Old Made New

“Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)

“Behold, I make all things new.” This is what the One who sat on the throne in heaven said, according to the vision of St. John.

Christ our King speaks to us from His throne of victory. He says to us:

My children, you have grown old.

The dreariness of sin and worldliness has exhausted you. You can barely lift up your eyes to see the sunlight.

But, behold! I make all things new!

Continue reading “Old Made New”

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Little Contribution, Big Contribution

In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as expiation for our sins. (I John 4:10)

If you want to catch a nice fish, you get up early, take your reel, bait the hook, and cast the line.

God provides: The fish, the water, the earth, the sky, the light, the motion of the water, the air you’re breathing, the motion of the earth on its axis, the nutritional value of the fish, the proper functioning of all your muscles, organs, and senses, etc., etc.

If you want to get to heaven, God provides: Heaven, earth, the atoning sacrifice, all the necessary graces, everyone He sends to help you on the way, all necessary teaching and sustenance, and, of course, yourself.

All we have to do is: get up, give thanks, and stand in the right place.

…Are you kidding me? The defending national champs got beat by the College of Charleston? Sweet!

…Will we miss Jim Zorn? No.

He did, in fact, follow our advice. But he followed it too much.

Everything unraveled under him because he instilled no fear. Without fear, there is no discipline. And to instill fear in those under your authority, you have to be a lot more in touch with reality than Coach Z ever was.

All-Star Week & Keeping One’s Distance

Pope Benedict praying in Prague on Saturday
Pope Benedict praying in Prague on Saturday
Just in case you missed it last fall: This week is All-Star Week at daily Mass! (Click the link for all the details.)

…The Holy Father went to the Czech Republic this past weekend.

He wanted to visit the relics of St. Wenceslaus, of course, and pray to the Infant of Prague.

(We have a Novena to the Infant at our parish every Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., by the way!)

But His Holiness’ main reason for heading east this past weekend was to be as far away from Detroit as possible. He was basically on the other side of the earth. He was 4,355 miles away from Ford Field when the darkness descended.

zorn

264th Succession

Today we have two anniversaries on the same day. The events did not originally happen on the same day—they happened two weeks apart.

jp_iiI am talking about four springs ago. Easter Saturday night, Pope John Paul II breathed his last.

During his pontificate of 26 ½ years, he had visited some forty countries of the earth. Each time, he came back to Rome. But on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday he set off for the heavenly country, never to return.

I don’t know about you, but it was one of the saddest days of my life. We all knew the day would come. But John Paul II was the Holy Father, the only Pope many of us could remember. I still miss him.

Nonetheless, God always provides. Two weeks passed. The Cardinals came from all over the world to Rome. John Paul II was buried a few feet away from St. Peter. Then the Conclave began in the Sistine Chapel…

ringThe next day white smoke billowed and bells rang. The Lord had used the Cardinals to choose a new Holy Father: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI on April 19.

So today seems like a good time to try to answer this question: Why do we have a Pope?

The Lord Jesus established the Papacy. He said to Simon the fisherman, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.”

On his own anniversary of election to the See of Peter, Pope St. Leo the Great explained the ministry of the Bishop of Rome:

Saint Peter does not cease to preside over his See, and preserves an endless sharing with [Christ] the Sovereign Priest. The firmness that [St. Peter] received from the Rock which is Christ, he himself, having become the Rock, transmits it equally to his successors, too; and wherever there appears a certain firmness, there is manifested without doubt the strength of the Pastor…Thus there is, in full vigor and life, in the Prince of he Apostles, this love of God and of men which has been daunted neither by the confinement of prison, nor chains, nor the pressures of the crowd nor the threats of kings; and the same is true of his invincible faith, which has not wavered in the combat or grown lukewarm in victory.

There is only one Pope. The rest of us are under his pastoral care. It is not for you or me to judge how the Pope ‘popes.’ Our role is to love him, pray for him, and listen to him.

