21st Sunday in Ordinary Time-August 27th, 2017

     Here we have, without a doubt, the Scriptural foundations for the Papacy and the Sacrament of Confession pointing to the importance of morality in the life of the Christian.  Yet, I would like to zero in on one of these in particular and that being what is called the Papacy of Our Catholic Church.

     Our Holy Father Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI are probably the most politically incorrect leaders on the face of the earth.  As Pope, they continued the Church's teachings in calling abortion a sin against God and murder of the innocent.  They call homosexuality unnatural and immoral. They oppose all extra-marital relations.  In short, they personify the Christian conscience.

     Even with their continued opposition to what the world is doing to make sin acceptable, they both still are one of the most beloved leaders on earth.  Not even the President of the United States draws crowds as they do.  You know it is amazing to see national leaders who are against what the Catholic Church teaches finding ways to be photographed with the Pope.  Why?  The attractions is simply this:  The current Holy Roman Pontiff and Emeritus are the Vicar of Christ on earth and thereby what they have said or will say is inspired by the Holy Spirit. By virtue of the Holy Spirit, no Pope for all 2000 plus years in the history of the Church has ever erred in matters of faith and morals in regard to Church teaching.  He speaks the truth if he is speaking in line of all previous Popes even when it is hard to hear.  Deep down even those who oppose him want to know what the Pope says.

     The Papacy stands for a Church and world that values every human person from their first moment until their last.  The Pope as Vicar of Christ on earth is the rock on which the Church is build, which the Scriptures told us today was a Church that the jaws of death cannot prevail against it as she possesses the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. 

     What does it mean that whatever the Pope declares loosed on earth will be loosed in Heaven.  Well, since sin has no place in Heaven, it simply means tat one of the main concerns of the Holy Father is to point out sin in the world so that we can stay spiritually sound and remain worthy of entering Heaven-what we all want deep down.

     However, many Catholic couples still say they do not agree with the Church's teachings in regard to contraception which the Holy Father still upholds.  Many couples think Benedict and Francis are old-fashioned and out-dated.  Well, the last time I checked Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever. What our Church has taught since its beginning is that artificial contraception is immoral and a grave offense against God.  Now, you may be getting upset at me for mentioning this.  Yet, what is a the root of most or our sins-selfishness and self-centeredness.  I will not sacrifice this or that.  I want.  I have to have.  It is way too often all about Me..Me..Me..what I want!  You know what is so sad about all this?  What we often think in life that will make us happy or fulfilled is in following only our will, and yet, really what the result of this all this selfishness is unhappiness, loneliness, and bitterness.  When we step outside ourselves and love, when we consider what God would want before what we would want, we find peace, we find truth, we find happiness and joy.  Why?  Because in doing so we are imitation Jesus, your will be done, Father, not mine, and thus He then gives us a share in His eternal joy when we do.  What we all need and want our of life.

     The Pope tries to point all of this out if we will listen with love and acceptance.  Are we listening to him?  If not, since he is the Vicar of Christ on earth, we shut our ears to Christ.  And we all know where that will lead us if we continue to do so!

     Let us not forget to pray for Pope Francis everyday as he leads the Church, for he has the weight of the world on his shoulders.  May God bless the Successor of St. Peter, our Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and all of us their sheep as they lovingly guide us as Good Shepherds, leading all who listen to them to eternal life and happiness if we but follow them, the Vicars of Christ on earth!