Category Archives: President Obama

Pride vs the Humility of Pope Francis

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

This is from the Gospel of Luke; Chapter 9: vs 46-50
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. 
For the one who who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest.”
This gospel reading is all about the greatest of all the ‘deadly’ sins, Pride. It is also about the greatest of all ‘heavenly’ virtues, Humility. This is a “clash of the titans” of evil vs Good. And Pope Francis, without trying and by just being who God made him to be, wears the mantle of humility without fanfare, showmanship, pretentiousness or anything that might be self-serving in any manner. Yes, he wears that mantle and it is fastened to his shoulders with the clasp of Love. In so doing he continually  shows  the whole world what it means to think of yourself the least among all others.  (Was that a Fiat Hatchback or a Ford Taurus?)
Jorge Mario Bergoglio never asked to be a bishop or a cardinal. He never “lobbied” for these positions or  sought them out in any way. He did not have “super-pacs” at his beckoned call when the vacancy for Pope opened. He simply loved being a priest, working with the poor and homeless and doing his best to follow God’s call so he would make his life pleasing to Him. Make no mistake, God called him to the Papacy. The secular world may mock that concept but that is why they do not understand.  That is why they cannot experience the joy so many millions of faithful are experiencing with his Papacy. If they could only swallow their damn pride a bit and open their hearts to some  humility they may find the elusive peace that evades them.
Pope Francis is filled with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit leads him to stop his motorcade and wade into a crowd of children and hug them and kiss their foreheads. It compels him to embrace the crippled, the disfigured, the mentally challenged, the homeless as well as the “uppity-ups”. He has no qualms about walking into a prison and embracing hard-core murderers, rapists, thieves, and drug dealers. Pope Francis sees the Face of Christ in EVERYONE.
Last September, during his stop in Washington, D.C.,  he visited with  President Obama and then offered  Mass in the National Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. When he finished he made a point of going to the offices of the Little Sisters of the Poor. He had to send a message to the entire world about the solidarity that exists within the Church when it comes to respect for life, ALL life. That message required no words—just action. The Pope gave that message by meeting with the Sisters who take care of the elderly poor, free of charge,  and have been doing so since St. Jeanne Jugan founded the order back in 1841.
Pope Francis  left our country a more contented and inspired nation. He reached out to everyone and many  responded. He represents the Goodness and Love that Jesus Christ brought to us and, despite the horrors of jihad and the emptiness of secularism pervading our lives,  his presence and example make our world  a better place. He is HIS ambassador on earth and  he represents HIM well.   We have all been blessed.
                                      ©Larry Peterson 2016   All Rights Reserved

Pope Francis: Pride, Humility and the Gospel of the Day After

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Pope Francis has gone back to Rome. Sigh–I miss him. I live in central Florida so the closest he ever got to  me was probably about 330 miles away and that was in a foreign country, Cuba. The closest I got to him in the United States was when he traveled to Washington, D.C. which is over 900 miles away. No matter, I do miss him. His gentle, kind and loving face was all over the TV screen since last Tuesday. I have been among his captive audience. It was so uplifting and refreshing watching this apostle of Christ and descendant of St. Peter do his thing and, on TV no less, for all the world to see.. Yes, I miss him.

The Pope left last night at about 8 p.m. At 8 a.m this morning I was at morning Mass. The gospel reading for the day blew me away. This reading was not in place to reflect his visit but it did. The  reading was scheduled for today and put in place on the universal church calendar several years ago. So, it is pure coincidence this gospel reading and his visit overlapped. If not, it was inspired from above. (That one works for me).

This is from the Gospel of Luke; Chapter 9: vs 46-50
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. 
For the one who who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest.”

This gospel reading is all about the greatest of all the ‘deadly’ sins, Pride. It is also about the greatest of all ‘heavenly’ virtues, Humility. This is a “clash of the titans” of evil vs Good. And Pope Francis, without trying and by just being who God made him to be, wore the mantle of humility without fanfare, showmanship, pretentiousness or anything that might be self-serving in any manner. Yes, he wore that mantle and it was fastened to his shoulders with the clasp of Love. In so doing he showed  the whole world what it means to think of yourself last before all others.  (Was that a Fiat Hatchback?)

