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Feel-Good Catholics on Good Friday

By on 3.29.13 | 8:30AM

I slept in on Palm Sunday. My Lenten penance: a very bad homily.

Chicago has a Catholic church on nearly every corner and many offer evening Masses, so I knew I had options. I decided on a five o'clock Mass near a university campus and expected some Kum ba yahing, but certainly not heresy.

After seeming somewhat irked by the reading of Luke's Passion, the good Father began with a peculiar comparison: Make the Cross a window not a mirror. If the Cross is a mirror, "we miss the message of Jesus." The Cross shouldn't make us live our lives as if "everything we do puts Jesus on that Cross." If the Cross is a window, however, "we live our lives for others in Jesus's example." It should help us realize Christ's love and that "we are worth dying for."

But Good Friday ought to remind us that by our sin we do crucify Christ. We do it everyday -- to say otherwise smacks of Pelagianism. Has Father Hugs & Kisses dawned the purple stole recently? This is Lent! You know? Sin, sacrifice, suffering, and death.

All too often, feel-good Catholics rush through Lent, whisper "Crucify him," and all the while whine, "are we there, yet?" But a resurrection without any uglies isn't a Resurrection; it's equivocation. It's denial. It's Protestant.

Rob Bell is an easily identifiable culprit for this bad sort of eschatology, but I suppose Catholics fall for it, too. This Good Friday is as good a Good Friday as any to slow down and have some spiritual discipline. Go to Confession and do penance. Pray the Stations of the Cross. Watch The Passion of the Christ without averting your eyes.

After all, He is not yet Risen.

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