Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Revere the Lord

Once there was a famous writer who was some kind of Protestant but wavering in his belief who found himself attracted to Catholicism. He wandered into a cathedral and sat down before Mass was to begin. He watched the altar servers fool around while lighting the candles. He got up and left thinking that if Catholics really believed in the Real Presence the boys never would've been rough housing in the sanctuary and if even if they were, someone, a priest, an adult, someone should've admonished them. He never converted.

I thought about that story while watching adults treat a local church like a movie theater last Sunday. When Saint Peter saw Our Lord on the beach after His resurrection he (St. Peter) got dressed and then jumped into the water to swim and then run to Jesus. The Gospel says that Peter was naked in the boat while he fishing. He probably wasn't completely undressed. He might have simply removed his outer garment or was everything but his loin cloth. The Jews at that time were very modest. Stripping down to one's loin cloth was considered naked for all practical purposes.

The Romans typically crucified prisoners fully nude in order to increase their suffering and humiliation but at one point made a slight and temporary, I think, exception (underwear only) for the Jews not because they cared much for Jewish tradition but practical people as they were, they realized that you can't have a public execution if the shocked public all averted their eyes or ran away.

As excited as Peter was, he loved His Lord and His God too much to come before Him improperly dressed so Peter ran up to the Lord in wet clothes.

When Saint John saw Jesus in his Revelations vision he didn't go up to Him and give Our Lord a hug or a "How ya doin'?." John, the beloved disciple, fell on is face prostrate.

We have so many examples from the saints yet many Catholics still act like Jesus is their buddy from the car pool and that He should be grateful that we even came to Mass at all. If a non-Catholic walked into your parish today would he be impressed by what he sees in the pews or would he end up walking out thinking, ' These people don't really believe what they claim.'?
The Pope can give a beautiful example of Catholic life, the priest can give sterling homilies, the nun or monk can shine with goodness but one layperson's lazy behavior can turn the good examples into so much dust in wind.