“Where I am Going…”

Passion of the Christ Today you will be with me

“…you cannot come.” (John 7:34, 8:21, 13:33, 13:36)

Lord Jesus said this multiple times, to different audiences.

At Holy Mass today, we hear Him say it to the Pharisees. He went on to tell them that they would die in their sins, because they did not believe in Him, did not believe in God incarnate, the only-begotten eternal Word made man.

The Lord also said the exact same sentence to another group of people, and then to one of them in particular. Anyone remember? “Where I am going, you cannot come.”

To the Apostles at the Last Supper. And then particularly to St. Peter. “Where I am going you cannot come.”

But Jesus did not tell St. Peter and the Apostles that they would die in their sins. Instead, He gave them a commandment, and then made them a promise.

Who remembers the commandment?

“Love one another.”

Who remembers the promise? ‘Where I am going, you cannot come now, but…’

“You shall follow afterward.”

En otras palabras: When we look upon Christ lifted up, skewered to the cross in agony, dereliction, and death–when we look upon Him with His arms outstretched between heaven and earth–when we gaze upon the crucifix and see not defeat and meaninglessness, but rather the burning light of God’s eternal love–when we see Jesus with faith, we do not die in our sins. No. We live for glory eternal.

How We Know that God is Love

We say that God is love, that love pours out infinitely from the bosom of the Creator and Father of all.

We say that God’s love moves us to love, to think first of our neighbor and only secondly of ourselves. To let ourselves get lost, really, in the rough and tumble of paying attention to other people and how we can help them. We forget ourselves, lose our egos like a set of keys—and then we wind up finding ourselves again at the end of the day, when we’re ready for an honest night’s sleep after spending our strength doing our duty to others.

last-supperWe disciples of Christ say that a bottomless spring flows with love. We drink from this fountain, and the invisible, spiritual water is holy and divine and makes us capable of doing things that the world deems impossible, like not being selfish all the time.

Now, how do we know all this? How do we know that the river of love never runs dry, because God Himself loves, and loves infinitely?

After all, someone might ask us: If God is love, why do people die, and when I don’t want them to? Why do good people get diseases? Why do liars and cheaters prosper, while the honest man can’t even afford to pay his taxes?

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Upper Room Religion

To worship God in truth, we go to the Upper Room. The Upper Room of Jesus’ Passover formed the Church of God. How did this come to pass?

Maybe, in some primordial arbor of trees, in the morning before Adam and Eve sinned, a simple altar stood. Our First Parents could have offered God a worthy sacrifice there and worshiped Him in friendship.

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The Various Lingos (Roman Missal III)

Sooner or later, we have to tackle the mother of all Roman Missal issues: the diversity of human languages.

Where did the Hebrew language come from? Archaeologists and philologists have their ideas. Hebrew came from God, in the sense that everything comes from God. And God used some Hebrew in His dealings with Moses.

When God became man, He spoke the contemporary version of the ancient Syrian language. Greek was the lingua franca of the world. And the people whose ancestral tongue was Latin held sway.

We can say without hesitation that human language exists so that Christ could speak it. If it existed solely for Homer, Shakespeare, Dante, Springsteen, et. al., then human language would constitute nothing more than a glorious and futile tragedy.

As it is, the lips of Christ have made our race’s cluckings and stammerings worthwhile. When the Lord Jesus said, Hoc est enim…, He sealed the whole project with a mighty, definitive breakthrough: Heaven and earth unite at the words.

That said, the Lord Jesus did not of course literally say, Hoc est enim… We figure He spoke Aramaic at the Last Supper, when He wasn’t reciting Hebrew. And I, though I am a somewhat well-educated priest and a semi-devout Christian—I could not, off the top of my little head, supply you with the Aramaic words…

An important sequel followed that pivotal Jerusalem spring. The Apostles fanned-out to the ends of the earth. They established the Church in the great cities, as well as villages and hamlets. The Prince of Apostles ultimately sailed west and watered the soil of Vatican Hill, across the Tiber from Rome, with his blood.

The local churches of Rocky Mount and Martinsville, Va.—coursing with holiness as they may—cannot claim to have begun with a Mass celebrated by one of the Twelve Apostles. Indeed, no English-speaking local church can make this boast; the English language did not exist when the Apostles walked the earth.

The lands around the Mediterranean Sea, and in the now-Arab and Persian domains, and in India—these places saw the Apostles celebrate Mass to begin local churches. The languages of these ancient countries were used in the original rites of the Church of Christ. Pre-eminent among them all: Peter’s church, Rome.

More to come…

Coupla Questions (Roman Missal I)

1. S&P downgraded my blog rating from Boring to Boring Minus. Does that seem fair?

2. Of course I will root for the Redskins with limitless devotion. But could they make it a little easier this year?

3. Did you know that President Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff Harold M. Ickes‘ father was Harold L. Ickes, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior–who refused to sell helium to the Nazis? Did you know that father and son disagree about how to pronounce their surname? (Ick-ess vs. Ick-eez.)

…If Adam and Eve had not fallen from grace, how would they have exercised their religion? Would they have used a prayerbook?

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St. Ignatius and the Crazies

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over—twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children. (Matthew 14:19-21)

Anyone ever heard of St. Ignatius Loyola? As a young man, he dreamed of a life of knighthood and soldiering. But he fell, gravely wounded, in his first battle.

During his long recovery, Ignatius began to read passages from the gospel and imagine himself as a minor character in them. Over time, Ignatius became intimately familiar with every detail of the life of Christ. He gave up the idea of being a soldier and longed to serve Christ as His dutiful knight.

Ignatius studied and became a priest. He founded the Jesuit order. He became famous for his unswerving adherence to Church teaching. ‘Something might look white to me, but if the Church teaches that it is black, then I conclude that it is black.’ Ignatius died 455 years ago today.

St. Ignatius encouraged frequent Holy Communion. He wrote:

One of the most admirable effects of Holy Communion is to preserve the soul from sin, and to help those who fall through weakness to rise again. It is much more profitable, then, to approach this divine sacrament with love, respect, and confidence, than to remain away.

We read in the gospel that the Lord Jesus felt pity for us in our hunger. He knows that we human beings have appetites that don’t quit. He formed us from dust, and we tend toward dust. For all the magnificent intricacy of our bodies, they nonetheless starve to death without regular feeding.

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God, Christ, Mass

Three years ago our Holy Father made a quiet visit to the World Trade Center site in Manhattan.

Click HERE to read the prayer the Pope recited quietly…

…Interested in a sermon for First Holy Communion?

Here you go:

Last Sunday, when our Holy Father Pope Benedict preached at the Beatification Mass at St. Peter’s, he emphasized Blessed Pope John Paul II’s heroic faith.

John Paul II is blessed because of his strong, generous, apostolic faith…With the strength of a titan, …by his witness of faith, John Paul II helped believers throughout the world not be afraid to be called Christian…He gave us the strength to believe in Christ.

When the Lord Jesus walked with Cleopas and the other disciple on the way to Emmaus on Easter Sunday, He chided them for their lack of faith. “How foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe!”

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Holy Sacrifice

priest_jesus_mass
The Lord Jesus said: “I am the Bread of Life.” And He gave us the Holy Eucharist.

The sacred ceremony of the Holy Mass is the perfect act of religion, the perfect act of obedience and devotion to God. By God’s design, the Holy Mass is both the sacrifice of salvation and the feast of faith.

The Blessed Sacrament of the altar is the source of eternal life. It is the divine Body and Blood, the flesh animated by the undying life of God.

How do we mortals share in Christ’s immortal life? Through His death.

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