Category Archives: salvation

Two Teenagers, A Child and Christmas–a Perfect Mix

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME


By Larry Peterson
If it were two thousand years ago and you lived in Nazareth you might notice a young man packing items on a donkey in preparation for a trip. Early the next morning you see this fellow, with his pregnant teenage wife sitting on the back of the burro, heading down the road. They are in compliance with the law of the day. They are embarking on a three or four day journey to Bethlehem, the town of their ancestors’ birth, for the census.
We know so little about the lives of Joseph and Mary, yet they are THE integral part of the Salvation story.  Mary’s acceptance of a pregnancy that might have resulted in her being stoned to death as an adulteress was an act of monumental humility. Joseph, a good man and a faithful Jew true to the law, accepted a pregnant woman as his wife, another act of extreme humility.
To complete this humble family was none other than God Himself. The Creator of all  there is became like one of His creations. He could have come in a majestic way, surrounded by armies and servants and glitter and pomp. He chose to come to us in the womb of his mom, just like all of us. He allowed Himself to be born among the animals in a cave. As He began His earthly life His body was wrapped in cloth and then placed on straw. 


Why would He do this? He did it to show us Goodness, show us Love and show us how to do it.  Finally He did it to save us, save us from ourselves and Satan’s favorite tool, Pride, which had brought down Adam and Eve. The Holy Family was and still is, the complete and perfect embodiment of Humility. It remains so to this very day. Of course, the antidote to Pride is Humility. 
Isn’t God amazing in the way He does things? This is the story of our Salvation and the rebirth of Hope. This Salvation became available to all people for all time and its success was entrusted to a couple of have-not teens whose humility and love of God enabled them to conquer the seemingly impossible. They married against incredible odds and traveled to Bethlehem while Mary was full term. Joseph walked guiding the donkey, protecting his young wife the entire time. Mary gave birth in a cave surrounded by smelly animals and filth and then they managed to escape the soldiers of King Herod who were trying to kill their newborn Son. Lest we forget, they somehow made it to Egypt, about three hundred miles away. We know the rest of the story.
We must never forget that within that family it was the husband and father who protected his wife and Son from the evils of the world. The Son humbled Himself and gave his life for us all.  And the Mom, our Mom too, the most humble woman ever created, stands ever vigilant ready to crush the head of the evil serpent who might harm any of her children. In so doing she is protecting all of her “children” (which includes you and I) for all eternity. She is our protection against all wickedness. Humility conquers pride. Just look to the Holy Family.

If you take a moment to truly ponder all that happened and how it happened and why it happened, it might leave you breathless. And then we remember it was all done for all of us. There was nothing done for themselves, not one thing. We need to get back to “Family” and the Holy Family is the model to build on. 
The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday following Christmas. If you are among the millions of folks who never pay an iota of attention to this family, maybe you should. Why? Because this is the family that “set the bar” for all families. Comprised of two teenagers, Mary and Joseph and their boy, Jesus, their unconditional love for God and each other cannot be surpassed.  The Salvation story comprises the greatest acts of combined Love and Humility ever.
                                 ©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights Reserved

Evangelii Guadiam is about Dignity for ALL Men & Women; It Cares NOT for Politics

by Larry Peterson

When Pope Francis released his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, he also  inadvertently released  a swarm of pseudo experts on Catholicism and the Papacy. Why even Rush Limbaugh, who acknowledged his own non-catholicity, has decided that the Pope  is nothing but a “pure Marxist”. Those on the left have assumed that the Catholic Church’s teachings on abortion,  contraception, women priests, and homosexual behavior and other issues are about to be changed. These folks, left & right,  are living in their own personal world of ‘relatavism’. Caught up in the secular world of ‘meism’ they cannot grasp for one tiny moment that the primary purpose of the Catholic Church is the salvation of souls. First and foremost, the Church is here to guide ALL of us to an eternal life with God, our Creator. Jesus Christ, the Son of God,  founded the Church and appointed its first leader, the apostle Peter who was the first Pope. Pope Francis is #266. Their mission, which they graciously accepted, has always been the same, to lead the flock to Salvation. Nothing has changed.

Okay now, listen up all you clever pundits who have allowed yourselves to become  unknowing prisoners of the secular Age of Relatavism. Pope Francis has done no different than Pope Leo XIII who gave the world Rerum Novarum in 1891 and Pope Pius XI who gave us Quadragesimo Anno in 1931. These documents were papal encyclicals and they dealt with capitalism, socialism, labor, fair wages, working conditions etc. (Please feel free to see for yourself. Just ‘google’). We need to remember that Catholic social doctrine deals with the DIGNITY of man/woman because they are made in the image and likeness of God.  Poor and rich alike have responsibility to each other because they are all part of the human equation. There is nothing evil in being rich. There is nothing wrong with workers wanting a better wage and improved conditions. Evil enters when the deadly sin of greed is embraced by people when  they begin thinking of themselves first instead of God. Consequently they want more for themselves at the expense of others. Employers and employees have a responsibility to each other to be fair and just at all times. As Leo XIII addressed the social order so did Pius XI wherein he wrote about the dangers of “unrestrained capitalism” and “totalitarian communism”. John Paul II addressed the dignity of man in Centesimus Annus in1991 and  Benedict XVI followed with  Caritas in Veritate in 2009. Pope Francis has connected the dots with the Popes over the last 112 years. The dignity of all people from the lowest to the most exalted is considered. The Pope(s) wants all people to understand that justice must come from all of us not just from some of us.

The Catholic Church is primarily a ship navigating the turbulent and often times violent waters of pride and envy and greed. As the church forges through these deadly waters the ship’s captain, (Pope), his officers, (bishops) and  crew (priests and religious)  are supposed to work together to  keep the ship safe and on a true course to Salvation . They are responsible for the millions of souls that are their passengers. They are supposed to be teaching them how to remain safe and secure as they travel along and how to be ready to confront any and all emergencies. Many times an experienced crew member ignore’s his/her training. Often times untrained passengers do not listen. Sadly, they are lost. Pride, greed, envy, lust, anger, gluttony and even sloth combine to stretch their tentacles over the ship’s railings and grab the indifferent pulling them over the side and down into the blackness. And to think, all they had to do was listen. In the meantime the ship’s captain MUST stay the course even though at times he must adapt to changes in the weather. There is one thing he will not do, change the primary mission. No matter what, he will always move forward and never retreat from the goal of reaching the shores of Salvation.

I think we must remember that the Catholic Church is here to guide us to a reward greater than we can ever imagine. It is not here to make everyone feel good about indulging in their own “feel good” world. Just as a parent must say ‘no” to their children the Church must say “NO” to ideas, behaviors and personal whims that violate the commandments. In today’s world many people do not like being told NO. There seems to be an idea that if  “I’m not bothering you I can do what I want.” Well, “NO”–none of us have that luxury. Pope Francis has embraced the people, the common people. It is a beautiful thing and God has done all of us a great favor in giving this man to the world. But make no mistake, he is the captain of the great ship and he is trying his best to guide it to “Salvation”. That will always be his primary goal and the ship’s ultimate destination.