Our Story …
Mullet Man and Johnny were having a little exchange. In an attempt to save Johnny from his Catholic faith, Mullet Man often repeated inaccurate and untrue things he had heard his pastor and friends say. Things like, “Catholics ain’t saved” — and stuff like that. But Johnny knew better and was having no part of that.
Johnny understood that while most of his Protestant brothers and sisters really did love Jesus, they belonged to churches that all shared at least one thing in common: they were started by men other than Jesus. Only the Catholic Church was able to claim that it was started by Jesus and back up that claim.
Johnny also knew that Jesus had promised to build His Church, protect it, and give the keys to the Kingdom of God to the ones He would leave behind after He ascended (Mt 16:16-19). In Johnny’s mind, Satan could never defeat Jesus or make Him break any of those promises — so it was the Catholic Church for Johnny.
Nevertheless, there was something about old Mullet Man that Johnny really did like. The two men would remain lifelong friends.
It Is Written …
The Bible tells us about a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews, who snuck into the place where Jesus was staying one evening to ask the Lord about the Kingdom of God. Clearly, Nicodemus was already interested in the Church Jesus was establishing.
“What must a man do to enter the Kingdom?” Nicodemus wanted to know.
“You must be born from above,” Jesus replied.
That confused the Pharisee greatly. How can anyone be born again after they’ve already been born, he wanted to know?
“It’s spirit and water,” Jesus replied.
Of course, our dialogue is a paraphrase of the conversation actually recorded in the Bible. You can read the record of the actual conversation for yourself (John 3:1-5). But this is a remarkable response in light of other passages in the Old Testament.
It all began with spirit and water. “In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth— and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters—“ (Gen 1:1-2, NABRE) The “wind” is a common illusion in the Bible to reveal the presence of the Holy Spirit.
A similar scenario exists at the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. “After Jesus was baptized, He came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened [for Him], and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove [and] coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mt 3:16-17, NABRE)
There are many other examples, including the parting of the Red Sea. But the point is, God has chosen, from the beginning of time, to use the Holy Spirit and water in miraculous ways. We know as Catholics that one of those ways is for our salvation.
Life Goes On …
Most folks — including Catholics — are not aware of the unique relationship that exists between the Catholic Church and the Bible. Long before Islam or any Protestant churches existed, the Catholic Church had given the Bible to the world. In fact, many of the New Testament books were actually written by Catholic bishops. And while many churches today try to be “the church of the Bible,” the truth is, the Bible is actually “the Book of the Church.”
If Jesus had not started the Catholic Church before He ascended to heaven and sent His Holy Spirit to inspire those first leaders and their successors, there would not be a Bible.
You will hear “cuts and comments” from many in society about the Catholic Church. It’s because of Jesus. Jesus is the One who is actually being attacked. Nevertheless, be kind and gracious. Pray for those who seem confused. And be prepared to welcome them back into God’s light when they’re ready.
PS … it’s okay to laugh about these things though. Our Lord has a sense of humor, and so do “Mullet Man and Johnny.”
It’s cool to be Catholic. COOL2B!
In Christ, Brothers.