Sunday, October 29, 2023


While the pope preaches a message about putting God first, adoring Jesus and serving Him, although there is a bit of resignation about the expensive, dull, self-absorbed, self-referential, synod on synodality that taught nothing, except the participants held hands, sang kumbaya and enjoyed fraternity, the crucifix on the altar for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is shunted to the side as it was in the 1970’s, to which we have returned in the worst kind of backwardness:




St Peter's Basilica
XXX Sunday in Ordinary Time - Sunday, 29 October 2023




A doctor of the Law comes to Jesus under a pretext, in order to test him. The question he asks, however, is an important and enduring one that, at times, arises in our own hearts and in the life of the Church: “Which commandment in the law is the greatest?” (Mt 22:36). We too, immersed in the living stream of Tradition, can ask: “What is the most important thing? What is the driving force?” What matters so much as to be the guiding principle of everything? Jesus’ answer is clear: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:37-39).

Brother Cardinals, Bishops and priests, men and women Religious, dear brothers and sisters, at the conclusion of this stage of our journey, it is important to look at the “principle and foundation” from which everything begins ever anew: by loving. Loving God with our whole life and loving our neighbour as ourselves. Not our strategies, our human calculations, the ways of the world, but love of God and neighbour: that is the heart of everything. And how do we channel this momentum of love? I would propose two verbs, two movements of the heart, on which I would like to reflect: to adore and to serve. We love God through adoration and service. (Excellent beginning! Is His Holiness critiquing the chatting of the synod though. It seems so to me. As we know, the pope is always depressed after synods for what they do or fail to do.)

The first verb, adore. To love is to adore. Adoration is the first response we can offer to God’s gratuitous and astonishing love. The amazement of adoration, the wonder of worship, is something essential in the life of the Church, especially in our own day in which we have abandoned the practice of adoration. To adore God means to acknowledge in faith that he alone is Lord and that our individual lives, the Church’s pilgrim way and the ultimate outcome of history all depend on the tenderness of his love. He gives meaning to our lives. (Nothing wrong here, in fact, quite praise worthy.)

In worshiping God, we rediscover that we are free. That is why the Scriptures frequently associate love of the Lord with the fight against every form of idolatry. Those who worship God reject idols because whereas God liberates, idols enslave. Idols deceive us and never bring to pass what they promise, because they are “the work of men’s hands” (Ps 115:4). Scripture is unbending with regard to idolatry, because idols are made and manipulated by men, while God, the Living God, is present and transcendent; he is the one “who is not what I imagine him to be, who does not depend on what I expect from him and who can thus upset my expectations, precisely because he is alive. The proof that we do not always have the right idea about God is that at times we are disappointed: We think: ‘I expected one thing, I imagined that God would behave like this, and instead I was wrong’. But in this way, we turn back to the path of idolatry, wanting the Lord to act according to the image we have of him” (C.M. Martini, I grandi della Bibbia. Esercizi spirituali con l’Antico Testamento, Florence, 2022, 826-827). We are always at risk of thinking that we can “control God”, that we can confine his love to our own agenda. Instead, the way he acts is always unpredictable, it transcends our thinking, and God’s way of acting consequently demands amazement and adoration. Amazement is very important! (Here I think the pope knows that the synod on synodality has not met with his, especially his, expectations and the expectations of others, completely overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit inserting the Rupnick scandal into it, and that worshipping idols like pachamama as symbolized by using God and idols to get what I want, and certainly, I would suggest, that to say that the Holy Spirit is at work in this, that and the other is a manipulation of not only God, a form of idolatry, but also of God’s holy people!)

We must constantly struggle against all types of idolatry; not only the worldly kinds, which often stem from vainglory, such as lust for success, self-centredness, greed for money – let us not forget that the devil enters “through the pockets”, the enticements of careerism; but also those forms of idolatry disguised as spirituality – my own spirituality: my own religious ideas, my own pastoral skills... Let us be vigilant, lest we find that we are putting ourselves at the centre rather than him. And let us return to worship. May worship be central for those of us who are pastors: let us devote time every day to intimacy with Jesus the Good Shepherd, adoring him in the tabernacle. May the Church adore: in every diocese, in every parish, in every community, let us adore the Lord! Only in this way will we turn to Jesus and not to ourselves. For only through silent adoration will the Word of God live in our words; only in his presence will we be purified, transformed and renewed by the fire of his Spirit. Brothers and sisters, let us adore the Lord Jesus! (The pope does not disappoint in his negativity, does he! He is always negative, criticizing and turning people off through his constant critique. But he does offer a nugget or two about adoration, turning to the Lord, even as his MC places the Crucifix to the side of the altar!)

