The Responsorial (Psalm 77) says, “I remember the deeds of the Lord.”
In Deuteronomy 4: 32-40 Moses sums up the deeds by which God showed his greatness and his favor to Israel. He wants the people to “remember the deeds of the Lord” so they can do what he told them: “Know and fix in your heart that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below, and that there is no other.” Remembering this will help them “keep his statutes and commandments... that you and your children after you may prosper….”
Most of the words in the Mass are remembrances of what God has done for us, how he has acted to reveal his wisdom, his power and his love. If we fail to attend Mass, or don’t participate consciously and attentively when we do, we soon lose our awareness of what God is — both in himself and for us.
Through what we remember and celebrate at Mass, the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of our Christian life. It is what sustains and guides us in all we do and in all our ministry to others. It is to the Eucharist that we bring the joys and sorrows that our interaction with others has stirred in us. And the Eucharist empowers our response to them.
The Introductory Rites launch us into praise and thanksgiving. The Liturgy of the Word re-tells the stories of God’s interaction with his people, both the highs and the lows. In the Liturgy of the Eucharist the great saving deed of Jesus’ death and resurrection is made present to us here and now, in answer to every temptation. When Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me,” he called us to offer ourselves with and in him for the life of the world — at every Mass. In the Rite of Communion we experience a foretaste of Christ’s triumph and of the “marriage feast of the Lamb” given to strengthen our hope and nurture our desire. The Mass makes each of us able to say, “I remember the deeds of the Lord.”
Without this remembrance, and unless we are deeply aware of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead as a preview of our own, how could we accept what Jesus says in Matthew 16: 24-28: “Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it”? The resurrection of the body is not some philosophical theory erected into religious belief. It is a divine promise previewed in Jesus’ own body rising from the dead. Our religion is not based on the speculation of wise men and gurus, inspired as this might be. Our religion is based on the record of what Jesus, God-made-man, actually did and is still doing in and through his human body on earth, and on the promise of what he will do:
Father, calling to mind the death your Son endured for our salvation, his glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, and ready to greet him when he comes again....
The ministry of Christians is the activity of people who have experienced the life of the risen Jesus in others acting on them from without and in themselves, acting through them for others. To minister well, we “remember the deeds of the Lord.” And continue them.
Initiative: Be a priest. Remember what Jesus did. Let him do it now in you.