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25 Years a Priest. A Wondrous Answer to a question both ancient and modern.
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | 6/23/2014 | Msgr. Charles Pope

Posted on 06/24/2014 1:27:20 AM PDT by markomalley

Twenty-five Years ago today on a blazing hot summer morning in Washington DC at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, I was Ordained a Priest.

Can I tell you a strange truth? I remember nothing of it. I have seen footage of it, but have no personal memory of the event. I don’t know why my memory is dead in this matter. Perhaps it is the implausibility of a former agnostic in me saying that I would obey the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington and all his successors. Perhaps it is the hippie of a teenager who listened only to The Who and Arrowsmith accepting a the laying on of hands as the Gregorian Veni Creator was sung. Perhaps it is the cynical stubborn stiff-necked college student with the brass forehead saying that he accepted the mysteries of the faith and would base his life on them.

But there have surely been more dramatic moments in history. Surely the strange even of John the Baptist pointing to Jesus, a full grown man, and calling him the “Lamb of God” must rank up there with the stranger moments in history.

Yes, even more, on this feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist we celebrate the Birth of the final Prophet of the Old Testament. He stood at the culmination of the Old Covenant and emphatically pointed to the New. He drew back the curtain on all that that the ancient prophets longed to see. His birth is a great harbinger of a new epoch, the final age of Man. When he points to Christ and then steps back, we see the Old Covenant yield to the new. One era is ending another is beginning. This birthday bespeaks a coming sea change, something is ending, something greater is beginning. Types, symbols and shadows are about to give way to true reality they signified.

A great and dramatic moment in this Old giving way to the New occurs when the two meet by the riverside. (It is true, they had already met in utero, as Mary and Elizabeth shared company. John prefigured this riverside meeting by dancing for joy in his mother’s womb at the nearness of Christ). But the drama of this moment at the riverside cannot be overestimated for John supplies a strange and wonderful answer to a question asked 2,000 years before. And the answer he supplies to this question signals that the new has arrived.

To understand the moment we must go back in time to approximately 1900 BC. The place is a hillside called Moriah where Jerusalem would later be built. Abraham has been commended there by God where he has been told to prepare to kill him in sacrifice. Upon arriving at the foot of Moriah the text says,

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” ”Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. ”The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb…? (Gen 22:6-8)

Do not miss the great foreshadowing here: A long promised son, about to die, carrying wood upon his shoulders ascending the very hillside where Jerusalem and Golgotha will one day be located. Yes this is a wondrous foreshadowing.

And then comes the great question to his Father: “But, Where is the Lamb?” Yes, indeed, where is the Lamb who will die so that I don’t have to? Where is the Lamb whose blood will save my life? Where is the Lamb?

Now you know the rest of that story. An angel stopped Abraham and then pointed to a ram, with it’s horns in the thicket. And you may be excused for saying, “Aha, God did provide the Lamb. End of story.” But truth be told, this ram, this lamb cannot really save Isaac. Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (Heb 10:4) Isaac’s death is merely postponed and then it is off to Sheol with him where he will lie and wait for the True Lamb who alone can give eternal life.

And so, that question got wafted up on to the breeze and echoed down through the Centuries that followed: “But, where is the Lamb…..where is the Lamb?”

And now we are standing by the banks of the Jordan River 19 Centuries later and John the Baptist sees a full grown man coming toward him and says a very strange thing: “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” (Jn 1:29) Yes, there is the true Lamb who alone can take away our sins. John the Baptist supplies a strange and wonderful, though long delayed answer to a question Isaac asked 1,900 years before. Where is the Lamb? THERE is the Lamb!

Happy birthday of John the Baptist. His birth is the culmination of an age, an era, a Covenant. He is the last of the Old Testament Prophets. His birth signals an end and a beginning. The Book of Hebrews says By calling this covenant “new,” [God] has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear (Hebrews 8:13). Hence John would later say, “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must increase; I must decrease. (John 3:29-30).

And happy anniversary for me, a strange stand-in for Jesus, but somehow chosen by him and ordained by him 25 years ago today. I do not answer the question “Where in the Lamb?” but rather, “What is he doing here?” At the end of the day, the answer can only be rooted in the mercy of God who takes away the sins of the world, and of Charles Pope and says, “You’ll do, though it will take a lot of grace.” I know only this, I am unfit to untie his sandal.

