Roman Style Mass Chasuble
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Gothic Style Mass Chasuble
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The Epistle appointed to be read during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today is taken from the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans, Chapter 6, Verses 3-11.
Know you not that all we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in His death? For we are buried together with Him by Baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer. For he that is dead is justified from sin.
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall live also together with Christ: Knowing that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, death shall no more have dominion over Him. For in that He died to sin, He died once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God: So do you also reckon, that you are dead to sin, but alive unto God, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Please stand for the Holy Gospel.
The Gospel appointed to be read during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today is taken from the Holy Gospel of Saint Mark, Chapter 8, Verses 1 to 9.
At that time:
when there was a great multitude, and had nothing to eat; calling His disciples together, He saith to them:
I have compassion on the multitude, for behold they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat. And if I shall send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way; for some of them came from afar off.And His disciples answered Him:
From whence can any one fill them here with bread in the wilderness?And He asked them:
How many loaves have ye?Who said:
Seven.And taking the seven loaves, giving thanks, He broke, and gave to His disciples for to set before them; and they set them before the people.
And they had a few little fishes; and He blessed them, and commanded them to be set before them.
And they did eat and were filled; and they took up that which was left of the fragments, seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand; and He sent them away.
Thus far are the words of today's Holy Gospel.
In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
First of all, Christ says that He has
“compassion on the multitude”.Why?
“They have now been with Me three days, and have nothing to eat. And if I shall send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way; for some of them came from afar off”.One can wring one’s hands in frustration saying:
“I have compassion on the multitude”.But this does not fix the problem.
The Gospel tells all of us how Christ fixed this problem by what action He took instead of only talking about it. Jesus Christ gave each of us the example to follow - do not talk something to death. Rather, take the proper action because “talk is cheap” (English proverb).
Christ began by assessing the situation.
First, He asked His Apostles a question as the Scripture records, which Scriputre then continues with what happened afterwards:
“How many loaves have ye? Who said: Seven. And taking the seven loaves, giving thanks, He broke, and gave to His Disciples for to set before them; and they set them before the people. And they had a few little fishes; and He Blessed them, and commanded them to be set before them. And they did eat and were filled; and they took up that which was left of the fragments, seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand; and He sent them away.” (Mark 8:5-9.)Let’s examine this Scripture a little more closely.
Why do you suppose that Christ called His Apostles to Him to set before them the distress of the people?
The answer is that Christ wanted to try their faith and also to call their attention to the urgent need of the people, that they might better appreciate the miracle which He was about to perform.
By the same token, in doing this, Christ was also giving an example to all Ecclesiastical Superiors that they should not disdain to ask the advice and counsel of their subjects in important matters.
You surely realize that because Jesus Christ is God, and therefore Omniscient, or all-knowing, He did not need the advice of anyone, including His Apostles. But, because everyone, especially Ecclesiastical Superiors, whether the Religious Superior of a monastery or convent or seminary or a Religious House, or the Ordinary of a Diocese, or other Prelates, frequently needs counsel and information, despite the fact that they may hold an exalted Ecclesiastical Office, yet in their short-sightedness, as part of the effects of Original Sin, they can, and do, in some cases, easily make mistakes.
It is an exercise of the Virtues of Humility, Meekness, and Prudence, and the Gift of Wisdom, to follow the advice of God the Holy Ghost where the inspired writer says to all of us:
“Do thou nothing without counsel, and thou shalt not repent when thou hast done” (Ecclesiasticus 32: 24).Jesus Christ, the King of Compassion, the King of Mercy, had “compassion on the multitude”.
Here is but one example of the goodness and love of Christ towards the people! He sees that the people are hungry and have nothing to eat. He also knows the obvious - if He sends them away fasting, they will faint on the way. Because of this, He feels compassion towards them.
Here all of us need to compare ourselves with Christ. Jesus had compassion on the hungry people; yet, how many of us have compassion on the unfortunate? How many of us help the unfortunate? The focus today is on greed, selfishness, and the egoism of people who have adopted the false philosophy of the pagan world of materialism thereby contracting the spiritually deadly disease of the “me-me's”!
How many today go so far as to take advantage of the dire poverty of the unfortunate, the homeless, the workless? A current government report indicates that tens of thousands of people lost their jobs last month, not to mention the millions of people who are still unable to find jobs thanks to the pervasive anti-Christ type of Depression that began during the term of the previous U.S. President. Now its full force continues to be felt by all classes of society, not only in the U.S., but around the world.
How many “ordinary” Christian Catholics fail to realize that God the Son, Jesus Christ sees the distress of the people and sees the response, or non-response as the case might be, of Catholics? Before this Depression, deliberately planned and executed by the human agents of Satan, how many devout Catholics refused to help the poor and needy when they were able to do so?
Is it ironic, or is it the justice of God at work, that some of these same devout Catholics who had refused to help the poor and needy when they were able to do so, now also find themselves poor and needy?! How many more have yet to find themselves in this same situation?
Is this perhaps one of the reasons why God is permitting this anti-Christ spirit, which is responsible for the plague of economic disaster and depression, to continue to purify the avarice of paganistic, worldly, materialistic devout Christian Catholics, not to mention other sincere people such as Protestants who erroneously call themselves “Christians”?
