Thursday, April 16, 2015

Video of Ordinariate Solemn Mass with Cardinal Collins

Here is the complete video of the Pontifical Mass celebrated for Divine Mercy Sunday, April 12 with Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto with St. Thomas More Quasi-Parish, Toronto, Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

Video of Pontifical Mass with Cardinal Collins - April 12, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cardinal Collins celebrates Pontifical Solemn Mass at STM, Toronto

Vested in traditional chasuble over dalmatic, Cardinal Collins along with deacon, subdeacon and assisting priest presided and preached at STM on Divine Mercy Sunday, 2015.  

The parish choir and STM choristers (children's choir) sang the Mass of St. Thomas More, written for the parish by Matthew Larkin, the noted organist, choir director and composer from Ottawa.

Over 100 people gathered at S-C, 381 Sherbourne and a lovely Easter Reception followed.
Pictured l - r are: Fr. John Hodgins, STM administrator, H.E. Thomas Cardinal Collins, Sylvester Tan S.J. (to be ordained deacon later this year), Fr. Jason Catania, administrator of St. Edmund POCSP, Kitchener.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Sunday April 5, 2015

“I shall not die but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”  Psalm 118

Christ is Risen indeed, Alleluia.  The tomb where Jesus had been laid was empty and in the early morning twilight of that first Easter there was confusion.  The disciples, including Mary Magdalene, came to the tomb in the early morning light which sat on the horizon.

What they saw, however, was not death but the dawning of a new horizon. Not at first comprehended in the magnitude of the event, they began to see in the light of the resurrection a new horizon for all humanity.

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead shed a new light on our human existence and continues to forge the dignity of each human. 

No longer are we bound by finite realities. Christ has brought human life within the divine life of God. Our life in Christ, then, has an endless and brilliant horizon, accomplished through the gift of eternal life given to us by Jesus Christ in our Baptism. 

So it is that we began the Easter liturgy today by affirming our profession of baptismal faith and the rite of sprinkling the holy people of God with holy water.

In Baptism, we are born into the resurrected life of Jesus Christ, a life that knows no finite boundaries. Death has no final hold on us.  The culture of death as we see it in the world today represented by the abortion lobby, assisted suicide activism or jihadist death cults wreaking havoc in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Kenya and across the planet cannot overcome the radiant hope and the love of Jesus’ resurrection, a hope that is offered to all equally without coercion, intimidation or terror. 

Yes, we all still die physically, but that is not the final word from the Creator. Our bodies and souls will be re-united when resurrected to the glory that we see already in Jesus, the firstborn of the dead. 

Our lives are now “hidden with Christ in God,” as today’s Epistle says. Like those first disciples, we gather in the morning on the first day of the week - to celebrate the Eucharist, the feast of the empty tomb and of our new horizon of hope.

With this faith, we come to find that the urgencies and anxieties that death can put upon our desire for life come to fade as we increasingly come to see that we have a horizon stretching forever.

Sin loses its appeal and power in light of this new horizon. Sins’ allure makes us believe that it can fulfill our needs here and now, and that there will be no greater opportunity to be fulfilled in the future. 

The resurrection of Jesus shows us the folly of  temptation. Sin’s false logic unravels in the face of eternity. The resurrection shows us the opportunity for an endless future of glory and fulfillment. The new horizon of life affirms that the present is much more than the only opportunity to satiate our desires. There is a majestic glory on the horizon for all who persevere in Christ Jesus. With faith we put our hope in a future filled with all the love one could ever desire.

St. John Chrysostom invites us in his Easter Homily:
“Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord. You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day; you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today. The table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet. The calf is a fatted one: let no one go away hungry. All of you enjoy the banquet of faith; all of you receive the riches of his goodness. Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed; let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave; let no one fear death, for the death of our Saviour has set us free . . . “

The resurrection gives us our freedom to decide the direction of our life; to look to the new horizon of life unencumbered by the insidious snares of the devil. The death of Christ and his resurrection along with all those who have died in Christian hope — bestows an ineffable dignity on our liberty. 

