Why do you choose to believe in Jesus when He said to the thief that he would be with Him in Heaven but you choose not to believe in Jesus when said He is the Bread of life and whoever eats My flesh shall have everlasting life?” I mean, seriously…. I find this to be quite ironic and quite frustrating. The fundamentalists claim that the bible is all they need to believe in when it comes to matter of faith and morals (Sola Scriptura), but yet they pick and choose what they wish to believe.

He didn’t answer my question. It got too late. We’ll talk again, hopefully.

P.S.  Just remember….We are not Catholic to FEEL good…we are Catholic to BE good. Too many false religions and sects out there have manipulated people to believe that they need to have a good time and wear Hawiian shirts at their service.  Being Catholic is not easy. But we already know that. We know that we will have to enter through the narrow gate for wide is the path and easy is the way that leads to destruction. Please stay Catholic and please pray your Rosary. God Bless You.

Missing the mark

He said it…so it must be true. God said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” God said to all of us, “use the powers of creation that I have given you and have children.” The interpretation is just as it says, procreate, have babies. And we all know how that is done. Don’t be ashamed…God told us it was okay to do that. However, it needs to be interpreted  in the right context. God meant for us to be married and consummate our marriages with the process of having children. Now I know there are those who choose not to have children…I don’t think God meant that everyone MUST have children. But if children are brought into this world, God said that there must be some organization about it. Some way to keep track of the little ones and not just populate the world haphazardly. He wants parents to be married. He created the sacrament of marriage. He did not say to everyone, “just have casual sexual encounters with whoever you like and make babies because I have shared the creation power with you.”  No, He did not say that.

If you, by chance, have brought a child into this world without being married, you have missed the mark (sin). If a man forces himself upon a woman (rape)and a child results, that man is definitely has missed the mark. If you had become pregnant and were unmarried and aborted that baby, you have most definitely missed the mark. These ways of procreation are OUTSIDE the ways of the Catholic Church. Hey, there are rules to follow,  even in dodge ball.

God has provided us with guidelines and He wants us to follow them. God has most definitely made the rules. I use this above analogy to introduce my main idea and it is a difficult one. This main idea is the fact there are millions of Christians all over the world who devoutly worship God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, The Blessed Trinity. I’ve often wondered how does one Christian tell another Christian they are  “missing the mark”? They do worship Jesus…But they do it OUTSIDE of the Catholic Church. They are our brothers in Christ, but they are missing the mark.

God has already given us everything we need. Jesus came to earth and died for us. He created a church by appointing teachers to carry on this church in His absence. He created a hierarchy of church leaders beginning with Peter and the popes to follow. He assumed His Blessed Mother into Heaven to be with Him and to intercede on our behalf. He does not need our input. He does not need us to change anything. He does not need us to agree with Him. He does not ask our advice. Beginning in the 16 century, 1500 years after Christ’s crucifixion….Luther began to tell God He was wrong. He began to give God the new rules. He left the Catholic Church and created the Lutheran Church and started the Protestant Reformation. Today, there are millions of people who reject the church that Jesus created. And why? Because they want to give God their input and their ideas and tell God, “Hey You are wrong”. They want to change things. They disagree with church teachings. They don’t believe in the Catholic Church.

God instituted the sacrament of marriage to define how we should “be fruitful and multiply”. Likewise, He designed the Catholic Church to define how we should worship Him.

He doesn’t want it any other way…He did it right the first time and does not need any human being to decide what is right or wrong. He makes the rules.

True or False….I really want answers.

A recent survey from Sept 2010 revealed that most Catholics don’t know much about their faith. It was also not so favorable for protestants with Jews, Mormons and atheist/agnostics outperforming us.

So here are a few questions to ponder and if the spirit moves you, I’d like to hear you answers.

1. Do you think that  blessed Mother Mary had other children besides Jesus?

2. Do you think Peter was the first pope?

3. Do you think missing church on Sunday is a sin?

4. Do you think abortion should be legal?

5. Do you think confessing your sins to a priest in the sacrament of reconciliation is necessary to get us to heaven?

6. Do you believe that the wafer of bread we receive at mass really is the Body of Christ?

7. Do you believe the wafer of bread we receive at mass is a not really the body of Christ, but a symbol of Christ?

8. Do you believe the Pope Benedict XVI is the present successor to Peter and is the leader of the Catholic Church?

9. Do you believe it is okay that we pray to Mary and the Saints for intercession as well as pray directly to Jesus (God)?