Jorge Mario Bergoglio never asked to be a bishop or a cardinal. He never “lobbied” for these positions or  sought them out in any way. He did not have “super-pacs” at his beckoned call when the vacancy for Pope opened. He simply loved being a priest, working with the poor and homeless and doing his best to follow God’s call so he would make his life pleasing to Him. Make no mistake, God called him to the papacy. The secular world would mock that concept but that is why they cannot experience the joy so many millions of faithful experienced in America over the past week. If they could only swallow their damn pride a bit and open their hearts they may find the elusive peace that evades them.

Pope Francis is filled with the Holy Spirit. That Spirit leads him to stop his motorcade and wade into a crowd of children and hug them and kiss their foreheads. It compels him to embrace the crippled, the disfigured, the mentally challenged, the homeless as well as the “uppity-ups”. He has no qualms about walking into a prison and embracing hard-core murderers, rapists, thieves, and drug dealers.

After seeing President Obama and offering Mass during his stop in Washington, D.C. he made a point of going to the offices of the Little Sisters of the Poor. He had to send a message to the entire world about the solidarity that exists within the Church when it comes to respect for life, ALL life. That message required no words—just action. The Pope gave that message by meeting with the Sisters who take care of the elderly poor, free of charge and have been doing so since St. Jeanne Jugan founded the order back in 1841 .

Pope Francis has left our country. He has left it a more contented and inspired nation. He has reached out to everyone and many have responded. He represents the Goodness and Love that Jesus Christ brought to us. He is His ambassador on earth. He did his work well. If this had been a baseball game it would have been called “Perfect”. But now it is over and the Prideful will resurface.

Thanks for the grace, inspiration, love and memories Holy Father. We have to get you back here more often.

                                    ©2015 Larry Peterson All Rights Reserved


Witnessing the Genocide of the American Moral Fiber

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

The 100th Anniversary of “The Great Crime” is upon us. The killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire began on April 24, 1915. That was the day the Ottoman authorities rounded up 250 Armenian leaders and intellectuals in Constantinople and began the killings. The starving, the death marches, the drownings, shootings, hangings and other various implementations of painful death ended sometime after the end of World War I. Records indicate that over 1.5 million people perished in the first recorded genocide of the 20th century. This “Great Crime” is also known as the Armenian Genocide.

Last week, Pope Francis used the word “genocide” when he was describing what happened a century ago. The Turkish Foreign Minister immediately recalled his ambassador to the Holy See for ‘consultations’. The Turkish government (Turkey is the nation that replaced the Ottoman Empire) does not like it when you call the Armenian Genocide a genocide. They would probably prefer to make believe nothing ever happened in the first place.

Unlike Pope Francis, President Barack Obama avoided offending the Turkish government.  He refused, once again, to call Armenian carnage a ‘genocide’. He had promised to do so when campaigning for president in 2008. Now, seven years later, he never has but the White House issued a statement read by an official which said,  “We know and respect that there are some who are hoping to hear different language this year. We understand their perspective, even as we believe that the approach we have taken in previous years remains the right one — both for acknowledging the past, and for our ability to work with regional partners to save lives in the present.”

The  Armenian-Americans were hurt and disillusioned at the disrespect they had been shown. Ken Hachikian, the chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America said, “President Obama’s surrender to Turkey represents a national disgrace. It is, very simply, a betrayal of truth, a betrayal of trust.”

To date, twenty-three countries have recognized the mass killings as genocide. The United States of America is not among them. In fact, because of “political expediency”, it never has called these mass killings genocide. Interestingly, the word genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin who, during the Nazi Holocaust, came up with the word based on the Armenian annihilation.

Ignoring the Armenian Genocide is just the very “tip of the iceberg”. Lies are told all the time across the politically charged American landscape. It does not even seem to matter anymore. WIN! WIN! WIN! is the pathetic mantra of our young 21st century political environment. I know politics has always been a “dirty game” but there was some honor and integrity involved, especially when we were talking about the very fabric of our nation. Common sense did take priority over “political correctness”. Not anymore.

