Taste and See: Bread broken for us

IMG_3785b Lourdes Breaking.jpg

The disciples recognised the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread.

Alternate Communion Antiphon for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The brief antiphon above reminds of one of the central moments of our participation in the Mass – our recognition and personal encounter with the living Lord, who comes to meet with us.

He comes to us in the assembly that is his Body; the word proclaimed; the ministry of the priest acting in persona Christi; and in the Eucharist the Sacrifice of Calvary re-presented to the Father and shared with us in Holy Communion. Christ really present for real and effective engagment with us, to draw us to life.

Carving from Lower Stations, Lourdes. (c) 2008, Allen Morris

 

 

Speak Lord: Of your glory, our blessing…

Ark W London SynagogueThe responsorial psalm for the Mass of the 3rd Sunday of Advent is in fact not a psalm but a canticle, taken not from the Book of Psalms, but from the prophet Isaiah.

The song celebrates the presence of God amidst his people.

Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Truly, God is my salvation,
I trust, I shall not fear.
For the Lord is my strength, my song,
he became my saviour.
With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.

Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!
Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!
Declare the greatness of his name.

Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Sing a psalm to the Lord
for he has done glorious deeds;
make them known to all the earth!
People of Zion, sing and shout for joy,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 12

For the Jews the Real Presence of God was symbolised in light and fire and cloud, in Ark and Temple.

For Christians the symbol of God present is the human person of Jesus, Son of God, born of Mary, Very God in human form.

Born as one of us, God as Jesus/in Jesus, is humanity perfectly united with divinity and divinity with humanity, with no mixing or diminution. (cf Catechism of the Catholic Church 464ff)

That Real Presence is now the glorified and risen Lord at the right hand of the Father. We await his coming again in glory, even as we honour the sacramental, Real, Presence of the same Lord enduring among us in word, in the seven Sacraments and in the worshipping assembly.

We wait but he is never far away.

  • How today will you honour his presence, and respond faithfully to it?

Image of the Ark of the Covenant. West London Synagogue. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

Taste and see: with whom did you worship?

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The Church teaches that Christ is present in our celebration of Mass in various ways, really present in diverse ways.

Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, “the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross”, but especially under the Eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes. He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20) .

Sacrosanctum concilium 7 (Sacrosanctum concilium is the Latin title of Vatican II’s teaching document on the Liturgy, the worship of the Church)

Sometimes we focus almost exclusively on the presence of the Lord in the Eucharistic species – the Bread and Wine that is his Body and Blood, his very self and life offered us as food and drink.

Maybe the most scandalous presence of the Lord is in the gathering of the Church – the Lord present in this one, that one, each one who are members of the Body of Christ.

How and as whom did the Lord make himself present to you in the gathering for Mass on Sunday? A child? An elderly person? Someone filled with joy? Someone who seemed on the point of tears? Who?

What do you learn from His presence in them, as them?

Gandhi taught: ‘If you don’t find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further’ Maybe he would have been delighted (and perhaps surprised) to know how literally the Church can take that.

Image found at http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/thinking-about-body-of-christ.html