10. Do you believe that Mary was the Mother of God?

Some of you may find these questions very easy if you know the teachings of the church. But some may not know the church’s teachings and are not sure of the answers to my questions. This concerns me because there are millions of Catholics out there who don’t care to know the teachings of Our Church, as that survey pointed out. I think many “unknowing” Catholics can be duped into leaving the church by other denominations because they may find the “Church of the Hawaiian shirts” is a lot much more casual to attend. Or that the “Assembly of Rock Music Church” is much more fun than the Catholic mass.

Believe me, there are folks out there looking for easy targets…those who don’t know much about Our Faith…they approach you, ask you a few questions, and basically corner you into seeing things their way. If you are not a strong believer, you are at risk to be a “fallen-away-Catholic”.

There is a documentary film out called “Catholicism: Crisis of Faith“. It’s almost an hour long and its done by a fellow named James McCarthy. Through deceptive editing and misrepresentation, he successfully has managed to create a film that, if taken seriously, could lead a lot of unknowing Catholics away from the church. He really paints a negative picture of the Catholic church.  In one segment, he interviews Catholics in New York, outside of St. Patricks Cathedral. He asks them how they think they can get to heaven. The answers are surprising and really make the Catholic church look silly.  I encourage all Catholics to learn about what it means to be a Catholic. I don’t think anyone should see this film unless you are strongly grounded in your faith…it’s very deceiving.

Mr. McCarthy also wrote a book called “The Gospel According to Rome“. Again, this book is full of misrepresented and basically, false information in attempt to lead Catholics away fro the church. I should add that Mr. McCarthy was once Catholic but has since, fallen away himself. So why am I mentioning a very anti-Catholic book and film? I don’t want to promote an “Us against Them” fight here. But I do know that there are people out there who are not only “non-Catholic” but very “anti-Catholic”…as is Mr. McCarthy. And they are willing and very able to make the Catholic Church seem like it’s the church of the devil. I am serious….they believe we are all going to hell and will try to convince you that by joining their church, they can save you. It’s up to us to to empower ourselves with the knowledge and the history and the beauty that the Catholic Church has for us and not fall prey to the nonsense. What other church can say that Jesus, Himself, created it?  And it was started in the year 33! It’s true that there was a schism of the Eastern Orthodox church in 1054, but it wasn’t until Martin Luther began his reformation in 1517 that “another” church appeared. So for about 1500 years after the death of Christ, all Christians were Catholics or Orthodox.That says something about our faith…we have a great history behind us. We simply need to care enough to learn how right we are to be Catholic.

“On this Rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”

By the way, my answers are:…..2.yes…..3.yes… way!….5.yes….6.yes…     8.yes…..9.yes…….10.yes.


Rainbow Afro dude

I haven’t seen him recently, but I remember there was always a guy in the stands of a televised football game or a baseball game who wore a rainbow afro wig and would hold up a sign the read “John3:16″. Guaranteed, he’d be at every televised sporting event, in a place in the stands where you could easily see him. I think I last saw him in the endzone seats of a football game in the stands directly between the goal posts, so for every field goal or extra point, you’d get a dose of “John 3:16″. He was sort of an icon, not famous, but identifiable. I wonder if it was always the same guy…it could’ve been more than one dude, but I don’t know.

Well, what was this guy trying say, holding this John 3:16 sign? What does John 3:16 say?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that all who believe in Him may not die but have eternal life. ”

As a good Catholic, I say Amen!

But Is that ALL I need to do? Believe in Jesus, and I will have eternal life? My honest answer is,

“BOY, I HOPE SO!” Because I do believe in Jesus…and I’m headed to the promised land, no doubt about it!  This rainbow-wigged dude in the stands has been telling us all for years to simply believe in Jesus and we will get to heaven….right there in the stands at the football game.

