Sunday, March 04, 2007

Was Jonah Catholic?

It all started with Jonah, A Veggie Tales’ Movie. Four-year-old Sarah was watching it in the living room as I made dinner. Suddenly she piped up, “Mommy, is Jonah Catholic?”
“No, Jonah was Jewish.”
“Are we Jewish?”
“We’re Catholic. We believe Jesus, who was born to a Jewish family, makes us part of God’s ‘forever family.’” ("Forever family" is a familiar concept to Sarah, who has heard it since she first came to us at six months of age.)
Silence reigned in the living room as the television continued to blare. Then a little voice piped up again. “So, is GOD Catholic?”
Good question. “No, dear. Jesus made the Catholic Church – like a big boat to take us all safely to heaven. God doesn’t need the boat to get to heaven, He was there from the beginning. He wants us all in the Church boat, so we can all get to heaven safely.”
“Jonah, too?”
“Yes, dear. He was God’s friend. I hope we’ll see him, too.” By this time I had moved into the living room so I could have this conversation with my daughter face to face. She was a study in concentrated thought.
“So, Jonah is Catholic?”
Now it was my turn to pause. “Well, dear ... I suppose he is now!”
The Church has always taught that there is "no salvation outside the Church." All the means of grace that God has given the human race, is there for the taking because of the atoning work of Christ. The Catholic Church safeguards this deposit of grace, and many have dipped into it over the centuries. All that is true about every other Christian tradition, came to them through the Church that was founded by Christ.
This does not mean that only Catholics will be in heaven -- entrance into His heaven is up to God alone to determine. Nor does it mean that simply calling yourself "Catholic" will guarantee anyone a front-row seat at the Pearly Gates. "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling," St. Paul tells us. But anyone who IS there will be there because of the "Amazing Grace" that has been protected and safeguarded by those to whom Christ first entrusted His Gospel ... the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

Father God, give me the wisdom of a child to stay safely in Your boat.

1 comment:

elena maria vidal said...

Very cute and very profound as well. It is amazing how all those Bible stories are still a fantastic means of passing on the faith.