Some of you may not be aware of the fact that today it seems that most Protestants do not like to call themselves “Protestant”?! Apparently some Protestant leaders very subtly began to arbitrarily appropriate to themselves the word “Christian”? Whatever the reason, only Catholics are entitled to use the word “Christian”! Why? Here is the explanation of a Holy Saint:So, in the above Gospel passage, you see where Our Lord even performed a miracle to feed the hungry, while some people today, especially before the current Satan-inspired depression, would have only to give a little of their abundance, and the needs would have been relieved - but, like Dives in the parable of Christ, who refused poor Lazarus the crumbs that fell from his table (Luke 16:19-21), how many do/did not do it? Christ had compassion on the people - how many Christian Catholics have this same Christ-like compassion?“Christian is my name, Catholicis my surname. [Christianus mihi nomen est, Catholicus cognomen.] The former [Christian] qualifies me, while the latter [Catholic] proclaims me for what I am. The latter [Catholic] demonstrates what the former [Christian] signifies” (Bishop Saint Pacian [b. ? A.D. - d. 390 A.D.], Bishop of Barcelona, Spain [360 A.D. - 390 A.D.], Epistola I, Contra Sympronianum, De Catholico Nomine, # 7. Letter I, Against Sympronian, a.k.a. Sympronianus, On the Catholic Name, # 7 [375 A.D.]; De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis).
Over the course of many decades, knowing the personal needs of one Catholic Priest, a virtual handful of Christian Catholics told him how they would help him when their own finances improved, while one or two people promised to share some of their lottery winnings with him.
In addition, another handful of Christian Catholics, who were not aware of his personal needs, asked him if he needed financial help, while another tiny percentage did their very best to do what they could to help him. God will reward each and every one of them for helping His “Ambassador” (2 Corinthians 5:20)!
The point is that when one considers the relatively large percentage of Americans who are Christian Catholics who do not want to “get involved” in helping others, in comparison to the relatively small - rather tiny minuscule - percentage of Catholics who do “get involved” in helping others, one must wonder aloud with concern for this large percentage as to whether or not their end will be the same as Dives (Luke 16:22)?
Jesus says of the multitude:
“They have now been with Me three days”.Consider how God counts all the days and hours we devote to His service, whilst the world easily forgets and rewards with ingratitude the services rendered to it. Should not this encourage all of us to serve God more fervently than we serve the world? Many of us have three great ages in life: youth, maturity, and old age. Hopefully, those in old age can say in truth that they have been with Jesus in each of these three great ages by serving Him with fervor and fidelity!
By the same token, is it necessary to point out the obvious - the proverbial elephant in the room which is covered by silence - that Jesus also counts those hours and days which we do not devote to doing His Holy Will, but, on the contrary, which some of us, have profaned and desecrated with our sins and vices?
The people were with Christ for “three days”, both by day and by night, under the canopy of heaven, without any food. In contradistinction, how many Christian Catholics today get bored or become disinterested when they have to spend but one hour at the foot of the Mystical Cross, the Holy Altar, on which is offered to Almighty God the “clean oblation” of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
“For My name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachias 1:11).How many Christian Catholics today get tired of praying the Mass with the Mass Celebrant, or in hearing the Word of God during Mass, or dislike Sermons, or experience weariness, but yet these same Catholics are the one’s who sit in the pews in the back of the church so they can leave during Communion to spend the rest of the day in trivial pursuits, and spend the rest of the week in worldly amusements when they are not working!
Sincere Christian Catholics must be honest with themselves and ask themselves:
“Am I on earth merely to enjoy myself? To only have a fun time? To amuse myself with frivolity?”Do we not know that it is only the way of mortification and self-denial that leads to Heaven and the Beatific Vision for all eternity? If we wish to lead a truly Christian Catholic lifestyle, our primary goal must be to attend to our eternal salvation every day, understanding that even lawful pleasures must be indulged in at the proper time and place in order to gain new strength and courage for the service of God in this life.
Remember how Christ teaches:
“Then Jesus said to His Disciples: If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for My sake, shall find it. For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26).But this is the proverbial “hard saying” which “cafeteria Catholics” freely choose to ignore.
Protestants consider this to be inconsistent with the talks of their Pastors who promise them lots of wealth and riches and material success in this life, which frequently can only be achieved if the Protestant faithful fill their collection baskets with both their first-fruits and the required 10% tithing as they enjoy their “cushy” lifestyle of comfort and ease while ignoring the faithful daily carrying of their cross.
The Gospel continues with Jesus saying:
“If I shall send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way; for some of them came from afar off”.Notice how solicitous Christ is for the people! He knows that they need His help, His assistance. So what does Christ do? Does he ignore them? No, Christ helps them.
The message here for each of you is that you must be convinced that God the Son thinks of each and everyone of you with the very same solicitude and love as He had for this multitude. Have Hope! Take courage! Put all your faith, hope, trust, and confidence in Him in every situation of your life and He will bind up your wounds and heal all of your infirmities.
