THE FINAL BETRAYAL OF JUDAS PRIEST: COMMUNION IN THE HAND AND THE NOVUS ORDO
This was, above all, the very first excommunication condemnation. In short, Christ excommunicated Judas Iscariot from His very Presence. Secondly, Our Divine Lord uttered by His grave words what was then the very first anathema ever, with His ‘woe’ to Judas Priest: "Woe to the man by whom the Son of Man has been betrayed: it were better that he were not born." The naked turpitude of what Judas Priest was doing publicly, before the very eyes of His Divine Savior and the other eleven apostles, committing the sin of sacrilege by an unworthy communion, was forthright condemned by Our Lord for its wicked malevolence, the unworthy reception of Divine Innocence Itself while in the state of mortal sin.
This most morally corrupt of all of Judas Iscariot’s actions was a sacrilege of egregious proportions, for it contradicted virtually everything that Our Divine Lord and Savior had taught for His entire public life on earth and something so heavenly He had done also in the very presence of Judas. This was, at least, the very essence of false charity for it constituted a false love of Jesus Christ by a feigned affection in His Presence while at the same time being an act of raw betrayal for a mere thirty pieces of silver. This was only possible for Judas from his defiled heart, conscience and unprepared soul, the characteristics always of a sacrilege of the Most Holy Eucharist.
This is also the heart, soul and conscience of all unworthy communicants that take up the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ so unworthily and so often in the "Novus Ordo" liturgy of communion in the hand. This betrayal of Judas Priest is, unmistakably, common today in "Novus Ordo" Churches with unworthy communicants everywhere: for example, those living in serious sins of fornication, adultery, sodomy, inebriation, theft, avarice, anger, gluttony, contraception, sterilization, divorce and remarriage. If one doubts the veracity of unworthy communicants in such accusations, consider only the dearth of Catholics today who attend the Sacrament of Confession weekly in one’s local parish, especially Saturday afternoons. Nor are these wild accusations regarding the frequency of such Eucharistic sacrileges when one considers our Divine Teacher’s Own Words: "In the end the charity of many shall grow cold." This must especially be the case of the charity one owes to Almighty God. Moreover, one cannot overlook St. Paul’s sternest of warnings here, regarding such unworthy communicants: "He who eats and drinks the body of Our Lord unworthily, eats and drinks his damnation to himself"
The new rite of communion in the hand allows all kinds of other abominable sacrileges of God’s Divine Presence, too, with sacrilegious, unauthorized inter-communion services; laity performing para-liturgical communion services, hospital visits by laity who refer to themselves as "lay-priests" or "eucharistic ministers" and who hand out communion to whomever happens to be present in the hospital room visiting the sick. This abuse is especially notorious at Masses celebrating Catholic baptisms, marriages, funerals, ordinations or investitures of Religious, for everyone feels in these situations: "I am worthy to enter under Your roof, O Lord; therefore no word is necessary from You, for I am already healed."
Finally, the last of these betrayals, while not seemingly as notorious as receiving with a defiled heart or conscience, is an unprepared soul or the wedding guest ignorant of what he is about as Christ related in Holy Writ, ever so careless of the grace-filled event of receiving the Body and Blood of his Lord and God.
Such are the multitudes as the Last Gospel of the Tridentine Mass teaches us from the beloved teacher of Eucharistic love himself, the apostle John, who tells us of those "to whom the Lord came and they knew Him not." And as we read on here: "but to those who knew Him, they became the sons not of the world, the flesh (or the devil) but of God."
St. Paul further warns: "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body." As the Church has taught our thanksgiving ought to be at least a quarter of an hour as is underscored by all faithful priests who recite the Benedicite after Mass and other such prayers. To leave the church after communion without thanksgiving would be a very rude act; how ill-mannered would he be thought to be who, when invited to the table of one far above him in rank, did not so much as thank his host! To act in this cold, indifferent manner is to behave like Judas who, after receiving communion, immediately went out. St. Philip Neri, it is said, once sent two altar boys with burning tapers to accompany a person whom he observed thus hurrying from the church ignorantly.
So many, very many "Novus Ordo Catholics" give no thanksgiving after Mass whatsoever but depart in haste almost immediately, in some cases, even before the last communicant receives. There is the Last Blessing of the priest and within minutes, one hears: "Go the Mass is ended", thus leaving no time for thanksgiving. Why is this true of the "Novus Ordo Missae?"
It is true simply because there is virtually nothing left of the Sacred Silence after a "Novus Ordo" Mass with an almost ‘riotous’ outbreak of idle conversations and the rush of hectic motion that totally ignores the Great Eucharistic Miracle that has just occurred. Who lingers after, but the Lord alone in a cold, empty, dark church!
Finally, St. Paul tells us that infirmities and death are not unusual chastisements of unworthy communicants (1Cor: 11, 30). We must remember the awful fate of Judas Priest was terror, despair, hatred of God, the torments the lost suffer in hell as well as the punishments that begin on earth for the unworthy communicant. Also he who comes to the marriage feast (holy communion) without a wedding garment (proper preparation of sanctifying grace and thanksgiving) can be cast into exterior darkness (Matt. 22).