What do we use our freedom for, a freedom that was purchased at such a great price?

The resurrection of Christ is the great light on the horizon to guide us in freedom. It gradually reveals to us the glory that awaits when we use our freedom to embrace his life, unintimidated by the culture of death or by the fading allure of the material world. His  resurrection is the light that leads to the endless glory of a resplendent beauty.

The glory of Easter is both a present and a future glory. It calls us to look for fulfillment, to use our freedom to choose the greatest good— a good that lies not in fear of any earthly power or temptation, but in a beauty that can only be attained through patience and hope. 

Easter is freedom for now and for an endless tomorrow. It is, therefore, as Easter people—by virtue of our Baptism, and nourished in the sacred food of the Eucharist—that we journey and live, not only to serve God today, but for the horizon of beauty that awaits us.

Today, we rejoice that the stones have been rolled away from our tombs, too. Each of us proclaims, as we hear in today’s Psalm:

“I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.”

Acts 10: 34a, 37-43
Ps. 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23 
Colossians 3: 1-4
John 20: 1-9

Friday, April 3, 2015

GOOD FRIDAY 2015 - Homily: STM Toronto

“And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom.”  Mark 15:38

The veil that separates the created world from the transcendent Creator has been rent, torn by the death of Jesus Christ. Though we cannot, in this world, comprehend the vast reality of the Creator who is apart from and above the created order, we have, in the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, a demonstration of the heart of God: God’s demonstrated love for humanity. The veil that has separated us is removed, but at a great and eternal cost. 

So long as we live here as creatures in this world, there is a separation between the Holy of Holies and the world as we experience it, between the transcendent Creator and the creature.  There is a profound distinction but also a merciful connection thanks to the grace and love of God.

A similar distinction and connection exists between the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross and our lives. We cannot achieve on our own what Jesus has in his self-offering but we can be connected to his sacrifice thanks to the grace and love which he provides through his one, perfect and sufficient Sacrifice, the sacrifice that he has made and in which we participate most particularly and profoundly by sharing in the Holy Communion of his body and blood as we do today in the Mass of the Pre-sanctified.

In order to cross the threshold of the veil, we must embrace the Sacrifice of Christ freely given for us on the Cross. In order to cross that threshold beyond which we may be given the vision of God, we must accept the awful reality of the suffering and death of our Saviour. Crossing that threshold is our purpose and the goal of our life as human beings created in the image of God, but separated by sin and death.

The existence of God is what has been called a “demonstrated unknowablity” in the words of Fr. P. Cleevely in the Chesterton debate in 2014.  Because we are mortal creatures there is a sense in which we see the reality of God, as St. Paul put it, “as through a glass, darkly”,  The glass or mirror is an analogy with the early mirrors used at the time of the Roman Empire which were polished brass giving very limited reflections of objects.

St. Paul goes on, “but then we shall see. . .  (that is once we cross through the veil, across the threshold,) we shall see face to face”, that is by virtue of the Sacrifice of Jesus for us; by virtue of the fact that he has torn the veil of separation for us to enter into the nearer presence and the vision of God.

The cost of the sacrifice that Jesus made is immeasurable by human standards; it has cosmic and eternal dimensions. The removal of the veil by the sacrifice of Christ is the very axis of time and eternity, of history and of meaning.

In his addresses about the Power of God: given on Good Friday in 1951, Dom Gregory Dix, a Monk of Nashdom Abbey in England, described the sacrifice of Jesus in the following words.  He describes the depth of the horror and awe of the sacrifice Jesus made for us to rend the veil. 

[See previous post for the Dix Quotation.]

And so today, on this Good Friday, at the axis of time and eternity, we give thanks for Jesus, the one who has gone before us, through the veil, and who offers us the way, the way to cross the threshold of hope into the vision of God.

“And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom.”  


Thursday, April 2, 2015

My good friend Fr Chip Gilman, OSB from the Monastery of Saint-Benôit-du-lac, Québec sent the following article along for Good Friday.  

