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  • Father David M. Knight

Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of Week Twenty (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 85) reminds us:: “The Lord speaks of peace to his people.”

The “remembrance” that is anamnesis means making present something from the past. In Judges 6:11-24 Gideon’s memory was not anamnesis. The angel had greeted him, “The Lord is with you, O champion,” but Gideon did not see it. “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? Where are his wonderful deeds that our ancestors recounted to us...? For now the Lord has abandoned us.” Gideon was enclosed in the present, where the Midianite raids were devastating the country. He remembered God’s “being with” his people as something past, not present. But the Lord said, “Go with the strength you have and save Israel....”

Gideon answered as we would: “Please, my lord, how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the most insignificant.” But the Lord just answered, “I shall be with you.”

To convince him, the angel had him place food on a rock as an offering. Then the angel “reached out the tip of his staff... and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes.” And Gideon believed. He” built an altar... and called it, Yahweh-shalom: the Lord is peace.”

In the Epiclesis at Mass we call down the fire of the Holy Spirit on the gifts on the altar, asking “that they may become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Then, after the Institution Narrative we recall in the Anamnesis that what is made present in our “remembering” is the death, resurrection, ascension and triumphant return of the one whose Body and Blood are there. The Lord who is “with us” is with us offering himself on the cross now, rising, seated at the right hand of the Father, and returning in glory. All at once. And he speaks his “resurrection greeting” to us as he did to Gideon and to those to whom he appeared as risen: “Peace. Do not fear.” The Anamnesis reminds us: The Lord speaks of peace to his people.[1]

In the Anamnesis we always “remember” both Christ’s death and resurrection; both his suffering and triumph. In Matthew 19:23-30 Jesus teaches us never to think of the sacrifice he asks without remembering its reward: “In the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory.... everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.” What Jesus asks is beyond human power — “For mortals it is impossible” — but he promises divine power: “for God all things are possible.” He will be with us. He does ask us to stop living for anything this world gives. But he calls us to live more fully, to live instead for what God wants to give to the world through us. For this he shares with us the divine life of God. He is “with us.” That is something to “remember”!

Initiative: Listen to the Anamnesis at Mass. Make the “remembrance” of Christ’s death, resurrection and promised return the foundation and motive of all you do.

[1] Matthew 28:5, 10, 18-20; Luke 24;36; John 10:10, 20:19-26.

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