Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Proclaim Faith

Mediator Dei, the encyclical on the liturgy, by Pius XII, gives us today insight and inspiration into the nature of the Mass and the Eucharist.  Vatican II speaks of the Eucharist being the source and summit of the Church.  In relationship to the Liturgy, Pius XII declares the Church "is without question a living organism, and as an organism, in respect of the sacred liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts, and accommodates herself to the temporal needs and circumstances ..." 

To be sure we recognize this in the early Church which we are told worshiped 'in spirit and in truth' so much so that the actual place of worship shook with joy.  More over the Acts of the Apostles describes a community which looked after the needs of the poor and the anawim.  And in matters of Sin and sinfulness, we know that the early Church developed what would become the sacrament of reconciliation, modeled after the love and mercy of Christ.  People were attracted to this early Church because they saw a community based upon love and compassion.

Both Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et spes invite all peoples of the Church, the clergy and the laity, to live a life of holiness.  We cannot be drawn into our selves so much so that we ignore the needs and concerns of the world in which we live.  Even more, these texts assert that the Church must be engaged in the life of the culture, all the while maintaining a counter-cultural stance.  So we advocate the respect of life, justice and peace, and seeking a response to the worlds problems based on truth.

The terrible events in Boston this past week remind us most painfully that Sin and Evil are very real entities in the world today.  As John Paul II commented years ago on the 'Culture of Death,' we recognize that the violence we see every day, disrespect of life, and oppression of peoples,  continues the work of evil and that which is not God.  Our challenge as a Church is certainly to speak out against such senseless action, but also to offer care and compassion, in addition to teaching on matters of justice and peace. 

The Eucharist draws us around the sacrificial table of the Body and Blood of Christ, and unites us to the tables of all people everywhere.  Jesus Christ is in our midst.  If the Body is hurt or pained anywhere, we all hurt and all need to be concerned.  The Eucharist we receive invites us to grow in grace and to recognize the communion that is offered in this sacred meal.  Worshiping in Spirit and in Truth is much more than being reverent.  It is about being faithful to the sacrificial nature of the Paschal Mystery.

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