Responsibilities

Today’s readings seem to be shouting at me. I’m sorting through the cacophony of voices I hear and trying to find a central theme. In Acts, I see a group freed up from “serving at table” (I’m not sure exactly what that means, yet) to be out in the community ministering. In the second reading from Peter (1 Pt 2:4-9) I hear the clear call that we are all called to offer the spiritual sacrifice – a whole people who is called to be priests. And in the Gospel (an expanded repeat of Friday’s gospel), I hear Jesus calling me to follow Him, to know Him, to stay in relationship with Him and know that He is the way home.

Where does this leave me? I know that my deep-seated belief that we are all (man, woman, layperson, clergy) called to make Jesus present might get me into hot water with Roman Catholic faithful because I’ve just never understood why Jesus would not be just as present when 2 or 3 are gathered and break bread and share a cup as He is when a priest does the same at mass.

It might seem odd that I would say that, because when asked why I converted to Catholicism (3 decades ago) my answer would have to be “The mass.” And yet it makes perfect sense to me. We believe that Jesus becomes present in the Eucharist. Not just a memorial. Not just a memory. But present, here and now with us. I did not find that in the other Christian communities I explored. And then again, I don’t know why we hold that this only really happens when an ordained priest (male and celibate) is presiding at the celebration. That Presence is simply too powerful for us to declare that it can only occur when we say it is so.

So — I look forward to mass this morning. To hearing the Word proclaimed and being in the presence of God among us.

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2 Responses to Responsibilities

  1. Susan April 20, 2008 at 9:30 am #

    What came to mind when I read your comment about the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is this passage from Michael Himes’ book, “The Mystery of Faith.” He writes: “If this bread [which becomes the Eucharist] can become the body of Christ, why not all that other bread? If this wine can become the blood of Chirst, why not all wine? If bread grown from soil and nurtured by sunlight and watered by rain, if grapes tended by wine-dressers and grown with the help fo sun and soil and rain, can become the presence of Christ, then why not the sun, the soil and the rain? Why not the vine, why not the wheat? In fact, if this tiny fragment of the material world can be transformed into the fullness of the presence of Christ, and therefore the fullness of the presence of God in human terms, then why not the whole material universe? And that is, or course, precisely the point.” The desinty the Eucharist reveals to us, he continues, is “the transformation of the universe into the presence of God, so that God may be everything in everything.”

  2. Liz April 20, 2008 at 3:15 pm #

    As usual – you’ve expanded my horizons again! I’m going to have find this book and read more.

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