Sunday, June 7, 2015

Corpus Christi, a.k.a. Jesus is our boyfriend

The feast of Corpus Christi is a golden opportunity for priests to preach a good old fashioned doctrinal sermon about the Real Presence. Our Blessed Lord's real presence in the Eucharist is the dogma upon which the entirety of Catholicism hinges. If you lose faith in the real presence, you lose the Catholic faith in its entirety. Much like the dogma of the Holy Trinity which we celebrated last Sunday, however, most priests are deeply uncomfortable or lack the confidence to preach on the subject of the Real Presence.

The priest was a guest from another diocese in the midwest. He opened his homily this morning with a personal anecdote about how he once made Cardinal Timothy Dolan angry. Dioceses from back east, you see, are faced with mass parish closings and that makes people angry. "Why don't you sell your fancy mansion?!" people said to his Eminence. This priest was interviewed by CNN and blurted out, "Yeah, I think he should." Oooops. But, the priest went on, wouldn't it be nice if more bishops and priests lived like the good and humble Pope Francis who lives in a motel? Unlike those mean old monarchist reactionaries Benedict XVI and John Paul II he was surely thinking.

People are upset about parish closings, he said, because that's where the community has memories. That's where we get baptized, where we get confirmed, receive first holy communion, get married, have our own children baptized and confirmed, and get buried. It's where we have our deep personal encounter with Jesus who loves us.

I don't think he directly touched on the dogma of the Real Presence at all. Much like last Sunday's homily on the Trinity, the important thing, these priests are saying, is not all of this theological mumbo jumbo that nobody is smart enough to understand or that nobody really cares about anyway, but that we love each other and that Jesus loves us just the way we are like a celibate boyfriend. So allow them to ignore the readings and the feast day and tell you the story about how good and holy and wonderful you, the congregation, truly are...

He concluded with an appeal to pray for vocations. Yesterday my diocese ordained two men as priests. Two men out of one million baptized Catholics in the diocese. Well gosh, when the priesthood mainly involves kissing the asses of the nice old white ladies who actually run the parish, what self-respecting heterosexual man wouldn't want to be a part of that?

I'd like to run an informal poll of my Catholic readers: what was the priest's homily about today? Was it good, bad, or indifferent?

5 comments:

  1. The priest for today's Mass did not mention the Real Presence, at least not directly. He did sort of hint at it, but it wasn't mentioned outright. At the same time, it was not a "Jesus is our boyfriend" homily. He used the homily to discuss the subject of sacrifice- that of Jesus, that of the priest, and the sacrifices that we should be making. In terms of oratorical skill it wasn't great, but it was a straightforward call towards sacrificial living. So a decided improvement over many homily's I've heard as of late at NO Masses.

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  2. In case my name doesn't show up properly, this is Bonald speaking.

    It was mostly a "hey, we're the body of Christ too" homily, which would usually annoy me, but he did at least emphasize (but not explain or defend) Jesus' real bodily presence in the Eucharist.

    The highlight, though, was a story he told about Dorothy Day. Some decades back, a priest went to visit one of the Catholic Worker houses, and while he was there, he said Mass. From the sound of it, this was a young priest full of spirit-of-Vatican-II crazies who was anxious to prove to the Catholic Worker hippies how hip and relevant he was. So he didn't bother bringing his chalice, but confected the Eucharist with an ordinary pot and bowl he'd dug out of the kitchen. After Mass, Dorothy Day smashed the pot and bowl and carefully buried them in the back yard, saying that vessels that had held the body and blood of Jesus Christ must not thereafter be put to profane use. One hopes the priest learned his lesson.

    The main cause of modern people's incomprehension of the faith is their loss of a sense of the sacred, of certain things and places being set aside because of their holiness. It's the one thing an illiterate peasant who didn't know any Latin would easily pick up on about the Eucharist, but a half-century of "God is in all of us, so everything is equally holy" has taken its toll. I'm therefore pleased whenever a priest recalls us to the proper attitude toward the body and blood of Christ.

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  3. @ Bonald

    The main cause of modern people's incomprehension of the faith is their loss of a sense of the sacred, of certain things and places being set aside because of their holiness.

    Yes, this.

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  4. Had a newly ordained priest offering Mass. He did emphasize the Real Presence, but focused mostly on the fact that we need to accept the gift of the Eucharist as gift - that we will never be able to earn it or be worthy of it, which is true as far as it goes. But he did kind of forget to mention to make sure you are at least in a state of grace. Hey, at least I remembered this homily all the way to Tuesday.

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  5. In my parish it was perfect, though a little basic. It was the first comunion day for the kids in the parish, so he made the homily for them. He appeared with a bread, and asked the kids why did we eat bread. He then said that if we do not eat, we get very hungry, if we do not eat for several days we get sick, and if we continue without eating, we die. We need food for our body to live and grow. He then mention that we are not just a body, but body and soul, and that the soul also needs food. The food for the soul is then prayer and the sacraments, specially comunion.

    He did not mention that if we do not take that our soul will die, but it was almost perfect. Very nice for the adults as well. I have to say that in the country I live ( norway) there does not seem to be that many heterodox priests as in the us.

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