Former Senate Majority leader, (now Minority Leader) Harry Reid, took to the floor of the United States Senate and accused  the Republican candidate for president, Mitt Romney, of not paying taxes for over ten years.  Recently, when asked about it, he admitted he lied. He smirked smugly and said, “He didn’t win, did he?” And lying from the Senate floor as Majority Leader, Harry Reid  could not be held accountable for it. A fine example for Americans young and old.

We are witnessing the genocide of virtually all Catholic/Christians in the Middle east. We see and hear of it every day. With modern technology it is up close and personal. We see beheadings, shootings, burning people alive, even crucifixions within hours after they happen. Where is the outcry from the people of the world? Where is the demand to slam these barbaric, satanically fueled monsters perpetrating these acts back into the hell they crawled out of?

The President of the United States does not even call them “terrorists”. The mainstream media in America puts the stories on the back pages. We are told our worst enemy is “Climate Change”.  Ignoring truth and preaching for political expediency is an insult to all of us and an abomination of the American character. We could be, in addition to the genocide of Christians, be witnessing the genocide of the American moral fiber.

What ever is going on? What ever has happened to a country that  was the “Shining City on the Hill”?  I guess it has been taken hostage by self-serving impostors who care, before all else, about power, position and money. In 20 months maybe we can recapture that “Shining City”. And maybe I am just an old fool who still believes in the slogan from the old Superman comics: Truth; Justice; and the American Way.  Did they really say that?

                                  ©2015 Larry Peterson All Rights Reserved

In a World Filled with "Overblown Egos" It Is Time to Pay Attention to the Gospel of Matthew

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

          By Larry Peterson

I watched with fascination Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netenyahu’s, speech before a joint session of the United States Congress. I admire this man because I cannot think of any leader of any nation that has his own country virtually surrounded by those who have sworn to annihilate it. His responsibility to protect and defend his people is foremost in his thoughts and his presentation before the Congress was his way of defending them by letting the entire world know of Israel’s plight. And he did it in front of an audience of “Big Shots”. You know, those folks that have a grandiose and expanded sense of self. 

It seems our president, Barack Obama, was quite ticked off at the entire spectacle. The Prime Minister was asked to speak before the Congress by the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. In so doing, “protocol” was violated. Israel, supposedly our most important ally and friend, had its own Prime Minister boycotted by the entire executive branch of our government and about fifty of the legislative branch members who were all Democrats. They were all “offended” by his appearance because he was not invited by the President himself. 

Imagine that, their ‘feelings’ were hurt. President Obama even spent eleven minutes on CNN explaining why and how Netenyahu’s talk was “nothing new”. Whatever. I was thinking that how amazing it would have been if our president unexpectedly walked into the auditorium while Bibi was speaking and walked up to the podium, stepped up to his presidential colleague, and hugged him and shook his hand. What a show of unity and camaraderie between nations that would have demonstrated.  Alas, I am a bit of a dreamer; always have been and always will be. 

I am Catholic and I went to Mass this morning. The gospel reading for today throughout the Catholic world was from Matthew 23: 1-12. It was so timely and so on point to yesterday’s spectacle (total coincidence) in Washington. I wish some of our leaders would read it. (Yeah right, like it would matter). Anyway, here it is:

Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but DO NOT follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens and carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they do not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi’. As for you, do NOT be called ‘Rabbi’. You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one Master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 

So, how many of our leaders who claim to be Christian, “humble ” themselves? Are we surrounded by hypocrites or what? All of us, myself included, have our own “puffed up” egos. We all have a sense of importance. But what happens to a person when they are empowered with a title or a sense of responsibility for others. TA-DA–a new Pharisee walks among us. It may not happen all the time but I think it happens more often than not.  

I watched the Democrat responses to Netenyahu’s speech after it was over. The responses came from people who did not even attend the joint session yet they had an analysis and response prepared immediately afterwards. And all they did was ‘trash’ the talk and say how “offended” the president was. Our ally, Israel, is a nation always under the threat of imminent attack by those who would destroy her. And  her leader, a great friend to America, was rebuffed by many because they were ‘offended’. How pathetic that is. 

