Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thanksgiving Masses

In the height of the Lozada expose on the very controversial NBN project of the Arroyo regime, Masses for Truth and Accountability were held in many parishes, schools and even in streets. We expect more to be held sooner than later particularly now that the Supreme Court is going to rule with finality on the petition filed by Romulo Neri -- still in connection with NBN deal, especially on the subject of executive privilege.
As the holding of these Masses for Truth and Accountability was the most recent to copy from, the acquittal of Jose Tapales Villarosa is being celebrated in Occidental Mindoro with Thanksgiving Masses. One was held in San Jose (cf. earlier posts) and the second will be on Saturday, 19 April, 2008 in Mamburao.
Of course, I do not discount the possibility that the Villarosa's are among the traditional Catholics. (My apology to those who consider themselves traditional Catholics, but I would just like to deliver my point.)
According to the Catechism that I knew, there has already been a shift in the understanding of the Mass -- which happens to be the supreme form and act of worship or prayer for Catholics -- following the epoch-changing convocation of Vatican II. The Tridentine concept of the Mass was on the celebration's sacrificial nature and meaning. The Mass is said to be a sacrifice. And truly it is! It is the bloodless memorial (in its Greek etymology, memorial is more than remembering, as it is not a re-enactment. In Tagalog, it is pagsasa-ngayon. That is, a past event is re-lived in its entirety in the here and now).
The problem with this understanding of the Eucharist is its inability to provide even an ample space for the ideals of communion. For, accordingly, an act of sacrifice may be between I and my God. Hence, until now, people are writing on a sheet of paper their "pamisa" -- which is to remain as the diocese's one of the main source of revenue until the Catholics learn and wholeheartedly embace the spirituality of tithing.
Precisely because of the absence of the ideals of communion in a pre-Vatican II understood Mass, we see people of questionable social standing who attend and even actively participate in the sacred celebration.
My catechetical training further tells me that what the Council of Trent took for granted, the Vatican II made as its primary theme in all its documents. Among others, the architecture of the Church should reflect more the actual gathering of people; hence, the tabernacle was moved to the side and the communion rails are gone. The notion of collective over individual salvation is emphasized in eschatology. The Church per se is said to be the sacrament of communion, that is, the sign of and the one who is to effect communion. And the Mass is, over and above all, a faith-community-event.
Along this line, a couple of things may be inferred. For one, as it is a faith-(community-)event, Mass is at the service of faith. The ordering of the universal and national catechism of the Church suffices to explain the different components of a living Catholic faith -- it is doctrine, morals, (prayers), and liturgy. To the liturgy, the Mass belongs. As a faith-event, anyone who attends and participates actively in the Mass is expected to improve on his/her doctrine (thus, while it is the homily that directly instructs people, all the other parts of the Mass are similarly pedagogical), and celebrate his/her everyday triumph in terms of faithfully living out the requirements of the moral living as taught by the Church. This is the over-riding design, so that at the end of every Mass, the faithful has grown on their knowledge of the faith and become more resolved in committing themselves to Catholic morality.
Obviously, it has no place for partisan political agenda.
And this leads me to my second point -- that a mass is about community life. I remember a story of a Jesuit priest who in the beginning committed himself to lead the celebration of the Sunday Mass for a far-away community. On his way to the barrio, he passed along two or three houses in the outskirt of the community. He came to know that these huts were well within the territory of the barrio, and that the reason for their not joining the Sunday Mass was a long-ago feud with the families living in the center of the place. The priest used the occasion to give a particular slant in his preaching on community life and brotherhood, among others. After a month or so, the people were surprised when the priest said that he's no longer coming for the Mass. When pressed for the reason, he truthfully said to them: "Bakit kayo magmimisa kung hindi kayo mabuo bilang isang pamayanan?"
After San Jose, for every succeeding celebration of Thanksgiving Mass for JTV, an insult is even added to the wounds of the Quintoses.
I pray for the pastor's/pastors' discretion over this...


Sacrum facere said...

AMEN! hindi ko maiwasang hindi maalala ang tanong sa final exam namin noon sa aming Liturgy class: What does Liturgy have to do with the price of galunggong in Kamuning market? pwedeng palitan yung galunggong ng iba pang sitwasyong panglipunan, kagaya ng isyu ni jtv.

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