The Great Deeds of Christ
Saturday, September 2, 2023
by Fr. David M. Knight
View readings for Saturday, 21st Week of Ordinary Time: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings LECTIONARY no. 430 (1Thes 4: 9-11; Ps 98: 1, 7-8, 9; Mt 25: 14- 30) In this week’s readings, including 1Thessalonians 4:9-11, Paul has paraphrased all nine “fruits of the Spirit.” This harmonizes with his discussion of the “end time” in the rest of the letter and his concluding prayer: May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.[i] Paul is painting a picture of what we are and should strive to be now in the light of what we will be when Christ will come again in his glory. In the Responsorial (Psalm 98) we look forward to it: “The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.” The Eucharistic Prayer calls us to be faithful until then. Matthew 25:14-30 continues the theme of the “end time.” We are here as stewards charged to make good use of what our traveling master has left to us, so that we can give him a return on his investment when he returns in glory. The Eucharistic Prayer likewise ends on a note of triumph. We celebrate Christ’s central place in the Trinity’s work of redeeming the world: “Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.” And the assembly responds with the “Great Amen” affirming all we have remembered, offered and celebrated during the Eucharistic Prayer. Three “great deeds” of Christ sum up his work of redemption. We acclaim them after the Institution Narrative: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” We “remember” them in the Anamnesis” “Christ’s death... his resurrection, and his ascension to your right hand; and, looking forward to his coming in glory....” We proclaim them in the three elevations, when the presider lifts up:
the body and blood of Christ separately, saying, “This is my body, given up for you... my blood... shed.” Christ has died! With love we celebrate his death.
the body and blood of Christ together (re-united), proclaiming that if we, his risen body on earth, act “through him, with him and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,” we will give “all honor and glory” to the Father.” Christ has risen! With living faith we proclaim his resurrection,
the body of Christ before Communion, proclaiming, “This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the wedding banquet of the Lamb.” Christ will come again! With unwavering hope we await his return in glory.
These are the three “great deeds” of Jesus that we, having “become Christ” by Baptism, are summoned to grow into: 1. Christ who died as Priest calls us to minister as “priests in the Priest.” 2. Christ as risen calls us to live lives of prophetic witness through a lifestyle that reveals him risen and living within us. 3. Christ ascended in order to come again calls us as stewards of his kingship to exercise responsible leadership in efforts to transform societies and cultures until we “renew the face of the earth.”
Initiative: Compare the five mysteries of Baptism to the five movements of Mass.
[i] See Galatians 5:22-23: Monday: patient endurance, fidelity, kindness; Tuesday: kindness, patient endurance, gentleness, generosity; Wednesday: generosity; Thursday: endurance, joy, love, self-control; Friday: self-control; Saturday: love, peace.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry