Monday, August 18, 2008

Married to the Mob? No more.

Yesterday my landlady went to her church to listen to a Mob Don speak, one Michael Franzese of the notorious "Columbo" crime family. He did not tell about all his crimes - he simply said "When you are in the Mob, your whole life is tied up in the Mob."

It is a marriage, he said.

And then, through a loving wife and a prison cell guard, Michael met Jesus.

Scam? Nah. Doesn't look like it.

Oh - he wasn't that bad?

Yes, he was. Here's an excerpt from his website (www.michaelfranzese.com):

No one of Michael’s stature in organized crime has publically renounced participation in that life and walked away – much less, to serve a different boss, Jesus. Michael is the very first to admit – “If I got what I deserved, I’d be dead or in prison for the rest of my life.”


At the height of his career he was making $6-8 million a week.

For the mob.

My landlady told me that during his presentation, he was showing photos of crime scenes - and did not say a word as to what part he played in those crimes. There were bodies. Dead people everywhere.

Michael said the boss has power. You say a guy isn't working out and you get rid of him. And I am fairly certain he did not mean "kindly give him a pink slip with an apology and gratitude for his services."

His conversion shocked everyone. It was even featured in Vanity Fair in 1991 "The Born Again Don". What is even more shocking is that he has stayed loyal to Christ these 12 years. He did not go back.

My landlady also told me how tall he stood, what presence he commanded - you could see his leadership, his authority. Years of having the power of life and death over your enemies could do that to you, I'd imagine.

Jesus has that authority. Michael knows that now. He said he did not have any special visions or amazing experience, but when he read about Jesus and studied him, he saw a different man than he had ever met.

One thing stuck out in Michael's mind: the trial of Jesus. Most men cannot wait to come before the judge so they can tell their side of the story - to defend themselves.

Jesus did not do it. "And he was innocent!" said Michael. "I couldn't believe it."

That gripped Michael. Hard.

No man would do that. No ordinary man. Certainly no innocent man (even the Apostle Paul could not do it, see Acts 26).

He is facing his death, and he said "not a word." His judge, Pontius Pilate "marveled greatly."

So did a Mob Don some 2000 years later.

Why did Jesus do it? To pay for us.

I know you have heard that before.

But the next time someone says you are wrong, you are stupid, etc., try to say not one word, especially if it will cost you your reputation, your job, etc.

Pray as St. Augustine prayed "Oh Lord, save me from this lust of self-vindication!"

Because if you ARE wrong, you should be silent and take the approbation, and if you are RIGHT, there are no words to correct such a hater.

In either case, it is Jesus and Jesus alone who can justify us and cover our sins with His blood.

He has that much power, that much grace.

He poured it out lavishly this great love, that even a mob boss went down.


"In this is love, not that we loved God, but He loved us and sent His Son to die for us."

"...for a good man, someone might possibly dare to die - but God shows His love for us in this - that WHILE we were still sinners, Christ died for us!"


Get it? God doesn't save 'good people'.

He only saves those who have disobeyed Him. Over and over again.

Tell Him you are sorry and watch what darkness will leave your heart.

Amen.

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