Sunday, March 29, 2009

Today's homilies

I had two homilies this Sunday, because at 9 am Mass, we had the "Third Scrutiny" for the benefit of the Elect--those to be baptized at Easter. That means using the readings from "year A"; whereas at the other Masses, we used "year B" readings.

For the Scrutiny, I said something along these lines...

I explained why the last three Sundays featured the readings they do: the woman at the well, the man born blind, and the raising of Lazarus from the dead. They all serve to illustrate what baptism and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is about: everything changes for us.

I also explained that central to our Faith is a kind of exchange: we choose to exchange our merely human life for Divine Life, by embracing the death and resurrection of our Lord. Another way to put it: our Lord offers an exchange: we exchange our mortality, our death, for his. We shall surely die; but we can embrace his death and his resurrection, in place of what we face without him. (I said more, but honestly cannot recall what else I said.)

For the other Masses, I said:

I offered the illustration of watching a movie--there are two ways to do it. One way is to have the TV on, have a newspaper or magazine in our lap, which we're skimming, having a laptop nearby, as we check our email, and having the clicker at the ready if the action lags. That's how many of us do it (including yours truly). the other way is to turn off the phone, put away the laptop, not have a clicker, and simply focus on the film. For those who don't care for movies, the same lesson applies for a football or basketball game--you enjoy the game a lot more if you focus on it and enter into it; the person who comes in, during the last two minutes, doesn't really get why everyone is so enthralled.

Our Faith is like that; Lent is like that. We can choose to carry on our usual activities, and we'll miss what's going on; or we can focus in, and realize the drama of our Faith, especially during Lent.

The theologian Hans urs von Balthasar wrote a series on the Faith, which he called the "Theo-Drama"--he presented the idea that everything that God has done for us--not just in Christ, but the entire story of salvation, from the Creation, forward to Christ's coming, death and resurrection, and to the great conclusion--is all a kind of Drama. But it is not only a great story; it has the added benefit of being true. And we are not spectators; we are part of the drama; not bit players, but important to the Story. In fact, we are the reason for it--the whole thing is about our salvation!

We may find that Lent has gotten by us, and we wonder what happened. But we have two more weeks till Easter. The fourth quarter is just beginning, and there is still a lot of action! We might want to focus in during the next two weeks, and we will discover the power of the Drama of our Salvation. Yes, it's not easy; and while I don't know what each of you faces, I do know busy! And it happens to me, if I'm not careful--all of a sudden, it's Good Friday, and I have to rush over and lead prayers. Please pray for me that I will enter into this time, as I pray the same for you.

(I made some other points--about each Mass recapitulating this Drama, and I invited everyone to take part in Holy Thursday and Good Friday.)


Anonymous said...

Farther why do some churches not have a closing song during lent and then other churches do it only during holy week?

Fr Martin Fox said...

I dunno. Preference; setting a tone.

Actually, The Roman Missal does not call for any song or hymn after the people say "Deo Gratias"/"Thanks be to God" following the deacon or priest saying, "Ite, Missa est"/The Mass is ended, go in peace."

Anonymous said...

Father, your remarks here are so timely and to the point. Well said!