 That picture in my mind of President Obama coming in to hug Bibi Netenyahu in front of the whole world dances within me and I imagine the possibilities including the example it would set for our children? Imagine, imagine, Yeah, right. Many of those ‘offended’ were Christian. Maybe it is time that  they read the Gospel they profess to follow. One thing is certain, when we die (and we all will one day) none of us will take our pride and egos before the Christ we say we follow. It will remain behind with all the rest of our distended arrogance and overblown egos. 

                                               ©2015 Larry Peterson All Rights Reserved

Pride~The Common Denominator in All Things Evil

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

“There is a danger that threatens everyone in the church, all of us. The danger of worldliness. It leads us to vanity, arrogance and pride.”
Pope Francis

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The headlines and newscasts are filled with the news of President Obama’s outrage over House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to speak before the United States Congress in March. Apparently a protocol was violated and the Speaker did not inform the White House. 
So why is the President of the United States so angry over this supposedly unprecedented invitation to a foreign leader by the Congress? Who cares, right? WRONG? He was offended. Protocol was the excuse for his anger. The primary cause was “ego”. His ego was sand-blasted into disarray when he was ignored by a person who is NOT the “Big Cheese”. In other words, President Obama’s pride was deflated. Ah yes, that old ‘demon’ pride has once again reared its ignominious and ugly head. He sure knows how to spoil a salad. If protocol was stepped upon it still is no reason to get so angry. But stepping on the pride of someone, anyone, oftentimes yields this result.
Pope Francis’ quote above uses the words, “threatens everyone in the church, all of us”. He is referring to the Pride  that is part of all of us. There is “positive pride” which refers to taking pride in your  work, your appearance, how hard you study, how you treat others etc. Then there is “negative pride” which has been the downfall of so many. This is all about self-gratification and taking care of  your favorite and most revered son/daughter of  worldliness aka secularism, good old “#1”, yourself. This never reaps a fruitful harvest.
This “negative pride” has permeated every nook and cranny of humankind since the days of Adam and Eve. Satan aka Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, used his main weapon to draw Eve into his realm. He used pride to tempt her. Consumed with her inner vanity she was easy pickings for Satan. “Eat the apple (yes, the apple is probably symbolic) and you will be like God.”  
Eve wanted to be like God and her Pride pushed her teeth into that apple and she bit, She turned it over to her man, Adam. Misery loves company and she was probably not feeling very well after that first swallow. Adam bit  into the other half of the apple. VOILA–Original sin and its primary effect, Pride, have been at the forefront of all chaos ever since.  
The untold and undocumented cause of countless cases of pain and suffering caused by Pride over the centuries cover the pages of history. Wars, genocide, torture, scorched-earth policies continue to this very day.  Countless friendships have been permanently severed and how many families have been torn apart?  All because Satan is able to wield his greatest tool, Pride, unchecked and freely. All because so many people willingly grab onto it and refuse to let go.

This incident is fresh in my mind so I would like to share. I was talking to a close friend of mine the other day and he had just finished talking to his younger brother on the phone. The brother told him that Catholics can eat meat on Fridays during Lent. My friend told him he was wrong. They got into an argument and my friend hung up on his brother. He told me he is not calling him back until he apologizes. I reminded him that he was the one who “hung up”. He did not care because his brother started it.

These two had not spoken in almost ten years and finally got back together and now—oh man, are you kidding me? And they will both go to Mass and Communion in their respective cities and pound their breasts and bow their heads and be totally oblivious to the two greatest commandments of Loving God and Loving their Neighbor that they are breaking. 

Ah, the great sin of Pride. We have all seen the results up close and personal within our own worlds. Just like my friend and his brother we may be a prisoner of Pride’s deadly grip on ourselves. Parents estranged from children, siblings estranged from each other, families torn apart. The common denominator is always Pride. But the good news is there is an antidote. It is called Humility. St. Augustine said, “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”

 Here is the link to the Litany of Humility. Truly, this prayer is a powerful weapon. It also takes courage to say it. This is how it begins:
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me. 
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus

                                                          Copyright 2015 Larry Peterson