Monday, 30 November 2015

Homily for Advent 1 C "Look Up"-- Inaugurating Divine Worship: The Missal -- Nov. 29, 2015 - STM Toronto

“ Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon us the armour of light.”

As we begin the journey of Advent, to the land of promise, the Ordinariate communities and our fellow Catholics around the world look back on Israel’s desire and anticipation, we look back knowing that God has already made good on the Covenant promises by sending His only Son into the world. Jesus is the “just shoot,” the Saviour for whom Israel was waiting.

As those who have come from another country, in a sense, members of the Ordinariate also look for the armour of light. We do so as we  look up, look up to the transcendent God of Israel and to the coming of Christ.

As we await and look up for the final coming of our Lord, we take consolation from the gathering in of the sheaves, the healing of the Reformation breach and the reunion of Anglican patrimony with the universal Church. 

Today, we do so in a very special way as we celebrate Mass for first time with Divine Worship: The Missal, the beautiful, transcendent liturgy approved by the Holy See for Ordinariate communities around the globe with our mission to gather the sheaves into unity.  

So it is with great joy that we inaugurate today the use of Divine Worship: The Missal.  Yes, we can now say:  3, 2, 1:  Houston -- we have lift off! 

In a recent address to educators Pope Francis said:
“Today there is a tendency toward a neo-positivism, that is, to educate people in immanent [material or transient and passing] things [only].”  

The Holy Father went on to say that this tendency to ignore the transcendent is found in both traditionally Christian countries as in purely secular cultures. We might say he is calling attention to the failure to look up, to look higher, to aspire.

“Transcendence” the Pope said “is what is missing . . . “The greatest crisis in education,” he continued, “in order that it be [truly and authentically] Christian, is that there is a closure to transcendence.”

The Holy Father asserted that our role [as the Church] is: “To prepare hearts, that the Lord might manifest Himself.”  This is the mission of all Christian leaders, parents and teachers, to call us to look up! Look up to God for the grace to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light.
Pope Francis concluded with an appeal and an assignment for those present and for  Catholics and others, everywhere; that is: to respond to the brutalities of war and terrorism in the contemporary world by looking up to the source of Mercy, by committing ourselves anew to learning and teaching mercy, and to worshipping, to looking up to the source of all mercy. 

Pope Francis asked us to inaugurate the Year of Mercy by especially giving ourselves to the fourteen Works of Mercy. “Think through once again the works of mercy,” the Holy Father said, “they are the work of the Father.” Mercy issues, of course, not from within or below but from the transcendence of God’s love.

This is the grace we pray for: “Almighty God give us grace, that we may cast away the works of darkness . . .

In addition to the gift of our new Missal, we give thanks this week for the appointment of our first bishop for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, Bishop-elect Steven Lopes, an American who worked long in Rome on our missal and on the foundation of the Ordinariates.  Msgr Lopes is known to and knows well the people of the Ordinariates.  

Finally, we may add to our joy the fact that the Holy Father has given permission for all priests of the Latin (Western) Rite of the Catholic Church i.e. all Roman Catholic priests everywhere to celebrate Mass using Divine Worship: The Missal either in private Masses or for Ordinariate members and communities. This is a great extension of our mission to bring forward the English Catholic patrimony into full communion with Rome.

With this new missal, which is another form or expression of the Roman Missal, we have the best of the language, music and liturgical tradition from the English, Anglican and Methodist traditions and from other English-speaking communities around the world. 

All the best work of our Anglo-Catholic pioneers, those who shaped the English Missal, the Anglican Missal and much of the music of our patrimony, all their best efforts are now beautifully set forth in a liturgy and Missal authorized by the Holy See for use globally.

Previously these liturgies were unauthorized either by the Anglicans because they were too Catholic or by the Catholic Church because they were developed by Protestants. For the first time, these rites are authorized for use in English in the Western (English-speaking) Church. 

The language and patrimony are harmonized with Catholic teaching so that this liturgy and the communities who express their worship looking up to the transcendent Lord may do so into the foreseeable future, and beyond; perhaps until our looking up is met with the return of the Lord.

The poetry and beauty of Divine Worship: The Missal directs our minds and our thoughts to look to the east, to look east both metaphorically and liturgically, to look to the transcendent, to look up to God the source of all mercy and grace.

“ Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon us the armour of light.”

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