The second verb is to serve. To love is to serve. In the great commandment, Christ binds God and neighbour together so that they will never be disconnected. There can be no true religious experience that is deaf to the cry of the world. There is no love of God without care and concern for our neighbour; otherwise, we risk becoming pharisaic. We may have plenty of good ideas on how to reform the Church, but let us remember: to adore God and to love our brothers and sisters with his love, that is the great and perennial reform. To be a worshiping Church and a Church of service, washing the feet of wounded humanity, accompanying those who are frail, weak and cast aside, going out lovingly to encounter the poor. We heard in the first reading how God commanded this.

Brothers and sisters, I think of the victims of the atrocities of war; the sufferings of migrants, the hidden pain of those who are living alone and in poverty; those who are crushed by the burdens of life; those who have no more tears to shed, those who have no voice. And I think too of how often, behind fine words and attractive promises, people are exploited or nothing is done to prevent that from happening (here the pope has to be speaking about himself and his enablement of sex abusers, like Barros, Zanchetta and Rupnick, Rupnick in particular!) It is a grave sin to exploit the vulnerable, a grave sin that corrodes fraternity and devastates society. As disciples of Jesus, we desire to bring to the world a different type of leaven, that of the Gospel. To put God in first place and, together with him, those whom he especially loves: the poor and the weak.

This, brothers and sisters, is the Church we are called to “dream”: a Church that is the servant of all, the servant of the least of our brothers and sisters. A Church that never demands an attestation of “good behaviour,” but welcomes, serves, loves and forgives. A Church with open doors that is a haven of mercy. “The merciful man”, said John Chrysostom, “is as a harbour to those who are in need; and the harbour receives all who are escaping shipwreck, and frees them from danger, whether they be evil or good; whatsoever kind of men they be that are in peril, it receives them into its shelter. You also, when you see a man suffering shipwreck on land through poverty, do not sit in judgment on him, nor require explanations, but relieve his distress.” (In pauperem Lazarum, II, 5). (Where do I begin with this paragraph and its main inconsistency. The pope has already called Catholics to attest to “good behavior” by not closing themselves to the needs of the poor, abused and marginalized, to be welcoming but then he says don’t demand attestations of good behavior! You can’t make this stuff up! Of course, good behavior must be requested, preached and demanded, because that is what Jesus does—he calls us to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect!)

Brothers and sisters, the General Assembly of the Synod has now concluded. In this “conversation of the Spirit,” we have experienced the loving presence of the Lord and discovered the beauty of fraternity. We have listened to one another and above all, in the rich variety of our backgrounds and concerns, we have listened to the Holy Spirit. Today we do not see the full fruit of this process, but with farsightedness we look to the horizon opening up before us. The Lord will guide us and help us to be a more synodal and missionary Church, a Church that adores God and serves the women and men of our time, going forth to bring to everyone the consoling joy of the Gospel. (Here we go, the Holy Father speaks as though the entire people of God have experienced the loving presence of the Lord in his synod. But they haven’t. Not even the participants, tired by the incessant talking and manipulation feel this way, although they put a kindergarten teacher’s happy face sticker on it or at least the pope is! Make no mistake, this synod is a closed circle of self-referential and self-absorbed incessant talking and and listening as though talking and listening are an idol in itself! The synod is an idol too for this pope. He warns us not to worship the past or doctrine, but he makes idols out of Vatican II and synodality!)

Brothers and sisters, I thank you for all that you have done during the Synod and for all you continue to do. Thank you for the journey we have made together, for your listening and your dialogue. In expressing my gratitude, I would also like to offer a prayer for all of us: may we grow in our worship of God and in our service to our neighbour. To adore and to serve. May the Lord accompany us. Let us go forward with joy!


Mark Thomas said...

Here is the closing Mass. Tremendous beauty and solemnity. Latin and Gregorian Chant abounded. All to the glory of God.


Mark Thomas

TJM said...

No Roman Canon which honors women saints! Lousy vestments

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I regret that Synod has ended.

It has been fun watching this space for the predictions about the horrors that were coming (all of them, of course, turned out to be wrong), the whining about the exorbitant costs of computer hardware, the complaining about what the Holy Father was "really" up to, the nuns in polyester slacks (a personal favorite), the "heresy" being promoted, the "babbling," the "brainwashing," the "secrecy," and all the other tempest-in-a-teapot worries a pocketful of Catholics who read this blog have experienced.

I look forward to the next Synod!

TJM said...

Yes, because that's when they are going to approve abortion and gay marriage, so you won't need to feel guilty about your voting record

Unknown said...

Fr. MJK,

I am very happy that the magnitude of the synod's effects can be fit within a teapot.


Paul said...

The almost arrogant and not really very witty condensendation arrives on schedule 🤔😉

Paul said...

Who can best define condensending? And do a spell check for me 😉 ? I just woke up on a retreat and have to wait another 30 minutes for a coffee, smoke and hot shower...

Paul said...

Who could not look forward to perhaps another upcoming sin-odd on synods on synodality hmmmm? 🥲🤔

Your SINcerely,

TJM said...


LOL, SINcerely!