Many thanks to him and to all the other Patrimonial Anglicans now in the full embrace of the Catholic Church for their prayers and support for the first shoots on the Ordinariate tree planted by our beloved Holy Father Benedict. That small tree has been watered by Pope Francis who has signed the indult for so many married clergy to celebrate their ordination to the priesthood in full communion with Rome. Pope Francis has provided the opening to grace that is now drawing baptized but unconfirmed Catholics to the Ordinariate through the New Evangelization along with those who bring the great patrimony of English Catholicism.

I am always uplifted when I re-read the first chapter of THE SHAPE OF THE LITURGY in which Dom Gregory Dix describes in matchless English prose the universality of the Eucharist and its meaning for humanity.  I will post a quotation later, but first let us join with Fr Aida Nichols, our great friend and scholar and the godfather of the Ordinariates, in giving thanks for Fr. the genius of both Dom Gregory Dr. Mascall, of blessed memory. Both of whom are now safe at home, as we are on another shore.
 Dr.Eric Lionel Mascall,
one of the great luminaries
of English Anglo-Catholicism
in the Twentieth Century,
a man to whom his distant
kinsman through marriage,
Fr. Aidan Nichols, O.P.,
dedicated his admirable book,
The Panther and the Hind:
A Theological History of Anglicanism
 in 1993
Fr. Aidan Nichols, O.P.
Father Aidan Nichols, O.P. has written that the work of  Dr. Eric Mascall and Dom Gregory Dix, two Anglicans who worked valiantly for reunion with Rome, can now be taken effortlessly into the wider Patrimony of the Catholic Church through the Ordinariates erected by Pope Benedict XVI.   Dom Gregory Dix was dying of cancer when he gave these addresses for Good Friday to a group of Anglican religious sisters.

From Power of God
Addresses for the Three Hours (1951)
By Dom Gregory Dix

Monk of the Anglican Abbey of Our Lady and St. Benedict,
Nashdom, Buckinghamshire, England.

            “Three hours had been enough, three hours of such terrible tension and inner suffering as we shall never know.  The physical anguish of the Passion we can watch and estimate to some degree.  We can pity and we can sorrow for the pains of a perfect Man.  But the spiritual agony of wrestling with Satan for the souls of men we can only guess at.  The Law of God has prophetically set death by crucifixion in a place of peculiar horror:  “Cursed is the man that is hanged on a tree.”  It was because the very presence of the crucified man defiled the land that the bodies were taken down that evening so as not to defile Jerusalem.  The man who died upon a cross was held not only to die in pitiable sufferings and the most extreme ignominy and shame, the most violent death a man could die, but he died under the curse of God, a spiritual outcast and a moral reject, not only the scorn of men but the helpless object of the wrath and curse of God.

            This frightful chastisement for sin Jesus had borne in His sinless soul.  ….The Epistle to the Galatians, recognizes with frightful plainness that ‘He was made a curse for us.”  Even that He had accepted and mastered, and offered in the silence that falls for two hours between the Third and Fourth Word.  He paid the overwhelming penalty of human sin  - separation from the goodness of God.  Now there is no more to do.  His offering is complete.

            Now He can act for Himself alone.  He has only to actually die.  That is something that all men have to do for themselves.  It is a lonely thing, and therefore it is a frightening thing; and it is a terrible thing because in a sense it is a penitential thing.  For us who are made in the Image of God, it is more than a pathological phenomenon; it is unnatural.”


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Holy Week 2015 - Palms, Cross and Veil

Pope Benedict once called Palm Sunday: “The great doorway leading into Holy Week, the week when the Lord Jesus makes his way towards the culmination of his earthly existence.” (Homily, 27th World Youth Day, April 1, 2012).

This is the most solemn week of the Christian year, in which we commemorate Our Lord’s journey to Jerusalem to fulfill the Scriptures and to open the way to eternal life for each of us.

Welcomed as Messiah, one week later Jesus is crowned with thorns and is lifted up on the cross. He is lifted up in the wilderness echoing Moses and the people led out of bondage as we have read these past Sundays of Lent. Jesus is lifted up where he dies as “King of the Jews.”  

