Sign of Peace Suspended … Forever

by Fr Richard Heilman | March 3, 2020 7:33 pm

SIGN OF PEACE SUSPENDED … FOREVER

In my homily, today, I reflected upon the time in my priesthood that I began to give greater emphasis to the Heavenly Father. “Hallowed be Thy Name,” resembled “My Lord and My God” for me, and “awe invaded my soul.”

Great fathers want the best for their children, I thought to myself. And, that means great dads draw the best of who we are out of us. I understood God is a perfect Father, and this Father/Son relationship was a game-changer for me. He wanted the best of me, and I wanted to please Abba in every way.

The impact changed my view of the liturgy. Why? Because I so wanted Abba/Dad/Father to be proud of me, so I wanted to do it His way. So, I have done my best to offer the Mass as it was handed down to me, rather than the way “man had messed with the Mass.”

I felt like all of the innovations piled on to the liturgy was like a bratty kid who was always bored and ungrateful with the gifts the parents gave him, so he always wanted something new and different.

No, I LOVED everything Abba gave me – ALL of the patrimony of this amazing Catholicism – and so, I wanted to cherish it ALL in thanksgiving.

God, being made Present on the altar is just INCREDIBLE. This happens in the “Holy of Holies” (The Sanctuary). There we are, beholding this INCREDIBLE miracle. Hearts are pounding in awe and wonder … and, and, and … we are about to approach the Holy of Holies to RECEIVE GOD!! “Lord, I am not worthy!!”

Then, just as we are about to RECEIVE GOD … then comes the innovation …

“Hi Bob, Hey Cindy, Good to see you, Jane. How’s the golf game, Joe?, etc., etc.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Just as our hearts are pounding in awe as we are about to RECEIVE GOD?!

Several years ago, we had a bad flu bug go through our diocese. We were asked to suspend the Sign of Peace. I asked Bishop Morlino if it would be okay if I “forgot to bring it back.” He smiled, winked, and said, “Well, it is optional.”

I have never brought it back, and I never will.

Let’s do it Abba Father’s way.

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