The only-begotten son of a widowed mother in Nain raised from the dead by Jesus is the Gospel for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost in the liturgical calendar of the Traditional Mass. The readings were done in Latin at the altar of Sacrifice, translations were read after that. Then the homily. Sorry for the pauses. I get emotional in my old age.
Hint: this post should have been a flower for the Immaculate Conception. This is not my usual rant. As I explain at the end, sometimes it’s just good to behold the goodness and kindness of Jesus. I learn while I preach. The analogy with Jesus’ good mother got me in the heart, which jumped into my throat and got me choked up.
I love all the signs of life in the growing congregation, more young families than ever.
Yesterday was a great day for this priest. The TLM, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, was offered in the parish church with a good number of people assisting. I find the TLM to be magnificently evangelistic, especially with young men. Amazing. Fired up, this was the homily with the readings for the TLM:
If this homily were to be given anywhere else, in any other diocese, I would surely be forthwith cancelled, but this is the best diocese with the best bishop. I rejoice in that. I speak while I can. Circumstances can change over night. I cannot but speak from the heart about Jesus, and what, please God, I correctly perceive to be in His Sacred Heart, that is, honor for His dearest Immaculate Virgin Mother who stood perfectly in solidarity with Him in the midst of the wolves on Calvary. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, dearest Mother Mary.
This was while my health was starting to disintegrate with viral pneumonia or something that invited that into my system. Nothing to do with the homily as I was still trying to ignore feeling like I was going to collapse. That’s really not smart. But, that’s me. Since my doctor said I should try to start doing small things, a post like this dragged from the drafts folder is appropriate. I’m sorry I don’t have much in the way of rhetorical skills, but some said this was one of those life-changing homilies for them. I would feel guilty in not putting it up, faults and all. If I remember correctly, I still had the energy to get revved up, as it were, two or three times. :-) Now I’m going back to bed.
We had a Holy Hour of Adoration of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus from 7:00-8:00pm on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This picture was taken from the Confessional after hearing a zillion Confessions and just before Benediction. We had the Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a scriptural Rosary, the Litany of the Sacred Heart…
Some hours earlier, at Holy Mass, it was the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the Sacred Heart of Jesus that grabbed the emphasis of the sermon…
After Holy Mass a group of us met in the “counter’s room” which doubles as a sacristy and triples as Faith Formation classrooms. One fellow in particular has been speaking much to me about dearest Mary, Jesus’ good mom. I told him that I blame him if I’m preaching so much about Mary. I added that if keep this up, I’m going to cry during the homily, the truths about Jesus and Mary being too overwhelming for me. He immediately countered by saying that they would all be crying with me, and to keep going.
I remember someone telling me that choking up like that (and I’ve already done that very many times) – and much more anything to do with actual tears – is a terrible sign of weakness, effeminate, womanly, and is not to be done by a man. Never. And it was a woman who told me this, a Mother General of her religious order no less. Sigh. So, I guess I am the most inept of all, weakness incarnate. But I knew that already, as I’ve crucified the Son of the Living God, dearest Mary’s Divine Son, with my sins. How can I begin to preach to others? But such is the intercession of maternal heart of Mary Immaculate, and the outrageous forgiveness of her Divine Son.
I preach about Mary because it brings it all home in a way, I think, that pleases Jesus. And so now I suppose I am being presumptuous, thinking that I surely know what it is that is going on in the perspective of Jesus on the Cross. I’m sure I am awfully presumptuous in some way. From hidden faults acquit me, O Lord! I’m a fallen human being. BUT, it just seems so very right about what is going on between Jesus and His Immaculate Mother. I can’t help it. I’m quite sure that Jesus is telling me: “Ah, little Georgie, if you only knew what goes on between my Heart and my Mother’s Immaculate Heart. But you cannot bear it now. But, yes, we are in solidarity with each other…” I tried to preach about this solidarity last night. I lead up to it…
I do mention Pope Francis’ take on the Gospel. Here are some of his words of his I didn’t much get into during the homily for your convenience. I wanted to speak more about Mary. You might not quite get the motivation for my incisiveness below if you’ve not listened to the homily about Mary from Jesus’ perspective. I’ve written on this before. I’ve added some commentary: ///
“It is more the time for joyfully proclaiming the Gospel than for combatting paganism. [Ooops! These are not mutually exclusive. Throwing the demonic pagan death-cult Pachamama into the Tiber river is entirely consonant with God’s life of grace that will not have us tolerate a fear of our own death in testifying that Pachamama is straight out of hell. Is it really no longer a time to call out the brood of vipers, the sons of Satan, who hate God and man? Why is that? Not only has Pope Francis been complicit in the worship of pagan death goddess idol Pachamama, but now he’s commanding that no one else is to condemn paganism? I mean, this is in the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not have strange gods before ye! Pope Francis wants to rid the Church of the Ten Commandments?!] It is the time for bringing the joy of the Risen Lord, not for lamenting the drama of secularization. [Wait, wait, wait. Pope Francis, bringing the joy of the Risen Lord is in and of itself part and parcel of lamenting the drama of secularization embodied in, say, Pachamama, which you promote. What the hell are you talking about? This is the first time you’ve offered Holy Mass on this altar after enthroning Pachamama there quite a while back and the first thing you do is to hold up paganism and then the protection of the secularization of the world and the Church. Is this your bid to excuse yourself concerning Pachamama? And now you entrench by wanting the whole Church to follow your lead right into hell (objectively speaking) by teaching others to break the Ten Commandments?] It is the time for pouring out love upon the world, yet not embracing worldliness. It is more the time for testifying to mercy, than for inculcating rules and regulations. [Woah woah woah. You see what he did there? He just said that rules and regulations (like the Ten Commandments in context) is itself worldliness. That’s, like, demonic. For Pope Francis, the Ten Commandments are not love and mercy, you know, love of God and love of neighbor and love of parents, but rather are an embracing of worldliness, a lack of love and mercy.] It is the time of the Paraclete! It is the time of freedom of heart, in the Paraclete. [Saint Paul says much the same, except that Saint Paul says our freedom as the children of God in grace is not to be an excuse to throw away the Ten Commandments, not at all.]
