Saturday, December 13, 2008

This is Jesus

There’s a song by Jim Cowan titled “This is Jesus”. It goes a little like this:

This is Jesus, Emmanuel,

God is with us in this sacrament;

Come receive him, adore him,

this is Jesus our Lord!

In our parish, the old controversy of the reception of Holy Communion while kneeling has been resurrected. I've blogged about this before. Denial of Holy Communion because of one's posture has also occurred in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. The abusee's account can be found here.

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Anyway, here's what happened. Several of our new servers have decided, after receiving some formation and as a development of their understanding of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, to receive Jesus in the traditional fashion, that is, on the tongue while kneeling. Our assistant parish priest, Fr. Mark Michael has told off the leader of our parish altar servers that such a practice will not be tolerated in our schismatic inculturated counterfeit local Malaysian manifestation of the Catholic Church and is symptomatic of a faulty theology. Because, as we all know, kneeling before Jesus depending on whether He is placed in a monstrance of held up by the priest or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is an indication faulty theology as you can only do the former but not the latter. Furthermore, he is a priest and not complying with his demand not to kneel while receiving Holy Communion is tantamount of disobedience to one’s religious superior quoth our intrepid assistant priest.


Knowing that quoting the law of the Church and various ecclesiastical documents would be useless. Mark had earlier written to the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) on whether a person with the proper disposition can be refused Holy Communion just because he is kneeling. A reply came from the CDW saying, of course, no, a person may not be denied Holy Communion just because he chooses to receive kneeling. Fr. Mark however, thinks that Rome has no idea what it’s talking about and the magisterium of the Catholic Church is in error. Talk about disobedience. Roma locuta est, cause finite est? Not in the Holey Malaysian Patriotic Inculturated Catholic Church© (HoMaPICaC™), a superior local alternative to the One Holy Catholic Church founded by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and governed by the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him.

Moving on, the point I’m trying to make is pretty simple. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus asks the disciples “Who do you say I am”. Pretty straightforward. Similarly, the question I want to ask those who, while physically capable, do not kneel or, to stretch the point, do not treat the Sacrament as Jesus, is this.

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Who or what do you say the Blessed Sacrament is. Is it Jesus? Yes or no. That’s it.

Is it Jesus, truly, really and substantially present, the same Jesus who came to a world in darkness 2 thousand years ago, who died on the Cross for us and who rose from the dead and is ascended into Heaven and is seated on the right hand of God the Father and who will come again to judge the world by fire. Is this Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever, the Son of God and God the Son, the 2nd Person of the Blessed Trinity? Yes or no.

If yes, then we owe Him the latria owed to God alone, the worship of His creatures.

We owe Him the homage paid when this same Jesus is placed in a monstrance for our adoration.

We owe this Jesus the same homage paid when we come to Him in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to pray.

We owe Him the same homage paid by the magi from the East when they knelt before Him and offered gifts acknowledging His Kingship and His Deity.

We owe Him the acknowledgement of the centurion who recognized the glory of Jesus though masked by His bruised and bloodied body at the Cross, that truly this was the Son of God.

We owe Him the adoration of Doubting Thomas after seeing and touching the wounds of Christ.

We owe Him the homage that is being paid Him is Heaven now by the angels and the saints, by the Living Creatures and the elders who fall prostrate at the feet of the Lamb that was slain. To Him the Cherubim and Seraphim cry out Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts.

To this same Jesus, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords who has triumphed and conquered, the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Heavens shout "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!"

The Scriptures tell us that "Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." If even at the Most Holy Name of Jesus, every knee, every knee in Heaven, on earth or under the earth shall bow, then what about when it is Jesus Himself before us? Should every knee not bow?

So, the question is pretty simple really. Is the Blessed Sacrament Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever? If yes, the we should do Him homage and not be jealous when others bow and kneel before their Lord and God. If not, then be courageous enough to admit so and declare it publicly. One has to be consistent in one’s beliefs. We can’t do Jesus homage and kneel when He is in a monstrance and then stretch out our hands to Him while standing when this same Jesus is presented to us by the priest in Holy Communion. That’s inconsistent and illogical.

Who do you say I am? Jesus asked this question to His disciples 2000 years ago. Simon Peter, the first Pope and holder of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Rock on whom Christ built His Church, whose Successor, Benedict XVI now reigns gloriously in Rome answered “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.

So, when we are standing in line and finally come before Blessed Sacrament, we hear the words "The Body of Christ" and we are asked the same question. What is our answer and how do we live out this truth.

For me and my house, our answer is and will always be:

This is Jesus, Emmanuel,
God is with us in this sacrament;
Come receive him, adore him, this is Jesus our Lord!

Blessed is he who has not seen and yet believe. Lord, I believe.


Mark Tan said...

good post. =)

Aaron Alammalay said...

I just don't understand why some members of the clergy tend to be creative '@ the wrong scenarios'

This communion kneeling or standing is no big deal really, but turned into a daily tabaloid LOL...

Tradition is something that has been practiced like ages... Why get rid of it when it is the base of a faith... Sometimes I wished that the rubrics were not changed that much... highest salute for the Holy Father for reducing restrictions on the old mass. Kinda reminds me on reverence, tradition and all that is to worship God...:)

Collin Michael Nunis said...

I've always been puzzled as to why people cannot kneel when receiving Holy Communion. I find it disturbing to say the least. I've seen people kneel to receive Holy Communion at my Melkite parish and all the priest does is give. He explains that there's only the right way to receive Communion and that is to receive Communion. Of course, in the Greek Rite, there is no kneeling at all, but some people have their own personal ways of devotion and I suppose that it is best that we encourage whatever personal reverence for Christ in the Eucharist, whatever it may be. Refusing Communion to those who kneel is absurd.

Anonymous said...

I wonder which is worse ...sspx who is not in full communion with Rome but fully follow all tradition and rubrics of the mass or our novus ordo malaysian diocese champions who claim full communion with Rome but full of liturgical abuses ...

follow your conscience...

Andrew - I am with you ...


The Island Gypsy said...

I am happy to find this blog. I never realized that there are traditional Roman Catholics in Malaysia. I dont know if there are traditional masses in Malaysia according to the 1962 rite. I am from the Philippines. I also maintain a blog to highlight traditional beliefs and to champion the Traditional Latin Mass. Its called the Filipino Traditional Roman Catholic

I have been to Penang in 2006 to participate in an international conference organized by University Sainz Malaysia, I stayed there at the YMCA Hostel just very near the Bishops House or chancery at Jalan McAlister

Aaron Alammalay said...

I hope to celebrate at least one Tridente Mass 'someday'... Oh ya and the GIRM Malaysia Edition is already out (published by CBC of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei) finally our own copy but @ the moment copies available for the clergy only. It seems Archbishop of KL is enforcing the genuflect during consecration instead the deep bow where some priest use to do... Don't know whether to laugh or...LOL

Anonymous said...

I've been looking for an online version of the song "This is Jesus" by Cowan that you cited at the beginning of your article. I heard it a while back at a parish and I've been looking on the internet and youtube for a copy of that song. Do you know of anywhere that I could find one? I tried Cowan's website and was disappointed that it wasn't available there. Thanks!

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