Thursday, August 21, 2014

Memorial of St. Pius X, pope

(Ezekiel 36:23-28; Matthew 22:1-14)

Although a scourge to intellectuals of his time, St. Pius X was greatly loved by most Catholics.  He was the son of a cobbler born in 1835 and elected pope in 1904. As pope, he kept the welfare of the people utmost in mind.  He encouraged Catholics to receive Holy Communion regularly and gave permission for children to receive the sacrament.  But this does not mean he was a lax pastor.  No he insisted on adequate catechesis for everyone.  This emphasis may be seen reflected in the gospel today.

Jesus’ parable is quite disturbing for many people.  “Why is the poor man thrown out of the banquet just because he wasn’t wearing the right clothes?” they ask.  The explanation is that the wedding garment was not unusual or expensive clothing.  In fact, it could be provided by the host if necessary.  The man refused to wear it and thus insulted the host by eating his food without really participating in the nuptial festivity.  The wedding garment is usually taken as a baptismal garment and the story compared to one receiving Holy Communion without bothering to be baptized.

Many of the customs of the Church have ancient roots, and we should respect them.  Sometimes adherence to tradition is required as in the case of Baptism before Communion. By preserving the traditions we show ourselves in solidarity with Christians from times past -- all the way back to Jesus.  This does not mean that there is no room for innovation in the Church but that traditions have valued significance.