“The Paraclete is also the Advocate. In Jesus’ day, advocates did not do what they do today: rather than speaking in the place of defendants, they simply stood next to them and suggested arguments they could use in their own defence. That is what the Paraclete does, for he is “the spirit of truth” (v. 26). He does not take our place, but defends us from the deceits of evil by inspiring thoughts and feelings. [Whoa, whoa, whoa: “feelings”? This is where Ignatius and Freud meet up, and where Ignatius is killed off with a discernment of spirits of fallen human feelings that do not follow reason and which are part of the cross we now carry after original sin. “Inspiring… feelings.” The feeling that I’m being inspired with right now is this: barf barf barf. In grace, we follow right reason to make an act of the will to do what is honest before God and man, often very much against any fallen “feelings.”] He does so discreetly, without forcing us: he proposes but does not impose. [Actually, the Holy Spirit quite forcefully puts us next to the Blessed Virgin Immaculate Mother of God so as to have us look upon the wounds of our Savior. That‘s what the Holy Spirit does. Sure, we can reject this, but this is what The Holy Spirit does. We don’t make existential decisions in the Holy Spirit apart from Christ Incarnate and Crucified.] The spirit of deceit, the evil one, does the opposite: he tries to force us; he wants to make us think that we must always yield to the allure and the promptings of vice. Let us try to accept three suggestions that are typical of the Paraclete, our Advocate. They are three fundamental antidotes to three temptations that today are so widespread.
“The first advice offered by the Holy Spirit is, “Live in the present”. The present, not the past or the future. The Paraclete affirms the primacy of today, against the temptation to let ourselves be paralyzed by rancour or memories of the past, or by uncertainty or fear about the future. The Spirit reminds us of the grace of the present moment. There is no better time for us: now, here and now, is the one and only time to do good, to make our life a gift. Let us live in the present! [“The grace of the present moment”… What does that even mean? Mere advice? I’m waiting for Jesus here. We are to live in Him by the sanctifying of the Holy Spirit. God holds all of time in His hands as just another creation. We are with those of all time as we are all brought in that one hour before Christ Jesus on the Cross. We are all of us in all times in the present moment, and we are all in that present moment through all time inasmuch as we are in union with Christ as the members of the Body of Christ. Without Christ, this “live in the present” thing is mere existentialism. This is not what the great spiritual writers speak about. Instead, any present moment, say, with Jesus in Holy Communion, puts us right before all the members of the Body of Christ. Or am I being ideological, using “trite” words like “trademark”?]
