Commentary

Thirty Pieces of Silver

Yesterday Jesus sat on His throne, a monstrance, and only nine people came to visit with Him. I wonder how many TV’s were turned on last night watching a 75-year celebration of NBC programming? I would guess the number of our parishioners watching NBC was probably one hundred times more than the number who visited the King of Kings!

Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. – Philippians, 2:7-8.

He was betrayed by one of His followers, Judas Iscariot, for thirty pieces of silver! His precious body was beaten with nail-tipped whips, his torn flesh was scornfully wrapped in the purple cloth of royalty, and a crown of thorns was pushed into the flesh of His scalp.

He was forced to carry the instrument of His death up the hill of Calvary, while being jeered by the multitudes, for whom all this suffering was given freely, and out of His unending love for mankind.

Looking out on the nearly empty Church, He must have felt just as He did when He looked down from the Cross and saw so few of His followers sharing His suffering with Him.

Our Church bulletin contained the following: “12:30, on Sunday, we invite you to consider returning to Church for an hour before the Blessed Sacrament. While this particular devotion comes from an era when most people only went to Holy Communion once a year and hence felt a need to be close to, or longing for, the Eucharist. The devotion helped to fulfill their need. Nowadays, most people receive the Eucharist quite often and hence this devotion does not meet their needs. We provide this devotion for those who do feel the need, for whatever reason.”

The contents and wording of that message indicate that whoever wrote it has never bothered to learn what the Church teaches about Eucharistic Adoration. As recently as February, 24, 1980, Pope John Paul II, (who spends hours daily adoring the Holy Eucharist), wrote, in Dominicae cenae: “…….And this worship must be prominent in all of our encounters with the Blessed Sacrament, both when we visit our Churches and when the Sacred Species are taken to the sick and administered to them. Adoration of Christ in the Sacrament of Love must also find expression in various forms of Eucharistic devotion: personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, hours of adoration, periods of exposition (short, prolonged and annual such as Forty Hours). Eucharistic Benediction, Eucharistic Processions and Eucharistic Congresses.” (article 3)

Pope John Paul ll went on further to recommend the celebration of the feast of the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ with a Eucharistic procession. This is not something new; the Catholic Church has celebrated it since the time it was instituted, in the year 1261 by Pope Urban lV. My wife and I were privileged to join thousands of people in the procession at Mother Angelica’s new shrine in Alabama recently. It was a truly awesome experience.

If Popes as far back as the 13th century and up to now considered adoration important and the decrees of Vatican II remind us of this importance, I am perplexed by any Church publication, which projects this as only important to “some” people!

Yesterday I imagined I heard thirty pieces of silver falling to the ground!

Fred Paschall

 

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