Immersed in Christ: April 13, 2020
Monday in the Octave of Easter
The Responsorial (Psalm 16) begins: “Keep me safe, O God, you are my hope.” The rest of the Psalm shows that the “hope” is really for immortality.
As interpreted by Peter in Acts 2:14-33, David “foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah.” Peter says God freed Jesus from the grip of death because “it was impossible that death should keep its hold on him.” The reading ends with Peter declaring: “of this we are all witnesses.”
In the following verses (33-35), he tells why it was “impossible” for Jesus to be held by death. In contrast to David, who “died and was buried, and his grave is with us to this day,” Jesus was not just human; he was divine. Jesus is God the Son, “exalted at the right hand of the Father.” Together with the Father he “poured forth the Holy Spirit” at Pentecost. Christ changed everything for us, because by Baptism we too were made divine. Through incorporation into his body we “became Christ,” true children of the Father, our bodies the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
When Christ died, he not only died for all, but all died in him. Taking us and our sins into his body, Jesus was “made to be sin... so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”1 As a “new creation,” each of us can say the words of the Psalm with Jesus, “You will not abandon my soul to the nether world, or let your holy one experience corruption,” at least, not a disintegration of the body that endures. Our bodies too will rise again. It is impossible that they should not. We are divine. 2
The presider’s prayer over the bread and wine during the Presentation of Gifts emphasizes the transformation from human to divine that is at the core of Christianity. “We have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.” It reminds us that we who “eat this bread,” though formed from the “clay of the ground” and destined to “return to the ground from which we were taken,” have now “put on immortality,” because we have “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.... Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.
We are aware that the bread we see is about to become what we do not see: the “Bread of life.” It reminds us we are called to make his invisible, divine life in us visible in behavior inexplicable without it.” This is witness. 3
Matthew 28: 8-15 reminds us that we must “not be afraid,” but “go and carry the Good News” as “witnesses to all the world of what we have seen and heard.” What we see at Mass, what we hear in the Liturgy of the Word, is not to lie dormant in us. We need to contradict the “story that circulates” in our culture.
Initiative: At the Presentation of Gifts look and listen. See yourself in the bread.
1 Or “the very holiness” (1970 New American Bible). 2 2Corinthians 5:1-21. 3 Genesis 2:7, 3:19; Romans 13:14; 1Corinthians 15:35-57. John 6:48-51, 20:26-29. And see Eucharistic Prayer IV. 4 See Acts 22:15.