In the Gospels Jesus is often called "King." Though this is often said in scorn and mockery, paradoxically, these voices are proclaiming the Cosmic Christ who is King of the Universe.

At the same time, Jesus is the Suffering Servant foretold by Isaiah. He re-enacts the agony described in Psalm 22, and even dies with the first words of that Psalm on his lips.  This Psalm echoes in our minds as we recount the story of Jesus being beaten, his hands and feet pierced and his enemies gambling for his clothing while mocking him and his faith in God’s love, faith that God will deliver him.

While Jesus suffered at Calvary, the veil in Jerusalem’s temple was torn. It was a sign that by his death Jesus destroyed forever the barrier separating us from the presence of God – the transcendent God who has broken the barrier between time and eternity out of immeasurable love for us.

Jesus is God and yet humbles himself to come among us. Despite our sinfulness and our frailty. Jesus continues to humble himself to come to us, offering us his body and blood daily in the Eucharist.

There are so many ways we can reflect on the solemn liturgy of the Passion. Three symbols powerfully reflect the truth of Jesus sacrifice for us: the palms, the cross, and the veil  and each represents a specific virtue. 

The Palms: There are three accounts of the entrance of Our Lord into Jerusalem. In those accounts, as he comes into the city, people spread palm branches that they had cut from the trees, placing them on the ground over which Jesus entered the city. This was a gesture of respect for a king, and a gesture of homage. In 2 Kings 9:13 we read: “At once, each took his garment, spread it under Jehu [the king] on the bare steps, blew the trumpet, and cried out, ‘Jehu is king!’”. The crowds were acknowledging the kingship of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The virtue we are taught here is humility. Humility is a virtue which acknowledges the greatness and power of God. Humble people bow their heads before the King of the Universe, and pledge their obedience to him. They recognize God as creator, and the sustainer of all being. God, the source of all our gifts, is our destination after life on earth but we must accept God's will in humility. 

As the crowds laid palm branches on the ground, we are called to lay ourselves before the Lord in adoration and thanksgiving. Saint Andrew of Crete, exhorted us in a homily: “Let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours, and then whither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him.”
St. Andrew of Crete
The second symbol is the central symbol of the Christian life, the Cross. Jesus died on the cross as the Passion accounts illustrate. St. Mark tells us he was crucified around nine in the morning, an inscription was placed over his head and he was crucified between revolutionaries. The crowds mocked him. 

At three o’clock, Jesus “breathed his last,” and died on the cross. Andrew of Crete says: “Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, there would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing.” 

The Church Fathers wrote of the connection between the tree of Adam, which led to the downfall of humanity, and the tree of Christ, which led to humanity’s redemption. In fact, it was the instrument of human redemption.

The virtue here is caritas, self-giving love. Love is a virtue by which we express care for one another. In love we understand and reveal who we are. Jesus poured himself out on the cross showing the depth of his love for us by offering the greatest gift possible.

The third symbol of the day is the Veil. Saint Mark tells us that after Our Lord died, the veil in the sanctuary was torn in two, from top to bottom. The Temple veil covered the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem.  Only the priest could enter the Holy of Holies through the veil once a year. The veil is a symbol of that which separates the created order from the transcendent.  It is through this veil that Jesus, our High Priest, entered when he died on the cross and forever rent the veil so that we may be with him in his eternal and transcendent kingdom when we pass through the veil of death.

The virtue here is faith. Faith enables us to pierce the veil of Heaven, and brings us into relationship with God. The veil no longer separates us from our God. Jesus has won the ultimate victory on the cross and opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all. Through faith and by grace, we enter his kingdom, the kingdom ruled by faith, hope and love.

Jesus’ kingship isn’t of this world (John 18:36).  He wants to write the Law on our hearts and minds. This understanding of the Law at the heart of the world is the key to the universe.  No power on earth  can diminish the reign of Christ, the King.

As we make our Holy Week pilgrimage, we resolve to give Christ the King dominion in our lives. We pray for grace to take up the cross Jesus gives to us - and to confess with all our hearts, minds, and strength, that truly this is the Son of God.