Wednesday, Week Twenty-Three
In Colossians 3:1-11 Paul is still talking about the mystery of Baptism— which for his audience was a
new and fresh experience, but one that modern Christians hardly think about once it is done. A major mistake. Baptism contains the whole Christian mystery. We cannot understand what it is to be a Christian without a deep understanding of Baptism as altering our whole identity, and without understanding how it did that.
Like Paul, these reflections keep saying it: by Baptism we “became Christ” by dying with him in his sacrificial death on the cross and rising in him as a “new creation,” his human-divine body on earth, empowered to live a human-divine life.
One of the best ways to grow into 1. understanding, 2. appreciating and 3. applying our Baptism to daily life is to get in touch with what we celebrate during Eucharist. If we let ourselves experience what we celebrate, the Mass will become for us what the Church has repeatedly called it: the “source and summit” of our Christian life-experience.
We have reflected at length on the Introductory Rites, the Liturgy of the Word, the Presentation of Gifts, and the Eucharistic Prayer. But as we might expect, they come to an all-embracing conclusion in the Rite of Communion.
Imagine yourself back at your place after receiving Communion. You are silently absorbing the mystery present within you. Hear Paul saying:
Since you have been raised up in company with Christ, set your heart on what pertains to higher realms where Christ is seated at God’s right hand.
You are raised up! You have divine life. It will last forever. You are empowered to understand through faith what only God understands. To embrace ideals only God can appreciate. To let Jesus Christ act with, in, and through you in all you do. Jesus is in you. Now. Absorb it.
Now re-read Paul. Then read the “beatitudes” in Luke 6:20-26. Don’t they sound out of this world?
They do because they are. And so are you. You have been drawn into the world of Jesus Christ. The real world, where life will still be going on uproariously when this one is a cold, dead planet. Or would be, except that God promises a “new heavens and a new earth,” where “righteousness is at home,” and “they shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain.”
And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice... “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them...God himself will be with them...” “See, I am making all things new!” (see Isaiah 65:13-25; 2Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-7).
Communion is a foretaste of that. “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”
Action: Let Communion draw you into mystery: the mystery of your life.