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reverence

Begging For Scraps

 

“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”  Then He said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”  When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone. (Mk 7:28-30)

While at Mass this morning, I was moved by the encounter from today’s gospel (Mk 7:24-30).  A Syrophoenician woman fell at the Lord’s feet, begging for a demon to be expelled from her daughter.  Jesus responded with a seemingly harsh comment that would have probably angered many of us, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”  Unfazed, the kneeling woman then replied, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”  Jesus then healed her daughter BECAUSE of what she said.

May I always find myself like that woman, KNEELING before the Lord, HUMBLY accepting His response (even if I don’t like it) and PERSISTENTLY asking for the graces I need to get through the day and remain close to Him!

When It Comes To Mass, Details Matter!

I had a great experience this morning.  My family and I attended Mass at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Merchantville, NJ.  While this is not my regular parish, I do attend daily Mass there.  For some time, however, I’ve wanted to experience their Sunday Mass.  Today my family and I went and I was blown away!

What was so special about this Mass (and this parish), you might ask?  Every action, no matter how small, showed tremendous respect for Our Lord and helped me to better understand what was taking place at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Here’s some of what I saw:

–  Six altar servers, 4 of whom knelt directly before the altar during the Eucharistic prayer.  Two of them also carried candles and stood beside the priest as he read the Gospel.

–  Bells were rung during the consecration

–  Two additional priests and a deacon assisted the main celebrant in distributing Holy Communion.

– Hymns were all Catholic and traditional.

– Ushers stood and watched people receiving Communion to ensure that nobody treats the Blessed Sacrament with disrespect.

– No, and I mean NO, improvising during the Eucharistic prayer.

– No hand holding during the Our Father (like it or not, folks, this is a Protestant practice and Catholics are not supposed to do it!)

– Real Catholic teaching in the homily!

Some of you may read this and think, “What’s the big deal?  This is the way my parish does it”.  If that’s the case consider yourself blessed because many Catholics are not that fortunate.  I’ve personally experienced many irreverent actions at Mass.  I’ve even encountered a priest who regularly ad-libs his way through the Eucharistic prayer, even modifying Our Lord’s words of institution.  Many of us who try to raise issues like this often get accused of being Pharisaical and too rigid.     

As a Catholic, don’t let anyone ever tell you that details don’t matter, especially when it comes to the celebration of the Holy Mass.  We are flawed and imperfect humans who are easily distracted and need all of the help we can get when it comes to our faith.  Attention to the details at Mass reminds us of the fact that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ is TRULY present on that altar.  That fact often gets missed because of careless and lackadaisical actions on the part of people who should know better.  If we really believe that Jesus Christ is present at Mass and that we are being transported to and participating in His Sacrifice on Calvary, then we should act like it! 

Father Anthony Manuppella, the pastor of St. Peter’s does a fantastic job of helping his parishioners to better live their Catholic Faith.  Please visit their website and if you’re ever in the Merchantville, NJ area, make sure make a visit to this outstanding Catholic parish!

Hand Holding During The Our Father?

I am often frustrated with some of the things that I see taking place during the Mass.   Rather than blame people for intentionally trying to sabotage the Mass, I honestly believe that these practices arise out of a genuine desire to get closer to the Lord and exhibit Christian charity.  Unfortunately, the end result is a lack of appreciation for what is taking place at Mass and, ultimately, a diminished respect for the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

As a lukewarm and clueless Catholic for many years, I understand what it’s like to be “in the dark”.  Now that I’m a little less “clueless” (depending on who you ask 🙂 ), I understand the need for educating Catholics about the teachings of the Faith, so that they can come to know Christ as a person and share the Faith with others!

While written in a “tongue in cheek” style, here’s a blog post that touches on some of the more common issues that occur in Catholic congregations.  What’s the answer?  In my opinion it involves education.  If Catholics understood that at every Holy Mass, Our Lord’s sacrifice at Calvary is made present  and that the fruits of that sacrifice are made present for each of us… then some of these behaviors would go away.

One word of caution – Before anyone runs out and starts accusing and criticizing anyone who is known to partake in any of these behaviors at Mass…

Be Nice…We ALWAYS must remember to be charitable!

http://catholicphoenix.com/2011/05/17/holding-hands-during-the-our-father-and-other-liturgical-or-not-so-liturgical-calamities/