“The Spirit also tells us, “Look to the whole”. The whole, not the part. The Spirit does not mould isolated individuals, but shapes us into a Church in the wide variety of our charisms, into a unity that is never uniformity. The Paraclete affirms the primacy of the whole. There, in the whole, in the community, the Spirit prefers [“prefers”…] to work and to bring newness. [Because individuals who are redeemed and saved and made into tabernacles of the Holy Spirit, who carry about the death of the Lord in them, that most glorious death in all love, are nothing? It’s all about “The People”, “The Proletariat”, not about us individually being brought into the One Body of Christ? The Holy Spirit sanctifies individuals, all of them with free will and a conscience. Not a Body Politic.] Let us look at the apostles. They were all quite different. They included, for example, Matthew, a tax collector who collaborated with the Romans, and Simon called the zealot, who fought them. They had contrary political ideas, different visions of the world. Yet once they received the Spirit, they learned to give primacy not to their human viewpoints but to the “whole” that is God’s plan. [No, no. They didn’t keep their fallen human drama, their fallen human viewpoints, their sin. They actually abandoned all of that, all of them. They abandoned all to follow Christ. They didn’t carry secondary anti-Christ ideology but now were simply giving a bit more primacy to Christ. No. Pope Francis is speaking B and in B, S as in S.] Today, if we listen to the Spirit, we will not be concerned with conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left. [Oh, yes we will. If any of those labels regards doctrine and morality, and in context, that’s exactly what you mean, Pope Francis, and that’s exactly what these things refer to in our common parlance, well then, we will reject all that lacks integrity and honesty. Yep.] When those become our criteria, then the Church has forgotten the Spirit. [No, no. I’ve remembered the Body of Christ, of which we are the members, you know: “What you have done to the least of these you have done to Me.” Therefore, no contraception, no abortion, no euthanasia, no homosexualist “civil unions” or “marriages” etc., etc., etc. This is about Christ Jesus, not your political categories foisted upon the faith by which you condemn all those who by the grace of God try to follow the Ten Commandments accepting all doctrine, all morality.] The Paraclete impels us to unity, to concord, to the harmony of diversity. He makes us see ourselves as parts of the same body, brothers and sisters of one another. [Again, what about the BODY OF CHRIST? You can’t say, can you? Try it: “BODY OF CHRIST.” You know, let’s give Holy Communion to the pious soul and also to the monster Joe Biden who comes up to Holy Communion while picking his teeth with the little ribs of aborted babies. That’s your unity is diversity? The Holy Spirit, as Cardinal Siri says, speaks univocally. Yep. Read Gethsemane. The living Truth is the same for all: Sacred Tradition, consonant with the Sacred Scriptures.] Let us look to the whole! [We will all look together to Him whom we have all pierced through, men of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, to Him who is, who was and who is to come, the Almighty. Just say it. With the Body of Christ we have… wait for it… the Body of Christ, not some lowest common denominator of hell. All members of the Body of Christ are equally to have acceptance of the full integrity of doctrine, the full integrity of morality, like, you know, the Ten Commandments.] The enemy wants diversity to become opposition and so he makes them become ideologies. Say no to ideologies, yes to the whole. [Say yes to the Body of Christ, for all else is ideology. And what you have given us, Pope Francis, is pure and unadulterated ideology, really quite Marxist in your presentation.]”
This is the great feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: Corpus Christi.
How to say it? It took me a little while to get warmed up. But then my inner Lion of the Tribe of Judah was to be heard. You know why? Because “Eucharistic Coherence” has a name, and that name is not being used. That name is the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, Mary. If the bishops don’t look to her, directly, under the Cross, while they speak of “Eucharistic Coherence”, all they do will be in vain.
Meanwhile, happy feast day to ye all. Here are a couple of pictures of sessions of Adoration we had this morning along with Confessions and Masses and Last Rites and now… Communion Calls…
At Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Memorial Day was also Latin-Mass-Monday, and in the Traditional calendar, it’s the feast of the Queenship of Mary. She is Queen because she is Mother. It is her motherhood which makes her Mother of the Church Militant. In the very ferocity of her maternal solicitude for the children of God, she is encouraging to the warriors of this world, not only in the Church and Society, but on the battle field. I mean, look into her eyes: is she not beckoning us to lay down our lives for our friends, the greatest act of love, through, with and in her Divine Son who Himself has done the for us in The Battle, The War? Yes, yes she is.
Gotta tell you, only super positive, thankful, enthusiastic responses not only to the homily, but to the Holy Mass offered ad orientem (toward the liturgical East, toward Christ our God. It’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.
What think you? Was I too rough on the versus populum (towards the people) thing?
This isn’t being “reactionary”, “rigid”, “conservative”… whatever. No. This is about making all things new with Him who is ever ancient, ever new.
Christianity cannot be without irony, without what G.K. Chesterton calls “Christian mirth,” wherein we are presented with mercy and justice being quite identified as one on the Cross. The Holy Spirit provides joy in living this Truth.
While I couldn’t record this homily – being rather busy at the time (Don’t tell anyone!) – it is easy to summarize:
Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna in excelsis! !הוֹשַׁע־נָא בַּמְּרוֹמִים
Hosanna (Hebrew!) is an imperative command put into action because of a situation (the “na” suffix).
The situation in context is being located “in the highest” place of all: “Because you are in the highest place, therefore…”
It is the same literal Hebrew root as the Holy Name of Jesus.
Jesus means “Savior”
The command being given is “Save us!”
