|The Catholic Super Bowl at Detroit's Ford Field Stadium - Est. 67,000.|
Pam and I attended the Beatification Mass for Fr. Solanus Casey (November 18, 2017, 4PM-6PM) at Ford Field Stadium, Detroit. The miracle that prompted the gathering can be read about here: http://www.themichigancatholic.org/2017/11/50116/
We were invited by the Solanus Casey Center for whom we produced the children's documentary on Fr. Solanus. You can watch the documentary here: http://www.swcfilms.com/EXTRAORDINARY/index.html
It was an extraordinary event, to which we ferried in our van 11 older men and women from one of the parishes we attend. We eventually were allowed to drive up next to the ADA handicapped entrance to drop our passengers off (Gate G) and pick them up. The traffic required much patience, but we all got to our seats by 3 PM for the 4 PM Mass. It started right on time, with a glorious orchestra and choir. Being a critic of audio and visual presentations, and music I was impressed with the clarify of the sound and Jumbotron images. WithOUT my hearing aid I heard and saw everything clearly. (a minor miracle)
This morning I was moved to consider the visual metaphor we experienced. Inside the Ford Field stadium (a $500 million dollar project in 2002) there was order, security, warmth, worship, structure, beautiful music and light. That visual represents the Catholic Church bringing Jesus, hope, goodness, beauty and truth to the masses. Although the Free Press picture accompanying this post, shows only the field being illuminated, we could easily see everywhere, clear to the rafters. By my estimates 67,000 (97% full) filled the seats orderly, although it took a long time for everyone to get in their seats due to security and the cold rain...did I also mention that parking was a challenge. We sat with friends, John and Renee Mischel from Elk Rapids, MI...their daughter Grace was the host of our documentary EXTRAORDINARY. They were dropped off by relatives at Cobo Hall (miles away) where they took the Detroit People Mover to Grand Circus Park and then walked the 5 blocks to the stadium in the cold, wet rain. Miserable weather, and at 4 PM it was dark. So, what was outside the stadium (cold, rain, dark, near chaos of cars and people) represents the world in which the church is miraculously sustained and protected by the Holy Spirit.
|Vatican Cardinal Amato incenses the altar and Fr. Solanus' image|
The metaphoric contrast was striking on two levels. One level of dark, rainy chaos can be seen in the recent political climate (pun intended), but not because of politics, but because so many people hate the things God loves, and love the things God hates. Their persistent rebellion spits in the eye of Natural Law (God's Law) and bad stuff happens. Morally the church defends what is good, true and beautiful. But the recent political chaos has revealed that there are tens of thousands in our culture that defend what is bad, false and ugly--the cold, dark rain that greeted us as we left the security of the stadium and what the Catholic Church offers.
The second level is the confused chaos created by lack of Christian unity in the world. Jesus Christ prayed in John 17 for his followers to be one, SO THAT THE WORLD WOULD KNOW THAT GOD HAD SENT HIM. Implied in that phrase is the idea that if Christians weren't at each other's theological throats they might actually become salt and light to culture. Dang! What a concept. But because so many Christians have decided to self-interpret the Bible and ignore several critical passages (because it would shatter their invented theology), the generic Christian church is the laughing stock of the world. (e.g. Sola Scripture, faith alone, and the Eucharist (communion-as-symbol) are nowhere in the Bible, but the opposite teachings, in plain text, are.) THEREFORE, the salt is diluted and light is obscured, and we end up with a culture that celebrates racism, bigotry, killing babies, sexual freedom, pride, and twisting biological science. If the Protestors would put away their 20,000 variety of home made signs, battery powered megaphones, and stop beating the bottom of pails with sticks, claiming independent to interpret God's word to suit themselves, perhaps the world (at large) would recognize Jesus as the Light, Structure, Truth, Beauty, and Music of the world and peace might have a chance.
But until them...moral, physical and political chaos. Maranatha, Lord Jesus.