Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tri-fecta of trouble

Beautiful readings we had today. Heed the commandments of the Lord, for they are near to you. Christ came down to dwell in the fullness of humanity that we would be able to live the will of God with our whole heart.

But nay, what do we get fed in the homily? Good bread from the Holy Scriptures? Not quite, I am reticent to complain about the homily, rather preferring to pray for the homilist. But today, our good deacon nearly hit for the cycle in errors.

Breezing right by
Several ears perked up as he tried to breeze through a list of people God accepts "as they are". It doesn't take any imagination in our uber-tolerant world to know what the list included. Yes God loves us all unconditionally, but without repentance, we are free to reject that love. Many do and exclude themselves from God's grace. And by excluding ourselves from grace, we shut God out of our lives. So the "as we are" can include our self-imposed rejection of God leaving Him to respect our choice.

All seek truth
With the wealth of scripture at his disposal, and three especially great readings today, deacon decided we needed to look elsewhere for inspirations. As is good to know, all religions seek Truth to some extent. But to read from the scripture of Buddhism, Sikh, Islam... pointing out how they all teach kindness to each other, and yet failing to mention how they fall short of the fullness of that teaching we have in Christianity is just plain reckless. If we don't find our faith any different that all other world religions, why should we believe anything about it? Why should we suffer, why would martyrs die for the faith if it doesn't mean a thing?

Buddhism seeks to fade into Nirvana as our ultimate end. Quite opposite of the Christian belief of sharing in the Beatific Vision with God himself. Islam may well worship the God of Abraham, but they have no room in their belief for God as Father, or for a God who so loved the world to send his only Son. So if all that matters is loving one another and singing Kumbaya around the campfire, why did the scholar answer (correctly according to Jesus) that we must

love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
Luke 10:27
God desires that all may seek and find him. But to those whom much is given, much is expected. And who among us would, when asked for a fish, would give their son or daughter a serpent? With all the goodness we have, why water our faith down to the equivalent of a Rodney King-ism.

Vision? of what
To round out this grating lesson in how-not-to-inspire faith, we were told of the vision our bishop has for our world. How he foresees a world where all are welcome, where all kinds sit around the table at the Last Supper. Not just men, but women, children, handicapped, athletes, and so on. Funny how this is mentioned as a "vision". I thought all were already welcome at Mass? I see "all kinds" going up to receive our Lord in the Eucharist. But since he foresees this as not yet occurring, we must look a little deeper. And since prominence was given to women, not just men being at the Last Supper, are we to assume he promoting women priests? That issue is closed, the boat has sailed. Why beat the dead horse? Even the pope cannot change what Jesus has set for us in his example. It isn't to the exclusion of women, it is about proper order. The priest stands in the person of Christ and as Christ is the bridegroom, the Church is the bride. It doesn't work ontologically for a woman to stand as the bridegroom, unless we refer back to the breezy intro where nothing matters except groovy l.o.v.e. baby.

His vision isn't entirely incorrect, given a misunderstand faith. If the Last Supper was just a meal, his vision fits. Although the term "vision" wouldn't fit because this practice is happening in most churches in the U.S. every Sunday. "All kinds" gather around the "table" and share in the wonderfulness of ourselves. But if we go by the proper understanding of our faith, that Jesus instituted the priesthood that night for one specific purpose, to share his Body and Blood with the world, then his vision falls flat. Just a tad bit short-sighted.

Again, if all religions are the same and being holy is just about loving everyone but God, it would fit. But they why go to Mass, why belong to a church and why support them with our tithes? I could probably love others better if I had that extra 10% of my income to make my life easier on me.

Batting cleanup
And what bad homily would be complete without a misguided political statement? Batting clean-up in thise insulting lineup, he brought in his "I shouldn't go there, but I will" thoughts on immigration. The "we need to do something" to help them line of thinking didn't win any style points with anyone I talked to after Mass. In fact I think it got him an earful from some animated elderly gentleman. I would sum it up by saying, if he has some affluent-white-male guilt, perhaps he can settle his issues by a big group hug with the illegal immigrants, Muslim, Buddhist, feminists and poor farmer down the street.

But as for me, I come to Mass to receive our Lord and to hear some words of wisdom in breaking open the scriptures. Thank God I am Catholic, I at least got the former.


Anonymous said...

Don't you think possibly that the homilist was quietly reacting to the recent comments by Pope Benedict about non-catholics? that was my take...

As for immigration...the homilist is a veteran of the Sacramento valley of California...he carries some experience!

10:30 video guy

KaleJ said...

Thanks for the comment.

But no, I don't see any need for reaction to Pope Benedict's comments. He was just re-affirming what Catholics have always believed (but sadly some theologians and even some bishops fail to preach.)

And based on Father's comments in the bulletin, our deacon had this sermon probably written before the pope released the document.

But even with that supposition, if there is nothing special about being Catholic, why bother? There are many faiths out their that are easier to follow. Being Catholic means holding certain rather "unique" beliefs such as the One True Church. Nobody else makes that claim.

So, pray, pray, pray for the homilist. As I said, I usually try to avoid griping needlessly.

Michael said...

Amen, brother! Testify! (Everything you wrote should be obvious to any priest, deacon or reasonably well-informed layman).