Monday, November 11, 2013

The Multiplication of the Nothing



Jesus and the apostles fed the multitudes with only a few loaves and fishes.  But they started with real loaves and fishes and made more.  And the crowds were fed.

***

Yesterday we went to the Teen Mass, as it was the only Mass we could make it to.

The homily conveyed Christ without the cross, heaven without hell, joy without suffering.

The music was worse than usual, and it's always bad.

The congregation were hovering somewhere between outright somnolence and simple boredom, closer perhaps to "quiet desperation".

And at one point I thought,

Why are so many people here?  Do they believe in the Real Presence of Christ?  But even if they do, they are never told who He is.  How can they receive in communion someone they don't know the first thing about?  
The first reading, from Macabees, was gelded, sanitized, vitiated - with the stamp of approval of the bishops.  
The three girls singing at the mic up front the whole time are out of tune, over-amplified, shrill, annoying - and the center of attention.  The songs never stop and they're performing, not serving.  The Mass is about them, and if not about them, then what is it about?  
The 15-year-old lector mispronounces and stumbles over words and hasn't a clue of even the superficial meaning of what she's saying. 
At the homily, we are assured by the priest that we will all attain eternal life in heaven and that it will be wonderful - meaning, I assume, nothing like this.  
And speaking of nothing, there is nothing here that bears any relation to real life.  There is not only no miraculous feeding of the multitudes, there's no small basket of loaves and fish to start with, no small supply to fret over.  There's simply nothing.   
Why are these people here?  If Catholics weren't required to go to Sunday Mass, and if we didn't have this strange credulity toward anyone in a collar, we'd simply find something that was substantial and real - as more than 70% of Catholics do every Sunday anyway.
Yes, Christ is on the altar - but hidden and in a very tangible way denied.
Why on earth is anyone here?  Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill." (John 6:26) But is it not more miraculous that they are still there even when they are given no loaves and sent away hungry - week after week?

4 comments:

Tom Leith said...

is it not more miraculous that they are still there even when they are given no loaves and sent away hungry - week after week

The miracle is that of the Eucharist which feeds them whether the Word passes through their heads unheard, or is distorted beyond all recognition. This (of course) is not to defend what you observed or even the idea of Youth Liturgy (shudder!). But yes, there is a miracle greater than the debacle.

Joey Higgins said...

Around where I live, the "Teen masses" usually have "the best music" out of the selection available and people tend to gravitate towards those masses for that reason - they play the least Shutte, generally.

We don't really have steady choirs, organs, or chants to choose from.

Part of it is probably the same problem that the rest of the mass faces, but part of it is that "they" don't want to pay for better (any) musicians, so you get kids that want to sing somewhere and don't have a stage except for church.

And then there's the whole, "well, we can't tell so and so not to sing because we want them to grow." Which has some truth to it, but they could be asked to practice beforehand :P

The whole thing gets frustrating - they have a diocese wide "capital campaign" to retrofit the old Crystal Cathedral, but have never had a "campaign" to pray for anything real. We have a "prayer service" coming up for "immigration reform" but have never had one for abortion or homosexual marriage or feeding the poor or ANY dogma of the church.

/sorry, got going and continued ranting

But, this is a great post, reminds me why I'm there instead of just giving it lip service.

Tom Leith said...

you get kids that want to sing somewhere and don't have a stage except for church

I have the idea you know that church isn't a stage. Maybe tell them if they want to enter and elevate the liturgy, there's tons of free resources on the web coming straight from the heart of authentic, organic Catholic culture just waiting for some talented kids to pick up and run with. Not that it is easy, but nothing worthwhile is. Here's just one example. Here's what it ought to sound something like. Pity it is only Lutherans who really appreciate it. Doing a music program for a congregation can quickly become a full-time job and that (of course) needs to be paid-for. Maybe there would be more willingness to pay a good music director if there was interest in good music.

Scott W. said...

The music was worse than usual, and it's always bad.

Wow. Having experienced contemporary music in church, that's quite an achievement.