Saturday, June 30, 2012
Saturday, June 23, 2012
I cannot promote the new missal translation with integrity. ... It has been an honor to serve until recently as chairman of the music committee... that prepared all the chants for the new missal. But my involvement in that process... has gradually opened my eyes to the deep problems in the structures of authority of our church... When I think of how secretive the translation process was, how little consultation was done with priests or laity, how the Holy See allowed a small group to hijack the translation at the final stage, how unsatisfactory the final text is, how this text was imposed on national conferences of bishops in violation of their legitimate episcopal authority, how much deception and mischief have marked this process—and then when I think of Our Lord’s teachings on service and love and unity…I weep.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Who We Are — Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, June 10 to 16, 2012 (Tenth Week of “Ordinary Time”)
We did not become Christ’s body by “entering a second time into our mother’s womb and being born again.” Nicodemus had that right (see John 3:1 ff.). We are not ‘reborn” as the body of the baby Jesus.
Nor do we find our identity in following the words and example of Jesus “teaching... proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing people” in his ministry. We are not a “body politic,” as defined in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780: "a voluntary association of individuals... by which the whole people covenants with each citizen and each citizen with the whole people." Our covenant to live, not by human laws but by the word of God, does not make us the “body of Christ.” Nor does “joining the Church” by voluntary acceptance of her teachings, authority and structure.
We have to be “born from above.” By “water and Spirit.” We must go into the waters of Baptism as into the grave, die with Christ and rise with him. The Jesus whose body we are is “the one who came by water and blood; not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.” The only “body of Christ” we can be is his risen body.
To be this we first have to die. This is the significance of the blood sacrifices that sealed the covenants between God and Abraham, God and his people (Genesis 15; Exodus 24). By killing animals as symbols of themselves, the people expressed that they were not just pledging to God the behavior specified in the Covenant, but giving their whole selves to him: their being, their lives — as God was giving himself to them: life for life. The Covenant was a mutual pledge, not just of behavior for behavior, but of being for being, life for life. To keep the Covenant it was not enough to keep the rules. The Covenant meant mutual giving of self; living in total union with God.
This union would be brought to fullness only when the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” was revealed: the “favor” of actually sharing in the divine life of God by being incorporated into the body of Jesus on the cross, dying with him, and letting him rise from the grave of Baptism in us, to continue his life and ministry on earth in us as his risen body.
The Feast of “Corpus Christi” is the feast of “the Body and Blood of Christ.” We celebrate, not only his body in Eucharist. We celebrate ourselves as his body — his real body, risen from his blood.
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Saturday, June 2, 2012
To live as the “risen Christ,” we must live as Father, Son and Spirit interacting with each other. Does that sound complicated?
It should. God is “mystery” — not truth that is unknowable but Truth so “infinitely,” “boundlessly” knowable that it “invites endless exploration.” The key to knowing God (and ourselves as created in the image of God plus sharing his own divine life by grace) is to explore how in God “Being Itself” is the reality of Three Persons who, though One in nature, differ from each other by the way they interact. That is, by relationship. What makes the Father “Father” is his interaction with the Son and Spirit. The Son is “Son” (or “Word”) because of his unique relationship with the Father and Spirit. The Spirit is “Spirit” because of his special interaction with the Father and Son. (Notice we are using “relationship” and “interaction” interchangeably). That is about as clear as light so blinding you can’t look at it, but it does give us something to work with. In a nutshell, the key to personal “be-ing” is relating, interacting. We are persons, and create ourselves as the persons we are becoming, by the way we “relate” — that is, interact — with others. To “be” is to relate, interact.
Did they teach us that in religion class?
Actually, they did. The Great Commandment is the rule for interacting with God: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart....” And all the other Commandments are ways of expressing love in our interactions with people. Check this out: go through them, seeing each one in this light. It is enlightening.
The Responsorial invites us to know God by focusing on his interaction with us: “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.” So does the first reading: "Ask now... Did anything so great ever happen before?... Did a people ever hear the voice of God... as you did, and live?” And the second: “You received a Spirit of adoption... The Spirit himself bears witness....”
The Gospel tells us how, as the risen body of Jesus, we need to interact with others: “Go, therefore, and make disciples....” This means to bring others into participating in the divine interaction that is the life of God: “...baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
To live as a human is to interact with others. To live as Christ is to interact with the Father as the Son does, and with both Father and Son by the unitive, “joining” power of the Holy Spirit. To interact with others by “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” is to let the Son in us express to them the ‘love of the Father,” drawing every person we deal with into “communion in the Holy Spirit.”
To live is to be caught up in the life of the Three Persons going on inside of us — in their relationships, their interaction — and to interact in the same ways with other people.
This might sound a little mystical, but that is what our graced, divine-human life is: a mystery that invites “endless exploration.”
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