Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Vicar of Christ...

This Tuesday Pope Benedict XVI will arrive in Washington D.C. Eventually he will be in New York on Thursday and return to the Vatican on Sunday after offering Mass in Yankee Stadium. We are happy and blessed to have His Holiness in our country and in particular in our area.

No doubt Pope Benedict will bring messages of truth for the President, for the bishops and priests, and for everyone. He will encourage each of us to live according to God's plan so that there will be real peace in the world. This peace starts with reconciliation with God and then emanates to all of our neighbors.

The Pope is called the Shepherd of Shepherds because he is the leader of the Church. Each bishop is a shepherd in his own diocese. All the bishops together with the Pope lead us to a deeper knowledge of faith in Our Lord.

The Pope is also known as the Vicar of Christ. A vicar is a viceroy, one who stands in the place of the king. He is the visible head of the Catholic Church on earth. Just as Jesus taught the truth to the people in Israel twenty centuries ago, each Pope from St. Peter to Pope Benedict has done and does the same in his papacy. What the Vicar of Christ teaches is nothing new; it is the same truth that was revealed by God through Sacred Scripture (the written word of God) and Sacred Tradition (the unwritten word of God). So, all the pontiffs have brought the same messages of truth through the ages. They have done this according to the times and circumstances of each place, addressing specific problems.

The major truth is the Commandment of love. First, we must love God above all, and then, our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus revealed the full extent of love by treating people as persons. There is no love when someone uses another for his benefit and treats that person as a thing. That is what happens in an abortion. It becomes expedient to think of that little innocent person as an inconvenient thing. Jesus Christ teaches us that all human beings are persons worthy of love. So the unborn is a person; the mother is a person; the father is a person; etc.

Pope Benedict will continue to convey this message of truth and love. Why? Simply because he is the Pope—because he is the Vicar of Christ. Moreover, because he loves us.

Let us pray for his safe journey and that his message falls upon open ears and open hearts.

Fr. Stanley