The side aisle ceilings were closed, the elevator is functional and its still toasty warm inside the church.
Sunday homilies are constrained by length and by the understanding there are children of all ages present at most liturgies. They are never “speeches” or “talks” and even those that convey new information are not to be lessons or lectures. One of my pastor mentors in seminary used to say that a homily should always end with something we can do. With that understanding, here is last Sunday’s homily.
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus heals Peter’s Mother-in-Law
Any week the President of the United States
Uses Christ’s name twice in one speech
In the same context with the
Inquisition and Crusades
Serious Catholics have some
Praying to do
My responsibility isn’t to criticize
But his speech has left some sickened
My responsibility is to lift us up
With the gospel truth
Of Jesus Christ
Just as Christ raised up
From her sickbed
To full health
Don’t let anyone keep you
In a sickbed about your faith!
Read, study, know the truth
A few moments on the two issues
The president raised in his prayer breakfast speech:
In 1998 John Paul II made these concluding remarks in a speech about the Inquisition
Yet the consideration of mitigating factors does not exonerate the Church from the obligation to express profound regret for the weaknesses of so many of her sons and daughters who sullied her face, preventing her from fully mirroring the image of her crucified Lord, the supreme witness of patient love and of humble meekness. From these painful moments of the past a lesson can be drawn for the future, leading all Christians to adhere fully to the sublime principle stated by the Council: The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it wins over the mind with both gentleness and power.
The modern synthesis of the Crusades in many academic and political institutions is that the soldiers of the First Crusade appeared without any warning to pillage and plunder the Holy Land and slaughter non-Christians.
In truth, well before 1095 the year of the first Crusade which came to the aid of the Byzantine emperor in the West who feared Constantinople would fall to the Muslims, wars of Islamic aggression had already seized control of the formerly Christian territories of Egypt, Palestine, Syria, North Africa, Spain, most of Asia Minor and Southern France. Italy was under assault, Sicily was eventually taken. Muslim invasions would be led into Europe.
3 of 5 Christianity’s primatial sees had already been captured: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria. Constantinople would eventually fall. Only Rome escaped…narrowly.
Any war, primitive or modern, is gruesome and brutal.
Here is John Paul II’s prayer during a celebration of the Great Jubilee in 2000:
Let us forgive and ask forgiveness! While we praise God who, in his merciful love, has produced in the Church a wonderful harvest of holiness, missionary zeal, total dedication to Christ and neighbour, we cannot fail to recognize the infidelities to the Gospel committed by some of our brethren, especially during the second millennium. Let us ask pardon for the divisions which have occurred among Christians, for the violence some have used in the service of the truth and for the distrustful and hostile attitudes sometimes taken towards the followers of other religions.
The silence of Islamic religious leaders
Asking forgiveness for wars of aggression
or disavowal of the acts committed by some
in the name of their prophet
Our Christian baptism
does not put us on a “high horse" as the president said...
Far from it
We are touched by Christ
For service and to be his disciples
After today’s gospel miracle
He set out on a preaching mission
Throughout the whole region
We are empowered to
Preach about Christ’s church
His gospel message
And to condemn
The abuse of human rights
And religious freedom
Wherever they occur
Not because the church
Can claim its members
Are sinless saints
Christ and his church
Are the world’s best hope
Not its greatest threat
As some media pundits
And militant atheists
Would have us believe.
We must be careful
Not to let criticism of religious extremism
turn to religious indifferentism
Or hostility to
Persons of any religious faith
But this is not a time for Christianity
To be in bed with the flu
Or to be weakened
By medicinal doses of guilt
Whether served up to us
By the media or our president
Out of an abudance
Of political correctness
Should our voices for an end to
Senseless violence against civilians
Men, women and children
And graphic, public executions
Can we at least agree to condemn
And slave markets
Can we condemn
Cowardly acts of terrorism
Defend against them
And try to make the world
A safer place?
Lent is almost upon us.
A perfect opportunity
To express our grief in ashes
And our hope in Jesus Christ
To pray, fast and do penance
Holy Cross eight grade students and their prayer partners inspect the new banners for the St. Patrick's Day Parade which are on display in the school hallway.
It is quite fun to locate and interpret all the symbols and hidden meaning in these beautiful windows. The banners are 8 x 2 ft. and we would love volunteers to help carry them in the parade in Rumson on March 8th.
The sculptors are behind schedule, but so are we and we hope that Mary will be here at Holy Cross in time for the church dedication. This is the marble statue that will stand in the exterior niche of the church in the Prayer Garden.
With a new worship space and new procedures to learn, it seems a perfect time to enlist as many of our young people who are willing to serve the Lord.
Please remember we also have a Latin mass at Holy Cross and with a sanctuary larger than our chapel, it would be well to have at least two servers at each Latin mass. In these days when second languages are taught even in elementary school, Latin isn't that hard to master. No one's Latin needs to be perfect in the beginning, since it grows on you.
An online scheduling program makes it simply to switch masses or arrange for substitutes. Watch for flyers and forms via the Wednesday envelope, through Religious Education classes or soon here on the blog.
The banners for the St. Patrick's day parade were delivered on Friday and they look great! Very rich colors and good details. Each banner is eight feet high and two feet wide and is a reproduction of the stained glass windows which will soon illuminate our church.
Photos to follow. Please join us in the line of march and consider helping with one of the banners: St. Patrick, St. Brigid, St. Columcille, St. Laurence O'Toole, St. Laserian, St. Kieran.
Crews were busy at work this morning connecting the water mains to Holy Cross Church. Everyone coped with the inconvenience very patiently. The disruption to traffic on Ward Avenue should be quite brief.
A late night visit to the church revealed a few pleasant surprises. The boilers were running and the interior dome was nearing completion.
We'll be distributing several hundred of them after the masses this weekend, but to be sure you have your own copy, you may wish to order directly from the publisher, or subscribe to the electronic version on iPad or iPhone. They are a great way to pray daily during Lent.
Join us at 7 PM for viewing and discussion of the history and the great works of art contained within the Cathedral of Monreale.
We will also have copies of the Lenten series books, Art and Prayer on hand for purchase.