Category Archives: America

The Grand Finale to the Jubilee Year of Mercy is Upon Us—Thanksgiving*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy began on December 8, 2015, and Pope Francis gave us a quote to coincide with the Holy Year; “It is a favorable time to heal wounds, a time to offer everyone the way of Forgiveness and Reconciliation.”

On November 20, the Solemnity of Christ the King, The Holy Year will officially end. We will have focused on mercy and forgiveness for a year and received the graces that came along with it. It seems so fitting that the beauty and meaning of this entire Holy Year can now be encapsulated by the impending holiday season. The Holy Father wanted us to direct our actions and attention “on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s actions in our lives . . . a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective”.

Four days after the Holy Year ends we celebrate our great American holiday, Thanksgiving, and this year the holiday presents us with an extraordinary opportunity. What better time to show mercy and love, on a nationwide scale, from sea to shining sea, than Thanksgiving. It can be our grand finale to this grace filled year.

Thanksgiving is the one day of the year where we pause and simply give “Thanks” for all that we have, even if it is just a “little”; a job, good health, a cancer in remission, the subsiding of a three day old migraine headache, connecting with a long lost relative, the birth of a child, surviving a natural disasterthere are so many things that we can be thankful for. Most importantly, there is that great intangible that spreads across our nation on this day and it ties right into the culmination of the Holy Year of Mercy. That intangible is the abundance of mercy, forgiveness and love that explodes within the hearts of so many millions of people.

No-one in America needs to go hungry on Thanksgiving Day. On this day people all across the country and from every economic situation can have a turkey dinner. Homeless shelters and soup kitchens and prisons serve turkey. Folks who have little or no money are able to receive turkey baskets from various charitable organizations so they can have a turkey dinner at home with their families. You do not need to purchase gifts. All you have to do is show up, hang out, eat and enjoy the uplifted spirit of family and friends that are with you, even if they are strangers turned friends you just met in a soup kitchen.
In my parish alone, we manage to supply complete Thanksgiving baskets to about 250 families, feeding about 1000 people for the holiday. All of the food is donated by parishioners. Some folks donate money and that is used to purchase the frozen turkeys. In effect, virtually all the parishioners participate in the Giveaway. (I am sure many of you have similar programs in or near your own parishes.)
On the Sunday before Thanksgiving we distribute the turkeys and all the trimmings to people of all denominations in our area to take home for “turkey day”. Everything has come from the hearts of parishioners and is joyfully given to strangers so they might enjoy the day. How cool is that? And doesn’t it also speak to the Holy Father’s call to evangelize?
All across the United States, Catholic parishes, churches of other denominations, soup-kitchens and shelters, etc. show Christ’s mercy and love to strangers on Thanksgiving. It is a wondrous thing and such a beautiful way to finish up the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Unexpectedly, in the year 2016, the end of Holy Year of Mercy collided with our Thanksgiving holiday. If we listen we may even hear the “Drumsticks” smashing cymbals of mercy which resonate nationwide with sounds of love.
As we cross the finish line of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy we thank God for having allowed us to be part of such a grace-filled year. We also should thank Him for Thanksgiving. We can consider it the Grand Finale to the Holy Year just completed. It is a beautiful thing.

                       *This article appeared in Aleteia on November 18, 2016   

                                     ©Copyright Larry peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved.

Christianity Under Attack: Religious Freedom Protects It. Without it Many Die. May God Bless and Preserve America's Freedoms

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

Countless articles, essays, blogs and so forth will be in print as we welcome in the New year of 2015. I’m not going to reminisce or wallow in what might have been or what should be. I just want to mention a family to you. Maybe you have heard of them, maybe not. Their names were Magdy Tawfiq, his wife, Sahar Rizk and their daughters, Catherine, 13 and two younger girls aged 10 and aged 9. Unlike Americans, these people did not have the Constitution of the United States of America in force to protect them. No, they were Coptic Christians (which is Catholic too) and they lived in Libya. They were our  Christian brothers and sisters in faith. They loved Jesus Christ and the message of Love and Hope and Salvation that He brought to all mankind. They believed as we do. Unlike us they are dead. They were brutally murdered because of their love and respect for the Son of God, Jesus.

