Tuesday, Week Thirty-Two
The Responsorial (Psalm 34) is a cry of confidence and hope: “I will bless the Lord at all times.”
Wisdom is the gift of “seeing everything in the light of the last end.” The Rite of Communion is the experience, in the foretaste of celebration, of what that “last end” actually is. It climaxes when the presider lifts up the host with the Church’s defiant shout, triumphant even in the face of death: “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” That is our “last end.”
Wisdom 2:23 to 3:9 establishes some basic facts:
“God formed humans to be imperishable.” We are in his image.
Through sin, “death entered the world.” Our bodies die.
“But the souls of the just are in the hands of God.... They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead.... But they are in peace.”
“The Lord shall be their king forever.... the faithful shall abide with him in love.”
We affirm this as “the Word of the Lord!” But in the Rite of Communion we experience it—in preview, by celebrating it—as the mystery of the “wedding banquet of the Lamb.” Jesus goes beyond the promises of Wisdom:
Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.
This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
Peace I leave with you... I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, [or] be afraid.
I confer on you... a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom (John 6:50, 51; 14:27; Luke 22:30; Revelation 19:9).
In Luke 17:7-10 Jesus reminds us that through our baptismal consecration as “kings in the King” we have abandoned all we have and are to him— and received it back again as stewards to manage in his name. In his interest alone. Only according to his will.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will—all that I have and possess.
You have given everything to me; to you, O Lord, I return it.
All is yours; dispose of it totally according to your will.
Give me your love and your grace; this is enough for me.
According to these terms of service— which we accepted at Baptism and reaffirm at the Presentation of Gifts in every Mass—Jesus is right in saying, “When you have done all you have been commanded to do, say, ‘We are useless servants. We have done no more than our duty!’” But he himself doesn’t act like the master in his example. He invites us to sit at his table with him, and waits on us as a servant. And commands us to do likewise:
If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master.
We should come away from Communion humbled and inspired to serve others as we have been served.
Action: Be conscious in Communion. Rejoice in what it says.