Immersed in Christ: May 9, 2020
Saturday, Week Four of Easter
The Responsorial (Psalm 98) declares: “All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.” Have you?
The Presentation of Gifts is a turning-point in the Mass. It marks the transition, not only from the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Eucharist, but also from what could be an understanding of the Mass that is merely human to a realization of the divine mystery that is taking place.
A flight attendant said to a priest on a plane, “I have been to the Catholic Mass. I’m with you through the Scripture readings and preaching; but after that you go into all that mumbo-jumbo and you lose me.” Good insight.
Nothing from the Presentation of Gifts on makes any sense unless we understand the mystery that Jesus is being made present on the altar in flesh and blood. And that we are present in him. That when Jesus died we died in him and rose in him as his body endowed with the divine life of God. That in him we are a “new creation.” Made divine. Having “become Christ.”
The strange statement Paul makes in Acts 13: 44-52 applies to many believers: “…since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life…” We can believe in everlasting life, because that could be just human life extended. But only God has eternal life: life without beginning or end. And we balk at admitting we actually share in the divine life of God. We “do not think ourselves worthy” to say we have “become Christ.” To say we are “divine” is too much to accept.
If we do not accept it, we are failing in faith. And from the Presentation of Gifts on, much of the Mass will be just “mumbo-jumbo” to us.
But if we can put ordinary bread on the altar and believe God transforms that bread into Christ’s real Body and Blood, why do we balk at saying he can take humans, made in his image and likeness, and make us his true body by sharing his divine life with us? True, we remain our human selves (while the bread ceases to be bread), but we acquire the added identity of Christ himself through union with him. Christ lives and acts, not only with us but in us and through us. 2
In John 14: 7-14 Jesus says, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” When you act by grace, would you say, “Who sees me sees Jesus?” Hears his voice? Experiences his love? Do you believe Jesus can do in and through your body things as great as he did in the body he had on earth? Was Jesus exaggerating when he said, “Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these”? Believe — so that “All the ends of the earth may see the saving power of God.”
Initiative: Take Christ at his word. Believe he acts with you, in you, through you.
1 John 6:51; 1 Corinthians 1:24; 2 Corinthians 4:8-11. 2 See Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:6; Romans 12:1-5; 1 Corinthians 12;1-27; Ephesians 3:1 to 4:24.