Remembering Like the Apostles
Remind us of the necessity of an authentic liturgical formation
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, "This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat." He said to them in reply, "Give them some food yourselves." But they said to him, "Are we to buy two hundred days' wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?" He asked them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they had found out they said, "Five loaves and two fish." So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to (his) disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate (of the loaves) were five thousand men. Then he made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. (Mk. 6:34-47)
“So many people come to church with a genuine desire to hear what we have to say, yet they are always going back home with the uncomfortable feeling that we are making it too difficult for them to come to Jesus” (Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, p. 39).
“Does not our preaching contain too much of our own opinions and convictions, and too little of Jesus Christ?” (Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, p. 40).
“If they follow Jesus, men escape from the hard yoke of their own laws, and submit to the kindly yoke of Jesus Christ” (Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, p. 41).
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate” (Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, p. 47).
“Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him” (Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, p. 47).
“Genuine prayer is never ‘good works,’ an exercise or a pious attitude, but it is always the prayer of a child to a Father” (Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, p. 181)
“The action of the celebration does not belong to the individual but to the Christ-church, to the totality of the faithful united in Christ. The liturgy does not say ‘I’ but ‘we,’ and any limitation on the breadth of this ‘we’ is always demonic.” (Francis, Desiderio desideravi, 19)
“A celebration that does not evangelize is not authentic, just as a proclamation that does not lead to an encounter with the risen Lord in the celebration is not authentic” (Francis, Desiderio desideravi, 37)
“In an apostolic situation, because the Church is not the major influence in the society’s overarching vision, the need is not mainly for maintenance, though this comes into play; it is rather for apostolic witness and the building of a distinctively Christian cultural vision and way of life” (From Christendom to Apostolic Mission: Pastoral Strategies for an Apostolic Age, loc. 378-380)
“Apart from the understanding of the world that Christ and the Church bring, the priest is an ambiguous figure and his role in life does not make sense” (From Christendom to Apostolic Mission: Pastoral Strategies for an Apostolic Age, loc. 732-733)
“The new evangelization aims at the renewal of the mind, because it recognizes that people’s minds have been barraged by a daily onslaught of false gospels, leading to confusion and distraction away from invisible realities to concerns solely of this world” (From Christendom to Apostolic Mission: Pastoral Strategies for an Apostolic Age, loc. 940-942)
Though we are sorely grieved to note, on the one hand, that there are places where the spirit, understanding or practice of the sacred liturgy is defective, or all but inexistent, We observe with considerable anxiety and some misgiving, that elsewhere certain enthusiasts, over-eager in their search for novelty, are straying beyond the path of sound doctrine and prudence. Not seldom, in fact, they interlard their plans and hopes for a revival of the sacred liturgy with principles which compromise this holiest of causes in theory or practice, and sometimes even taint it with errors touching Catholic faith and ascetical doctrine. (Piux XII, Mediator Dei, 8)
Preaching some points of reflection based on these texts: