Mass Is A Preview and Program
(Same Day) Twenty-Ninth Week of Year II Tuesday October 18, 2016
The Responsorial Psalm sums up the mission of the Church: “The Lord speaks of peace to his people” (Ps. 85).
In Ephesians 2: 12-22 Paul gives us a vision of the Church so awe-inspiring that no one who has understood it could ever stop participating in the Mass!
The Mass is where Christians “assemble.” To participate is to be aware that we are called to be a community — a “common unity” of faith and love that is only recognized and experienced when it is expressed. This “common unity” is the mystery of God’s plan that Paul describes in the first reading. We are
“co-citizens” with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.
In him the whole structure, is joined together (“co-fitted,” a Pauline word) and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being co-built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
Paul cannot conceive of the Christian life as any thing but a “co-life” with Jesus and other Christians. (See Monday’s footnote). In the Church God’s “plan for the fullness of time” is being realized: to “sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.”1 Jesus, in the unity of his body, is reconciling all people to himself and to one another, so that he might create in himself “one new man,” thus making peace.
That is what we are called to be and do as Christians. We assemble at Mass as sinners and saints, rich and poor, of every race and culture: Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, homegrown and immigrants, and we display an imperfect but inspiring preview of the united human race that is to be. To abstain from the imperfect unity of this assembly on earth is to refuse to work for its perfect realization in heaven. For those committed to stewardship this is desertion.
What does Jesus mean when he says (Luke 12: 35-38), “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit… like those [faithful stewards] who are waiting for their master to return from a wedding”?
This follows his words, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If we have embraced Christ’s plan as the “treasure” we live and long for, we will keep our “lamps lit” — our minds conscious of what Jesus wants — and our “loins girt” — our wills ready to act in union with others for the realization of his goal: “to bring everything in the heavens and on earth together under Christ as head.” It starts at Mass, where “The Lord speaks of peace to his people.”
1Ephesians 1:10; see last Saturday.
Initiative: Be a steward. Express unity by “assembling” with God’s people.