I am, at this very moment, listening to and watching Fr Cantalamessa’s Good Friday sermon in St Peter’s Basilica on EWTN television online. He is preaching in Italian, and the EWTN commentator is “translating” in English. In fact, she is reading the official text, which I am reading simultaneously on the Zenit website. And I am blogging at the same time! What a wonder modern science is.
I was hoping that I would see the Holy Father preaching, but I am not disappointed. Fr Cantalamessa is the preacher for the Papal Household. His sermon is very “modern”, speaking about the new Da Vinci Code film and the Gospel of Judas. It is spot on addressing current concerns.
Here is a taste:
Some years ago, Raymond Brown, the greatest biblical scholar of the Passion, wrote: “It is an embarrassing insight into human nature that the more fantastic the scenario, the more sensational is the promotion it receives and the more intense the faddish interest it attracts. People who would never bother reading a responsible analysis of the traditions about how Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and rose from the dead are fascinated by the report of some ‘new insight’ to the effect that he was not crucified or did not die, especially if the subsequent career involved running off with Mary Magdalene to India … These theories demonstrate that in relation to the passion of Jesus, despite the popular maxim, fiction is stranger than fact, and often, intentionally or not, more profitable.”
There is much talk about Judas’ betrayal, without realizing that it is being repeated. Christ is being sold again, no longer to the leaders of the Sanhedrin for thirty denarii, but to editors and booksellers for billions of denarii. No one will succeed in halting this speculative wave, which instead will flare up with the imminent release of a certain film, but being concerned for years with the history of Ancient Christianity, I feel the duty to call attention to a huge misunderstanding which is at the bottom of all this pseudo-historical literature.