I have to admit something…. when I actually did see him holding up his sign on TV,  I referred to him as that “Jesus freak in the stands with the rainbow afro”.I have now come to appreciate his simple gesture and I now understand what he was doing. I don’t use the term “Jesus freak” anymore.

“Sola Fide” is a doctrine that refers to obtaining salvation by “Faith alone”. Many non-Catholic christians subscribe to this doctrine. John 3:16 epitomizes and basically defines the doctrine. So by having faith in Jesus and believing in Jesus, these christians believe they are saved and are going to heaven, they are guaranteed salvation. Now I’m not writing this to say they are wrong…(I’ve already said I hope they are right, because then, getting to heaven would be so easy!)…but I am writing this to say that they are only partially right, according to the teaching of the Catholic church.  It’s very simple for me to see that this doctrine leaves out alot of things, like umm, God’s judgement for one….and, umm, lack of sanctifying grace, for another.

And my goodness, just read a little further into John 3 to verse 20-21….”Anyone who does evil things hates the light (Jesus), because he does not want his evil deeds to be shown up. But whoever does what is true comes to the light (Jesus) in order that the light may show that what he did was in obedience to God.” It says right here, that what we DO, (not only what we believe),has some bearing on whether we get to “the Light”.

Belief in Jesus is required for salvation, no doubt. But that is just the beginning. We need to do something with the free gift that God gave us, His son dying on the cross to absorb all our sins for all eternity. I thank Jesus everyday for what He did for me.

No, we cannot earn our way to heaven. No, we cannot buy a “stairway to heaven”. Nothing we do here on earth can get us to heaven. But it certainly can prevent us from getting there. Jesus opened the gates for us by dying for us. We are invited in to heaven, God wants us in heaven…but nothing unclean can enter heaven. For this, we have confession…but that’s another blog. We are so loved by God that He sacrificed His son, His being, for the sake of our salvation. But our life on earth is a test to see how we respond to this free gift…what will we do with it?

Here’s an analogy:  It’s as if you had a very rich uncle who died and left you $10 million dollars. He deposited it in a very exclusive bank. It’s your money. The account has your name on it. But the executors of the will did not tell you the name of the bank, or where it is. It could be in any city, in any state/territory, or in any country. Now you’ve got to do some leg work, some research, and traveling (works) to obtain this free gift. Yeah, I know it’s pretty weak, but you get the idea.

Likewise, God has given us a free gift, but we are called DO some things…to obey the commandments, to get baptised, to forgive, to bear good fruit(good works), to not judge others, to love your neighbor, to eat His body and drink His blood,  and to have faith. Believe it or not, Having faith in Christ IS DOING SOMETHING! Its a good work! But, as the bible says, faith without works, is dead.

So, as I scan the stands of each football game I watch on TV, I still always look for rainbow afro guy with his “John 3:16″ sign. I miss him. I haven’t seen him in years….but I still look for him. Maybe he converted to Catholism.

Hey, it could happen.


The Hand of God, (“H.O.G.” for short)

True story, (a little slice of my life): In 1990, I was working as a bouncer in New York City. Okay, I admit it, I was an out of work actor, chasing the “dream”. I was young and invincible…nothing could touch me. Or so I thought.

Rent money was hard to come by when you’re trying to make it in acting and your only only income was the cash you could make bouncing at a nightclub a few days a week. One night, while working at the Club, there was a fight. Things didn’t get get too out of hand but there was glass broken, yelling, screaming, and punches were thrown…I was nailed in the jaw with a quick jab. After the initial shock and mild pain and being the tough guy-bouncer that I was, I retaliated with a round house right straight to his mouth. He went down, dazed, and didn’t get up for a while. Feeling like I “took care of that problem”, I went back to see if any of my partners needed help or if anyone else was causing trouble. The coat-check girl asked if I was alright because she noticed that my hand was bleeding. I looked down and saw that I had cut my right index finger wide open on his tooth when I punched my foe. To make matters worse, there looked to be a severed tendon sticking out of the wound. It was gross!  Funny how it didn’t hurt at all…maybe because all of  the adrenaline. Well, when things cooled down, I got myself to the nearest hospital, which happened to Cabrini Medical Center. (Cool, a Catholic Hospital!) I was treated in the ER. Given antibiotics, but to my surprise, no stitches. I learned from the doctor that bite wounds get infected and closing them with stitches would only lock in the infection. Well, the wound DID get infected. Two days after the incident, I noticed red streaks up my hand and arm, and my hand was warm. I spent a week in that same hospital getting IV antibiotics. While I was there, the surgical staff did rounds every day to check on my progress. I learned that there was a Doctor conducting the rounds, and there were these other young folks who were not doctors. They were PA’s…Physician Assistants. I had never heard of that. What IS a Pysician Assistant? I asked about it…and I learned that PA’s are not doctors, but function under the supervision of doctors and provide excellent care to patients as an extension of the doctor. PA’s write prescriptions, see patients in the office, and can repair lacerations or assist in surgery. I obtained some information about how I could apply to the PA school.