Unless you have been on the moon for the past four years, you know that Pope Benedict has often been criticized in the secular communications media. First, the Pope was accused of being mean to Muslims, then of being unfair to homosexuals, then to Jews, and then to Africans suffering with AIDS. There have been more stupid cartoons about the Pope in the Washington Post than there have been about Jim Zorn and Manny Acta combined—and they deserve it much more.

manny-actaDoes the Pope have a sophisticated media machine, with slick handlers telling him what to say and how to say it? No. Is it possible that sometimes he wishes he had put things differently? Certainly. But is the Holy Father guilty of malice or close-mindedness as people have suggested on t.v. and in the press? Of course not. As anyone who knows him can attest, Pope Benedict is one of the gentlest and most learned men on earth.

Last month the Pope wrote a personal letter to the Bishops. Apparently some of them had publicly questioned the Holy Father’s priorities. To explain himself, the Pope recalled his first days in the See of Peter. He wrote:

I believe that I set forth clearly the priorities of my pontificate in the addresses which I gave at its beginning. Everything that I said then continues unchanged as my plan of action. The first priority for the Successor of Peter was laid down by the Lord in the Upper Room in the clearest of terms: “You… strengthen your brothers” (Lk 22:32). Peter himself formulated this priority anew in his first Letter: “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15).

In our days, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God. Not just any god, but the God who spoke on Sinai; to that God whose face we recognize in a love which presses “to the end” (cf. Jn 13:1) – in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects.

The Pope is a sinner like everyone else. His critics attack him, however, not because he teaches error, but because he teaches the Gospel. It is not the Pope’s job to be popular. It is his duty to be faithful.

If the Roman Papacy were a human institution, it would have died out long ago. But it has survived for two millennia. We lost a holy servant of God on the Feast of Divine Mercy, 2005. But then the ministry of St. Peter was renewed–for the 264th time–on April 19th.

Let us rejoice and give thanks. May Pope Benedict live long and prosper. May God keep us united together in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

St. Peter's tomb, under the High Altar of the Basilica
St. Peter's tomb, under the High Altar of the Basilica

Confession before Christmas

memmi
St. John the Baptist by Lippo Memmi

Our first readers’ poll has produced the following interesting results:

1) Two out of three readers have confidence in our poll-tallying integrity!

2) There are many more sinners out there than Zorn-haters, egg-nog pounders, or Senate-seat customers

Coach Zorn gets to keep his job (for now)! Everybody puts brandy in their egg nog! Senator is a tough job, but someone has to do it!

Given the overwhelming interest, let’s talk turkey about going to confession…

1) Remember that this helpful website offer an handy, easily-accessed examination of conscience (click Examen above).

2) One good place to go to Confession before Christmas is St. Mary of the Assumption, 14908 Main St., Upper Marlboro, Md. There will be a priest in the confessional from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, December 20.

Never be afraid to go Confession, even if you don’t remember exactly what to say. The priest will help you and be patient with you.

(If the priest isn’t nice to you, tell him that he has to go to Confession for being a mean priest!)

Also, remember: When in doubt, don’t leave it out.

Get everything off your chest. God forgives us when we ask for mercy.

Sweet Revenge

January 5
January 5
With all the fanfare surrounding Coach Zorn’s “home-coming” to Seattle, an important fact about today’s Seahawk’s game was ignored.

This was the Redskins second game at Qwest Field this year.

The first one did not turn out well. It brought a good run in the second part of last year’s season to a premature end.

Greg Monroe dunk at Verizon Center yesterday
Greg Monroe dunk at Verizon Center yesterday
On the other hand, today’s W has brought this season’s tough losing streak to an end. We will take it!

Bring on the mighty Giants! Let’s keep the revenge thing going.

Speaking of things we will take…We will definitely take a 2-0 Hoyas’ season start, with Greg Monroe reaching domination-level right out of the gate.

Next up for the Hoyas: Old Spice Classic on Thursday. Witchita State at 2:00 p.m. on ESPN 2.

The Hoyas lost on the last big holiday for family dinners (Easter). May that not happen again. Just like one loss to the Seahawks per year is enough, and one loss to the Giants per year is enough: One holiday-afternoon Hoyas disappointment per year is enough.

If we have to play Davidson again this year, let’s make sure it’s on a weekday. No Stephen Curry on holidays. No more crying in Washington over our turkeys and hams.

