Some non-Catholics have a hard time understanding why the Catholic Church has so much pomp and celebration. Assuming that their resistance has nothing to do with jealously or envy how do we explain this to those who are taken aback by it?
Looking at two passages below from the Bible which may seem contradictory at first is helpful.
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6 But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.
16 Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
The key to understanding how these passages are to be reconciled is to understand and evaluate them from the perspective of one’s heart. A person’s actions can be good or bad depending on one’s intentions and motives. On this we must be careful. We are not our own judge and if we try to judge another’s heart we would be committing a sin.
If we do something to glorify ourselves that is wrong, but if we are celebrating the work of God, so much the better.
Consider the quote below from the book : MY BROTHER, THE POPE.
Cardinal Ratzinger explains the nature of the celebration of the people to his being elevated to becoming a bishop :
MY BROTHER, THE POPE by Georg Ratzinger
**Pages **212 - 213
… *** Just as he said later as pope, he thought then, too, that the jubilation with which he was greeted had ****nothing to do with him personally: "I was being greeted as bishop, as *bearer of the Mystery of Christ, even if the majority were not explicitly conscious of this. The joy of the day was something really different from approval of a particular person, whose qualifications still had to be demonstrated. It was joy over the fact that this office, this service, was again present in a person who does not act and live for himself but for Him and therefore for all" (M 153)•
And then he said something that by all means could be cited three decades later as the program for his pontificate as well: "The bishop does not act in his own name but, rather, is the trustee of someone else, of Jesus Christ and his Church. He is not a manager, a boss in his own right, but rather the delegate of someone else, whose place he takes. Hence he cannot arbitrarily change his opinion and advocate one thing today and something else tomorrow, depending on how promising it seems. He is not there to spread his own private ideas but, rather, is an envoy who has to deliver a message that is greater than he. He is measured by this fidelity; that is his task" (H 208).*
John 12:3 -8
“Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus † and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
4 Then Judas the Iscariot, one (of) his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said,
5 “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages † and given to the poor?”
6 He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.
7 So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. †
8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”