▲ MOST HOLY TRINITY, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference by which He is offended. And through the infinite merit of His Most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.
▲ MOST HOLY TRINITY, I adore Thee! My God, My God, I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
▲ MY GOD, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love Thee! I ask pardon for for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee.
A dare was also put before the congregation during the announcements at the end of Mass, that is, to “make it a thing” with those who have gathered with the family on Memorial Day weekend to to to a cemetery, any cemetery will do, and walk the markers until one finds a military marker, one preferably (sorry) with someone who obviously died during a conflict, and then, if one can, kneel down, no apologies, and say a prayer for those who gave their lives, for their families.
Picture taken down the mountain from a couple of Communion Calls the other week.
Thirty one years ago when I was a deacon, the ultra-liberal pastor of the parish said that I was up for preaching at all the Masses that weekend, and asked me what I was going to preach about. I said, “The Trinity” since it was the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. “Therefore,” he insisted. “Well, it’s like this,” said I:
Five Notions…. etc.
He expressed his disgust with my all too academic approach. I quickly agreed with him, saying that that was a ploy to give an “explanation”[!] that would then hit home all the more. “What’s that?” he asked. “Mary!” I exclaimed. “What?!” he asked with anger. Of course, I was baiting him.
“Since it’s the Marian Year declared by Pope John Paul, I’ll say that Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Daughter of the Father and the Mother of the Son.” At this point the Parochial Vicar joined in the conversation. The Pastor then scoffed and said that I was forbidden for the entire Marian Year to mention Jesus’ good mom, saying that it would be better for me to speak about social justice issues. I rebelled, of course, objecting that Mary was the absolute leader of the anawim. At this point the Parochial Vicar laughed out loud and exclaimed to the ultra-liberal Pastor that I had him, though he simply looked dumbfounded. The Parochial Vicar then explained that the anawim were the poor and lowly ones in the Hebrew Scriptures. He laughed again, saving me. I did preach exactly in the way I said I would and did preach also about Jesus’ good mom throughout the rest of the Marian Year.
It’s good to fight for what you believe in regardless of the cost. This one cost me big time. Even the bishop of the time exclaimed to me that he couldn’t believe that I had persevered in my vocation. But, of course, I learn from Jesus’ good mom (and therefore also my mom, right?). She’s the ultimate fighter, from Genesis 3:15, throughout Jesus’ life on this earth, and until today. Like mother, like Son and…and… like mother, like son. And that’s true for all of us, right? Yes. That’s right. Jesus and His good mom are good and kind.
Jesus’ “hard sayings” as I’ve always heard them called, just need a bit of reason so that we can see the brilliance of the truths of the faith behind them. But instead we run to dismissiveness or literalness to escape the beauty of the Gospel. No need for that. Just a bit of God-given reason is needed. Donkeys to the rescue!
No audio. No homily. No sheep at Mass. That’s the way it’s been for some weeks. Those few who were able to assist at daily Mass are now busy with doctors and hospitals and people needing care at home. They’re in their late 70s and early 80s. This is a really, really, really tiny parish. Per capita, we do have a super high attendance rate, relatively speaking, proportionally speaking, when even one person shows up, but, with circumstances, they might not. We’re averaging just one daily Mass with attendance at the main church and at the mission church. We are dwindling in this “retire in the mountains fad” parish since that fad began and ended decades ago. Those who came then are now on their way out. But I digress. Regarding the Gospel from John:
(1) Peter is asked by Jesus whether Peter has a self-sacrificing love for Jesus and Peter says that he has a merely brotherly respect for Jesus.
(2) Peter is asked yet again by Jesus whether Peter has a self-sacrificing love for Jesus and Peter says that he has a merely brotherly respect for Jesus.
