In every pension, hostal or hotel, I checked out the stations in English. Invariably, only one program in English would be telecast, and it wasn’t the BBC or CNN but a station devoted to the economic markets and “volatility ” if that’s the right word. I couldn’t watch because the message seem tiresome and redundant. Not good viewing for a pilgrimage.
I reflected on today’s gospel and Jesus’ warming not to serve two masters : God and wealth. We all know what he says , that you will end up loving one and hating the other. Well, a strong gospel message as I sat in the Santiago Cathedral boasting its gold, baroque furnishings and artistic expressions that made the sanctuary busy and even confusing. What message are we giving as the priest is celebrating a beautiful and simple liturgy while pilgrims and tourists are walking behind him and climbing up a stairway behind the main altar to venerate a silver statue of St. James!!!
The whole environment needs to be cleaned up allowing the beautiful, simple architecture and carefully placed artwork to speak a beauty that would not be inconsistent with the gospel.
Where your treasure is…there will be your heart. Having a beautiful home or church is something to be sought after , but in moderation and simplicity. Beauty transforms the human heart. God is Beauty. The beauty of our churches must be matched with the beauty the comes with serving the materially poor. What good is it to have silver and gold chalices from which to drink the Blood of Christ if the poor are thirsty ? What good is it for the priest to wear exquisite vestments if the poor have no clothing ? This message comes from St. John Crysostom who teaches that we need both: material beauty in moderation/simplicity and serving the poor.
So many non-Catholics come to this Cathedral and I can’t help wondering what they think of our priorities and values. This Cathedral is magnificent and it’s simplistic beauty must be maintained as part of our heritage. But is all the gold and gaudy artwork necessary? Are they even beautiful ?
Back to the television in English and our turning the economy into an idol that we worship, and we do so at much “expense.” In Leon, I found One station on English not concerned with what Jesus in the gospel refers to as “mammon” or wealth: NCIS with actor Chris O’Donnell!! I never saw this show before but I had little or no choice, since I just wanted to watch some TV.
It was quite good and much needed.
Burn Camino. Padre