Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Quickies: This Morning’s Mass

     One of the more pleasant things about retirement is the opportunity to attend Mass every weekday. As it’s scheduled to begin at 8:30 AM (Eastern), the congregation is almost entirely retirees. However, on occasion someone considerably younger will attend. This morning, there were two young mothers in the chapel, with their children – and it was gratifying to see the kids taking the rite as seriously as their moms did.

     (The parish in which I grew up celebrated the Mass at least three times per weekday, the earliest one starting at 5:00 AM. You didn’t have to be a retiree or a stay-at-home mom to attend Mass daily back then. But I digress.)

     One thing that’s troubled me for quite some time, however, raised its head once more: the tendency of the homilist to graft his own message onto the Gospel reading. Today’s reading from Matthew cited this familiar passage:

     Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. [Matthew 6:1-4]

     ...which the homilist, a deacon I’ve come to dislike for his pomposity and self-importance, interpreted as a command to give to charity regardless of any and all circumstances.

     This struck me as so blatant a misreading of the words of Jesus that I was barely able to restrain myself from looking up the deacon after Mass and disputing with him. As I write these words, I find that I’m unsure whether I should have done so.

     So many clerics of every station, the Holy Father among them, have been larding such tendentious interpretations onto the words of Christ – to say nothing of the many priests who openly preach politics from their pulpits – that it sometimes seems as if the Church is reorganizing itself into a special-interest group, perhaps even a political party. It’s becoming difficult for me to put an innocent face on it. What do you think, Gentle Reader?


BabyHuey said...

I've been struggling with this as well, especially given our Pope's apparent fondness for liberation theology (so far as I can see), his call for economic parity between first and third world, and now his adherence to AGW dogma. Although this could all be an attempt by the media to drive a wedge between flock and leader, I still find it difficult to trust him. As one older acquaintance of mine said, he seems to be an intellectual lightweight.

Dr.D said...
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Dr.D said...
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pdwalker said...

I'm certainly no bible scholar, but the meaning seems pretty clear to me. Quite simply, don't toot your own horn for the good work you may do.

Perhaps my interpretation is not nuanced enough?

One concern about you may have about questioning the priest in his own turf is that you may end up finding another. After all, how dare you question authority!

Anonymous said...

I am too Catholic to be considered Catholic today. Liberation theology, modernism, ecumenism all are front and center in the media driven Catholic church. I have to focus on the writings of past popes(Leo XIII, Pius IX, Pius X etc.) and past saints (St. John Vianney, St. Alphonus Liguori, St. Catherine of Siena etc.)to maintain any clarity of Catholicism. I am a convert and it was the history and writings of the early church fathers that led me to the "Truth" of Christ and His Church. Very confused by Catholicism since Vatican II not confused by Catholcism before that time.

Anonymous said...

There's a certain similarity in this sense between the church and the Republican party. They are attempting to hold on to their ideals, while concurrently reaching across the aisle in an apparent misguided attempt to befriend the foe that would just as soon destroy them. This is frankly my gripe with the church in general. I do not like a church with a sugared, obsequious approach. The church is supposed to stand for something. It may still be able to be uplifting in its approach, but "uplifting" should never detract from the very certain, judgmental, non-relativistic underlying theme. The church OUGHT to hurt some feelings when it comes to moral teachings, and these teachings should, at base, be related to MORALS. BIBLICAL morals, and certainly not anti-Biblical morals.

Global warming and the immorality of burning hydrocarbons are NOT Biblical morals. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least one reference to the burning of hydrocarbons in the bible. It was not a negative reference, it was incidental at best, but it was certainly not prohibitive. Your Jewish readers know what I'm talking about. Can we hear less preaching about the immorality of hydrocarbons, and a little more about how, say, abortion is murder? Wouldn't it seem that the murder of innocents is the moral crisis of our day?

Anonymous said...

I am concerned that the holy father is too concerned with equity among people. I'm all for helping people but it is my choice on when and whom to help. It sounds too much like our government's way of providing, en masse. He seems to be leaning heavily in a socialist direction with this and the climate change comments of late. It's disturbing.

Reg T said...

The "Holy Father" isn't concerned about equity among people. If he were, he would support Jews/Israelis as strongly as he does muslims/"palestinians". How a supposedly intelligent man can support those who kill Israeli infants along with their parents, who train to use their vehicles to kill Israeli pedestrians, who have declared they will destroy Israel, that the Jews should not hold one inch of the land called Israel, is beyond me.

We are all human, with many faults, but the Vicar of Christ certainly is not showing equal love to all people, and is apparently not concerned about the things that muslims do, even to their own women and children - with ISIS demonstrating the true behaviors commanded by the Qu'ran.

I haven't been able to reach a conclusion as to whether Pope Francis is completely anti-Semitic or is so terribly afraid of the muslims that he won't even condemn them for what they have been doing, including to Christians all through the Middle East. Or both. My guess is that he would have qualified for a place on the original Vienna Boys Choir, back when you had to be castrati to be a member, and when Austrians in general had little love for Jews.

Anonymous said...

Really, I guess we're in a leadership vacuum. We've got the guy in the White House, we've got the guy in the Vatican, we've got our Congress critters, and NO ONE will step up and say what needs to be said. Instead, we have the vermin rushing to fill the vacuum, the "racial leaders", the radicals, the IRS and the EPA. Everyone is vying to tell us what to do, and no one is speaking up for freedom, for morality, for the underpinnings of humanity, namely, the faceless masses that go on living their lives in anonymity, bringing home a paycheck, financing the government at every level, and not complaining much in light of the utter destruction that's being visited on us. Instead, we're being told that we're selfish, and greedy, and we need to give a little more for the underprivileged. We're entering a new dark age. But it doesn't seem dark. The lights are on, but it's empty. It's the Hollow Age.

LizP said...

If it is true that, as it was mentioned on the news yesterday, this pope is a "product of Liberation Theology," then the smoke of Satan is indeed filling the Church, since the Church condemned Liberation Theology years ago. As a devout Catholic, I find if extremely difficult to trust this man, and I wish he would confine his statements to Faith and Morals and otherwise just go sit down and shut up.


tz said...

I work from home and moved where the liturgy wan not banal or worse, heretical. Walk to daily mass 0.3 miles. Priest is great, there's extraordinary latin form on sunday if things change. I feel for you, but vote with your beautiful feet. (Hint for the curious: in WY).