Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
June 28, 2009
June 28, 2009
"Little girl, I say to you, Arise." Could the words of Jesus bring home to each of us a special meaning. For we, too, are called to rise with Jesus even in our bodies at the end time. I can handle that alright and I pray that you can too. Something has been bothering me! This is ordinary time, supposedly nothing special, just ordinary. So that being the case, why are you here? Sometimes I look at you from this vantage point and wonder, why are you here? Do you even know why you are here?
Many years ago now I was bringing Communion to an old gentlemen and as time went on I learn from him that he had grown up on the plains south west of here and He commented one day that they didn't get to church very often because they lived 18 miles out and had to come in by horse and boggy. Then one day he asked me the question that people my age and older often ask, why am I still here. What would you tell Him? Finally I answered that maybe God was giving him added time for all the times that he couldn't be a part of Sunday Mass. I think of him often and wonder why I didn't ask him to share with me why the Mass was important to him even though he was far from it at times. It must have been or he wouldn't have told me the story.
Another time visiting and older man after he had had an operation and I was telling he that if he couldn't make it to Mass because of the operation not to worry. Wow! I have never missed Mass my whole life and I'm not about to miss Mass now! Why didn't I ask him to share why the Mass was so important to him?
Why are you here? Why is the Mass important to you?
As recent as 2 weeks ago Father McGuire was here and at the 8:45 Mass at West Union the little ones were putting up a royal protest. When the little one fuss I lean to Father and say. The little ones are praying in tongues, or, this parish isn't died yet. But this time there was a real protest, but Father kept on talking as if it didn't bother him at all, he maybe talked a little louder. Why is it important that parents bring the little one to Mass? A good habit is a habit worth keeping, right?
Why do many people of Kenya walk for miles to be a part of the celebration of the Eucharist. What do they know that maybe we don't know? For some it is an all day outing. Sure there is fellowship in the going and coming, but is that what motivates them?
I look out from here at all your faces and at times I see people here that I've not seen before or people who seem to be in the wrong church, and others are missed because they are not here. Sometimes I'll even call attention to that fact, I haven't seen you in church, is every thing OK? Sometimes I'll even get a little harsh and demand that you cut that out, your soul is worth too much to jeopardize it by not fulfilling your Sunday Obligation.
That brings up the rule for obligation to assist at Mass. It is serious matter to not fulfill this obligation for we are to assist at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation set forth by Holy Mother Church. You are exempt only for serious reason, sickness, need to care for someone who is ill and so on. I need to make this point too: If you have been missing Mass without serious reason you must go to Confession before receiving Communion. Simply put, no argument, that is the way it is.
Why are you here? Who did you come to see?
He took the child by the hand and said to her, "Talitha Koum," "Little girl, I say to you, arise!" Did you read the scriptures before coming here and wanting to see in the rising of the little girl to be an image of your own rising? The word is a living active communication to us, to the world, from a Loving and Forgiving God. Why wouldn't we want to hear that? Why wouldn't we want to experience that Love?
We come here, to this church, not because we have to but because we want to experience the Love and Sacrifice of the Living God. How can this be explained? God the Father so Loved the world that he sent His only Son to Redeem us and to teach us of the Love of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit. To show us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Their Eternal plan for all of humanity. It is all here in it's Eternal Perfection, the One Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. To be a part of it is to already be on threshold of Heaven
What happens here in a few minutes is the Representing of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus. We are not Crucifying Jesus again but we are making Present what happened 2000 years ago. So in other words we are here with Mary and John at the foot of the cross. We don't have to work to hard to look up into the eyes of Jesus and see the Love displayed there even for his executioners. For He Himself said, we are to Love our enemy's. Think of that for a while and then ask if you have a good reason to miss Mass?
Sometimes when I teach, I will ask, when does the Mass begin in your obligation. There were times when Agnes was still with me that she would say, "you can't go out looking like that!" What! Maybe my shirt didn't match or the color was wrong. I never was able to real come to terms with that. Or she would say, "let me look at you before you go." That's good to relate to the children because we should be very aware of Who we are going to see and are going to Receive. In other words how you dress has a lot to do with giving witness that you know Who you are going to see and Who you are going to receive, that being the living God.
You will note that we are answering the question of why you are here! But I want to pose another question, do you expect to see a Miracle? I do! Father Harden would say that a Miracle is a sensibly perceptible effect, surpassing at least the power of visible nature, produced by God --. Every time our priest takes bread and says, this is my body and wine this is my blood a miracle has taken place. In the language of the church this is called, Transubstantiation, the complete change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of the Body, Soul and Divinity of Christ. In my thinking if there is a blasphemy it is the denial that this is so.
Sometimes I think too: of all the Masses that have been said in this church over the years, daily and weekend, funeral's, wedding's, anniversary's etc. Each Mass is not a single Mass in the ordinary sense because each Mass is a representing as I said to you earlier, so we know have each single Mass a whole of the Passion, Death and Resurrection Christ, not time and time again but one time 2000 years ago. I don't know if I'm explaining this very well, but I would want you to understand that each Mass does not stand alone but is in reality ever Mass ever celebrated. So when we come to this church, with the eyes of Faith we are seeing a collage of every Mass ever said here. An overlapping picture diary that fills this sanctuary.
So the question has been answered at least in part, we come to see, to hear, to receive. Who: is the most important part of the answer. To hear and to see God in Jesus Christ, to witness a Miracle, to Receive Jesus in Holy Communion. Finally to leave here filled with the wisdom and power of God to become a Holy people. For Jesus commands us to be Holy as the Father is Holy.
'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.