Romans 15:5-6 Deus autem patientiae, et solatii, det vobis idipsum sapere in alterutrum secundum Jesum Christum: ut unanimes, uno ore honorificetis Deum at patrem Domini nostri Jesu Christi.
(Douay-Rheims translation) Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind one towards another, according to Jesus Christ: that with one mind and with one mouth you may glorify God and the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
(New American Bible translation) May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
As was mentioned in the bulletin last week the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is being celebrated on two different days in our parish. In the Traditional Latin Mass it is celebrated on Sunday, December 8th, that is today, at 11:00 A.M. ; whereas, in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite because of the Second Sunday of Advent, it is moved to Monday, December 9th and the obligation to assist at Mass is suspended this year. I hope that those who do not participate in the Traditional Latin Mass will attend the noon Mass on Monday, December 9th in honor of the Immaculate Conception.
Those who have been attending the Traditional Latin Mass have noticed that on most Sundays the Scripture passages are different from those selected for the Ordinary Form. On some days even the feast celebrated differs, because the Traditional Latin Mass follows the calendar and the altar missal in use in 1962. These are legitimate variations which the Church prudently permits. Actually there are many different rites authorized for celebration of the Holy Eucharist, some quite ancient and others new. For example, Anglicans (Episcopalians) who have recently come into full union with us have been granted their own particular rite, which reflects English Catholic liturgical sensitivities.
However, in spite of these legitimate variations we are obliged to see ourselves as members of the one, true, Catholic, and Apostolic, Church. The Lord wills that we work for unity among ourselves. Since Jesus did not envision a divided Christianity, we are also encouraged to do our best to lead others to the fullness of the Truth. This is the work of Ecumenism, which is the mind of Christ Himself. It does not mean compromising the Truth or underplaying our differences just to get along. In fact, the opposite is the case. Only by fully living out the Catholic Faith can we bring the light of Christ to others and keep it burning brightly among ourselves.
On the Second Sunday of Advent in the Epistle of the Traditional Latin Mass (replaced this year by the Immaculate Conception) and in the second reading of the Ordinary Form this year we share the same reading from Romans. Perhaps this is a symbol of the unity within the Church that is required of us. The center of unity is Jesus Christ Himself. The work of the successor of St. Peter, the pope, is to preserve unity within the Church and invite those outside to come back in. The Lord entrusted the popes with this particular mission to feed the flock – teaching, ruling, and sanctifying.
Sadly there can develop disunity in the Church from within in addition to the disunity outside its boundaries. This is not the mind of Christ. Clearly the temptation to divide up the Church must have existed in the first century of Christianity as is indicated in the above letter of St. Paul to the Romans, where he exhorts the Catholics in Rome to stand together in Christ. Always, at the center is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If we are united to Him we cannot fail. If we stand on the Lord’s certain teachings in the one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church we will be on safe ground. No one is permitted to divide up Holy Mother the Church. Each must do his or her part to promote unity “according to Jesus Christ.” Let us pray for unity in our troubled days.
Yours in the Lord,
The Rev. Mark G. Mazza, Chaplain