For those of you sadomasochists out there who are curious about the goings on of the Catholic Church, let me be your proxy. I will go in your place, tell you what nonsense they tell me and let you have a window into what it's like to be a Catholic from the comfort of wherever it is that you are that isn't a church.
This week, robed man wanted to inform us that it's ok to be poor but also that God is going to help you stop being so poor.
The reading was James 2: 1-5
2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
2:2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
2:3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
2:4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
It actually makes more sense if one reads the next few verses
James 2: 6-8
2:6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
2:7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
Which is kind of cute. Don't be mean to poor people. Rich people are mean to you, so why should you be mean to poor people.
However, as with all bible passages, they make less and less sense the further away from them one reads.
James 2: 9-10
2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
So be nice to poor people, or burn in hell with the murderers.
The gospel was as follows: Mark 7: 31-37
7:31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.
7:32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.
7:33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;
7:34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.
7:35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.
7:36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;
7:37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.
Here we have the Amazing Jesus perform acts of magic for the proles. Also, in an odd turn, it's not okay to be mean to poor people, but at the same time it's ok to totally disregard what they ask of you, even to do something proportional to the degree to which they ask you not to.
In any case, this gospel mostly drivel and useless with no morals or even an overarching good idea. Just, 'Hey, look at Jesus! Can you do that? I didn't think so. So yeah, believe in this guy.'
If that wasn't fine enough, apparently there's a new prayer for all the poor people in the world not content to being chosen by God to be the most faithful. I'm not sure if this was issued by the Vatican, the Archdioceses or by some overzealous parish clerk thinking they can make up their own magic words.
Labor Day Novena Prayer
Lord, we come to you in a time of great sadness in our land; a time of dreams shattered and homes lost; a time of seniors plunged into worry and young people despairing of finding jobs; a time families are in upheaval and children in want.
Lord, stand with us in these days of economic distress. Help the jobless to find work to earn their daily bread. Bring food to the hungry and shelter to the homeless. Bring hope to the desperate and love to the dispossessed.
Teach us that when one suffers in our midst, You are suffering with us. Challenge us to move to action to assist those most in need in these hard times. Remind us that there is no true security in this world except the security of Your love and the Life of the Gospel.
Bring our world from this time of economic turmoil to the just society that You seek for all Your children.
Say it once per day, every day for nine days and magically a job will fall into your lap -- but don't say it in front of a mirror at midnight or Bloody Mary will have sex with your daughter.
The novena itself is trite and silly and probably would have sounded cooler in Latin. In any language it's still slavish and dumb, asking God to help a situation that he could have just as easily prevented. That we have to remind God that we don't like suffering is odd as well.
In closing we sang God Bless America for some dumb reason and that was that.
There you have it, Jack's Church Adventures for this week of the 6th of September.
Carbo Deum, brothers and sisters.
Carbo Deum, RAmen.