Although I’ve never attended the Religious Education Conference in Los Angeles, I’ve heard many rumors about it and not always good ones. This article gives a good, factual report on the ‘highlights’ of the event which make me glad I never paid the price to attend. Some say the world is destroying the Church. After reading what this Church leader allowed to take place in his jurisdiction, I’m thinking there is a good deal of the Church destroying the world. This is Good Friday and what went on at the Religious Education Conference is not what Jesus died for on that day.
There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak….
“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, ‘What do you have there, son?’
“Just some old birds,” came the reply.
“What are you going to do with them?” I asked.
“Take ’em home and have fun with ’em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease ’em and pull out their feathers to make ’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”
“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”
“Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take ’em to them.”
The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”
“Huh?? !!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!”
“How much?” the pastor asked again.
The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10?”
The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free. Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story:
One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation.
Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ’em all!”
“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.
Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”
“And what will you do when you are done with them?” Jesus asked.
“Oh, I’ll kill ’em,” Satan glared proudly.
“How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked.
“Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you. They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don’t want those people!!”
“How much? He asked again.
Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, tears and your life.”
Jesus said, “DONE!” Then He paid the price.
The pastor picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit.
I pray, for everyone who sends this on, whether to their entire address book or just a few, that God will bless them in a special way. And for those that just deleted it…and I KNOW there will be a few … WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
I thank God every day for my blessed life. I’m not rich, don’t live in a mansion and don’t have the nicest of material things, but, I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food on my table, a family that loves me and lifelong friends to get me through… I’d say I have a lot to be thankful for.
Have you counted your blessings today?_
This song is from the perspective of St. Peter after the Crucifixion. Amazing video and song that really brings home the feast day’s meaning today.
Good Friday would, on the surface, not seem to be good at all for the sufferings inflicted on Jesus that day. However, His suffering, as we know, was our salvation. Who else but a perfect soul would lay down their life with such great pain to save the world and open the Gates of Heaven? Sad to think, however, how little people know or appreciate the greatness of this day or take a bit of it away in their heart to contemplate at moments during the rest of the year. How many of us would lay down our life for another person much less take on extraordinary pains in order to save the world and give humanity a new beginning, a chance at eternity.
We left a darkened and quiet church after Holy Thursday yesterday. Today, we arrive back to the same empty solitude. No Holy Water, no Mass, no Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. Jesus has been taken away to be crucified. The priest reveals the cross bearing our Lord’s Body and we each venerate it in our own way. Soon, the Holy Friday service ends and we exit the still church. Although we feel the emptiness and sadness, you have to wonder how much greater the feeling was for the Mother of God, His Apostles, and followers to see their beloved Jesus dead on the cross. We relive that moment, in a way, but we have the certitude of knowing we have a Holy Saturday in front of us and the exaltation of Easter to follow.
O sacred head, surrounded
by crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding head, so wounded,
reviled and put to scorn!
Our sins have marred the glory
of thy most holy face,
yet angel hosts adore thee
and tremble as they gaze
I see thy strength and vigor
all fading in the strife,
and death with cruel rigor,
bereaving thee of life;
O agony and dying!
O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying,
O turn thy face on me.
In this thy bitter passion,
Good Shepherd, think of me
with thy most sweet compassion,
unworthy though I be:
beneath thy cross abiding
for ever would I rest,
in thy dear love confiding,
and with thy presence blest.
The emotional ups and downs of Holy Week can be as poignant, solemn, and anticipatory as when these events unfolded in the time of Jesus when he came down to earth to pay for our sins in return for our love. Looking around the world, especially today’s world, I can imagine that Jesus is shaking His head in disbelief. Yet, for those who are looking for a renewal of Faith and devotion, this could be the one time in the year where we can remember our roots and how we arrived at our respective places in life.
Upon entering the church, today, we will find an emptiness. The tabernacle door will be standing open, you will not find the Holy Water fonts filled, the altar is bare, and the mood is somber. Jesus was taken away at the end of Holy Thursday to be judged on sins He did not commit . . . for us.
Yes, many of us will be in church today but no will be hear Mass. The priest consecrated extra Hosts, last night as without a Mass being said, there will be no Consecration. We’ve all followed the Way of the Cross for the last six weeks in one way or the other and it ends today.