What Does The Prayer Really Say?»Blog Archive » My now annual rant about Ascension Thursday Sunday
Fr. Z has a good analysis of tomorrow's Holyday (unless you live in a diocese where Ascension is moved to Sunday). Of all the Holydays of the Catholic Church, this one is explicitly in the Bible insofar as it is stated unequivocally that Jesus Christ ascended into heaven FORTY DAYS after His Resurrection. Do the math and add 40 days to Easter, you get Ascension THURSDAY, not SUNDAY. Yet, to make our religion more comfortable and eliminate any inconvenience, we move Holydays to Sunday or merely not celebrate them as obligatory (Saint Joseph, March 19).
All eight dioceses of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania celebrate Ascension on the actual day (Thursday). Cross the border over the Mason-Dixon Line, our neighboring Archdiocese of Baltimore (Maryland) moved Ascension to Sunday. Even Birmingham, AL, (EWTN) moved it to Sunday. So the televised Mass tomorrow will not be the Ascension.
Ironically, Islam has no hesitancy to require Muslims to honor their historical holydays. Judaism does not move Yom Kippur to make it more convenient. But Catholics have to get a dispensation so our traditional holydays can be moved to accommodate our people's convenience. Canon Law (#1246) states TEN Holydays:
Nativity (Dec. 25)
Epiphany (Jan. 6)
Ascension (40 days after Easter)
Corpus Christi (Thur. after Trinity Sunday)
Mary, Mother of God (Jan. 1)
Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8)
Assumption (Aug. 15)
Saint Joseph (Mar. 19)
Saints Peter and Paul (Jun. 29)
All Saints (Nov. 1)
That same canon, however, allows for each nation's episcopal conference to petition Rome for permission to move one or more of these holydays to Sunday. Today, when people are the most mobile next to being nomads, we cater to their convenience.
Several months ago I had to rent a car at the airport while visiting Irondale, AL. The only car available had manual windows and locks and no air conditioning. Talk about a time warp. Boy, was annoyed. Most of us have forgotten the days where only expensive luxury cars like Cadillacs had power windows, power locks, electric seats, heated seats, and FM. El cheapo cars were all manual and often had manaul transmission, too. Times changed and technology got less expensive. People now EXPECT and DEMAND convenience. Nothing wrong in that but it can spill over into one's spirituality. When you are used to having remote control, cable TV with 50+ channels, microwave ovens and high-speed broadband internet access, any delay is considered irritating to say the least.
Hence, people EXPECT the times of Mass to be convenient. They expect diocesan policies and even canon law to cater to their convenience. People complain when you make demands of them, like having only practicing Catholics as godparents for baptism or confirmation. When you tell them they NEED at least one practicing Catholic but they CANNOT have two men or two women as godparents, nor can the parents be sponsors for baptism or confirmation, you get rebellion. "What do you mean?" We changed the laws of fast and abstinence and made them so convenient they are almost ineffective for some people. We don't have to return to the rigor of ancient days but I read somewhere a doctor is advocating VOLUNTARY practice of the old THREE HOUR fasting before receiving Holy Communion. Once, it had been no food from midnight on, then it was three hours, now, one hour before reception of the Holy Eucharist. One hour has no effect on the body but three hours actually has a physiological effect but not deleterious or dangerous (unless you have a condition like diabetes, etc.)
Could you imagine the UPROAR if the Church demanded we return to the 3 hour Communion fast? But any one of us can do VOLUNTARILY and do it for the intention of making reparation for sacrileges committed against the Most Blessed Sacrament around the world. Just a thought. And, why not go to Mass even on those 'non-obligatory' holydays especially when they fall on a Saturday or Monday? If our Jewish and Muslim brethren can keep their feasts and traditions, why can't we Catholics? Embrace the inconvenience and offer it up. Save souls. One by one, brick by brick.
BOOK RECEIVED: Traditional LECTIONARIUM from Fraternity Publications - I recently received a new, old Lectionarium from Fraternity Publications, the publishing arm of the FFSP, Fraternity of St. Peter. This liturgical book is...
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