Lovin’ You Sunday Morning

There are probably enough drummers and axe-men drowned in swimming pools and lead singers whose heads exploded to be playing a rendition of that song from The Scorpions for the Heavenly Court on this glorious day, maybe with some lyrical editing.  The weather is spectacular here in Suwanee, a postcard picture perfect Easter morning.  Mary and I attended the sunrise service at St. Monica’s, being less daunted by the early hour than being packing into the church like sardines at the later services.  Fr. Jack – probably not razor sharp from limited sleep after vigil Mass – used “Tonight we …” several times in his homily.  There were more suits than usual, but still a lot of casual attire and even more casual postures during the Mass.  I noticed one teenage boy who I don’t believe took his hands out of his pockets the entire service.  A number of people came in late, as many as ten minutes late.  Maybe I’m too critical, I should just be appreciative that people got out of bed to be at a 06:30 Mass, not expect them to bring their “A” games.  They fulfilled their Catholic duty, and some of these folks probably weren’t even Catholic, being visiting relatives who went to church with their hosts.

Our culture (i.e Satan, Press Secretary for popular culture) would have us believe that all religions are basically the same.  I can remember episodes of “The Simpsons” and the series finale of “Lost” promulgating that idea.  This is actually today’s benign, tolerant idea: there are many who espouse the idea that religion is a negative force in the world – like Richard Dawkins and other militant atheists – and we would all be better off without it; you know, in the past the Inquisition, the Crusades, putting the screws to Galileo; today clerical sex abuse, Islamic suicide bombers, televangelists with questionable hair.  Of course ardent atheists like Stalin, Mao, and Kim Jong Il are poster boys for the magnanimity of their world views…but I digress.  Balderdash, I say.  Christianity is unique.  Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius, L. Ron Hubbard, Charlie Sheen – none of these giants of great world religions made the claims that Jesus made, the most stunning that he was the Son of God.  A most powerful reflection on this amazing proposition is C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”.  Jesus was one of three things: a liar, a nut case, or he was what he said he was.  Lewis addresses this theme with breathtaking logic and clarity of thought.  Every Christian needs to read or listen to a CD of “Mere Christianity”: Lewis gives Christ on the Cross, and Christ Resurrected a vivid, enduring power that is life-changing.

Pope Benedict this week hammered a dissent group of priests centered in Austria who are calling for changes in the Church, all the usual suspects: allowing priest to marry, the ordination of women, the recognition of homosexual unions, the embrasure of “preventive health services for women”.  Pope Benedict issued a call to “radical obedience”.  It’s amusing to me that the Church is struggling most with “know betters” in affluent societies, while it is experiencing explosive growth and ardent faith in the Third World.  As Mother Theresa pointed out, the richest are actually the poorest, saddled with arrogance and pride of life as we are.   Our church has a sister parish in Hinche, Haiti.  You’d think the Haitians, after all they have to put up with – political instability, grinding poverty, bad water, earthquakes and hurricanes – would be walking around angry and shaking their fists at God, and we wouldn’t be blaming them.  Yet they are true “gentle believers”: serene, friendly, fervent Christians – at least the ones who aren’t political rabble-rousers riding around in ’72 Gran Caminos wearing sunglasses and shooting up everyone else with AK-47s.  Here we curse God when there’s a sign on the ATM machine that it’s out of order, pounding the ground and swearing like Charlton Heston at the end of “The Planet of the Apes”.

So I hope you had a fruitful Lent, and are having a joyous, spiritual Easter Sunday.  He is risen!

God bless!

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