Wrapping up July we had some great saints to learn from. On July 26th we celebrated the feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim. Pope Francis has used this date to honor grandparents as this is the feast of Jesus’ grandparents. Perhaps we often don’t think about Jesus having grandparents, or an extended family but He did. That is part of the Incarnation, that He truly entered into family life and perhaps was spoiled by them as grandparents are wont. July 29th is the feast day of Sts. Martha, Mary, and Lazarus; good friends of Jesus. Again we think of the Apostles hanging out with Jesus all the time in the Gospels. Nonetheless, He had good friends and as the Gospels relate to us, He would stop in and spend time with them. Family and Friendship, are experiences we can all relate to. Looking ahead on August 4th is the feast of St. John Vianney. What a great day to pray for vocations to the priesthood, especially from our parishes.
As mentioned in last week’s bulletin, we will be looking more deeply at the Mass with the help of Denis McNamara’s article “In the Form of a Sacrificial Meal” (Catechetical Review April 2023).
“For the average Catholic, even one who speaks piously of the Mass as the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary, the link between Christ’s dramatic death on the Cross can seem remote from the sacred litury’s formal ritual. The notion of the Mass as a sacred meal comes from its roots in the Last Supper, and the Eucharistic Prayer conspicuously repeats the very words of Christ at the Passover meal of the Upper Room. But historically, the Mass is also called a sacrifice. Even the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, calls the Mass a sacrifice nine times and urges the laity to join themselves to the sacrifice offered by the priest. Yet, sacrifice of the ancient type is utterly unfamiliar to the modern world. Though its mechanisms are on vivid display in the Mass and its priestly and sacrificial logic is present, the sacrificial aspects of the Eucharist can seem only opaquely present rather than radiantly and faithfully perceived.” (page 9)
So in the coming weeks, Professor McNamara’s articles will help us reflect more deeply on what we are doing each week that we gather for Mass. Or daily for those who are able to do that with their schedule. With life so fast-paced we are often just trying to fit in what we can. So the idea of stepping back and pondering anything seems impossible. But growing in gratitude requires us to realize what we have. Eucharist is often translated as “thanksgiving”. Again we give thanks because we have received something. For us to fully realize what we are given at Mass and to offer heartfelt thanksgiving requires us to see deeply what Jesus has and is doing for us through the celebration of the Mass.
Perhaps in the coming weeks try to arrive early and allow yourself that time to enter prayer purposefully and intentionally. During the week before, why not google the readings so you can hear them in a way that sinks into the heart.
The saints have given us a great model to follow, so let’s ask Sts. Anne, Joachim, Martha, Mary, Lazarus, and John Vianney to intercede on our behalf so as to more fruitfully enter the sacrifice of the Mass