Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jesus founded a Church

I've been asked to address the Jesus>Religion YouTube video with the Religious Ed students at my parish.  Sorry, I'm not providing a hyperlink to the video because I don't think the creator needs any more hits.  In fact, perhaps it is a bad move on my part, but I haven't watched the video.  I've read some excellent responses from trustworthy sources and this is a great video response from Fr. Robert Barron.

If you haven't heard about the Jesus>Religion YouTube video, then here's a quick synopsis: Jesus came to abolish religion and all the stuff that comes along with it.  We are saved by faith and not by works.  If this sounds familiar, well, it is.  It is the Evangelical Protestant argument against institutional churches.  Martin Luther started it...and it continues today.

Jesus himself said that he did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).  He also established a Church and named Peter the leader and the Catholic Church which is the fruit of the apostles labor.  The history of the Church has it's amazing moments and it's not so amazing moments; when looking at the Church there is one thing that is undeniable: the Holy Spirit has been our guide and our protector.

I get a little crazy when I hear people complain about institutional religions like the Catholic Church because they whine about our faults, but they neglect our achievements.  Today's reading from James spells out what what true religion should be: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world. "(1:27, NAB)

Is the Catholic Church perfect?  No.  But we are guided by the Holy Spirit and, in our imperfect ways, seek to care for the weakest among us.

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