Just as Christ fed the multitude so that they would not “faint in the way”, so also Christ will “feed” your needs, not only with your worthy reception of the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist, but also He will help you with your temporal needs, just as He helped the multitude with their temporal need of physical food.
If your position in life exposes you to various dangers and difficulties, console yourselves with the thought that God, Who has placed you in this position, will not forsake you but will assist you with His Grace, so that you may do His Holy Will. If you are assailed by violent temptations, reflect that:
“ God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).The Evangelist tells us what happened next.
“And His Disciples answered Him: From whence can any one fill them here with bread in the wilderness? And He asked them: How many loaves have ye? Who said: Seven” (Mark 8:4-5).The answer which the Apostles made is little to their credit.
Christ had already fed five thousand men in a miraculous manner a short time before this. They should have remembered that miracle and thought: Our Master is powerful enough to perform another miracle to feed this hungry multitude.
But because they did not think, they talk as if Christ never had performed any miracles because they think it absolutely impossible to get enough bread for so many people.
Please avoid the temptation to find fault with the Apostles. Rather, let all of us reflect upon our own cowardliness and faint-heartedness with which we have so often been guilty towards God. Every beggar knocks with confidence at the door of him who has frequently received him and helped him.
But how different we tend to be! How many benefits and Blessings has God already given to each of us?!
From how many dangers has God rescued us; how many accidents and evils has He prevented happening to us! But yet in hard times, in sickness in distress, in financial depression, we so easily become disheartened and discouraged, as if there were no God Who could or would help us.
St. James expressly says:
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, which is moved and carried about by the wind. Therefore let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord” (James 1: 6-7).Therefore, all of us must put all our confidence in the good God, for if we lead a good Christian Catholic life, and avail ourselves of the means for obtaining corporal and spiritual goods, God will always take us under His protection and give us what is good and wholesome as the Scripture testifies:
“The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him: to all that call upon Him in Truth. He will do the will of them that fear Him: and He will hear their prayer, and save them” (Psalm 144: 18-19).Finally, the Bible tells us that in answer to Christ’s question of how many loaves of bread they had, they answered: Seven:
“And He asked them: How many loaves have ye? Who said: Seven” (Mark 8:5).Here the Disciples deserve to be commended. Realize how they themselves are hungry. Yet to appease their hunger, they have only seven loaves. Notice how, despite their own hunger pains, they are prepared to give to the hungry people the little they have - not just share the little they have, but to give it all away! They could have said something like this:
“We have seven loaves of bread, but these are not enough for us, let alone for this multitude. So we can not spare even one loaf of bread with them.”But no, they are prepared to give the last morsel of their own food to the people who apparently had brought either very little, or perhaps not even any, food with them.
We all need to imitate this wonderful example of the Apostles, which is too frequently ignored in Sermons on this Gospel episode, or even when reading this Gospel passage. Let us also be merciful and charitable. Let us show mercy to the poor and needy and help them in their misery and distress, even though the corporate “bottom line”, or your own personal “bottom line”, might take somewhat of a dip, and instead follow the rule which Tobias gave to his son:
“Give alms out of thy substance, and turn not away thy face from any poor person: for so it shall come to pass that the face of the Lord shall not be turned from thee. According to thy ability be merciful. If thou have much give abundantly: if thou have a little, take care even so to bestow willingly a little. For thus thou storest up to thyself a good reward for the day of necessity. For alms deliver from all sin, and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness. Alms shall be a great confidence before the most high God, to all them that give it.” (Tobias 4: 7- 12.)
“It can neither profit me, the speaker, to speak, nor you, the hearers, to hear, unless we comply with the things which are spoken, ...so let us not limit the display of our zeal to hearing only, but let us observe what is said in our deeds. For it is indeed a good thing to spend time continually in hearing the Divine oracles: but this good thing becomes useless when the benefit to be derived from hearing is not linked with it.” (Patriarch Saint John Chrysostom [b. Antioch, c. 347 A.D. - d. at Commana in Pontus on Friday, September 14, 407 A.D.], Patriarch of Constantinople [Thursday, February 26, 398 A.D. - Thursday, June 24, 404 A.D.], exiled from his See the 2nd time on Thursday, June 24, 404 A.D., Father and Doctor of the Catholic Church. Sermon on Romans 12:20; emphasis added.)
For our resolutions, let all of us, by the Grace of God, firmly resolve to prayerfully consider and put into practice this Gospel passage:
31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of His majesty.
32 And all nations shall be gathered together before Him, and He shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats:
33 And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on His left.
34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on His right hand: Come, ye Blessed of My Father, possess you the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:
36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.
37 Then shall the just answer Him, saying: Lord, when did we see Thee hungry, and fed Thee; thirsty, and gave Thee drink?
38 And when did we see Thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered Thee?
39 Or when did we see Thee sick or in prison, and came to Thee?
40 And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me.
41 Then He shall say to them also that shall be on His left hand: Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry, and you gave Me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave Me not to drink.
43 I was a stranger, and you took Me not in: naked, and you covered Me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit Me.
44 Then they also shall answer Him, saying: Lord, when did we see Thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to Thee?
45 Then He shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to Me.
46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.” (Matthew 25:31-46.)