021311 Why I Love The Church
[Note From Deacon Tom: Below this, you will find the text of the homily I delivered at all the Masses in our parish this weekend. I want to thank the people at REAL CATHOLIC TV for giving me unlimited permission to use words and reflection from Michael Vorris. I especially thank them for allowing me to use Michael’s beautiful description of the Catholic Church. Those words stirred so much in my heart – and a lot of people reacted to them, coming up to me after each of the Masses. Blessings. Deacon Tom]
No doubt about the theme of todayâ€™s readings is there? Definitely the Commandments. We have them on our beautiful monument out front here at our parish. In the historic Jewish way of expressing Godâ€™s direction, they are given to us in the form of â€˜thou shall and thou shall not.â€™ In reality, they are a guidebook for relationship with God and with one another. Iâ€™d like to take just one of them — the invitation to come together as a faith community to join in praise and worship each week… to learn and be fed at least once a week… although daily Mass is better.
Most of our Masses here last 50 minutes or less… and sad to say, maybe only 1/2 or even less of the Catholics in this area go to Mass each week. Many have just stopped the practice of the faith. For some, faith has become an I’ll go to Church when I feel like it… or when I want to pray for someone or some situation…. or when I miss the â€˜churchâ€™ because it made me feel good when it was the faith of my childhood. And then thereâ€™s us: fifty minutes of time once a week given to anything that might resemble communal prayer or teaching of the Catholic Faith. There are 10,080 minutes in the week, and if we subtract 50 minutes, that leaves 10,030 minutes. The fifty minutes that we spend here on a Sunday is less than one half of one percent of the time in a week when folks are giving publc worship and praise to our Good God…
And what is staggering to consider is that after the 50 minutes spent at Mass, the remaining 10,000 minutes of the week are spent in a society and with a media which are downright hostile to the faith. They do everything possible to destroy anything and everything you might hear during the 50 minutes… whether it is about marriage between one man and one woman, or about the joy of having children… or about not living together without benefit of marriage. Yes, society and the media are hell-bent (like that… hell bent) on convincing you that the 50 minutes you are experiencing here are wrong and a complete waste of time. Media and society and now the government which we’ve allowed to take charge in this country… they are working to convince you that abstinence is a joke… that free condoms and sex education (which is really a form of sex permissiveness) is what is correct. If we stand in the checkout line at Safeway, we can see that this gay person is ‘married’ to that gay person and they are having a test tube baby. We are living in the swamp of a decaying culture.
And yet — many Catholics … and sadly many priests and deacons will allow Catholics to believe that they are practicing the faith with as little as 50 minutes of time spent trying to combat abortion and all of the filth of the swamp that we are sinking into. In preparing for todayâ€™s homily on just one commandment, I came upon a reflection on our Church and our faith.
I believe that this faith of ours is the Community of God’s Dreams, in spite of flawed or broken or outright sinful human leadership in certain cases. Some of us donâ€™t want to break Godâ€™s heart by allowing the devil to continue to chip away at the great gift which has inspired so many saints and priests and nuns and holy men and women..
And so, Iâ€™d like to share this reflection on our Church by Michael Vorris of Real Catholic TV… I beg you to listen to these words… and to see if this vision is what you believe about the Catholic Faith… the Catholic Church. And if not — perhaps you are being given this opportunity to see whether your heart and mind can be opened to have faith reborn in you and in the way that you practice and live the faith. Here are Michaelâ€™s words:
â€œThe Catholic Church is magnificent. It stands like a great and noble city, a sparkling jewel, splendrous, the bride of Christ, loved from all of eternity in the bosom of the Holy Trinity. Presaged by Israel with the Father, purchased with the Blood of the Son, brought into visible reality by the Spirit. Brought into being in time, her destiny is now eternity. What existed from all time in the mind of the Father will be alive forever in the heart of the Father, through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Church soars to the Heavens in the depth of her teachings. She possesses infinity in a finite tabernacle. She glories with the saints and angels in heaven even now as she lifts up her heart in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. She lives and moves and has her being in the Divine Majesty. Sheâ€™s raised up from the dust of the earth through the waters of Baptism. She lives in perpetual virginity through everlasting espousal to Christ. She is the delight of the Lord of Lords and is the bride of the King of Kings. When she speaks, her honeyed voice is Truth and goodness and beauty. When she breathes, it is the air of the courts of heaven…. the intoxicating fragrance of love. This is the Church.
Our blessed Lord would prepare nothing less than perfection for His Bride as He prepared nothing less than perfection for His Mother. Th Church is the Bride of Christ. She is worth fighting for. Her sons are summoned to defend her honor… her daughters to proclaim her beauty. There is nothing more noble to which man can aspire than to sit in her courts to muse on her truths. To muse on the deepest reality of love… that God could offer himself in the form of bread … his very humanity and divinity… and now we have noble blood flowing through our veins. The very DNA of God Himself joins to our DNA literally transforming us into Christ.
This is the great reality of the Holy Eucharist…. that we have the blood of Christ flowing through our veins. This, the Catholic Church prepares for us. That is the end of Michaelâ€™s reflection.
I think that is so beautiful. And so — about just one commandment that says to come, worship and praise and thank our God in our church, let no one… no one cavalierly say they will decide whether they want to go to Sunday Mass. In the Gospels, Jesus said â€˜DO THIS.â€™ He didnâ€™t say if you feel like it… He didnâ€™t say donâ€™t worry about coming late or leaving before His Holy Meal is complete… Jesus said, â€œDo This. Do it in memory of me.â€
To those who say that commandments were the old way of thinking and that we make up our own rules… I say to you… a pox on the anti-Christ of choice and self-will run riot. That is the thinking of Adam and Eve. Let us think as followers of Christ.
We need 15 choir voices singing at each of our Masses… elevating the liturgies to the paramount witness of what we say we believe. We need the holiest and most beautiful of liturgies… with people really singing and meaning the words that they pronounce. And we need people coming to Holy Confession to repent of what they’ve allowed their walk with Jesus to become… we need people who teach the Catholic Faith to their children and grandchildren. We don’t need more spaghetti suppers… we need to feed our minds and souls… and then to feed those in the community around us… and those in the supermarket line… that’s what we need. May God have mercy on us… May God send His Holy Spirit to set each of us on fire.