Monday, March 12, 2012

Sunday homilies

Sorry I didn't post my homilies (I had two) for the weekend; but I never actually wrote them. Some weeks, I am floundering around all week for what I think I should say, and come Saturday, I have perhaps a couple of ideas developed, and that is sometimes what I go with. Such was the case this past weekend.

I had two homilies because in Lent, we have rituals at certain Masses related to those who will enter the Church at Easter; and these occasion different readings. For the third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent, these are called the "scrutinies." So this affected the 10:30 am Mass.

My principal homily for the weekend began with the first reading and the context--Moses leading God's people out of Egypt to Mount Sinai where God gave his commandments. I pointed out that when Moses confronted Pharaoh, he consistently said something like, "Let my people go that they may worship me."

I pointed out that the first reading spends a lot of time developing the first several commandments--having to do with worshiping God; and then the remaining commandments are ticked off succinctly; as if to say that if we get worship right, the rest fits and works better. For some reason, however, I neglected to make this point at 7 and 9 am Masses.

To make the point further, I suggested folks look up the passage where--upon arriving at Mount Sinai, God invited Moses and the people to come up the mountain, "so that you can tell me how you wish to worship." After a pause, I said--I'm kidding; that never happened. Instead, God spent 40 days showing Moses how his people were to worship. Similarly, when our Lord gathered his Apostles, he showed them again: "do this in memory of me." And with some changes, we still are.

Also, along the way, I said that we often have discussions about Mass, about various aspects of Mass--music, the new translation, Latin-English, etc.--and it's usually in terms of, "I like/I don't like." But that misses the point. It isn't really about what we like or don't like. If we come to Mass with a checklist of the things that have to be just right--we are bound for disappointment. My homily may or may not be good; the music may or may not sit well with folks. Something will go wrong.

But when we see Mass for what it is: Mount Sinai happens here; Calvary happens here; God acts here; that will always happen. I think I ended by saying, "we're at Mount Sinai now: let's see what God will do."

In my 10:30 am homily, I talked about the ritual of the "scrutiny": it isn't so much the Church "scrutinizing" the Elect--those chosen for baptism at Easter--but the catechumens scrutinizing themselves and their choice for Christ. I honestly don't recall all I said, but I developed that point, explained the ritual, emphasized to the rest of the assembly what it means that these folks want what we have, talked about sharing our faith, etc. I also invited everyone to the Easter Vigil, so they could continue the Elects' journey to baptism. Keying off the first reading--in which Moses strikes the rock to provide God's people with water--I pointed out our baptismal font. Notice it's made out of stone, that's not an accident; that's the Rock from which the water of life will be drawn! I won't strike it--it's an antique!--but that's where the Elect will be led!

If anyone heard either homily, please add comments, especially if it was something you liked, didn't like or didn't understand or agree with.

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