Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Catholic Defender: The Meaning of Life

One of the most often question people ask is "What is the meaning of life"?

I will answer this question this way:

It was the Spring of 1977, I had a baseball scholarship preparing for my second season.

My Uncle, Phillip Fraizer bought me a $60.00 baseball glove which was a decent price in those days for a baseball glove.

 Not only that, he drove me back to school which was about a 2 hour drive. This helped my Mother out a great deal as well as me.

The year before, I had played with an old glove I had through high school and it was beat up really bad.

Coach Smith and others had a lot of fun with me over that ball glove as I used shoe strings to help keep it together.

In this picture I was sliding in safe at home plate!

So when Uncle Phillip bought me my new glove, this was a great gift that I made the most of. I was an outfielder and that glove served me well for three years of NAIA college and semi-pro play.

Over the years, that old baseball glove has been placed as a memorial for the importance this gift meant to me and my college days.

Especially considering that following May, 1977, Uncle Phillip was brutally murdered by a group of teenagers who had been doing small time robberies for drugs.

The morning after the murder, I found out about it from reading a news flash in the dinning hall as I was eating breakfast.

I hurriedly went to the college library to find that the largest man-hunt in Southern Missouri was taking place as the criminals had kidnapped Uncle Phillip.

Today, if someone looked at this glove, how could they understand the value of this ball glove? The meaning is totally lost without knowing the importance this gift means to me.

This part of the story will become more important to me as this article unfolds. At this point it is important to note that Uncle Phillips gift to me was very important.

Consider today's reading at Mass: "I, John, had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue.  They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. Then one of the elders said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple.  The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.  They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them.  For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Notice what I highlighted from Revelation! "they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb", "For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

This is clearly a reference to Baptism.  Consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 states, "Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.  That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."

Through Baptism we are delivered from sin, it is a free gift from God through the Ministry of the Church.  Consider Hebrews 10:22, "let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.  Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope,.."

Baptism cleanses us from sin, "Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the GIFT of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38-39) 

In Baptism we receive the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit! That means the gift of life! This is the true meaning of life, to have life more abundantly through Jesus Christ.  

Just like people might not appreciate the importance of Uncle Phillip's gift to me, people many times do not understand the gift God is offering them.  

This is why many commit suicide, why families are in such turmoil, why there is such rampant apostasy and heresy everywhere.  This is why secularism is given a foothold in our society.   

Consider the direct opposite effect of someone who rejects the Catholic Faith.  2 Peter 2:22 warns, "What is expressed in the true proverb has happened to them, 'The dog returns to its own vomit, and a bathed sow returns to wallowing in the mire".   

How sad this is to see in our families such rebellion, but this is all prophetic.  We are in a battle for sure and we must stand firm in the Faith and persevere to the end.

Going back to my Uncle Phillip, my Brother Randy, a one time United States no-nonsense Marine, went to do prison Ministry in Columbia Missouri when he was confronted with praying with the master mind who killed Uncle Phillip.

This was something he had not expected, but when faced to make a decision, he, on his part, forgave the individual and what a gift this represents.  

It reminds us that all of us need this kind of forgiveness from the Lord and this is his gift to us.

I have been given much, I am well blessed, my Faith and his Grace is the greatest gift he has given me.

My wife Gigi is God's greatest gift and responsibility he has given me and the Children we continue to love and support.

Life has so much to offer with it's challenges and responsibilities, but it is a great opportunity to do his will in all things, to be his servant, his instrument..

The answer to the question, "What is the meaning of life" can really be answered in a scripture verse: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." Please accept the grace of God as a permanent gift to you if only we would act upon our yes.

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