Déjà vu All Over Again

05/01/2015

Interesting juxtaposition in today’s Daily Mass readings. In the First Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 13:13-25), Paul recounts the royal lineage of the Hebrews and leads all the way up to John the Baptist foretelling the coming of Jesus.

Historically, that would be just prior to Jesus commencing his public ministry.

The Gospel (John 13:16-20) jumps forward to Holy Thursday, the very end of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus is washing the disciples’ feet.

We have a symbolic cleansing in the Jordan by John. Not a true baptism, of course, because this is before Jesus had instituted the sacrament. And we have symbolic cleansing by sacrificial death in the Gospel.

We’re halfway through the Easter season and we’re already again recalling the death of Christ?

Folks, we do that every single day.

Or at least, we should be.

You never cease to gather a people to Yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to Your name. – from Eucharistic Prayer No. 3, Third Edition of the Roman Missal

Every single day.

So many times, each day, “from east to west,” a priest hoists a piece of bread heavenward, invokes the words of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, and Jesus Christ Himself transubstantiates the earthly nourishment into the Divine.

What was that?

He changes the bread into His body.

Likewise, he changes the wine into His blood.

Déjà vu. All over again.

This is what makes the celebration of the Mass so beautiful, so powerful, so vital.

For the last two thousand years, we have recalled the death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. And we continue to

Do this in memory of me.

 

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

 

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This is Why We’re All Catholics

04/27/2015

That’s with a small ‘c,’ folks. Just not in the blog title.

‘What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.’ – Acts 11:9b

Today’s Reading is Acts 11:1-18, “The Baptism of the Gentiles Explained.”

When in college, I questioned my Roman Catholic faith. Two of my professors, Dr. Iver Yeager and Dr. David Koss, taught Religion courses. Excellent instructors.

I went to a public high school that had such a large Jewish student (and probably teacher) population, we had days off for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. I hadn’t had a religion class since graduating 8th grade from St. Nicholas. I even met my first atheist in high school.

I went to Catholic grade schools. Hearing that my friend, Karen, did not believe in any God was shocking to me. I had never even considered such a possibility.

So when I took an Introduction to the Bible course at this non-Catholic college and seriously courted a young woman who was Christian but not Catholic, I started questioning whether I truly believed that I was a Roman Catholic. Was I a non-Catholic Christian?

This was heavy stuff that I never ever contemplated when choosing a college. And here I was, on my own, evaluating and making life decisions. A pretend grown up in a (still) adolescent brain.

I have posted previously about my Catholic faith. I don’t intend to convert any of you by reading today’s simple post. But I will tell you that my contemplation, prayer, and study over the course of many months convinced me that to be Catholic is to honor the tradition of the Apostles and the will of Jesus Christ.

Not because somebody said so. Because I saw it and believed it.

What do I believe?

I believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. I believe that:

(God) never cease(s) to gather a people to (Himself), so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to (His) name. – from Eucharistic Prayer No. 3, Third Edition of the Roman Missal

Think about it. Jesus instituted the celebration of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday. He commanded the disciples to “do this in memory of me.” I cannot possibly convince you in a several hundred word blog post, so I point you here instead.

I believe that the popes form an unbroken lineage of bishops that began with Jesus hand-selecting Simon Peter as the first Bishop of Rome.

I believe that Confession is a sacramental sign of forgiveness that we receive directly from Jesus Christ, through the Catholic priest as a conduit for Jesus Himself.

And I believe that today’s Reading, in which Peter, through visions, comes to understand that the Gentiles are as worthy of believing as “the circumcised believers,” confirms that the Christian church is a catholic (universal) church.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


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