(3) Peter is asked a third time by Jesus whether Peter has a… a…. Ooops! Jesus changed the question this third time through. We recall that Peter denied Jesus three times. This time, Peter is asked not if he has a self-sacrificing love for Jesus, but whether Peter has a merely brotherly respect for Jesus. That hurts. Peter is deeply grieved not only that Jesus pointedly asked him a third time, but lowered the stakes so as to say that, no, Peter didn’t even have a brotherly respect for Jesus. But Peter answers in the affirmative not about the past, obviously, but right now, before the risen Jesus. Obviously, because of his grief, Peter wants to say that he now has a self-sacrificing love for Jesus, but how can he? Jesus is sporting those wounds on His hands and feet and side, in His heart.
But Jesus then encourages Peter, telling him about the self-sacrificing death by which Peter is to show his self-sacrificing love for Jesus. Mind you, Jesus giving us the opportunity to witness to Him by laying down our lives is an encouragement.
That’s all really cool, right? Not all think so. I remember one priest to whom I described all this from the Greek text of John’s Gospel instead of the dumbed-down stupid translations, and he objected ferociously, saying that it’s wrong to say all that, to follow the inspired text, that I should just follow the translation prepared by committee of some bishops conference, because we are not a complicated people and need to have texts that, because of being so ambiguous, so able to be manipulated, can reflect whatever flow of culture there happens to be at the time. In other words, Peter’s denial really wasn’t so serious. Jesus really didn’t reprimand him all that much. But if you dumb-down the sin and the reprimand, you also dumb-down Jesus’ encouragement of Peter and the heights of love to which Jesus wishes to bring Peter. So, let’s just stick with the inspired text. Why be dark and dumbed-down? Jesus’ love is most glorious. Thank you Jesus.
When I listen to my own homilies I feel embarrassed, slow-witted. I think: “Just spit it out!” When in Rome recently, perusing the Catholic bookstores, the usual books of homilies were to be seen, excitedly proclaiming in their titles that this is finally the volume we’ve all been waiting for, the homilies that are “unedited,” you know, because no one in their right mind just publishes their homilies without being edited first, not even Pope Francis. And who would record their homilies and put the audio online? That’s just embarrassing. It is. But it is what it is. It’s what I said, not well thought out, disconnected, un-understandable, missing premises, missing the conclusions to which I was leading. That’s always the case.
But here’s the deal, the angels take even such homilies as this and, because they are given in the context of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and sincerely presented as a help to eternal salvation (imagine that)… the angels take such words and help people to get something that will be of help anyway. I don’t know how many times people have come up to me after Mass and thanked me for saying something, which they then “repeat”, though I never said anything remotely like that, though I wish I had, because it was really good! Angels are so cool. So, having said that:
O.K. I got a bit carried away. I had to edit the homily in a couple of places. You’ll hear the jumps at least in the flow of the homily when they happen. Bearing wrongs is a work of mercy, but instructing, even rubuking the ignorant is also a work of mercy and is an effective way to bear the wrongs of those who just don’t get it. I am blind and ignorant, so, please bear with me as I rant as if I know something. I should keep my mouth shut.
There’s a strange thing happening among ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists (who may be farther from Sacred Tradition than they think). If they actually think that knowing the truth, for instance, memorizing all the words of the Sacred Scriptures, of all the Ecumenical Councils, of all the ex-Cathedra pronouncements, is going to save them, so that their clever puny little intellects — which we all have in this fallen world and which can hardly grasp anything about the truth — is somehow salvific in and of itself, they are mistaken, and are idol worshipers. Satan knows the facts, is convinced of the facts, incomparably more than us. And Satan isn’t saved. If we think we can save ourselves by knowing something of the truth, anything, we make ourselves God. And that, my friends, is idol worship. Ooooooo! A brain!!!!!
Beautiful. Created by God. But not God. Not by a long shot.
But, ooooooh, we’re smart, cause we know something! No.
