Devotional Thought of the Day:
15 While He was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also guests with Jesus and His disciples, because there were many who were following Him. 16 When the scribes m of the Pharisees saw that He was eating p with sinners q and tax collectors, r they asked His disciples, “Why does He eat s with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:15-17
In revising the Roman office, its ancient and venerable treasures are to be so adapted that all those to whom they are handed on may more extensively and easily draw profit from them.
It is one of the great paradoxes of Christianity, those who think Jesus wouldn’t associate with them are the very ones He came to unite to himself. And those, who think they are spiritually adept often miss out on the blessing.
I dare say that our liturgies have for too long aided and abetted this problem. The look and sound more like the pious Pharisee than the broken tax-collector. The content of our services, from the mass to vespers and then compline need to be in the language that is profitable, that is beneficial for those broken by the weight of sin. It needs to resonate with their soul and reveal to them the love and mercy of God, their God, who would have them dwell in peace.
I think those at Vatican II and those who influenced the council’s deliberations were starting to see this. That the liturgy was for all the people of God, not just those who knew the right actions, the right words, and could repeat them without knowing the power of their meaning. ( I wish my own small part of Christianity would follow suit, but I fear it is heading away from such thoughts)
We desperately need to be formed by the word of God in our prayers, in our liturgy. And by we, I don’t mean those on the membership roster of our church and the churches we trust. It means all the people of God, those He died for, those He is drawing to himself, those who may fight now, only to be baptized tomorrow. The people of God include all who don’t believe God’s mercy is available to them, for in their humility, they will receive it. Those who think they are good enough already, why would they bother? The liturgy can cause us to really cry out for His mercy, and express praise and wonder at God’s love seen as Jesus was slaughtered like a lamb, that we might live.
If the word is to form us, we have to be able to understand it, simply and without a dictionary, lexicon, and thesaurus by our side. This message is to needed, to precious, to amazing to conceal it with elaborate words, and movements that have no meaning because they are not know, not explained, not heard.
We all, from the youngest to the oldest, from every continent and country, from every economic group, language group, everyone, needs to know that Jesus came for us all. It is really a simple concept, one spoken originally in simple Hebrew, Aramaic, and common Greek. We can and show do the same today so that the people God draws to us will know Him, as the Spirit reveals Him to them through our words, our music, our liturgy.
As we finalize our words for the Christmas celebration, may we do so, and may all those the Spirit draws near profit from them. AMEN!
Catholic Church. “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: Sacrosanctum Concilium.” Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011. Print.