Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Without Gloss

Last weekend was the Archdiocese of Denver's Living the Catholic Faith Conference. This year's theme was "Live with Conviction" and focused on St. Paul's love of and zeal for Christ.

I must say that I was certainly convicted by Abp. Chaput's homily during Friday morning's opening Mass. Here's what I remember; since it was Mass, I wasn't taking notes.

The Archbishop began his reflection on the day's readings by discussing a little-used definition of the word "gloss:" a brief explanation of an obscure or difficult word or expression. During the Middle Ages, Scripture was often accompanied by gloss (akin to biblical commentary) that tended to explain away the teachings of the Faith. He also quoted his spiritual father, St. Francis, who instructed his brothers to follow his order's Rule "simply and without gloss."

Lent is a time, the Archbishop said, to strip away the excuses we use to water down the Gospel. We can be aided in this through fasting, as heard in the day's Gospel reading, and he suggested that we might do well to observe more than the minimum Lenten requirements.

Abp. Chaput also focused on the words from Isaiah: "Cry out full-throated and unsparingly/lift up your voice like a trumpet blast/Tell my people their wickedness/and the house of Jacob their sins." It is not enough for a Christian to get ashes on his forehead--whether a layman, bishop or "the vice-president of the country"--but not preach the Gospel to the world. We were instructed to repent of our own sins and then publicly fight the evils of the world, unsparingly and without gloss, because this is what is demanded of us by the Lord.

He closed by entreating, "Let us begin, for we have done nothing yet."

Indeed, I have not.