Traditional Latin Mass Homily – 4th Sunday after Pentecost

Traditional Latin Mass Homily – 4th Sunday after Pentecost 6/8/8

(Note: the Gospel for this weekend in the Extraordinary Form is Luke 5:1-11, the miraculous catch of fish)

In today’s Gospel we read:

Et sedens, docebat de navicula turbas.
And sitting,
(Jesus) taught the multitudes
out of
(Peter’s) boat.

This image of Jesus teaching from Peter’s boat has always been viewed to be a foreshadowing of the Holy Catholic Church. For the past 2000 years, Our Lord Jesus has sat in the middle of this boat which is the Church, a boat which sails safely through the stormy waves of history, with the successor of St. Peter, the Pope, at the helm.

And from this boat which is the Catholic Church, Jesus continues to teach the multitudes that are found both on and off the boat; and the multitudes down through the centuries continue to be taught by Christ in whatever waters this boat is found sailing in.

And once in a while, Jesus will cease teaching for a moment, and turn to the Captain of the ship, and say to him what He said that day to St. Peter: Duc in altum. Launch out into the deep, and lower your nets for a catch.

A few years ago, our beloved Holy Father Pope John Paul II went home to the Lord, and the Cardinals in conclave elected Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to succeed him as Pope. And taking the name Benedict XVI, he became the vicar of Christ, the successor of St. Peter, the captain of the S.S. Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict wasn’t long at the helm when he heard Jesus say to him: “Duc in altum- Launch out into the deep, Benedict, and lower the nets for a catch. But before you do that, Sailor, go down below the deck, and bring up from the storage room that older net that I like so much, the one you’ve hardly used these past 40 years, and start fishing with it again. And tell the sons of Zebedee, James and John, and all the other ships in the fleet, to get the older net out as well, and to start casting it alongside the newer one.”

And so our great Captain, Pope Benedict, obedient to the Lord’s voice, went and got that 900 year old net which is the Traditional Latin Mass. And on July 7th, 2007 he sent out a letter to all the Fishers of Men in the Church today, the Priests of the Church. And in this letter, this Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the successor of Peter said that beginning September 14th, 2007, the Church was launching out into the deep, and lowering the nets for a catch, and that any validly ordained Fisher of Men of the Roman Rite who wished to had permission to use the older net instead of the newer one, and no one could tell him he wasn’t allowed to.

And over the past nine months since the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, we are seeing in more and more Parishes and Chapels around the country and around the world the older net being used by more and more priests.

And also over the past nine months, we are seeing more and more fish getting hooked by the beauty, the reverence, the mystery, and the majesty of this Extraordinary Form of Mass.

In the opinion of not a few Master Fishers of Men, the older net can go down much further into the depths than the newer one can, which enables it to catch some prize fishes that the newer one can’t hook.

Many also feel that the Traditional Latin Mass is able to reach further into the depths of our being: the silence, the rituals, the Latin prayers allow us to leave the shallowness of this fallen world and to plunge deep into the world of the spirit, deep into the unfathomable mystery of the Thrice Holy Trinity.

Certainly in a well celebrated Traditional Latin Mass reverently entered into, Jesus is capable of bringing us to our knees as he brought Peter to his knees after the miraculous catch of fish. Here we encounter the Holiness of Christ, and beg Jesus to depart from us, for we are sinful men and women, O Lord.

But at the same time, we also hear Jesus respond back to us, “fear not, stay close to Me on this great boat of mine, and with Peter at the helm, we’ll sail together, and catch many men and women for the Kingdom of God.”

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