Earlier this week it looked like the media was going to take over the airwaves with coverage of the Pope in Cuba, but we suspect the only reason many of the networks set up shop in Cuba in the first place was not so much to cover the Pope and record what he had to say, but their rare opportunity to get inside Cuba - the first time in 39 years and report on political and social aspects. Perhaps they didn't cover the Pope once he let it be known America had better let up on their embargo - that it was dehumanizing and not in keeping with God's Will. One of the problems is that it is a group of Cubans in Miami who, politically motivated and out of an intense hatred for Fidel Castro and his communist regime, continue to maintain a strong lobby in Washington, D.C. The group is known as the Cuban American National Foundation, the same group who pressured Archbishop John Favalora to cancel a planned pilgrimage cruise to Havana. The Archbishop countered by sponsoring a one-day pilgrimage one-day flight for the Holy Father's final Mass in Plaza de Revolution Sunday. There, before over 300,000 Cubans, including Castro himself, John Paul II hammered home the need for freedom of religion as the Communist dictator sat in the first row looking somewhat sheepishly, but trying to smile through it all. As he bid his farewells to the Pope on the tarmac before John Paul II boarded Air Italia for his return to Rome, there was almost a hint of regret he was leaving and a touch of humility on the part of Castro. But looks can be deceiving. Now prayer has to take over. It was at this same Plaza, where atheism had been spewed countless times over the last thirty some years, that the last Mass was held - in 1959 with Castro promoting it and the people solidly behind him. After all, he had conquered the vile Batista who had suppressed so many. But it would be only a matter of time before the blood-red sickle would cover this island and stifle any further progress. Thousands would flee to the closest port - Miami. Much like what we have been told how the antichrist will take power, so did Castro. We should learn from history so that it doesn't repeat itself.
The beauty of our present pontiff is he will not compromise, but always speak out what Christ truly wants. No matter the country, no matter the political intrigue or consequences, the Holy Father is probably the only man in the world who cannot be censored. Praise God. Another interesting fact: when most senior citizens over 70 travel, which is usually infrequently, it is in the lap of luxury most often on a cruiseship where, after a game or two of shuffleboard, they're bushed and retire to a deck chair for the day, then supper and retire early. Contrast that to another senior citizen at 77 years old who is truly a globetrotter. He doesn't play shuffleboard, that we know of, doesn't lounge in a deck chair, or opt for the easy life of a cruise. Instead he challenges the time zones and jet lags, is on his feet for innumerable hours from morning to night, always in the magnifying glass of the media scrutiny, composing, writing, consulting, and praying. He is constantly in demand with very little time to rest, yet always finding time for prayer. Does anyone know of any 77-year old who can maintain this pace day-in-day-out? Only one that we know of - John Paul II. Yet the media - fueled by Catholic bashers and modernists - will jump on his case that he is too feeble, his voice wavering, his left hand shaking. Well, excuse us, but get a life!!! We challenge any of them - from Morley Safer to David Brinkley to Mike Wallace, even that curmudgeon Peter Jennings to try to keep up that kind of pace. We doubt even Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw, let alone younger telejournalists like Wolf Blitzer, Katie Couric, et al could keep up with that type of rigorous schedule. This editor, in four trips overseas over the last seven years (three to Medjugorje, one to Rome) felt the jet-lag and was less than up-to-par the day after trying to get the ol' body clock movin'. Yet this jet-setting saint of a pontiff does it constantly, powered by the nourishment of the Holy Spirit and the encouragement of the Blessed Mother of God. It's the only way anyone could keep up that pace.
Maybe if we all relied more on the fuel from above and less on our own stubborn temporal diets, we could all perform better, find more time for prayer, and live healthier, longer lives. Let's quit worrying so much about the body and the fact this food item or that could cause cancer, and start worrying more about the salvation of souls. Let's start buy into the fact that the more we pray, the greater our chances of living forever no matter what we eat because a soul cannot consume or digest edibles - only intangibles...like eternity! Maybe if we start living healthy lives in that manner, our example will contribute to more souls realizing that America has finally had it with all the junk-food garbage we're being fed by the media!