As of last week, we are getting back into a rhythm with Deacon Ray preaching and offering some thoughts in the bulletin on the third week of the month. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who were a part of the spiritual Bouquet that was delivered on August 15th, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary. I know that priests need prayers just like everyone else and perhaps even more so to take good care of the souls entrusted to them.
For St. Casimir, today is the first time we will have coffee and treats together, a little meet and greet time, an opportunity to talk and get to know each other a little more. The plan is to do it once in a while. On the 31st will be the first parish council meeting at St. Casimir.
August 29th is the feast day of St. Augustine. He was a bishop of the early church during the fall of Rome. Because of his writings he is known as a doctor of the church. His work has had a huge impact over the centuries. His autobiography “The Confessions” is considered one of the first of its kind in the West. His rule of life guides many religious communities even today.
September 4th is Labor Day. It is our reminder of the contribution of workers to society. It also reminds us of the value of work itself. St. John Paul II wrote on work and how it gives dignity to the person performing it. Work in and of itself is not a punishment but an opportunity to join our work to the work of God for the good of creation and our fellow human beings.
One of the works that we do together with the Lord is the Mass. 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 goal of all sacrifice is to restore man to the spiritual level from which he fell, to the original spiritual world. But, since a man cannot literally offer himself in sacrifice without committing suicide, he must offer by way of an intermediary in a process known as substitution. Through a rite of offering, a priest identified himself with the animal to be offered by laying hands upon it. The animal then substituted for him, and when it was offered to God, it was placed into the realm of the sacred through a religious rite. As such, it became ‘the mediator between the world-below and the one On-High.’ Since the animal had been ritually sent into the realm of the On High, when it returned and was eaten, the animal’s flesh was a bearer of ‘consecrated vital force’ and became a vehicle for the ‘energy of God’. By eating the flesh of the animal, the priest and people were then incorporated into the divine world.
This complex but straightforward mechanism of sacrifice sheds great light on Christ’s own sacrifice and why he would establish the memorial of that sacrifice as a meal. Christ is the true High Priest but also the Lamb who shed his own blood for the remission of sins. Because he is both the priest and the victim, he has no need for substitution through an animal. Furthermore, since Christ’s Incarnation included all of creation, the universe, too, was ‘super-eminently transferred from the terrestrial physical world to the supernatural world.’ Because of the foreshadowing mechanism of Old Testament sacrifices, Christ’s true sacrifice became clear: he was the perfect priest and the perfect offering, transferring all of creation to the sacred realm to reintegrate creation with the Creator.”
Wow, that is the work we enter at Mass with infinite implications.