The traditional standards of our Faith continue to be assaulted and the shadow of the Cross casts a darker shade over the face of the earth while the world ignores the visible signs of the face of Christ.
Despite undeniable evidence and carbon-dating tests, controversy continues concerning the Holy Shroud of Turin, which is still being subjected to further scientific tests. Believers see in the Shroud our greatest relic of the Savior, containing not only the image of His Body, but bloodstains from the wounds in His side, His hands and His feet, on His head from the crown of thorns, and on His Body from the scourging.
The image of the face on the Shroud possesses a mysterious quality that brings to mind the words of St. Paul:
"For the doctrine of the cross is foolishness to those who perish, but to those who are saved, that is to us, it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject.'…For the Jews ask for signs, and the Greeks look for 'wisdom'; but we, for our part, preach a crucified Christ-to the Jews indeed a stumbling-block and to the Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1Cor.1:18,19;22-24).
Christ clearly instructed all, especially the Jews, to "Walk whilst you have the light that the darkness overtake you not. And he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. Whilst you have the light, believe in the light; that you may be the children of light."
As dark as things have grown, it seems that the full significance of the Holy Shroud was meant to be revealed in our time. It was not understood until modern times that the image on the Shroud is a negative image. The face on the Shroud seemed shadowy and obscure, although in the early centuries it provided the model for artists' portraits of Jesus before the Holy Shroud disappeared from history for hundreds of years. Hence we have always had a reasonably close likeness of the Lord. But in the year 1898, an amateur photographer, Mr. Secondo Pia, was permitted to take the first photographs of the Shroud. To his great astonishment, while he was developing the negatives, the reversed, and now positive image of the Holy Face appeared before his eyes as a true photograph. He became the first person to look upon the true likeness of the Savior in almost 1900 years. Since that time the Holy Face imprinted on the Shroud at the moment of the Lord's Resurrection has inspired true devotion and love in the hearts of believers.
Those who despise the Master and love the world do their best to destroy Him by distorting the Gospels, attempting to make them out as mythical accounts of an obscure religious figure from the distant past. But the Holy Shroud gives an accurate and detailed description of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord. Jesus left no writings of His own, and the only account of His ever writing anything at all was when He wrote in the sand to save the woman caught in adultery from her accusers. The four Gospels were written by men who were limited by a variety of human imperfections. But the image on the Shroud is the Lord's Own Gospel - a powerful message to mankind of the love of the God-Man, Who, says St. John, "…knowing that the hour had come for Him to pass out of this world to the Father, having loved His Own who were in the world, loved them to the end" (Jn.13:1).
Just before Holy Communion the priest prays from the psalm: "How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the Lord" (Ps.115:3,4). The only efficacious way of going to God the Father is through Jesus Christ His Son, Who is both Priest and Victim in this true Holocaust, this one acceptable offering, this re-presentation of His sacrifice on the Cross. The Mass is at the center of the world. It gives meaning to our lives and offers us the possibility of eternal life. Without the Mass the human struggle is futility and final ruin. Only the Cross and the Sacrifice upon the Cross which has been commemorated in an unbloody manner daily since, is there faith, hope and love.
We are well aware that in our time the Holy Mass has suffered its own crucifixion at the hands of the so-called "Liturgical experts," so that it is no longer "the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven," as Fr. Faber described the Mass of the Roman Rite. Catholics all over the world have been deprived of their rightful heritage and are being led astray by the apostate leaders of a false church. Yet we pray that those who look upon the image of the Shroud and discern there the face of "Christ, the Power of God and the Wisdom of God," will find their way back to the true fold and the doorway to Heaven, the true Holy Mass, and to Christ our King.
We cannot serve two masters as Our Lord confirms in today's Gospel. Those who try to do so end up on the broad road that leads to destruction. Let's make up our minds to follow the Master Who has loved us "to the end," by keeping prayerful company with Him every day of our lives, especially by uniting ourselves with Him in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. That is what is sufficient for our faith for Christ asks us not to worry about our daily needs, "For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you."
"In Him," says St. Paul, "we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins, according to the riches of his grace. This grace has abounded beyond measure in us in all wisdom and prudence, so that he may make known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure. And this his good pleasure he purposed in him to be dispensed in the fullness of the times: to re-establish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth" (Eph.1:7-10). †