Sahar and Magdy; July 20, 2000

Magdy and Sahar were married on July 20, 2000 and moved to Libya in 2001. Magdy worked at a Diabetes clinic in Sirte for two years and then  he began working with Sahar at the Jarf Health Center. People reported that Doctor Magdy treated all the people there regardless of having money or not and was beloved by everyone. They loved God, each other and tried their best to treat all people equally.

At 4:00 am on Tuesday, December 23, Doctor Magdy woke to knocking on the door of his building. He assumed it was a patient with an emergency needing immediate attention. When he opened the door he was greeted by armed masked men. They attacked him, handcuffed him and placed him in a chair. The family, living in fear after many threats from Ansar Al-Sharia, had become the target of cowardly, masked, gunmen who were taking their orders from the realm of evil.

The hooded demons went to the bedroom and shot Sahar dead. Then they took Doctor Magdy outside  and shot him through the head and chest leaving his crumpled body  handcuffed in a heap. Catherine’s 13-year old body was found outside of town. The two youngest girls were forced to watch the murders. They were left alive to tell the story and are now living with relatives. It is all so hard to even imagine what these kind, decent, innocent people have to endure prior to their actual deaths. The fear, the anxiety, the hopelessness must be beyond anything we here in America can ever fathom.

We live in America. They lived in Libya. We share the same faith, the only difference being we are here and they are there. Therefore, based on location, we live and they die. And how much  do we hear about these atrocities and the virtual elimination of Christianity throughout the Middle East and other parts of the world? We hear hardly anything. You and I can get up on a Sunday morning and head off to our  churches and none  of us is concerned about our safety. Not one of us worries about being murdered for believing in Jesus.

Yet, in other parts of the world on the very same day we are going contentedly off to Church, our Christian brothers and sisters, including children and babies, are being brutalized, raped, beheaded, burned, shot and hanged for believing exactly what we believe. Look at the wedding photo of Magdy and Sahar. The picture might have been taken in Milwaukee, or New York or maybe Atlanta or Dallas. If that had been the case then they would still be alive and this story would not have to be written, But the truth is evil is running rampant throughout the world and its primary target is Christianity.

ALL Americans should embrace with all their might the freedoms our Founding Fathers handed down to us, especially Freedom of Religion. Yet there are those who portray this freedom and Christianity as an affront to them. They do not like religion because it stands its ground against the forces of secularism. These Americans want to purge religion from the public square. They will even go to court to have a cross removed from somewhere they have decided should not have it. Those that do this are just selfish and self consumed for not respecting so many of their fellow citizens and for refusing to accept the fact that they are chipping away at the very freedoms that give them the right to  protest in the first place.

They might want to consider that the Islamist radicals want them dead too. If you are an American they hate you whether or not you are a Catholic, a Jew, or an atheist. They  hate anyone who is an American.  I wish they would look at the wedding photo of Magdy and Sahar. They did not have the freedom we have. They have been slaughtered.

As we embark on the journey that is the year, 2015, I would like to remember people such as Father Frans Van der Lugt, murdered by ISIS in March because he was a Catholic priest. He was 76 years old. Pray for Asia  Bibi, a mother of five, in prison in Pakistan for five years and waiting to be hanged. Her crime–“blasphemy”. She is Catholic and defended Jesus. Then there is Salem Matti Kourk who was hiding out in Mosul and went to find some food. He was captured by ISIS , beaten, murdered and his body left in front of the Church of the Virgin Mary, which ISIS had also destroyed.  Of course we cannot  forget the thousands of men, women and children kidnapped, murdered and mutilated throughout the year of 2014 by the evil ones who hate Christianity. Genocide against Christians is real.