But, it’s not about truth. It’s about hating Pope Francis. It’s about entitlement to bitterness. I remember one new guy who said that he was to be congratulated as the first one to hate Pope Francis, and that anyone who comes later so as to agree with him and be on his side in hating Pope Francis is to be rejected as worthy of hell because where the hell were they before when he was proudly alone in his hating. Yep. It’s the ol’ ploy of “You can’t say anything right, even if it is the truth, ’cause we’ll just twist it so that we’ll say what we think you really mean so that we can be really bitter not about what you said but about what we said you said.” Yep. That will help people get to heaven.
Sorry to rant, but more than this, this is about the “Reformation” all over again. Luther reduced divinely infused faith to the assent he made to his cerebral activity about theology. The one is supernatural, the other natural. These so-called ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists make an idol of the truth by saying that knowing the truth automatically saves us, because, you know, we had brain synapses going on, making us the arbiters of equating supernatural and natural, making us God, or at least Karl Rahner redivivus, more Lutheran than Catholic. That’s how he was able to rewrite Scripture, and to throw out whole books of both old and new Testaments. To say that we can’t make an idol of the truth is to make an idol of the truth. To say that we’re so nice that we would never make an idol of the truth is to crucify the living Truth. It’s to say that we are the only ones not to be bad and evil, not needing salvation, to say that we would never stone the prophets while we build their tombs all proud of ourselves, we being the very ones with that attitude that the prophets would rightly and charitably reprimand for the good of our souls. We would kill them. Of course we would. We, on our own, are idol worshipers of ourselves.
Again: Even if someone assents with their brains to the truth doesn’t mean they are saved. Knowing the facts and accepting them (like Satan also does) doesn’t mean you understand, doesn’t mean you are one with the One who is living Truth, God alone.
The One who said “I AM” hung tortured to death on a cross betrayed by someone who thought he knew something.
“Forgive them, Father, for THEY KNOW NOT what they do.”
Goodness! Did I demonize people in this post? In this homily? Make them into idol-demons of themselves?
Such tender snowflakes… [I am too, so are we all if we do anything just on our own.]
Maybe I should have put up the unedited version. But, no. I make it easy. I use an example from another religion. But the analogy is extremely immediate.
Saint Mark is a Lion, pictured here as a winged Cherub, lower-left in the picture above. Jesus chose none of these, of course, upon which to ride into Jerusalem to His crucifixion. That creature was, instead, a __________.
If you’re reading a bit of the Gospels every day[!] it won’t be long before you know about similarities and differences (complementary) in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Purified by the ardent fire of faith, don’t be afraid of what you see as if you’re being “critical” of the Holy Spirit. Just be open to using that purified reasoning power given you by the same Holy Spirit who inspired the words of the Gospels to be of assistance in forming us into the Living Word of God. This attitude is very Traditional, if you will, as so very many of the Fathers of the Church throughout the centuries made quite the scientific studies of similarities and differences (complementary) in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. All of this helps us to stare at the Sacred Scriptures, listening with our hearts burning within us, finally taking note of the breadth of Matthew, the rabbinic academics of Mark, the incisive ironies of Luke, all of which help us to focus more clearly on Mary’s Divine Son, Jesus.
Complete with my usual breaks in logic when I’m waaaaaay overtired. I know what I mean but saying what I mean is another thing. Nevertheless, there is encouragement to be found in the Gospel and perhaps in my mumbling commentary.
We have a great Bishop in Charlotte; he very much enjoys being with his priests. And vice versa. This is rare for bishops and priests. I witnessed this same joy after Mass today out front of Saint Peter’s as in the picture I took above.
There was a phrase from his homily that was like a lightning bolt and it immediately burned itself into my memory:
Gioia più grande d’ogni dubbio. “Joy greater than any doubt.”
He explained this as an encounter with the Incarnate Lord Jesus, risen, with the wounds He would have us see.
And we can see with the eyes of faith, with the Eucharist.
“My Lord and my God!”
That’s not an arrogant possessiveness, he said, but rather speaks to the goodness and kindness of Jesus.