Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae.Well, there was no mention of "Laetare Sunday" (or rose vestments) at Mass here, and don't even think about Latin. (Heck, it would be nice if they'd read the GIRM, let alone Sacramentum Caritatis. Ok. Stop.) The preaching was actually, for a change, decent -- coherent, composed, and thought-through, rather than the incomprehensible ramble that I've grown accustomed to hearing. (When it seems that the congregation is dead and no one actually really cares about the Liturgy of the Word -- saying that nearly half the assembly arrives somewhere after the Gospel would not be completely off the mark -- why on earth would the priest actually put any energy into his homily?)
Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation.
However, I'm not too sure I quite understood the message. The first two readings (with that wonderful Eucharistic symbolism in Joshua) were not mentioned. As far as the Prodigal Son was concerned, he mentioned something that I'd never really thought about -- how the pace of the father, who goes out running to meet his son, compares to the dejected, downcast shuffle of the son who is returning. That part was fine, and I perked up. I won't be spending this homily trying my hardest not to feel irritated, but praying for the priest instead, and generally failing on both counts.
The rest went something along these lines:
- we identify with the father's response because it seems so natural: this is what a parent is supposed to do. It's a natural instinct, to love a child. But, if one thinks about it, the father's reaction was very calculated and thought out, it wasn't just instinctive.
- Christian love, Christian affection is one that doesn't "take action" (I understood that to mean, one that doesn't react blindly, but restrains the passions.), one that doesn't keep score or count, one that is ready to forget (forgive?), one that is willing to be vulnerable and hurt, again and again. [Me: squirm, squirm. Oh, I never keep score!]
- There was a turn then to the beatitudes, about going the extra mile, turning the cheek, giving not just the cloak but the inner garment. We are supposed to do this in house, within our families, between husband and wife, parents and children, brother and sister, in house, but not with strangers.
Besides, at least in my understanding, one of the central points of Jesus' teachings is that all this transcends family and tribe and clan and caste and nationality and ethnicity and just natural bonds. "He who does the will of my Father in heaven is my mother and my brother and my sister" as he famously says in Mark 3.
I'd have gone up to get a better sense of the meaning of the homily -- except, as is the norm here, the priests disappeared behind the magic screen ... um ... into the sacristy, at the end of Mass.
Turns out the visiting celebrants (one in a purple chasuble, and one in just a purple stole) were Redemptorist missionaries. (They're kinda cousins to the Paulsts you know, for those who're familiar with the history of Father Hecker and his band.)
They will be leading a parish mission starting next Sunday evening, and going on for a week. Now I've never been to a parish mission in India, so I'll be checking this out!
We're half way through Lent! I'm afraid, a part of me is getting excited that I will be back Stateside in a few weeks, and away from liturgy here!
And here's a link to a page with an mp3 of the beautiful entrance antiphon for today's liturgy. Needless to say, nothing came close to this at Mass here.
[I just realized that this would have been the Second Scrutiny, with the reading from John 9 of the man being born blind. Nope, no sign of RCIA here either.]