Hope you are doing well in spite of the fact that we broke a record with 6-7-degree Fahrenheit this past Friday. Let everything go well with all of you by the grace of God and His guidance.
To make up for the cold we have experienced, our Holy Father has made some heated statements last Wednesday. He said, “It upsets me when I celebrate Mass in the square or in the basilica and I see so many mobile phones in the air, not only from the faithful, but also from some priests and bishops... Please... Mass is not a show, it is going to the encounter of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord.” The Holy Father was much concerned about the way we understand Holy Mass and the way we treat it. Most of the times, the attendance in the Mass seems to be a way to assert our membership in the parish community. We come for the sake of coming and we attend for the name’s sake. That is why our Holy Father insists with the word please. He states that it is not a show of any sort but an encounter with the passion of the Risen Lord. He proceeds to say, “When we (the priests, Bishops and Pope himself) say we lift up our hearts, we don’t say “we lift up our phones to take photos!” Nowadays the cellphone has become an extended part of our bodies. This invention is so good as long as we have the control over it, not the other way around.
If we really understand not only the angst of the Pope through these words and understand the true meaning of the Holy Mass, our entire response would be so good towards the Mass. In reality we do not understand or we underestimate the significance of the Holy Mass. That is why our approach to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist is so indifferent. This indifference ranges in its expression from our attire, our movements like walking, genuflecting, paying reverence to the Eucharist and the altar, non-observance of silence in the church, lack of attention to the activities during the Eucharist or Homily (a time to read the bulletin…?), the way we receive communion, chewing gum, and many more like these. It is because we do not understand this, we are unable to teach our children about this.
Our Holy Father succinctly puts this like this: “Have you seen how the children make the sign of the cross? You don't know what they're doing, if it's the sign of the cross or a drawing. They do it like this and don't know how... (Here Holy Father demonstrates how the children make the sign of the cross in the video) We need to learn and teach the children to do it correctly. That's how the Mass begins, life begins, the day begins. It means we have been saved by the Cross of the Lord. Look at the children and teach them to make the sign of the cross correctly.” That our children are entitled to receive the First Holy Communion at the age of seven, we are left with added responsibility of teaching our kids about all what they need to know at that stage.
What we need to do is to create a new culture in the modern culture. We need to spare time for our children during which we need to teach them better things than the material things, the infinite things rather than the finite things, eternal things rather than the temporal things. We need to teach them all these because they are entrusted to our care. If we do not do that, we are accountable to God for them. Teach them that we can live without most things which we have come to think are indispensable. That is what they need to learn rather than meddling with cell phones and be stuck with it. They are to be used, not to be venerated more than our own being.
God bless. Fr. A. Antony