Fast forward…..

Graduating from PA school took two grueling years. I was so happy when it was over and so happy that I had become a PA. There was no shortage of jobs in New York. I began working right away and I must say, at a very nice salary to start. A far cry from the struggles of an out-of-work-actor bouncer.

The H.O.G touched me…in fact, it punched me. God, in His way, (because it’s ALL His way), was telling me what to do with my life…”become a Physician Assistant!” I heard Him loud and clear.

Like I said, this incident occurred over twenty years ago (at the time of this writing). But  for 16 or 17 of those years, I did not acknowledge that it was the H.O.G.   I couldn’t.   I wasn’t there yet. I had not yet committed my life to Jesus. But I am there now. And I feel SO blessed.

Today, I work as a PA in Cardiac Surgery. I love my job. I love the excitement of heart surgery, although it can be very difficult at times.  I don’t work in a Catholic hospital but  the Bishop of the diocese has commisioned a priest to our hospital to say mass everyday, usually at 11:30am in our chapel. How wonderful it is to be able to attend mass everyday at work, (if I’m not so busy, that is)!

I hope the Hand Of God touches you in a beautiful way…it may not be so beautiful in the beginning but it turns out to be awesome in the end.

PS. A little credit goes to Dr. Robo for the term “H.O.G.”

The Power of Mary

Today is Oct 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Established in 1573 by Pope St Pius V as a way to thank God for the victory over the Turks at Lepanto. If you don’t know  the story of Lepanto, I urge you to read about it. It is a very exciting story to say the least. Christian rulers prayed the rosary and won victory. How great is that? I find myself in awe of the power of the Rosary of Our Blessed Mother.

We CAN pray to Mary. Mary leads us closer to Jesus. We can say “Hail Mary”…we can say “Hail Holy Queen”. We don’t worship Mary, we venerate her as our spiritual mother. Praying to Mary takes nothing away from the worship we give to Jesus, who is our spiritual brother. As he was dying on the cross, Jesus gave his mother to the care of John the Apostle. I have heard it said that John, the apostle whom Jesus loved, represents the church. So, in a sense, Jesus gave his mother to us. 

The rosary, although consisting of 53 Hail Mary’s, and is considered a crown of roses for Our Lady, is a meditation on the life of Jesus. The mysteries, (Glorious, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Joyful) encompass Jesus’ life. So we are honoring Jesus with a crown of roses for his mother. As Catholics, we must hold Mary in the highest esteem. She is powerful. She will intervene for us to her Son…and being a good son, Jesus will do what his mother asks.

If you know anything about Mary’s apparitions at Fatima, you know that she asked us to pray a daily rosary for world peace. I must honestly say that I probably went 45 years without praying a rosary. However, in the past four to five years, I have tried to make up for lost time by praying it daily. Oh, I’ve missed some days for sure, but not a day goes by that I don’t at least say a few Hail Mary’s.

Mary wants you to pray the rosary everyday and  I would like to try to convince you to pray the rosary everyday. I could say that you will experience miracles by praying the rosary. But that would be like asking you to forward an email to 12 friends and great things will happen to you. I can’t stand those emails…and most of them have a beautiful “religious” message, so you feel guilty if you don’t forward.

