Don't Shoot the Messenger

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Today We Crowned Him With Thorns

Today in the Catholic Church in Novus Ordo parishes (post Vatican II) we celebrated the feast of Christ the King, This Sunday signifies the end of the liturgical calendar year. Advent, the season which anticipates Christmas then, is the start of a new liturgical year. Traditional Latin Mass parishes celebrate the Kingship of Christ on the last Sunday of October. Just putting that out there for folks who don’t know.

So my Sunday morning started out with a text from a very good friend. She was asking me what I thought about the Divine Mercy devotion after she read an interesting article written by a traditional priest (It had been translated into English and I will include it here if you would like to read it.) After reading the article I responded that I agreed with what the priest said about the devotion, even though it had been approved under John Paul II. Most of the uneasiness coming from more traditional folks is from what the Polish nun (Sister Faustina) who claimed to have had these locutions from Jesus wrote down in her diary. Some of it just doesn’t sound right. Additionally, previous popes have had their doubts about the validity of the devotion due to its very strong emphasis on Mercy without mention of God’s Justice or our need for penance and for these and other reasons prohibited it from being spread. Read the article here, as I want to move on to what happened at Mass today.

I generally try to assist at (attend) Latin Mass, but sometimes I go to a Novus Ordo Mass, especially if I know the priest to be very reverent. I was visiting a new parish today to see if in the future I would go if I couldn’t make it to a Traditional Mass. When I arrived it was quiet in the Church for the most part – a few folks talking to each other, others praying. Mass began with an appropriate traditional hymn, ‘Crown Him With Many Crowns,’ so I was hopeful. But it went down quickly from that point: women all over the altar, children approaching the altar before the readings and the priest giving a little chat with them about – wait for it, Thanksgiving; a few chuckles followed. The pastor was wearing vestments with Sr. Faustina on the back and The Divine Mercy Painting on the front. How odd, I thought, especially since I had received the text just that morning on that very subject. I also thought it was unusual due to the fact the Feast of Divine Mercy is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter.

Then there was the hand holding during the Our Father, the piano bar music during the reception of Holy Communion, and of course, everyone in the building going up to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Somehow I don’t think the confession lines were so long yesterday.

Now I’m going to gripe about the incredibly disappointing sermon or homily. It was as if the pastor got the politically correct talking points the night before because the talk could have gone one of two ways. ONE – He could have talked about the Social Kingship of Christ and what it means for every person living and deceased. And that includes world leaders and how they should pay homage to Him and follow His dictates. Or TWO – the other opposite message and most likely what every priest in the Novus Ordo world talked about was how to DOWNPLAY OUR LORD”S KINGSHIP and how wonderful we people are and how we need to take care of the poor, the needy, and the – wait for it – people on the peripheries. Not for nothing but priests talk about number TWO not just on Sundays but at daily Masses as well. In fact that is ALL WE EVER HEAR ABOUT ANYMORE. Then, of course, Father Nice (not his real name) talked about Divine Mercy and How Our Lord is just waiting for us to ask for it. No mention of penance or how we offend Him or anything of that nature. He said that Jesus didn’t want to be a king and when on earth his disciples tried to make Him one He would get away from them. Well, no kidding! That was because His time had not come. Of course He was and is King! His Kingdom did not originate on Earth, but we most certainly are in His Kingdom. Everything and everybody is, like it or not.

The gospel reading from Luke was about all the different people at Calvary who were jeering at Jesus as he suffered on the cross, telling Him to save Himself. This included the bad thief (as opposed to the good one to whom Jesus said, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.”). The bad thief treated Jesus as an equal. He didn’t have the holy fear of God in him, but the good thief (St. Dismas) rightly rebuked the bad one, and was rewarded eternally for doing so.

Today we were, at that Mass, with that priest, the bad thief. We lowered Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, to the head or maybe just the best example of a Red Cross volunteer – a man just like us who took care of the poor and needy and gave everyone free mercy, no questions asked. Fr. Ditto (not his real name) told us that WE were building up the Kingdom of God. Oh really? Where were we when God created the heavens and the earth??? (Book of Job)

I stayed in the pew after Mass just long enough to watch teams of people on the altar coming and going, passing by Our Lord in the Tabernacle with nary a nod or genuflection. After all He’s just one of us. I noticed large, black boxes on wheels being carted right by the Tabernacle and guessed rightly that the movers were preparing for a Hippy Mass. The electric guitar was a dead give-away.

Who are these people kidding? Jesus Christ, Second Person of the Holy Trinity can’t even have one feast day? I am sorry, Dear Lord, but today we have again crowned You with thorns.

 

CROWN OF THORNS

You, Jesus, the Lord of Creation,

stood alone, mocked and suffering

in the courts of King Herod

and Pontius Pilate.

 

None spoke in Your defense.

None came to Your aid.

You, Master of all the world

were scorned, insulted, bloody

and abused.

 

Let my life and love

in some infinitesimal way atone

for the atrocities and wounds

You suffered for all our sins:

for the agonizing pain,

the gross indignities,

the outrageous mockery,

the heartless cruelty.

 

Tortured Jesus,

please forgive all mortals

for the crimes still committed daily

against You, and against

the least of Your children,

by the high and mighty,

and the arrogant and powerful,

the cowardly and viscous,

and the weak of will who know virtue

but give in to temptation.

 

I pray in Your Holy Name,

for all those who sin this day:

please pardon them.

 

Please forgive me, too, Lord,

for my own sins, and especially

for every injury I have ever inflicted

now regretted or long forgotten

on any person, intentionally,

or unintentionally,

purposefully or carelessly,

by my deed, my failure, my word,

my neglect or my unkind thought.

 

Please in Your Divine mercy

now give those I have injured

some radiant special blessing

of grace and happiness today,

be they now in this world or the next.

 

Let my days and disappointments atone

for these many grievous faults of mine

and also in some small way

for the insults, injustices,

crimes and sins committed by others

against the weakest

and most vulnerable

of your children and servants

here on earth.

 

Let me and all who read these words

know and remember always

that a Day of Reckoning

will surely come

when all our hidden sins

will be revealed and judged.

 

Punishments will certainly follow.

 

Forgive me Lord,

as You forgive all those

who have committed and will commit crimes against You, but who are sincerely penitent, for we truly

do not realize fully what we do.

 

Strengthen my resolution

to be a better person.

 

I place my faith, my trust, my love

in You, Who suffered for our sins, Crucified Jesus, Risen Lord,

Triumphant God Eternal.

Amen