The entire meaning of Lent, Holy Thursday, the Easter Triduum, can be summed up in this sentence from the gospel of John, “He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end,” since it speaks about the entire content of the life and mission of Jesus Christ; that is, to love his disciples and his brethren—us, you, me, humanity—to the very end.
I still remember being eleven years old, watching in wonder as Pope Benedict XVI gave the declaration of canonization for St. Rafael Arnaiz Baron. At the time I thought monks only existed in Buddhism, and was pleasantly surprised to find that monks are a vital part of the Catholic Church.
It was a death in the family. I didn’t expect to be so shaken by the footage of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral, a building I had scarcely seen in tiny photographs, let alone in person, crumbling at the touch of so many flames.
Have you ever listened to someone tell you the same story over and over again? How did you respond to that person after the fifth, tenth or fifteenth repetition? Did you realize that, in sharing the same story time and again, that person was entrusting you with something sacred—that you were standing on holy ground?
Was it absolutely necessary for Jesus to be brutally crucified on a Roman cross in order to redeem humankind? Could God have chosen some other way? Perhaps. But I cannot think of a better way.
Jesus Christ is the Son of Man who died for all. He is the One who voluntarily perished so that all could live, thrive and flourish—not just for a time, but forever and ever.
I used to think the term Cafeteria Catholics applied only to those Catholics who pick and choose which church teachings to apply to their political life—abortion and same-sex marriage for example. But God opened my eyes to see the hypocrite standing in the mirror.
Non-Catholic Christians entering the Church through the RCIA program often point out that they’ve heard about how Catholics practice idolatry: the worship of “graven images” and/or saints. Many of them complain that idolatry is the single biggest objection their Protestant friends have against Catholics.