Today, in the Gospel readings, we heard the Lord Jesus Christ say,
“…Again, amen, I say to you,
if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.” [cf, Matt 18:15-20]
The Haydock Bible Commentary on verses 19 and 20 states:
Ver. 19. That if two of you. From these words, we learn how superior is public to private prayer. The efficacy of the former is attributed to the presence of Christ in those assemblies. The Father, for his Son’s sake, will grant petitions thus offered. Jans. — The fervour of one will supply for the weakness and distractions of the other.
Ver. 20. There am I in the midst of them. This is understood of such assemblies only, as are gathered in the name and authority of Christ; and in unity of the Church of Christ.—S. Cyprian, de Unitate Ecclesiæ. Ch. — S. Chrysostom, Theophylactus, and Euthymius explain the words in his name, thus, assembled by authority received from Christ, in the manner appointed by him, or for his sake, and seeking nothing by his glory. Hence we may see what confidence we may place in an œcumenical council lawfully assembled. T.— S. Greg. lib. vii. Regist. Epist. cxii.
So, let’s bring this Church teaching into the confusion brought on by the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum in light of the express liturgical reform requirements of the constitution, Sacrosanctum Concilium…
On the surface, it appears that there is quite a dichotomy between those of the Faithful who docilly adhere to the Novus Ordo Missae (New Order of the Mass) and those others who adhere to the Vetus Ordo Missae (Old Order of the Mass).
Novus Ordo Missae Adherents: These choose Substance (the Real Presence of the Lord re-presented) over form (of the Mass) and orient their personal wills in an attitude of docile obedience to the Holy Spirit which guides the Church, i.e., toward a new form of the Mass – one which reformed the Vetus Ordo. These truly do respond to the authority of Jesus Christ in the Church in the most direct and pure way.
Vetus Ordo Missae Adherents: These choose form over Substance, demanding the original, pre-Ecumenical Council, non-reformed Vetus Ordo over the Substance of the Mass. These are not so concerned about docilly obeying the Holy Spirit and find it easy to doubt or reject the Lord’s direction to reform the liturgy during an Ecumenical Council. These doubt the authority of Jesus Christ in the Church in the most direct and pure way.
So, then, who are really gathered in the Name of Jesus Christ? Those who obey the teaching of an Ecumenical Council and prioritize the Lord’s own Person as more important than liturgical form? Or, those who disobey the teaching of an Ecumenical Council and prioritize the old form more than the Lord Himself – who don’t regard His presence during an Ecumenical Council to be of any bearing on their choices?
Isn’t being “in the Name” of Jesus fervently a) being obedient; b) being responsive to authority established by the Lord Himself, and c) loving God (Substance of the Mass, not form of the Mass) above all else? So, you figure it out. Who are really, with full intent, actually gathering in the Name of Jesus Christ? Who is being heard?