Tuesday, April 18, 2017
A Family Gathering
Father reminded us this morning that the masses this Easter Week treat the week as but a single day. All the Gospels words speak of the events or Resurrection Day. “It takes the Church eight days to relate and consider all the events of that day --- and an eternity to understand and appreciate them.”
It came to me that the mass itself has a continuity to it, related to this Easter time; it is the Last Supper of Good Friday, celebrated over and over again, not as a re-enactment but a participation in it. The daily readings of each mass are as if the apostles are sitting ‘round the Good Friday dinner table discussing the events of Jesus’ life. Then when the Gospel starts at the mass it’s as if He arrives and speaks. And in the sermon, we and the priest can participate in the family dinner discussion. And we do.
“We” is the operative word of the mass. The priest never says “I” am leading this meal preparation, rather he always says “WE” are talking to God; WE are sitting at the table and giving thanks, together. The mass is a community dinner; we are not called to sit dumbly around the table, but to participate with friends and family. At a point called the Consecration, however, the priest does assume the persona Christi, and speaks as Christ: “This is My Body,” he says, and “This is My Blood.” And it happens, because the Lord said it was so. And when the priest raises the Host, now the Body of Christ, for our adoration, he says: “Behold the Body of Christ.” And we adore. But then, in obedience to His command “Take and eat,” we do. And then, as He said: “I will be with you always.”
This morning was one of those rare mornings when I sat at the right place in church, at the right time. And so as I stood to say The Lord’s Prayer with my neighbors, the morning sun shone directly on my face; my eyes closed to the brightness, but they were nonetheless penetrated by it --- even as His Body would shortly penetrate me entirely. The warmth of the sun on my face warmed my prayers, and I perceived His presence.
The Good Friday meal may have been His last supper before His death, but unlike our Easter Day celebration which only lasts for eight days, we will continue to celebrate that Last Supper at each mass each day, until the last of days.
He is risen! He is risen, indeed!