There are no guarantees. But I can tell you that since I’ve been praying the rosary, there has been more happiness in my life. I’m in love with my wife and I have 3 beautiful daughters whom I adore (in a worldly way). My job is secure. I am so thankful for so many things!

I view the rosary as a weapon. It is a weapon against evil. And it is seriously effective! It has changed my life….not that it was terrible before, but that it is so good now!

Please, if you don’t have a rosary, go buy one. If you do own one, get it out from the bottom of your junk drawer.Then go straight to the nearest church and have it blessed. Getting it blessed a second time, if it already was, will not cancel out the first blessing – ( just a little humor). Educate yourself on the mysteries. If you don’t already know it, learn the “Hail Holy Queen” prayer, which occurs at the end of the rosary. Dedicate yourself to this most Holy of sacramentals we have in our arsenal against Satan. Make time for it. Teach your kids how to pray it. I guarantee that you will receive many graces from God. Let’s not be embarrassed to pass on this most beautiful prayer. It takes about 17- 20 minutes start to finish.

It was God who put “enmity” between the serpent’s seed and the woman’s seed. With the rosary,satan may try to strike at your heel but you will be able to crush his head….with the help of Mary….through the power of Jesus…… in the rosary!

Have you heard what has happened in Poland?

I am so amazed and ecstatic over, what I believe, is a magnificent miracle of the Eucharist which has occurred in Poland in 2008.

Here’s what happened…somehow, during a mass in Poland, a consecrated communion wafer (the body of Christ) was mishandled and dropped on the floor. The host was picked up and disposed of properly by allowing it to dissolve in water. However, it did not dissolve. After some time went by, the communion wafer developed a reddish-brown spot on it. So, of course, the authorities at the church investigated, to find out what this dark spot was on an otherwise normal appearing host. The investigation revealed that within the red-brown spot were human muscle cells, specifically, heart muscle cells. These findings have been confirmed by more than one medical expert, which is why this news story has resurfaced now, 3 years later. I get chills even writing this!

I am floored with amazement! Our Lord is communicating with us in a physical way! You can call me gullible but I believe this is a great miracle of our lifetime. He is showing us that He meant what He said, that the Bread of Life really IS His body. I am so happy that I can be a faithful witness to this wonderful supernatural occurance…it just boggles my mind how some folks refuse to believe  what Jesus taught in John 6:55 (and following). I am so happy to be Catholic! I hope you are too….’cause it’s the best thing to be!

“For those who believe, no proof is needed. For those who don’t believe, no proof is enough.” (Unsure of the author of this quote)

Sola Scriptura

“Sola scriptura” is a Latin term means “Bible Only” or “Bible alone”. It’s a practice of many non-catholics who claim they need ONLY the bible when it comes to matters of faith. Nothing else matters. I’ve heard a fundamentalist say, “If its not in the bible, it’s not God’s word…and I don’t need to worry about it”. So all he needs to do is read his bible and he’s all set? I’m not so sure about that.  Well, I asked him politely, what if someone cannot read? Or what if someone was so poor that they couldn’t afford to own a bible? Do they not get to heaven because of these hardships? That wouldn’t be fair. Then I get into some history. I informed him that there was a very long period of time when the bible was not  written. There was NO bible. In my reading, I’ve learned  that it was about 400 years after Christ was crucified that the bible was actually put together. And at that time, no one owned one. It wasn’t in the book form that we have today, it was on long scrolls of very fragile papyrus. And each bible had to be hand written which took years. In later years, sheep skin was used as well and it took the sacrificing many sheep to create one bible. And these bibles were expensive to own. Not many folks had access to one. It wasn’t until the 1400′s that the printing press was invented and the bible was the first book printed. So how could there have been a doctrine of “sola scriptura” for 1400 years after Christ died? How silly would that have been, to have a doctrine that said, “all we need to know is in the bible” when none (or very few) were even available. It just doesn’t make sense.