If to this Banquet of His, so immense and inconceivable as it is in the love for us which it implies, Our Lord has attached so many and so great graces, rewards, and eternal happiness, can we expect that He will give these special graces to those who only spurn them? If here He offers the gifts of life– the true life of His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity– and men seek life in the passing things of earth, can we blame Him, if seeking perversely this world’s manna they die?
He Himself has uttered the very crushing sentence on them: "Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you." This is a sentence to give us pause, indeed; a sentence that challenges our serious reflection. As in all God’s other punishments, here too it is rather we ourselves who create the punishment. We make it more and more difficult for ourselves to appreciate the blessings of the Most Holy Eucharist and therefore to share in them.
Attitudes have a tendency to deepen themselves– to harden and become set. Self-sufficiency, absorption in the cares and goals of earth, the self-centered quest for pleasures, all these settle into our outlooks on life, a jaded attitude of values that makes us insensible to higher things and the real needs of our souls. Many today feel so very, very self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency is becoming more and more the characteristic of our times. Inflated by the vast progress of science, everyone’s critical judgments are so aroused to such prideful levels and many, therefore, look to powerful government agencies and politicians for the remedy to all their ills. And elated by ownership of this world’s goods, people of today seem almost to despise the silent Savior and Dweller in the tabernacle, Who so wants to be the food of their souls and give them "life and that more abundantly." This invitation comes to all today as it did to the ancient Jews of the Old Law in Our Lord’s day who said: "It is a hard saying." Like the Pharisees, they feel no need of the Bread of Life Eternal; they enjoy, instead, the loaves that this great, noisy busy world offers to them daily. Politely they beg Jesus Christ out of their lives, except perhaps for the occasional formality of Easter, Christmas or social-event Communions.
Many others, indeed, are too much absorbed with their work. Like the Pharisees who cared more about saving an ox that had fallen into a pit than about curing a sick man on the Sabbath, they are more intent upon working for this life, that must end sooner or later, than for the life that is eternal. They feel their needs perhaps, they are assuredly aware of their wants, and the weight of sin troubles them; nevertheless they know their souls are ill. Basically, they realize the greatness of the gift Christ offers us on the altar– but there is simply no time for that now.
Later on perhaps they will attend to the Most Holy Eucharist. Therefore, now and then they come to the altar for communion, but it is with minds still full of earthly concerns, which a perfunctory preparation did not succeed in banishing. In their minds they are still tying up their oxen. For a few brief moments they are a ciborium containing the Living Presence of Jesus Christ; but there is no lasting consecration. Christ cannot even begin to work those marvelous miracles of grace in them that He is so eager to work in their souls.
Moreover, to respond to this holy invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so supernatural a moment St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the chalice of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the chalice. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the Body eats and drinks judgment upon himself."
Our Lord in His Divine Providence has left us this egregious example of an unworthy communicant through the bad example of Judas Iscariot who sinned in all three ways that we have discussed in approaching this Most Holy Sacrament: approaching the Lord without the adoration due; approaching Him devoid of sacrificial prayer; and, finally, approaching Him with a defiled and unprepared heart. Each of these oversights are blameworthy and characteristic of Judas Priest, the very first unworthy communicant, who was everlastingly condemned for this debauchery by the Lord Himself. Must we not expect the same condemnation for those today who so casually receive communion in the hand and who lack the internal disposition of homage before the Lord, and who lack the internal piety of prayer, and who recklessly come to the Most Holy of Holies with defiled, unprepared hearts awash in serious sin and indifference.
Such sacrilegious improprieties in receiving communion in the hand with the "Novus Ordo" Mass must not be taken so lightly for they are as unorthodox and unroman Catholic as believing Judas Iscariot would be a worthy apostle and priest. This plague of sacrilegious betrayals in the "Novus Ordo" Mass must end, and end terminally soon; for this can only be done by the very firm hand of a wise shepherd in Rome such as our current pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI who has already done more to return Holy Mother Church to its orthodox Roman Catholic ways than any pope in a hundred years with his glorious "motu proprio" that liberated the Tridentine Latin Mass. Communion in the hand with its liberation theology of the liturgy only deserves a vigorous condemnation of anathemas and subsequent excommunication of all of its advocates for its offenses against God’s Infinite Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist, the pinnacle of all orthodox Roman Catholic beliefs. We pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the "singular vessel of devotion," for a great Eucharistic miracle through the hands of Pope Benedict XVI who alone knows how to faithfully render such a charitable anathema and excommunication.
The Lord’s condemnation to the Jews will be the same to us moderns who, in any way, unfaithfully reject the Most Holy Eucharist: "You knew not the time of your visitation."
What happened to ancient Palestine for this oversight: the totality of destruction at the hands of the Roman legions. The graces of Our Lord’s Divine Presence, once lost, can never be regained again. "I am the Bread of life and He that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me." Many, many today, sadly heed Him not. Too many have their pleasures, such as they are– but, indeed, "blessed are they that hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall have their fill."
– to be continued–
J Hughes Dunphy