I was ordained 7 years ago and was immediately struck with the awesomeness of the ability to celebrate Mass. In the seminary, you learn about Mass in a more detailed way and even practice celebrating Mass, video taping yourself and learning your style of celebrating Mass (no those videos are not around). It was nerve-racking for all of us practicing to celebrate one of the most important aspects of our faith.
I think, personally, the biggest question in my mind was how God could permit a very sinful person to participate in such an intimate way something so perfect. God the Father offers us His Son for us to consume as the perfect sacrifice. God becomes man, so that man can participate in the very life of God. But who are we that we should participate in the life of God? As a priest, who am I that I should stand, sinful as I am, before the Father and offer the Son for the people? It’s truly mind-blowing and certainly, humbling.
The second reading this weekend from the letter to the Hebrews speaks about the Old Testament priests offering animal sacrifices in their daily ministry that can never truly take sins away. This is because the Son has not yet been sacrificed, and thus, the offer by God the Father to participate in divine life through the sacrifice of the Son has not yet come to pass. Therefore, these sacrifices represented a desire of the people to have right relationship with God (a thirsting for Divine life not yet quenched), but not yet able to attain because they were just people. It was God, who, in his infinite wisdom and love for us, offers us first the chance to share in this life through the sacrifice of the Son. “For by one offering He has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated”.
This is not to say that this one moment was a one-time offer that simply all we need to do is “accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior” and everything is great after that. We are forever “being consecrated”. This “being” is an active, ongoing action. This action, forever and always happening, is the same command that Jesus gives at the Last Supper, “Do this in memory of me.” It is the same. And isn’t that the truth? We are all sinful and in constant need of forgiveness and healing. Our ongoing consecration to God, our ongoing salvation - it relies on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the very high point of our faith.
I know this corner this week is very Theological and lofty. People often tell us to be “more practical” and speak more about what’s going on in the world. And that is important. But the things of the world are just that - things of the world. And we are called to be in the world, not of it. The world we Catholics belong to is that of the Father. So let us approach the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the most Sacred meal, with humility and gratitude for the opportunity to participate in divine life for the ongoing consecration and sanctification of our souls.
May the Lord give you His peace,