Everything seems to happen at once. I have my first funeral at St. Casimir and St. Peter under my belt now. Many anointings, for which I am glad families are asking for sooner rather than later. My classmate was up from Kansas and we had some time up in Hayward. And back in time for Sunday Mass. The vigil Mass for the Assumption of Mary into heaven will be at St. Casimir at 5:15 pm. On August 15th, the Feast day, Mass will be at St. Peter at 8 am and 5:15 pm. Such Holydays remind us to stop and realize all that God has done for our salvation.
St. Peter Middle School is hosting Parent’s Night on August 17th in the evening. I look forward to greeting parents and staff in the church and beginning with prayer. That means “summer” is about over, according to the academic calendar. But there are many great things going on and great weather to get out there and enjoy moments with family and friends. I am doing that on August 20/21st. After Mass I am heading home to see Mom and Dad. That will be the first time I have been home to see them since Mother’s Day. So a lot to catch up on.
We continue 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).
“The most important Jewish feast was Passover, also a communion sacrifice, which involved the sacrifice of a paschal lamb both at the Temple and in individual homes, followed by a meal in which the victim was eaten in remembrance of the passage of the Israelites to the Promised Land. In other words, it became sign of passage from death to new life, answering the need established in Eden generations earlier.
In each case, the sacrifice involves immolation, death, and new life. Most evident is the holocaust, in which blood, which represents life, was drained from the animal’s body, then its flesh consumed by fire. The resulting smoke was said to take the sacrifice to heaven and therefore to God. Even the seemingly innocuous bloodless sacrifice of flat breads involved immolation through the grinding up of grains of wheat. Moreover, the twelve breads represented the twelve tribes of Israel, and so burning some and consuming others gave it overtones of holocaust and communion. In each case, the things sacrificed stood in for people, and after it was offered, it was eaten in a ritual meal. So when Christ equated the sacrifice of his own body with the breaking of bread–and thereby linking sacrifice with a meal–it would have been strangely familiar and yet shockingly new. Christ was now priest and victim.”
Such a short reflection does take us deeper and makes us think about things we may just gloss over out of habit. We perhaps think of the bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament that were offered and the meal of Jesus with His disciples replacing such offerings. But Jesus takes what is there, was prepared over the centuries, and gives us a new way of offering proper due and reverence to God our heavenly Father, through the Lamb of God–Jesus Himself. Hence the Mass is called an un-bloody sacrifice that brings us into communion with God when we do not have any mortal sins that block such a wonderful coming together. Let us open our hearts all the more at each Mass we attend since we now realize more fully what God is doing for us.