Literally, in speaking to Jesus: “Because you [Jesus, Savior] are in the highest place, save us!” It’s a request to be saved, but it is almost a challenge: “Look here, you Savior, you are in the highest place, and therefore you can do this, you can save us, so, therefore, SAVE US!”
The crowd is proclaiming their request joyfully, as they have all hope that their prayer will be heard.
Let’s see some logistics about that highest place:
Jesus is riding into Jerusalem, His city, high atop the foul of donkey. He is humble in His majesty, the perfect image of the Suffering Servant, who takest away the sins of the world by standing in our place, Innocent for the guilty, fulfilling the prophesy in Zechariah:
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Jesus says about His being lifted up from the earth, on the Cross, where salvation “in the highest” will be wrought:
“‘When I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all to myself.’ He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.” (John 12:32-33)
Those shouting “Hosanna in the highest!” weren’t paying much attention to the humility of the One in the Highest.
Let’s take a look at logistics in time:
Holy Mother Church, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, places these words – “Hosanna in the highest!” – immediately before the Consecrations, then having the priest lift up, in the highest, the Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world. Our response to those elevations of our Eucharistic King humbly held on high by any donkey-priest, is to repeat: “Therefore, you, Jesus, Savior, who are in the highest, and can therefore save us, do so! Save us, Savior!”
The homily went a bit more smoothly than all that, but you get the idea.
This is like unto a homily I gave in Rome decades ago in front of dozens of priests including a particular priest who is quite singularly responsible for the downfall of the seminaries in Ireland, the destruction of the faith in Ireland, he who is surely the “most spiritual” among pretty much all mostly English speaking Bishops Conferences. Afterward, he literally ran out of the sacristy after me, grabbing me by the shoulder, commanding me (as if he had such authority) to never, not ever say such things ever again, never again, ever. “That was terrible!” he exclaimed, “Terrible!” He was sweating, filled with adrenaline, apoplectic, eyes wildly darting about. His fear of truth was palpable. The truth about Jesus, Irony Incarnate, just about kills people, I guess…
So, just to impress the point for the sake of anyone apoplectic in reading this – and having already mentioned G.K. Chesterton – let’s bring to the fore the great Hilaire Belloc once again. I believe that all priests and bishops including the Bishop of Rome should memorize this passage:
“To the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power […] when the mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul.” [Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]
By the way, that priest who “commanded” me never to tell people what “Hosanna!” means, threatened me that if I did try to publish such things in future he would, instead, use his connections, his power, not to allow anything I write to be published by any Catholic or Christian publisher, he being on the boards of most publishing houses. Yep. “And I am quite powerful in the publishing world,” he insisted again.
I guess he had a rather too grandiose opinion of himself or at least had the idea that I somehow feared him. Um… no.
I will continue to call out to the Lord to save me when He is lifted up from the earth on the cross as He draws me to Himself to also be on the cross with Him. I am the most wretched sinner. I need Salvation, Jesus! In my desperation I must call out: Jesus, Savior, you who are in the highest, because you in the highest, save us, save me!
There are two homilies on Palm Sunday, one after the first Gospel immediately preceding the procession, and another (required to be short) after the reading of the Passion of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, this time from the Gospel of Mark. There will be plenty of talk about Jesus and dearest Immaculate Mary as Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum take us deeper in the Most Sacred Mysteries. But today Jesus Himself explicitly requires that we priests speak about the Spikenard Lady, for, He says:
“Amen, I say to you, whenever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
So, I have to do it. I rejoice to say something of her. I want to say to Jesus at the gates of heaven: “I only did what I had to do.” I dare say that I point to what Jesus wants us priests to say. I am a ruffian, unrefined, so don’t expect finesse. But I think I get it right precisely because I know how bad and evil I could be without the grace of God. I would be Judas, who harasses this Spikenard Lady. But with grace (please God!), I think I see a glimmer of the greatness of her spirit, the incisiveness of her accusation of Judas – truly risking her own life – a glimmer of how much she has suffered to get her to this point. What a magnificent woman. We must be this woman during Holy Week, and onwards.
Dearest Spikenard Lady, pray for us that we might have some share of the purity of heart, the agility of soul that you have been granted by the Holy Ghost!
This passage – John 7:53–8:11 – is really close to my heart and soul and being. I absolutely hate the way this passage was handled in Amoris laetitia. But I digress. This passage was part of a thesis I was doing with a top Scripture guy, a Cardinal, as second reader, over in Rome. I was a kind of a living repository of papyri at the time. It was to be my shot over the bow. But I digress. It needs an ecclesiastical thriller movie.
In this homily I speak more about the hope that our Lord brings to us with all the Truth He is.
Someone said my audience is my fellow priests. I’ll tell you what, in this homily I’m pretty much addressing myself directly to Pope Francis. I guess I’m ranting about Islam a bit, about the sacrifice of children a bit. It needs to be done. There. I did it.