The Catholic Defender Goes Long!
It was 4th down, the game was tied, I went wide right as we were nearing the end of the game. The Quarterback counts off and the ball is hiked and off I went. I moved inside (left) towards the middle of the field then ran strong right going long. I sprinted hard to get free. The Quarterback being rushed rolls right and spots me throwing the ball 40 yards. I remember the ball rising over the outstretched hand of the defender as I was able to flag it down and make the catch for the game winning touchdown. What a great moment for me as this would be the last play I would make with my troops. At age 53 I felt great that I could still compete with my guys who most of whom were in their early 20's. This was a memorial event for me as I have been a player for more than 26 years in all the unit's I've been associated. I was actually on 7 post/division championship softball teams. One year we got the chance to play at Walter Reed for a National tournament. We got 5th in the Country that year. I was also able to play on a winning team in Korea and Germany. All of this was a lot of fun and I am graced to have been able to participate. It was great for the morale of all the troops. Going long has been something I have always done, not only on the ball field, but for the Church. Jesus want's us to "go long" for anyone out there who has drifted on their own, who are lost in sin, who are hurting. This year we have a number of RCIA Catechumans and Candidates who will be received into the Catholic Faith on Easter Vigil! We are just beginning the program the past couple of weeks and the journey is beginning for quite a few people here. What I think is really awesome about this is that our people adds to those throughout our Diocese and to the whole world. This Easter Vigil millions of people will be received into the Catholic Faith from every nation of the earth. What a tremendous event this is. As we begin, we pray for the grace to take this opportunity for personal growth. I encourage Catholics to get involved. Many times they get more from RCIA than they did going to CCD or even Catholic School growing up. This week, I will be covering the following questions for discussion: 1. Why Does God Allow Evil? 2. Why Does the Church Have So Many Rules? 3. Why is the Catholic Church Unique? 4. Aren't All Christians 'Saints'? 5. Are Catholics 'Born Again'? These are some good questions and intended to make people think. I will be covering these in following articles. Just a few days ago, we remembered the events of September 11, 2001. Nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered by Terrorists. Many of us will never forget what happened that day. Violence and war are a constant reality. Where is God in all of this? Clearly Jesus was present, His death on the cross as He participated in this human mystery. Death is reality as a result of Original Sin. Sin is in the world and that brought in death. There are many examples here and people can relate to much of this from personal experience. What Jesus Accomplished on the cross, He gives us hope and victory. St. Paul writes, "Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" 1 Corinthians 15:55-57). St. Paul writes, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God's stewardship given ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me" Colossians 1:24-29). That is the RCIA and that is the goal for Easter Vigil to attain and possess the mysteries of our faith, "Going Long"for the reward that he has promised. The promise of everlasting life.