May God be praised for the mystery of his plan and the surprise of how he fulfills ancient promises: Even Me Lord, a strange stand-in for the Lamb of God, but here I am. Not sure I signal the beginning or end of anything; just a continuation of the ministry of the Lamb of God, who answered an age-old question, and fulfilled an ancient dispensation. And Just like John, who pointed to Jesus, here am I doing the same. Thank you Jesus. The bride is all yours, I am but a worthless Groosman, but do have pity on me and help me to rejoice with you in your bride


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: msgrcharlespope

1 posted on 06/24/2014 1:27:20 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: AllAmericanGirl44; Biggirl; Carpe Cerevisi; ConorMacNessa; Faith65; GreyFriar; Heart-Rest; ...

Msgr Pope ping


2 posted on 06/24/2014 1:28:14 AM PDT by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley

I have studied the Bible for 30 years and do not understand where this man is coming from...he’s the groomsman? huh? Is this the Nicolaetean system Jesus said he hates? Boy will he be surprised when he reaches eternity.


3 posted on 06/24/2014 1:43:09 AM PDT by ladyL
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To: markomalley

That’s a very well-fed John the Baptist in the picture.


4 posted on 06/24/2014 2:37:14 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Cynicism is a far greater spiritual danger than naivete." ~ Stephen Webb)
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To: ladyL

Thanks for being the “turd in the punchbowl” on what I thought was a beautiful and uplifting thread. Catholic haters gonna hate, I guess.

CC


5 posted on 06/24/2014 2:37:19 AM PDT by Celtic Conservative (tease not the dragon for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup)
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To: markomalley

Ping for later.


6 posted on 06/24/2014 3:01:54 AM PDT by defconw (LUTFA!)
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To: markomalley

I thought it was a good essay as well.


7 posted on 06/24/2014 3:39:27 AM PDT by Vermont Lt (If you want to keep your dignity, you can keep it. Period........ Just kidding, you can't keep it.)
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: Tax-chick

LOL! Yes, John was quite the “sight” IIRC.


9 posted on 06/24/2014 4:18:20 AM PDT by defconw (LUTFA!)
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To: Vermont Lt

I did as well. I guess I never realized that it was 1900 years between Issac and John. Never did the math before.


10 posted on 06/24/2014 4:19:37 AM PDT by defconw (LUTFA!)
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To: defconw

It doesn’t look like the build of a man who is living on locusts and wild honey.


11 posted on 06/24/2014 4:26:26 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Cynicism is a far greater spiritual danger than naivete." ~ Stephen Webb)
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To: Tax-chick

No and from what I understand he had never cut his hair or beard and they weren’t that big on bathing back then. Funny how the powers that be thought he was crazy but they were also afraid of him. :)


12 posted on 06/24/2014 4:52:01 AM PDT by defconw (LUTFA!)
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To: markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; ...

Ping!


13 posted on 06/24/2014 4:57:47 AM PDT by NYer ("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
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To: NYer
I have always loved the sheep and Lamb commentaries. Seems so peaceful to me some how. I guess when these come up in ordinary time, during the gentleness of the summer the become very visual to me.

I always loved how Jesus would leave 100 people to go look for the one in trouble. I guess the pictures of that stay with you forever. The Good Sheppard.

14 posted on 06/24/2014 5:05:06 AM PDT by defconw (LUTFA!)
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To: defconw
Funny how the powers that be thought he was crazy but they were also afraid of him.

Yes, that's a very interesting point. They were seeing something more than just a "crazy homeless man."

15 posted on 06/24/2014 5:07:39 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Cynicism is a far greater spiritual danger than naivete." ~ Stephen Webb)
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To: Tax-chick
I remember when we were doing Vacation Bible School and we were trying to come up with a theme, Someone suggested John the Baptist. We thought and thought about it, but decided with the little ones not a very good way to go about it! The blood and gore was just thought to be a little much for the little ones.
16 posted on 06/24/2014 5:14:17 AM PDT by defconw (LUTFA!)
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To: defconw

Be about the 3rd grade, they’d be into the blood and gore!


17 posted on 06/24/2014 5:21:22 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Cynicism is a far greater spiritual danger than naivete." ~ Stephen Webb)
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To: Iscool

I think you might have been reading a little too much into it.

But, I am not a biblical scholar. I DO know that God is God. Ant man suggestion otherwise is deluded.


