Aug 26, 2009

Fr. James Martin

I really like this Fr. James Martin. Maybe as much as I like Fr. Barron. I first saw him in this:

And now I hear him in this:

He's also the "Colber Report Chaplain" and has made a number of funny appearances on the show. (Incidentally, Stephen Colbert is a practicing Catholic and teaches Sunday School.)

I like humor - the coming together of opposites; the meeting of incongruous things. In Spring of 2008 I was making frequent flights (once or twice a month) to California for my work. In all my travels, I packed 2 books to read and re-read: The Bible, and C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. I read thru the entire New Testament without any commentaries or study guides at all. I found myself laughing out loud at some of Jesus's comments. I can't recall the verse right now, but it's the one where he says, "Who among you, if their child asks for food, gives him scorpions and bricks?" If you read the whole passage together at once, the statement has a bold levity with which he contrasts the religious rigamarole of the times with a simple lesson in love and relationship. It's classic, and classy, humor.

We often think of Jesus's power, his divinity, his love and compassion. We revere him as a great prophet and a great philosopher. We don't as often stop to recognize that Jesus was incredibly smart. Not just knowledge (all-knowing) smart, but clever - i.e., he knew how and when to apply that knowledge in situations. He was not just omniscient, but omni-witty.

He revealed God's Personality as much as God's Truth, and we find that God has a great sense of humor.


Saint said...

I've often thought of a lot of Jesus's comments as bits of wisecracks made at the Pharisees' expense. There's a few others that are pretty funny as well. But the closest Bible to me is in Georgian, so I can't really pull out the quotes.

luke said...

I wonder how much humor we might be missing with the Aramaic+Greek -> English translation. :(

Kristi said...

I love this guy! I think we completely misread the bible due to our own culture, and to me, that is a relief. There is an image of a sad, heavy-hearted Jesus that was angry (until children were present). But if he embodied the human experience, then he laughed, he told jokes, and I'm betting he even pooped like the other guys.

Saint said...

You know how badly Russian humor translates...

Living A Liturgy said...

you've been gone for a while!

I like this post. My husband always tells me I'm too serious, and it's probably true about some things. I also come from a family that just doesn't joke about certain things and are overly serious about other things. Always a good reminder to lighten up and enjoy life. I sometimes like to think that Jesus laughs at me - like when I trip over a stick when no one else is around. :)

One of my favorite works of art is a charcoal drawing of Jesus holding a lamb and reeling his head back in laughter. This post made me think of that.


I was curious if you have ever done a post on the eucharist and why the church has a closed communion? This is one of the topics my husband and I have been discussing at the RCIA class (which is great, btw). But we can't seem to find a sufficient answer. The question, in whole, is as follows: "My favorite part about the episcopal liturgy is when the priest stands up before communion and says 'All members of Christ's Church militant are welcomed to the table...' Since the Catholic church accepts other christian baptisms, why not communion? Why is it that I, as a non-catholic, though I believe the teachings of the church and in the presence of the eucharist, am not invited into communion?"

Would love to hear your opinion (or anyone else on here) on the matter!


luke said...

Closed communion deserves a post all its own, for sure. In fact, it deserves articles and articles and pages and pages probably.

Briefly, I think the Catholic Church simply has to maintain a certain dogmatic-style stance on the issue to prevent abuses. The Church is steward of the sacraments and so it must be very diligent about how it administers them. I also know the roots of the practice stretch all the way back to Paul's first letter to the Corinthians (I think chapter 11) in which he states that failing to recognize the Real Presence of Christ opens a person up to judgement.

In some ways, I think RCIA has to take a "lowest common denominator" approach to the sacraments - trying to make sure every candidate commits to them to the best of their understanding.

I remember well, and can relate to, the anxiety that comes from desiring the sacraments while being unable to participate. I was personally more anxious for Confession (see my post on my first confession), which I found to be intimately tied up with the Eucharist.

In any case, I think the best advice I can give is right there in 1 Cor. 11 again - "But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined ..." Try to step back from our own personal judgement and let God judge; hopefully we can receive it as discipline and not punishment. Believe me, if/when you are confirmed and receive Eucharist, it will be a whole new level of experience.