A Fundamental Choice
Friday, January 13, 2023, 1st Week in Ordinary Time
by Fr. David M. Knight
View readings for today:
Dear Readers: We have a gap in the availability of Father Knight's reflections on daily Mass readings. Since the Church is presently engaged in a Eucharistic Revival, we thought it would be helpful to post excerpts from his booklet called Experiencing the Mass, for the next few weeks. (This is not a sales pitch. However, the booklet is available for order on this website for $5 per copy if you would like have a copy.)
Before you begin to read the upcoming reflections on the Mass, you first need to decide whether you accept the Mass at all. Do you accept communal worship of God? Do you accept to worship as part of a whole? To “join in,” listen to the music, follow the steps, get into the dance?
To put this in legalistic language, are you willing to participate in Eucharist according to the guidelines spelled out in the Church’s General Instruction for the Roman Missal? When giving God thanks and praise, are you willing to let yourself be guided by the liturgical rules — knowing that, more than just “rules,” they are the Church’s expressed and embodied insight into what the Eucharistic celebration is? They do more than tell us what to do; they explain to us what we are doing. So will you participate in Mass as a Catholic?
Let us be clear from the outset. The Mass is participation in a sacrifice. To celebrate Eucharist is to take part, personally and communally, in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, which in the Mass is remembered and made present. In every Mass we accept to die with and in Christ on the cross, as we did on the day of our Baptism. With him and in him we “offer our flesh” for the life of the world, saying in communion with him on the cross, to every member of the human race, “This is my body, given up for you.”
This takes us into a level of mystery that we will not explicitly address until the fourth theme of this book, which deals with the Eucharistic Prayer. But it is enough to encourage us, here and now, to make the sacrifice of “losing ourselves” in communal expression in order to “find ourselves” as part of a community at Mass. Then, when the presider invites us, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God,” we can answer sincerely, “It is right to give him thanks and praise.”
Tomorrow, we will dive into the Introductory Rites.
Initiative: Pray about what the Mass means to you now and what you hope it can before for you in the future. What might Jesus be inviting you to change in your approach to Mass?
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry