Taste and See: Love in action

eindhoven-august-2003-010-lamb

Grant us, O Lord, we pray,
that we may participate worthily in these mysteries,
for whenever the memorial of this sacrifice is celebrated
the work of our redemption is accomplished.
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer over the Offerings

On the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time the we use the same Prayer over the Offerings as we use at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the beginning of the Triduum.

It is a prayer that points to the sublime beauty and importance of the Eucharist we celebrate. Our Eucharist is our praise of God but it is also what wins our salvation. It is this in part because of what we do, but mostly because of what is done for us, and which, in celebrating this Mass worthily and well, we join ourselves to. And that is the Sacrifice of Christ – a sacrifice that is perfect love for the Father and which wins us freedom from sin and death.

It is a mighty powerful prayer to set before us as we move on from the seasons of Advent and Christmas, in quieter days before we begin to keep Lent and Easter. They may be quieter days for us, but we are surrounded, supported, sustained by such great and powerful love.

  • Give thanks
  • Pray that we may participate worthily in the adventure of life.

Picture: Eindhoven, Netherlands. (c) 2003, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Good Shepherd, speak.

Chancel Screen, RavennaThe Gospel for today, the 4th Sunday of Easter and Vocations Sunday, presents us with Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

Jesus said:

‘I am the good shepherd:
the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep.
The hired man, since he is not the shepherd
and the sheep do not belong to him,
abandons the sheep and runs away
as soon as he sees a wolf coming,
and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep;
this is because he is only a hired man
and has no concern for the sheep.

‘I am the good shepherd;
I know my own
and my own know me,
just as the Father knows me
and I know the Father;
and I lay down my life for my sheep.
And there are other sheep I have
that are not of this fold,
and these I have to lead as well.
They too will listen to my voice,
and there will be only one flock,
and one shepherd.

‘The Father loves me,
because I lay down my life
in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me;
I lay it down of my own free will,
and as it is in my power to lay it down,
so it is in my power to take it up again;
and this is the command I have been given by my Father.’

John 10:11-18

The photograph above shows a sheep, the Cross, and some part of a serpent. In that simple schematic carving is proposed the relationship between us, and the Lord, and the evil that besets us, leading us to sin and the Lord to die on the Cross.

Yet his love frees us from sin for he vanquishes death and evil. It is his pleasure and joy to set us free, to save us.

His pattern of service is one for us not only to be grateful for and admire, but also to imitate. We are able to make his way ours, not by our own strength, though we have to desire it, but by his strength shared with us in grace and especially in the Shepherd’s self-gift becoming for us the Lamb of God, giving his life for us in form of Bread and Wine.

Photograph of Chancel Screen, Ravenna. (c) 2004, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: the Paschal Mystery

zubaran lamb prado

The Preface used at Mass on Sunday is proper to Easter Day and its Octave – the week of days that begins the week of weeks that is Easter.

It contains within it four lines that concisely express the Catholic understanding of our Redemption won by Sacrifice.

Preface

The Paschal Mystery

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
at all times to acclaim you, O Lord,
but on this day above all
to laud you yet more gloriously,
when Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.

For he is the true Lamb
who has taken away the sins of the world;
by dying he has destroyed our death,
and by rising, restored our life.

Therefore, overcome with paschal joy,
every land, every people exults in your praise
and even the heavenly Powers, with the angelic hosts,
sing together the unending hymn of your glory,
as they acclaim:

Those lines?

 For he is the true Lamb
who has taken away the sins of the world;
by dying he has destroyed our death,
and by rising, restored our life.

The symbolism of the lamb links the Redemption won by Christ to its prefigurement, its foretaste, in the liberation of Israel in Passover.

The Redemption won by Christ is not for a single people or nation only or for life in this world. It is for all people always. It is freedom from death and dying, not from slavery only.

  • From what are you freed and how?
  • Who can you free and how?

Photograph of painting of the Agnus Dei by Zurbaran. Image from Wikipedia