4th Sunday after Pentecost
Two Ships Passing in the Night
I didn’t think there was anything about the
Novus Ordo Church that could shock me any more. I thought I’d heard
it all. But last Monday I attended a wake down on Long Island. It
seemed normal enough—the priest was from India of course, as they
can’t get American vocations any more, but he blessed the casket and
sprinkled it with holy water. All very normal, and Catholic enough
on the surface. However, he was extremely concerned that some of the
people present were not Catholic, and therefore shouldn’t be there,
which I thought was a bit odd, given the fanatical glee the
modernists take in being ecumenical. But then of course I found out
he was referring to me, a “traditionalist,” their only real enemy. A
typical Novus Ordo wake so far, but I wasn’t looking forward to the
funeral. In fact, I made my excuses that I couldn’t attend as I had
to be up here in Monroe.
However, I did get a report of how the service went. The priest set the tone in his sermon when he announced that there was something he “disagreed with Jesus about.” Apparently, he wanted to correct the Son of God and Second Person of the Blessed Trinity on a couple of things he’d got wrong.
While “Father” came down a little hard on Almighty God, he seemed very anxious to make life as comfortable as possible for the grieving family of the deceased: “I know you’re all sad and upset,” he says, “so don’t bother kneeling for the consecration, I’m sure it’s too much for you.” He then proceeded to set down the rules for Communion. Now, you and I know what the rules for Communion are: you must be a practicing Catholic, in the state of grace, and fasting for the prescribed time. Simple, but sufficient. At funerals, we usually don’t distribute Communion at all, so as to avoid any sacrilege inadvertently caused by non-Catholics receiving. But this priest had a different idea. He declared that he wanted everybody there to come to Communion. Everybody. Even if they had committed a “really big sin”, they should come to the communion rail, tell the priest their sin (in front of everyone) and then receive anyway. “And if you really don’t want to go to communion, you can still come up to the communion rail for a hug and a blessing!” I’m not sure what the correct procedure is for hugging a communicant at the altar rail, when you have the Blessed Sacrament in one hand and the ciborium in the other. Maybe I would have to pass them to one of the altar girls to hold?
I really didn’t want to talk to you about more horrors from the Novus Ordo. You know them well enough, and you have all had enough sense to walk away from them and come to a church where that kind of thing is as out of place as a gospel choir at a royal wedding. But I mention it for this reason: there are still hundreds of thousands of people in Connecticut this morning attending their blasphemous version of Mass in these churches, while here, how many are we? Dozens perhaps? Did you ever ask yourself, am I really doing the right thing in walking away from “The Church” and joining a bunch of reactionaries who don’t know when it’s time to move on and get with it?
If you ever do catch yourself wondering such things, today’s Gospel is for your ears to hear and your mind to absorb. Its message is clear, and yet there are many aspects of it that may go overlooked. Today, I want to mention to you one of those little details that reveals a great truth. Listen: “Jesus stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake.” Two ships. “And he entered into one of the ships.” So there are two ships, but our Lord entered into only one of them. Which one? The one that belonged to Saint Peter. How do we differentiate between the two boats? Because in the boat of Peter, our Lord is present. “He sat down and taught the people out of the ship.” Out of St. Peter’s ship, the ship which represents the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. Out of this ship, the ship of Peter upon whom Christ would build his Church, and from which he would teach all people with the truths he would reveal. Truths that never change, dogmas that can never be altered by any of the devilish imaginations of men.
And today, how are we to know if we are on the right boat, in other words, in the right Church. By the words of Christ we hear being taught in that Church. By the same truths that continue to be taught today, as revealed by our divine Saviour all those years ago.
And what of that other boat? The one our Lord did not enter into and sit down and teach from. Were the fishermen bad people on that boat? Actually no. They were the partners of St. Peter, the two sons of Zebedee, James, who would become the first bishop of Jerusalem, and John, who would write a gospel, who would look after the Blessed Mother until her Assumption into heaven, and who would be given the amazing vision of the Apocalypse. These were hardly bad people! But they did lack something at that point in time.
St. Peter, you see, had a kind of blind faith in our Lord from this their very first meeting. He had just spent a miserable night, catching no fish, and now had finished washing his nets, ready to go home and sleep. But then this man Jesus comes along and tells him to cast out again into the deep. The gospel doesn’t tell us what James and John were doing. But certainly, they did not follow Peter right away as he took his newly cleaned nets and started throwing them over the side again where they had caught no fish all night. Not until they saw Peter pulling in a multitude of fish so heavy the boat was in danger of sinking, only then did they decide to get in on the action and follow Peter. Not from their faith in our Lord, but from the very visible miracle they witnessed. It took a sign for them to act, while Peter simply trusted Jesus.
I hope we are all truly on Peter’s boat. I hope we are all ready to follow his example and not be discouraged by the fact that we don’t have as many fish as other churches. The mega-churches of the protestants with their thousands of parishioners, the many millions of devout Muslims who pray to their Allah whenever the call goes out from the minarets, and yes, the teeming multitudes of modernists, who fill St. Peter’s Square in Rome, and adulate the man who claims to be Peter’s successor. Yes, they have fish. And lots of them. But that’s all they are. Fish. Poor creatures who have been netted by false fishermen, who drag them into their nets for their own purposes. The pastors of those mega-churches all have their personal jets. The Muslim Mullahs seem set to take over the world. And those poor Novus Ordo Catholics are now being led to the slaughter by a man who is more interested in saving the planet from global warming than saving their souls. Saving their souls from what, after all? He doesn’t believe hell exists, so what could he possibly save them from?
There’s essentially no difference between them. They all have their different agendas, but saving souls is very rarely the top of their list. And Christ is most certainly not sitting in their boat and teaching the truth. There are but two boats, Catholic and non-Catholic. The non-Catholic is everyone from Pope Francis to the most radical of atheists, they’re all basically the same. They all have in common this one truth, that they don’t have the truth.
In the true Catholic Church, the one we belong to, we do follow Peter. We follow his trust in our Lord, and we inherit his profession of being fishermen. Not fishers of fish, like all those other false religions, but fishers of men. If we traditional Catholics seem to have but few fish in our churches, we can console ourselves that these are not soul-less fish, but real souls, who have been redeemed by Christ, and who are ready to follow him to salvation. We don’t need signs and miracles to tell us this, just the simple, abiding peace of knowing we are in Peter’s boat, sitting with our Lord, and listening to his words, not the babble of a hundred thousand lies.
His words. “Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away.” Christ’s words are the truths of our faith, and of our worship. They shall not and cannot change or be changed. Not by the vain attempts of protestants or modernists, not even by the cataclysmic ending of the world. Not even by God himself, because his words are true, and God is Truth. That Word, which was in the beginning, the Word that was with God in the beginning, the Word that is God, that Word is made flesh on our altar today at this Mass. That word dwells amongst us, in this church, in this boat of Peter and will continue to dwell with us unto eternity itself.
I don’t need to tell you that these two boats, the one Catholic and the other not, are two ships that pass in the night. They pass each other because they are going in two opposite directions. So if you intend that your final destination be heaven, if you seek God, be at peace that here, in this boat, this church, you have found the Real Presence of that God abiding with us. But if the comfort of God’s presence is not good enough for you, by all means try seeking the comfort of your fellow man on that other boat. As you’re sailing full steam towards the rocks, you might not get Holy Communion, but you can always ask for a hug.