Thursday, April 19, 2007

We are Catholics and we are Saved!

Second Week of Easter 2007
Mass Readings:
Acts 5:17-26
John 3:16-21

I live in a rather bohemian area of Louisville. It is full of eclectic shops, restaurants, a rather artsy movie theater and my favorite is a huge record store. One of the things I like best is that I can leave my car in the garage and walk to just about anything I need. One of the joys I experience is being able to go out and take a stroll in the evening especially when the weather is nice.

Recently there has been a group of young adults standing outside in multiple spots up and down the street and trying to witness for Christ. I am all for that. I remember doing that when I was in my church's youth group. They start off with the typical question of "if you die tonight, where will you go"? I have been stopped multiple times by this group and asked the same question over and over. Of course being the smart mouth I often am, my first response was that I would be going to the funeral home right after I died. Apparently this individual didn't care for my humor. So he asked me with a little more force and a note of impatience and added that if I died tonight I would go to hell if I wasn't a Christian. OK. I am still fine with this although he still doesn't think I am funny. That's OK. A lot of people think I'm not funny. So I responded that yes I know where I would go. He says, "you need to tell me where you will end up". Alright, I go along and say that I KNOW I will go to heaven because I believe in Christ and that I have dedicated myself to ministry as a Catholic priest. That threw him. You could have heard a pin drop. Apparently being a Catholic meant to him that I am doomed to hell and he needed to "save" me. At that point it wasn't funny anymore and I walked away.

Throughout American history there have been individuals and groups who proclaim that Catholics aren't saved and are going to hell, blah, blah, blah. I'm sure many of you have heard that too. Truth is, WE ARE SAVED! The very blood that saved that man witnessing on the street is the same blood that has saved you and me! As Catholics we are Christians saved by the blood of Christ! You and I have been reborn by water and the Holy Spirit in baptism. We are fed with Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist. We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. We are SAVED and don't let anyone try to tell you that you aren't!

I have grown weary of people who know little to nothing about Catholicism and then declare that we are not Christians saved by the blood of Christ. Enough! Let us Catholics boldly proclaim that yes, we are Christians, and we are saved just like every believer. Everyone that professes Jesus is Lord is saved!

Now go you Catholics, you born again, saved disciples of the Risen Lord and proclaim it boldly!