So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Friday, January 23, 2015

Loving the Liturgy. A Friday meditation.

How many people can actually say that they love the Mass? Knowing what the Mass is, who would say anything less?

When Mass is celebrated reverently, the liturgical actions and words become transparent to Christ Who enters into our midst. We see in the ritual gestures and hear in the sacred words spoken aloud and in various tones of voice Jesus acting and speaking. Are we listening?

Mass is holy. Why? Because Jesus Christ is present in the Mass. We are taught by Holy Mother Church that Jesus is present in His human priest. The priest is an icon of Christ. Jesus is present to us in His word, Holy Scripture. Jesus is present to us in the congregation gathered in His name (St. Matthew 18:20). And—get this!—He is really present in Holy Communion. The Holy Eucharist is no mere symbol. Prior to the Consecration, the bread and wine are symbols of our self offering. At the Consecration, Jesus Christ through the word of His priest (who speaks the word of Christ... this is my Body,... this is my Blood... .) sends the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine into the real Body and real Blood of Christ! Not all share that theology, but it is the continuous teaching of the Church from the time that Jesus Himself first gave His Body and Blood to His disciples to eat and drink at the very first Mass on Holy Thursday, the great sacrificial feast which anticipated Jesus' sacrifice on Golgotha, Calvary. Every Mass is a continuance of or entering into the one and same feast of Holy Thursday and the one and same Sacrifice of Calvary. In the Mass, time and eternity meet. Earth and heaven meet in Jesus Christ.

As Jesus is present on the altar, the appropriate posture or disposition in the presence of God, then, is awe. The Lord of the universe comes to meet us in the humblest of forms. He offers Himself to us as food. He is entirely vulnerable. Is that not a most profound trust shown to us by God, the trust to receive the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ?

Jesus suffered a violent death, death on a cross. He was broken apart for us so that we might enter into that space He created for us, a place in His body. In His wounds, man finds a place in God. This immeasurable and sublime gift of God invites receptivity. Is there a place in our wounds for Jesus to enter into?

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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