David the Shepherd Warrior Died in His Bed

 

After King David slew Goliath (1 Samuel 17), he did not get killed in his next battle (1 Samuel 18:14).

 

Can any of us football fans ever forget the thrill of February 3, 2008?  Goliath fell, hit by a rock from a little sling.

 

We Redskins fans should not, therefore, expect two miracles in a row in New York Giants’ games.  Let us resolve to be happy if the season opener Thursday evening is a solid effort.

 

Dan Snyder beat Senator McCain to the punch by eight months:  The Redskins owner made a bold move that looks toward a beautiful long-term future before the Republican nominee ever thought of any governor of Alaska.  Our beloved owner deserves credit for this, loathe as anyone is to give him credit for anything.

 

Let us hope that Coach Zorn fulfills the promise.  Even though I have no idea what I am talking about (like many football fans), allow me to opine on the art of coaching:  In the end, being a successful coach is a matter of bigness and nobility of character.  Everybody has the “science” of football; spiritual leadership is what makes the difference.  (Talented players, of course, do not hurt–but there are plenty of talented Redskins.)  If Jim Zorn is half as big a man as Joe Gibbs is, if he can be half the spiritual leader Joe Gibbs was, then the future is very bright.  If not…well, it is not a pretty scenario.

      

If you are reading, coach, here is some advice from someone who certainly has no right to offer any.  Meditate on this moment from last season:  The Patriots had just shellacked the Redskins.  It was an embarrassment of historic proportions.  As everyone left the field, reporters hounded the head coach for a comment:  “Who’s to blame?”  At one of the lowest moments of his life, at a moment when most men would grasp at every straw in the cup to find someone or something else to complain about, Joe Gibbs calmly said, “There is plenty of blame to go around, but it begins with me.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Back on a VERY Exciting Summer in Sports

This was the most exciting summer in sports I can remember.  It included the following unforgettable events:

 

1.  The Boston Celtics second-half comeback win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the NBA Finals on June 12.  The Celtics were down by twenty-four points at halftime—in Los Angeles.  Then their starting center Kendrick Perkins went to the locker room with a shoulder injury early in the third quarter.  And then the Celtics came back to win 97-91.

 

Even though the Lakers won Game Five, they were beaten after their Game Four loss at home; it was just a matter of time before the Celtics took the trophy.  (Note regarding the fickleness of the basketball fan:  I hated Kobe in June.  Kevin Garnett was my man back then.)

 

2.  The greatest Wimbledon Mens’ Final of all time on July 6.  I turned off the t.v. at about 11:05 a.m. (I had to go say Mass), figuring that Nadal had Federer’s number and would soon be through with him.  At 4:00 p.m., I turned the t.v. back to see who won—and it wasn’t over!  Federer had rallied, and they were finishing the fifth set.  Nadal certainly deserved to win, but Federer showed a level of resilience and determination not seen since the Pelopennesian Wars.

 

3.  The emergence of Phil Dalhausser onto the world stage.  This guy is my man!  I have never had more fun than watching Rogers and Dalhausser march to the Beach Volleyball gold.  (May-Trainor and Walsh are awesome and beautiful; Rogers is deeply impressive—but the Beijing Beast is MY MAN!)

 

4.  USA Basketball Redemption in an unforgettable Gold Medal game.  It was a championship game for the history books.  Our NBA-star squad played as a team with high-school-like heart.  It was enough to restore your faith in the goodness of man.  (Perhaps that is a bit of an overstatement—but here’s to hoping that the Bad Years are over.  I can even live with the arms full of tattoos now—though the sooner Dennis Rodman is altogether forgotten, the better.)  And of course now I love Kobe as if he were my own blood brother.

 

Of course, there is also the business about Michael Phelps winning eight gold medals, more than anyone has ever won at a single Olympic games.  (He did win; he definitely touched first.)

 

Let’s give the good Lord His due for giving us such an unforgettable summer.  We should never take His blessings for granted.  I can’t imagine He will give us another summer like it for a while.  Will He be pleased to give us a good Redskins’ season?  Will He exult or chastise Jim Zorn?  (At least Jason Taylor has no ligament damage.)  Only time will tell…