Pictures herein are from Pentecost 2020, by “Photo Phil”. Thanks, Phil. Is the picture above depicting that which is ad orientem? But that’s a topic for a book or five. This post is dedicated to preaching about the Lamb of God. The picture above is what you will see with any priest at the Ecce Agnus Dei, at the Behold! The Lamb of God! Regardless of any versus populum or ad orientem logistics during Holy Mass, both in the Traditional Mass and in the Novus Ordo the priest is directed to be facing the people while holding up Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, saying: Ecce Agnus Dei! Behold the Lamb of God! That is, of course, the exclamation of the greatest of all the prophets, Saint John the Baptist, as he pointed us all to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
There has been much confusion even among the elite academic liturgists regarding terminology and purpose of preaching the Lamb of God after the Gospel.
Some condemn preaching as that which has N-O-T-H-I-N-G to do with Holy Mass. After all, they say, the priest of old would take off his maniple and chasuble after reading the Gospel, signifying that what he was about to do had nothing to do with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Then, they say, the priest would make the sign of the cross before and after his sermon to seal off absolutely that what was to happen had N-O-T-H-I-N-G to do with Holy Mass. Sigh. As if the Sign of the Cross has nothing to do with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?! They say that there is never to be anything didactic (a big word!) So, what is it to be? Fake “pious piffle”, a waste of time? I don’t get that. Anything to do with the Living Truth, He who laid down His life for us during the Last Supper united with Calvary, is instruction, leading us to fall on our knees in reverence before the Son of the Living God in the Most Blessed Sacrament at His very Sacrifice for us: Corpus Domini nostri Iesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam or words to that effect as I type this as fast as such prestidigitations can proceed upon my keyboard.
The purpose of what is said after the Gospel is to put everyone on their knees. Does it teach, instruct, admonish, remind people to repent (in the Confessional), and be in humble thanksgiving before Christ Jesus, Son if the Immaculate Conception? Yes, it should, every time.
But what really is that straw man you bring up talking about, Father George? I thought the most traditional thing was – after the Council of Trent, after promulgating the Catechism of the Council of Trent – to preach sermons on a preaching schedule, so that all parts of said catechism were covered successively throughout the year? Yes, well, that would be right of course. All very didactic indeed. But, I would argue that that’s just fine and dandy and needed and I wish more would do this instead of the blather they go on about. But I would also argue that those doing that even back in the day would have enough pastoral solicitude during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to use whatever truth of salvation in the catechism there happens to be, to use that to bring ever so didactically all listeners to fall to their knees before Jesus, the Living Truth, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Yours truly loves to preach, and I’m never at a loss for words, or so I’m told, many times! ;-) I’m not going to apologize for it. I think preaching is a blast. I love it. I absolutely love it. I love being a priest. I love didactically bringing people to fall on their knees before the Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ our Lord, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.
I’m guessing those pictures by Photo Phil might tell the story. Although some posts on this blog might be serious about serious issues, I gotta tell you, this is one happy priest. And… and… I’m happy to bless everyone present, just below the great Saint Joseph.
We need vocations who are in fact being called by our Lord all the time to accept their vocations with enthusiasm, with trepidation, with joy, with a desire to lead people, even if didactically, to our Lord.
By the way, I challenge anyone anywhere at anytime to go ahead and point out to me any preaching of our Lord Jesus which was not didactic. Heh heh heh.
Also, and just to say, I’ve almost never heard preaching from the ultras of either “side” anything that would not be purely academic on the one hand or purely political on the other hand. But in this diocese, I’ve often heard preaching that didactically leads people to fall to their knees before the Living God as the priest holds up the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. We have lots of great priests here in the Diocese of Charlotte. They know who the real priest is: