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Cardinal Burke High Mass 008 (1)

Cardinal inspired by Scotland’s Catholic youth

James Bundy reflects on meeting American Cardinal Raymond Burke during his recent visit to Glasgow

On Saturday September 14, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke offered a Pontifical High Mass at a packed Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Balornock. The choir sung beautifully throughout, and the liturgy was as wonderful and mystical as it always is.

One thing that caught my eye was the number of people from the younger ­generation in attendance. Young ­children, students and adults at the start of their working careers filled the ­congregation. It was a clear sign that the ­tradition appeals to young people from all backgrounds. Yet, what drew all ­people to attend was their love for our Lord and Cardinal Burke’s homily made that abundantly clear.

During the homily, Cardinal Burke focused on the Crucifix and the hope it should give to all Christians. His ­Eminence talked about what the Cross represented before the life of our Lord. It was the biggest sentence, humiliation and suffering one could receive from the Roman Empire. It was a symbol of Rome’s power and the desire that the state had for members of the population to be obedient to them.

By resurrecting from the dead, ­however, our Lord changed the whole interpretation of the Cross. Suffering turned into hope. Humiliation turned into empowerment. Sentence turned into reward. By resurrecting from the dead, Jesus showed that the power and love of God was greater than any material ­possession on Earth. God had conquered the Earthly power of the Roman state and did so through love and forgiveness.

Cardinal Burke stated that the Cross was the whole purpose of the ­Incarnation. God came down to Earth to die on the Cross. The Cross was the supreme punishment of the Roman Empire. God therefore sent his son to embrace the greatest punishment of the greatest power on Earth for the good of humanity.

As Jesus conquered the Cross, God therefore showed that it is possible for anyone to conquer pain and ­suffering on Earth and the way to do this is to love God truly and to follow his will.

Cardinal Burke asked us to put the message of the Cross at the heart of our lives.

After the Mass I had the honour to have a brief conversation with the ­cardinal. We talked about an article I have recently written for the SCO titled ‘True liberalism is found in Christianity’ before discussing the role that young people should play in the church.

The cardinal said that young people are crucial in the promotion of the Church and its values. We can ­communicate this through social media, writing, speaking to friends but the most effective way is by living our lives in accordance with the teachings of the Church. This way we can directly counter the incorrect claims that ­upholding the teachings of the Church is oppressive.

The cardinal is, it seemed to me, ­positive about the future of the Church due to the devotion seen from the younger people in attendance in ­Glasgow, and Masses throughout the world. Yet, I felt that he knew that while the Church had the ability to reach more young people, it needs new disciples to do its work.

All Christians, particularly younger ones, must live a life that shows that we have overcome pain and ­suffering, and are comforted by the Lord. We need to show joy, love and ­forgiveness in all parts of our life because that is how Our Lord overcame the Cross for us.

We must take part in the Sacraments to show our love to God, particularly the Sacraments of Confession and receiving Holy Communion. We must be bold, carry our Cross, and not be ashamed of our Faith.

One simple way of doing this is by making the Cross the centre of our lives. Put a Cross up in your house and in your bedroom. Carry your Rosary beads with you at all times, and when you see a Cross, thank God for all the gifts He has given you and your loved ones.

When I look back on the Pontifical High Mass offered by Cardinal Burke, I will remember the theme of hope that the Cross portrays and I will strive to make the Cross the centre of my life.

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