18 posted on 06/24/2014 5:27:56 AM PDT by Vermont Lt (If you want to keep your dignity, you can keep it. Period........ Just kidding, you can't keep it.)
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To: Tax-chick
No doubt the boys would have had a blast. Not so sure the girls would have, well at least back then. :) We went with Jonah and the Whale always popular. Plus some one at the Parish had constructed a giant whale out of heavy plastic. They used fans to make it open up. Big enough for adults to go in as well. Very cool.
19 posted on 06/24/2014 5:28:05 AM PDT by defconw (LUTFA!)
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To: defconw

I can see how a giant whale would be popular with everyone!


20 posted on 06/24/2014 5:28:34 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Cynicism is a far greater spiritual danger than naivete." ~ Stephen Webb)
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To: markomalley; RightField; aposiopetic; rbmillerjr; Lowell1775; JPX2011; NKP_Vet; Jed Eckert; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

21 posted on 06/24/2014 5:32:13 AM PDT by narses (Matthew 7:6. He appears to have made up his mind let him live with the consequences.)
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To: ladyL

“I have studied the Bible for 30 years and do not understand where this man is coming from...”

Wouldn’t the problem then lie with you and not the priest in question? After all he has studied the Bible as long as you have and much more deeply.

“he’s the groomsman? huh? Is this the Nicolaetean system Jesus said he hates?”

No. I suggest you learn how to spell Nicolaitan before you accuse people of following it. And you studied the Bible for 30 years?

“Boy will he be surprised when he reaches eternity.”

By the look of things you’re in for a bigger surprise.


22 posted on 06/24/2014 7:46:42 AM PDT by vladimir998
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To: markomalley

bkmk


23 posted on 06/24/2014 9:02:55 AM PDT by AllAmericanGirl44
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To: markomalley

Happy 25th Jubilee, Monsignor Pope!

Blessings galore and prayers too!


24 posted on 06/24/2014 9:13:03 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: markomalley
25 Years a Priest. A Wondrous Answer to a question both ancient and modern
Pope at Mass: John the Baptist a model for the Church John the Baptist: In the Spirit and Power of Elijah (Sunday is the Solemnity of John the Baptist!)
A brief primer on St. John the Baptist, Forerunner...

The Birth of Saint John the Baptist [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Living Faith: John the Baptizer teaches us the Way to Happiness and Freedom
SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST THE PRECURSOR
THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
John the Baptist, an Enduring Model of Fidelity to God
Birth of John the Baptist by St Augustine
Birth of St. John the Baptist, Feast: June 24
Homilies preached by Father Robert Altier on the Solemnity of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist
Nativity of the Forerunner John the Baptist, June 24
Saints John The Baptist, Zachary and Elizabeth [THE BIRTH OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST]

25 posted on 06/24/2014 9:19:33 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: vladimir998

boy aren’t you sweet...


26 posted on 06/24/2014 9:54:32 AM PDT by ladyL
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To: Celtic Conservative

As a graduate of Sacred Heart Academy, I just questioned this man’s equation of himself with Yahshua the bridegroom. Yahshua’s followers are the bride. You however, with the position you took and the language you used, must be confused as to who he is saying he is and who you are.


27 posted on 06/24/2014 10:01:20 AM PDT by ladyL
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To: ladyL

Have a nice day.

CC


28 posted on 06/24/2014 10:04:01 AM PDT by Celtic Conservative (tease not the dragon for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup)
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To: ladyL

“Groomsman” and “bridegroom” are not the same person.


29 posted on 06/24/2014 12:20:32 PM PDT by Campion
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To: Campion

groomsman and bride are not the same person...Believers are the Bride of Christ.


30 posted on 06/24/2014 4:22:30 PM PDT by ladyL
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To: defconw

“I always loved how Jesus would leave 100 people to go look for the one in trouble.”

He does, too; never doubt that.


31 posted on 06/27/2014 3:41:59 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: ladyL

“As a graduate of Sacred Heart Academy, I just questioned this man’s equation of himself with Yahshua the bridegroom.”

Groom’s man, not groom.

Groomsman - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A groomsman is one of the male attendants to the groom in a wedding ceremony.


32 posted on 06/27/2014 3:50:50 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: Tax-chick

Maybe it was locust pizza and wild honey beer.


33 posted on 06/27/2014 3:57:59 PM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: dsc

I admit I’ve been the lost clueless one and he always comes for me.


34 posted on 06/27/2014 5:01:01 PM PDT by defconw (LUTFA!)
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To: FourtySeven

LOL - or wild honey mead!


35 posted on 06/28/2014 3:12:13 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Let the storm rage on ... the cold never bothered me anyway.)
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