The Catholic church was created by Jesus, who appointed men (apostles) as teachers to carry on His plan. (He said that his sheep would know his voice, not his hand-writing!)  The apostles taught, by word of mouth, the traditions that Jesus wanted to them teach to all men. A few of the teachers wrote stories of what they learned…Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul, to name a few. (Quiz: Only two of the men I mentioned were apostles, Can you name them?) And then Catholic Church, through many years of deliberation, decided which “books” were to be included in the bible. That’s right, our Catholic Church decided which books were inspired and which were not. (All I can is, I’m glad I wasn’t on that committee. LOL)

No where in the bible does it hint that the bible is all we need. We all agree it is the word of God, but it is not the ONLY word of God. Catholic “Traditions” also need to be included too because  many things that Jesus did were taught by ‘word of mouth’ and were never written down. Or,  they may have been written down but in a way that was understood 2000 years ago and not well understood in today’s terms. For example: Peter was given the “keys to the kingdom”, but was never referred to as “Pope”.  As Catholics, we can trust that the Catholic Church has infallibly interpretted many, if not all, of these difficult teachings for us. Believe me, there are a lot of difficult teachings.  Non-Catholics may give you grief about Peter being the first pope, Mary being a perpetual virgin, Mary only having one child, Mary being assumed into heaven, or praying to saints….these “traditions” of the Catholic church are not written in the bible or, at least they are not obvious to those who don’t believe them. They approach the bible differently than we do, but that’s another blog in itself.

At this time, I’d like to direct you to John 21: 25…..the very last paragraph of John’s Gospel…as great ammunition, (if you will).   I sugggest everyone remember this verse when or if the topic of “sola scriptura” comes up in a discussion with a non-Catholic christian. It reads as follows…..”But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”  See….The bible, itself, right here at the end of John’s Gospel, tells us that there is more to Jesus’ teaching than what’s written down in the bible. Can it be any clearer?

Sola scriptura is unbiblical….which sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s true.



Its OUR Bible…read it.

Catholics are notorious for not knowing their religion. Catholics are notorious for not reading the bible. Non-Catholics are good at memorizing quotes, chapter and verse, from the their bibles. Non-Catholics think that just because they know a few lines from their bible, they can command a Catholic’s attention and perhaps persuade him to leave the church. I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but there is a real war going on out there. Non-Catholics are out, in force, actively trying to recruit YOU away from the Catholic Church. Maybe you haven’t noticed them…but they are out there. Maybe you have been approached by someone asking you if you are SAVED. Maybe the Mormons or the Jehovahs witnesses have come to your door to preach their misguided teachings.  We must be prepared to fight back. With all due respect to our non-catholic brothers and sisters, although they do worship Our Lord, they are not functioning in the fullness of the faith. Oh, they may think they have it all figured out, but they don’t…and we should never feel intimidated by them. Our church was started by Christ over 2000 years ago. No other church can make that claim.

It is our duty to Our Lord to learn about Catholicism, it’s history and its content…and believe me, there is a lot of history and a lot of content. Educate yourselves by reading Catholic books, watching Catholic DVD’s, or listening to Catholic CDs or tapes. Check out the multitude of Catholic websites and LEARN. We need to be prepared to defend our faith.

Points to remember: 1)There are thousands of websites that teach Catholic evangelization…but there are 10 thousand more that debunk the Catholic Church, some in a most hateful way. Find the good sites…Like There are many others to visit and learn from…just search around. 2) Read the Bible. If you haven’t already, get yourself a good Catholic bible…I have the Revised Standard Version by Ignatious Press. Our bibles have seven more books that Protestant bibles like The King James version because Martin Luther decided to remove these books because they did not agree with his line of thinking. 3) Never get into an arguement with a non-Catholic Christian. They think they are right and will go head to head with you to try to convince you of that. Unless you are extremely well versed in the scriptures, just politely disagree with their “thoughts” and let them know how and why you think the way you do, and what you believe as a Catholic. We call that “planting a seed”…and hopefully, with lots of prayer, they consider your opinions. This way, you can have friendly discussion without someone storming away mad as ever, hell-bent on proving they are right.

