Martin Luther King Jr. and Gilligan’s Island

As a history teacher I always like to see what shows were broadcast around national holidays. What would be emphasized this time? This year I’m extremely disappointed in the programming for the Martin Luther King Holiday. TCM ran a series of films involving black actors especially Sidney Poitier. BET ran the King miniseries and the Rosa Parks Story. One cable channel ran a Gilligan’s Island marathon. Did the programmers at that channel even know it was the Martin Luther King Holiday?
What disappoints me most about the programming and even the holiday was how many people and how much history was forgotten. As great as MLK was; he and Rosa Parks were not the whole Civil Rights Movement and the Civil Rights Movement lasted much longer than the years from Montgomery to the Voting Rights Act of 1965?
What about all the other people who sacrificed or risk their lives for justice? What about Medgar Evers, James Chaney and others who gave their lives? What about the Freedom Riders like John Lewis and James Farmer who were beaten? What about crusaders like A. Philip Randolph, Ida B. Wells and Charles Houston who paved the way for the Civil Rights Movement? So many people made a great deal of sacrifices, often ordinary, unknown individuals like you and me. At least 42 were known to have died during the years from Montgomery to Selma. Many more were lynched in the years prior.
It is important to remember the whole struggle. The battle for racial justice did not take a decade and still goes on today. Many who started the struggle never saw the results. The same is true of those who fought for the right of women to vote. I doubt if any who were at Seneca Falls in 1848 lived to see Women’s Suffrage take effect in 1920.
This long view of history is important especially for those who are pro-life. Our struggle isn’t over. Those who started the struggle may be dying off but like the Civil Rights Movement new leaders are emerging the battle goes on. And like the Civil Rights Movement the work and contributions or ordinary everyday Americans is important. The battle isn’t over!

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Why Won’t We Be Healed?

Jesus said “Come to Me, all you who are burdened…”. Why don’t we come to Him? So many people accept illness or just get by when they don’t have to. Our faith tells us that Jesus is present in the Eucharist. Scripture (Hebrews 13:8) tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. We know from the gospels that Jesus healed all those who came to Him in faith. Why do we walk into church not expecting miracles?
Why don’t we experience miracles at mass? Could the fault be ours? Could it be that we never expect miracles? Could it be that we insist on healing on our terms not Christ’s? We want to be healed physically but refuse the spiritual, emotional and relational healing that Jesus wants to give us first? Are we too stubborn to change or give up our sins? Do we refuse to give up our sins? Are we too full of pride to let God in?
Are we like the people of Nazareth who were so used to Jesus that they couldn’t imagine Him performing a miracle? Have we gotten so used to receiving Communion that we’ve forgotten the God who is present in all His Divinity? Have we forgotten the power, glory and majesty present in the Eucharist? Has Communion become an empty ritual rather than a miraculous encounter with the Creator of the Universe? Is the problem that we expect nothing to happen and therefore receive nothing?
Is it that we don’t believe that God loves us that much? Do we think we’ve messed up so much that we’re unworthy of healing, that we deserve to suffer? Do we not believe God’s promise in Romans that nothing can separate us from the love of God? Do we not believe that by His stripes we are healed?
God wants to bless us every time we receive Communion. We have to open ourselves up to His infinite love and allow Him to bless us. We have to say yes to His agenda. Open your heart and say yes. Allow Jesus to knock your socks up. Let go of the fear, the pride or anger that blocks you from His awesome love and grace.

A Faith Worth Dying For, part II

As the New Year begins I think about all of those who gave their lives for the faith this past year. People are still being persecuted today for their faith. In countries like India and Egypt Christians were attacked in church. We have been persecuted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China and even parts of the Philippines. You risk your life just to go to mass.
Why? Why are people willing to risk their lives for the faith? Why not just convert to Islam or whatever? What do they know that we are missing? Each weekend an average of 31% of American Catholics go to mass and so many of them go late and leave early. We act more like we are punching a time clock or getting a ticket punched rather than worshipping the God who created the Universe? Why?
What do they know that we don’t? What is it about our faith that makes people willing to give up their careers, homes, businesses and move to another country rather than give up their faith? Why are they willing to sacrifice everything for their faith?
We need to find out. We need this year to take a good look at our selves and our faith to see if we can discover the priceless treasure we’ve been missing. We need to take the time to really look at what our faith is really about, a relationship with a loving God who passionately longs to have us with Him for all Eternity, the God who gave us Himself in the Eucharist so we don’t have to wait for heaven to know Him; the God who ardently longs to bless us, the God who gave His life for us on Calvary.
We have a faith worth dying for. Millions across the years have given their lives rather than abandon their faith. Even today people are willing to die for their faith. How important is your faith to you?