Immersed in Christ: April 30, 2020
Thursday, Week of Three of Easter
The Responsorial (Psalm 66) repeats yesterday’s theme: — “Let all the earth cry out to God
Acts 8: 26-40 shows one of the shortest versions of the RCIA on record. Philip explained the Scriptures to the court official. He believed, asked for baptism, received it and “continued on his way rejoicing” — back to Ethiopia. There wasn’t even any follow-up. “The Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away and the eunuch saw him no more.”
Today we require a lot more instruction before Baptism. For adults, at least. For infants the rule is that we only baptize children when there is reasonable certitude they will be instructed and formed in the faith by their parents.
But what follow-up is there for adults once they are baptized and confirmed? Is Sunday Mass enough? Let’s not discount the continuing formation we receive through the practices of the liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, “Ordinary Time,” and the various feast days that emphasize some major event or doctrine. Still, is it enough?'
It may not be. Some kind of more personal community interaction in the family or in small groups may be necessary. But if we learn to participate fully in the Mass, understanding what is really going on and consciously involving ourselves in the action, we will experience the Eucharist more and more as what it is: the “source and summit of the Christian life.”
In these Reflections we focus during Advent-Christmas on the Introductory Rites and evangelization: on the new identity we have in Christ. During Lent, on the Liturgy of the Word and discipleship: the experience of enlightenment. During Easter on the Presentation of Gifts and prophetic witness: the call to lead a lifestyle empowered by the Gift of the Spirit. During Ordinary Time (Weeks 14-21), on the Eucharistic Prayer and the call to minister as priests by Baptism. During Weeks 22-34, on the Rite of Communion and on leadership in establishing the reign of God as stewards of Christ’s kingship. Over the course of a year these reflections will imbue us with the spirit of the Mass.
In John 6: 44-51 Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father.” At Mass be conscious that the Father himself has drawn you there. Praise and thank him for this during the Introductory Rites.
“They shall all be taught by God.” God is fulfilling this promise during the Liturgy of the Word. Listen to learn.
Not that anyone has seen the Father....” During the Presentation of Gifts present yourself for progressive conversion to a lifestyle that makes God more and more visible in you as prophet.
“I am the bread of life.” During the Eucharistic Prayer offer your “flesh for the life of the world” as priest.
“Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Receive Communion as a foretaste of the Kingdom. Pledge yourself as a steward of Christ’s kingship to keep working for his reign.
Initiative: Make the Mass the “source and summit” of your life. Learn how.