It’s hard for me to say to another (non-Catholic)Christian that they are wrong, when they are worshipping Jesus the same way as I am. But they are misguided and do not believe in ALL of the good stuff (the fullness of the truth) that the Catholic Church has given to us….so, I’ll say it here….They are wrong. Are they going to Hell for that? I don’t think so. Heck, they think they have a free ticket to heaven. They don’t believe there is a purgatory….maybe they go there…it’s really not for me to say. Only God knows because He makes the rules. One last point, the Catholic Church is responsible for the bible. What many of our non-Catholic friends don’t realize, is if it weren’t for the Catholic Church, there would be no bible.

Start reading your bible. Begin with the Gospels. You’ll see that as a Catholic, there is nothing in the bible that is disagreeable to our faith. I say this because, if you ask a non-Catholic Fundamentalist how he interprets John 6:56-66….how Jesus is explaining that He is the bread come down from heaven and who ever eats His flesh shall not die, you will here them say that Jesus was just speaking figuratively or symbolically. Despite the fact that some of His disciples LEFT Him because the teaching was TOO HARD….they will never admit that Jesus meant what He said….and I find that to be ridiculous.

Read your bible….seek the truth. Know that the truth is in the Catholic Church!

Norman Greenbaum was a liar!

Who remembers Norman Greenbaum? (Cue the teacher on Ferris Bueller’s day off…”Anybody? Anybody?) I’m not sure what year it came out (maybe 1969?)but Norman’s only musical hit was “Spirit in the Sky”. I actually loved that song even though I was too young to buy records at the time. Do you remember the words? “When I die and they lay me to rest, gonna go to the place that’s the best, when they lay me down to die, going up to the spirit in the sky.”  Although, I feel that his lyrics are very protestant…he says he IS definitely going to heaven, whereas we Catholics feel that we are not guaranteed that ticket  – I’ll get back to that later…..

My main point  is that Mr. Greenbaum wrote this lyric….”Never been a sinner, I never sinned, I’ve got a friend in Jesus. So you know that when I die, He’s gonna recommend me to the spirit in the sky”.

Never sinned?! Oh really!

Well, Norman Greenbaum, you are a liar!

We are All sinners. We are all born into sin. We are programmed to sin, although I hate printing that, it’s true. God knows that!  He made us. He’s numbered every hair on our heads…don’t you think He knows when we’ve been lying or cheating or stealing or looking at porn? He knows that we all have sinned, and will continue to sin. THAT”S WHY WE ALL NEED A SAVIOUR!  We all need Jesus. I thank Jesus everyday for dying for me…I am so guilty!

As far as I know, there have only been two people in history born into this world without sin; Jesus and His Blessed Mother. So if Mr. Greenbaum added himself to that list all those years ago to make it now three people in history who have never sinned, well, let’s just say that I’d like to politely correct him. Ya know, maybe that’s why he was a “one hit wonder”. Maybe God wasn’t thrilled with those lyrics and never gave him another hit. Who knows, but I love to speculate. Oh and by the way, Mr Greenbaum, you lied and that’s a sin. Which brings back to my other point on getting to heaven.

Norman Greenbaum and many of our protestant friends believe that they can simply accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour, read their bible, pray a little, and they are guaranteed a ticket on the train to heaven to meet the “Spirit in the sky”. But remember, God makes the rules! No where, and I mean NO where in history or in the bible do you ever see evidence of God making that rule. Oh yes, we must believe in Jesus because He is the way and the truth. We all know John 3:16…”he who believes in the Son of Man shall never die.” But believing in Jesus is just the one of many steps we must take to reach heaven. Lets just mention a few here: 1) getting baptised, 2)receiving the body of Christ in the Eucharist, 3)Confirmation, 4) repenting of our sins through confession, 5) doing good works with Gods grace…[bible quote: Unsure of chapter and verse at this time - "Faith without works is dead"], 6) honoring mom and dad, 7) loving our neighbors,  8) forgiving those who tresspass against us, 9) keeping Sunday Holy, 10) stop coveting, adulterating (sp?), and stealing. Don’t misunderstand me here…we cannot do anything to earn our way into heaven. That’s not the deal. But we do have to DO something…we can’t just get there on faith alone.

As Catholics, we need to combine our faith with our good works…and trust in The Lord. Because, Mr. Greenbaum was right on one account, we all have a “Friend in Jesus.”