October 2019

In the past we have celebrated the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick during Mass on a monthly basis at Assumption Parish. As pastor, however, I have decided to limit this to only about four times a year. I am basing this decision on the 1983 Code of Canon Law as well as what the Second Vatican Council taught in its first document, Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC). It is true that the Church began recommending this great Sacrament for more than just those on their deathbed. On this topic the Council stated, “As soon as any one of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived” (SC 73). In 1983, the Code of Canon Law was revised to accommodate this change, stating that, “The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age” and that the Sacrament “can be repeated if the sick person, having recovered, again becomes gravely ill or if the condition becomes more grave during the same illness” (Can. 1004).

Note the limitations that are kept in place. Those requesting the Sacrament must be in some sort of “danger” due to sickness or old age, and the situation should be grave. Also, repeating the Sacrament is not necessary if your health improves. Considering this, there really is no need to have a Mass with the Anointing of the Sick every month. Those in need of the Sacrament are welcome to ask for the Sacrament as needed.

– Father Scott Thomas, October 27, 2019

If you come to Adoration on Mondays, you’ll notice that we are now placing the Monstrance on the main Altar of Sacrifice (the wooden Altar) as opposed to Mary’s Altar on the side. This was recommended to me, and I love the idea because of what it teaches us about Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Adoration is meant to complement our worship of Jesus in the Holy Mass and build up a greater desire within us to participate in the Holy Mass. Adoring Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, whether that be during Adoration or while simply praying before a closed Tabernacle, should build up within us a greater desire to receive Him more worthily and more often in Holy Communion.

Having the Monstrance exposed on the same Altar upon which the Holy Mass is offered shows more clearly that connection between Adoration and the Holy Mass. It also draws more attention to tourists who may enter and not realize something important is going on. This also allows them to light their candles by the side Altars without walking by the Blessed Sacrament irreverently. So come join us for Adoration on Mondays, anytime between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm. Come worship Jesus, thank Him for His perpetual presence in the Holy Eucharist, and build a greater desire for worthily receiving Him in Holy Communion at the next Mass you attend.

– Father Scott Thomas, October 20, 2019

Last weekend I preached about finding Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and showing Him proper reverence. Now that we are using the original Tabernacle at the Basilica, how we act when passing the center of the sanctuary needs to change. Surely many of you were taught to bow whenever walking past the Altar of Sacrifice. This teaching is correct when the Tabernacle in use is off to the side. But the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states that if the Tabernacle is situated in the center of the Sanctuary, then it surpasses the Altar in importance. So now anytime you walk across the sanctuary in the Basilica you should do your best to genuflect to Our Lord in the Tabernacle. The only time where you would bow is during the Holy Mass.

As the GIRM states, during Mass the focus moves from the Tabernacle to the Altar of Sacrifice with anticipation for the consecration of the bread and wine that will be presented during the Offertory. Therefore, the GIRM states, those entering the sanctuary during the Holy Mass only genuflect to the Tabernacle during the entrance and recessional processions. Otherwise, you merely bow to the Altar of Sacrifice when passing by it. So those who read or assist with Holy Communion will continue to bow when entering the sanctuary during the Holy Mass. Remember that your Savior, Jesus Christ, makes Himself perpetually present in the Eucharist out of love for you. Let us all, together, strive to respond to His love with the proper reverence and respect.

– Father Scott Thomas, October 13, 2019

In the dioceses of the United States, October is Pro-Life Month. During this month we are asked to spend some time reflecting on the gift of human life. In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope Saint John Paul II said, “Truly great must be the value of human life if the Son of God has taken it up and made it the instrument of salvation of all humanity!” God could have redeemed us in any way He wanted. But He chose to send His Son incarnate as one of us, taking on our human flesh and lifting it up to a new reality. By being born fully human and then dying and resurrecting in human flesh, Jesus Christ has sanctified all human life. Thus, we must respect that sanctity and defend it at all costs.

Recall how in Matthew 25:40, Jesus tells us, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Whatever we do to the least among us, from the moment of conception all the way until death, we do to our Lord Jesus. If we don’t defend the defenseless, then who will? It is up to us—Jesus’ soldiers on Earth—to defend the gift of life that He has given to every person born into this world. For whatever it is that we do, whether good or bad, we do unto Him.

– Father Scott Thomas, October 6, 2019

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