Friday, December 21, 2012
UNLESS THE WORLD WAS RAPTURED AND I WAS LEFT BEHIND ON MY 59TH, I WILL CONTINUE TO BLOG FOR THE INDEFINITE FUTURE
I can't tell if anyone is moving outside. I presume the end of the world has not happened as my computer is working, the lights are on and my toilet flushed. I haven't turned on the TV to hear if the end is beginning slowly and moving this way.
But shouldn't we live our lives in joy expecting the end at any moment and ready to meet our Savior at our personal judgment or in the case of the end of the world at the Last Judgement?
All of us are fearful of the end of our lives, how it will happen and what lies beyond. Many of us fear that this life is it. Others believe this life is it and thus live it as though God does not exist. Still others do believe as the Church does that there lies after death, judgment, heaven and hell. Of course purgatory is a part of heaven.
Given the tragedy of a week ago today, when the world did come to an end for so many children completely innocent, my homily for Christmas will be based upon what the coming of Jesus Christ portends for those who respond to His will that all be saved. I will talk about heaven as the Church understands it and the great saints have described it as told to them through private revelations. My homily makes me want to go to heaven and I hope you do too.
Speaking of those innocent children, the Funeral Mass for Children shows us in the way we pray what we believe about innocence stolen by evil.
In fact, this is what I love about the Post Vatican II Roman Missal. It is much richer in orations, prefaces and other prayers compared to its 1962 predecessor.
If only we could have the 2012 Roman Missal with 1962 ritual, rubrics and GIRM. And of course you know I love the revised lectionary and always have since childhood. I guess that is because I grew up in the Bible Belt and experienced the love that Protestants have for the Bible. It is a point of pride for me when giving tours of the Church here at St. Joseph for me to tell Protestants that if you came to Mass everyday, that over the course of three years you would hear bout 95% of the Bible read to you. Yes, we are a Bible Church, a Bible based Church, a Bible believing Church.
But look at the orations for the Funeral Mass of a baptized Child. It is a sort of canonization of that child, not to be found in the orations for an adult:
Most compassionate God, who in the counsels of your wisdom have called this little child to yourself on the very threshold of life, listen kindly to our prayers and grant that one day we may inherit eternal life with him/her, whom, by the grace of Baptism, you have adopted as your own child and who we believe is dwelling even now in your Kingdom...
O God, who know that our hearts are weighted down by grief at the death of this young child, grant that, while we weep for him/her, who at your bidding has departed this life so soon, we may have faith that he/she has gained an eternal home in heaven...
I do not believe that the 1962 Roman Missal has a separate Requiem for children, but I am sure John Nolan knows.
The only problem that I have from a pastoral point of view with the second oration for children's funeral Masses that I have above is this one line: "who at your bidding has departed this life so soon..." In the case of the Newtown killings, it would make some believers think God is responsible for the manner of death in terms of "who at your bidding..." Or am I reading that into the prayer?
Just on a side note to indicate how small the world is and how connected we are to one another, my parochial vicar is a classmate of the parochial vicar of Saint Rose of Lima in Newtown. The mother of the killer as well as the killer were parishioners there and that parish has had ten funerals out of this horrible tragedy.
In addition to that the principal of the school who charged the killer and herself was murdered was the next door neighbor to my parish administrator who lived a town away from Newtown. He and his wife knew her well.