I end this with a link to the story I wrote about “Little Christy”. If ever there was a picture that could show the face of evil in this world this blog has it. Let us celebrate our freedoms as Americans and fight to the bitter end to protect them. The alternative is beyond imagination.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015  May God’s Blessings be upon you

Evil vs Good: It May be Time to for EVERYONE to Choose Sides

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

It seems that now, in the early 21st century, people of faith have been thrust into the Canyon of Decision. This is  a place where a personal decision must be made and only two choices are available. Those choices are Good vs Evil. God is the perfection of all that is GOOD. Satan is the owner of all that is EVIL. Satan hates exponentially. He hates everything and everyone, including his own followers.

He has tried throughout the ages to convince himself that by destroying the God of Love he might find some unattainable and perverted joy. He has been wrong and knows in his deformed and blackened self that he can NEVER destroy God, his own creator. It follows that he can also NEVER feel joy or happiness of any kind. He also knows that he has no one to blame for his condition but himself.  So “hate” is his thing. Nothing can “hate” like the Prince of Darkness”.

All of those before us, from Adam  and Eve on down, have already chosen the side they would follow. Their eternity has been established by their using their God given free will. We, the living and the ones that will live on after us, are still faced with one of the two choices. Do we choose God and His Love or do we choose Satan and his empty, sugar coated, phony promises? We must consider that the evil wrought by Satan is more powerful than 50 Ebola—no, a thousand times a thousand Ebola virus. It permeates the very soul of humankind and eats it away with a subtle ferocity that is hard to comprehend. He is the master of disguise hiding his evil agenda under a fake banner of virtue. So many of us fall for it.

We ask ourselves how can a “civilized” person behead a child? How can a “civilized” person invoke the name of a god who supposedly condones and approves such hatred and viciousness? This evil committed can only be demonically encouraged. Yet these are the “shock  and awe” methods used to put fear into our hearts. They succeed at striking fear into many of us. Murder, rape, pillaging,looting and genocide are part of the “shock and awe” method also.

It happened right here in America the other day. In red-state Oklahoma a follower of all that is Evil beheaded an innocent woman just because she was an American. This was smack dab right in the middle of America’s heartland. The same place where a “black mass” was held only a few days earlier. How devious. How cunning. How horrible is this enemy of Goodness.

However, there are many more subtle methods Satan uses to gather new followers. Television, movies,the Internet,social media and social networking and the music industry to name a few. These all promote promiscuity, abortion, euthanasia, denigrate marriage between a man and a woman and celebrate the hedonistic lifestyle of  self-gratification and personal pleasure no matter what the cost or consequence. They say it is our RIGHT to  pleasure ourselves. Those that say differently are branded as extremists, fanatics, racists, homophobes or advocates of ‘hate’. How twisted this is.

You know what? They are dead wrong. It is NOT our right. Yet this message has grabbed hold of many and is now part of our culture. Our young have been indoctrinated into this godless mind set of pure secularism. Satan is laughing as he sees more and more of God’s children turning away from their faith in Him and Goodness for a world  that ultimately leads to personal death and the final loss of one’s soul. The war against God and Goodness is now worldwide.

We Catholic/Christians, each and every one, must be prepared to engage in this fight, not only for all of what is Good but for our own souls. Satan is after each of us. He has been successful in acquiring millions of recruits. Many fend him off and cast him away. This could be Armageddon. So love your faith, embrace it, and then fight for it. “Lip service” may no longer be enough. The reward shall be great. Ignore it and you might be lost in the bottom of the Canyon of Decision.

 From the Book of Revelations:
Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who is awake, keeping his garments that he may not go naked and people see him exposed.!” And they assembled them at the place which is called in Hebrew, Armageddon. (Rev 16: 15-16
                                               
                                 ©Larry Peterson 2014 All Rights Reserved