Tag Archives: Mass

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Heat Shade

‘You are a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress…shade for the heat.’ (Is. 25:4)

Just returned from a brief blistering trip to California: 103 degrees in a beach town, the sky poisoned orange as fires seared nearby mountains. Gov. Newsom’s lockdown of the entire state is taking its toll: fear in some faces, lust in others, hungry-eyed exiles looking for sensual connection amid nature’s revolt.

Maybe it was just me, caught in the firestorm and taunted by restless, familiar demons. Or maybe it was the fall-out from the CA legislature which just passed SB 145—a bill extending legal protection over LGBT teens (14-17 years) and adults who sexually abuse them. Crashing through all was news of the drug-inspired death of gender-bending Ethan-Is-Supreme, the 17-year-old ‘make-up influencer’ on YouTube.

We don’t connect the dots between wickedness in high places and vulnerable kids. Wake up people! We need bold churches to fight for the original dignity of our sons and daughters, not stupid legislatures that guard and help guarantee their early demise.

I raced to morning Mass only to discover Newsom’s mandate—forbidding all indoor gatherings–tacked on the parish door. What? No recourse for the faithful? Won’t do virtual Church. Sorry. Mass is the Meal that sends demons to flight, not a TV show. You can’t eat pixels.

A small post-it note invited any beggar to confession that afternoon. I needed it and waited in the heat til the towering Father emerged and literally provided shade for my overexposed soul. He spoke the Word about my authority as a son of God, not a slave to sin’s sloppiness and confusion (Gal. 3: 4-7). He asked me to bring my beach chair and come the next day to outdoor Mass. I did.

About 300 endured the blaze for the joy set before us. The music was sweet, preaching good, the Meal better. When we prayed together to Jesus: ‘Look not on our sin but on the faith of the Church’, I broke. That’s it. In the Apocalypse, the hell around us that seeks to invade us cannot prevail. How? My willpower? My wholeness? My righteousness? Nah! The Authority of the Church.

Things will get worse. Only His Body makes us better. Be bold, Church! BECAUSE of the Newsoms, masks and lockdowns, I urge you to seek shade from the heat. Gather in Jesus’ Name. Become a mighty member. Rejoice. 

Saved by Beauty 2

‘The joy of a saint is not to draw people to himself…but to cast his crown before God.’ Father Richard Veras

This fall I’ve faced the down-drag of affliction—my Church’s tendency to look good rather than to become good, and my mother who shattered her shoulder in August. In the face of her mortality (resilient and recovering 93-year-old that she is!), I uneasily check my own and am tempted by resignation rather than resurrection.

Jesus is faithful through His saints. During several trips to care for Mom, I attended morning Mass at a local parish. One day a week the priest presides expertly over a sanctuary teeming with elementary school kids while we adults vie for seats in back. A young father who I can only describe as radiant-in-holiness sat next to me and proceeded to boast about his first grade daughter and how he wanted to ‘live out’ the Mass for her. What? I saw him once again, warm and porous-in-love. Light broke my darkness.

A young Filipina woman reads the Old Testament passage and Psalm one day a week at the same Mass. When she does, her beauty and sanctity compel me to listen; I receive the Word freely. I asked her afterwards how she preps, and she responded that she prays to embody the Word for that moment—to step into the Word and become it. What? Something like joy welled up in me and overtook sadness.

I flew home late during my last visit in order to help Annette with the one day a week that she cares for both of our grandkids. Annette has made it clear—on that day, we both care for them. 6-month-old Camille lights up the world with her smile. Nothing like it. She sleeps, she feeds, she fusses, then boom: here comes the sun. One-year-old, Jacob is, well, perfect. My ‘strollering’ with him and our eldest labrador Joni is the highlight of the week. He clutches her leash in his fist; indigo eyes, full of wonder, take in the world around him as if it were Eden’s first day.

Through his eyes, I marvel again, and wait with renewed hope for the Day.

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