Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up

"No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." John 3: 13-15

When then was the Son of Man lifted up? On the Cross, when He arose from the Dead, and when He ascended into Heaven. And at each and every Mass when the priest raises the consecrated host - the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ

The word "liturgy" originally meant a "public work" or a "service in the name of/on behalf of the people." In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in "the work of God." Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1069

What is then the "work of God"? - It is his Passion, Death & Resurrection & Ascension - the Paschal Mystery.

In the New Testament the word "liturgy" refers not only to the celebration of divine worship but also to the proclamation of the Gospel and to active charity. In all of these situations it is a question of the service of God and neighbor. In a liturgical celebration the Church is servant in the image of her Lord, the one "leitourgos"; she shares in Christ's priesthood (worship), which is both prophetic (proclamation) and kingly (service of charity):

    The liturgy then is rightly seen as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. It involves the presentation of man's sanctification under the guise of signs perceptible by the senses and its accomplishment in ways appropriate to each of these signs. In it full public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and his members. From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree. CCC 1074

    Translation: there is nothing greater than the Mass! Not prayer, not the Rosary, not contemplation, not praise & worship (all good and wonderful actions). In fact there is no action you can do as a human being that surpasses the Mass, not work, not play, not studying, dancing, an LSU game, mowing your lawn, riding a bicycle, going to the library, eating barbecue, walking your dog, NOTHING!

"The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows." It is therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God. "Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of men."

What is the point of catechesis if a child does not go to Mass? Understanding the liturgy and why and what the Mass is and the significance it has in an individual's life is the first priority of catechesis.

Liturgical catechesis aims to initiate people into the mystery of Christ (It is "mystagogy.") by proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the "sacraments" to the "mysteries." Such catechesis is to be presented by local and regional catechisms. This Catechism, which aims to serve the whole Church in all the diversity of her rites and cultures, will present what is fundamental and common to the whole Church in the liturgy as mystery and as celebration (Section One), and then the seven sacraments and the sacramentals (Section Two). CCC1075

"It is written in the prophets: 'They shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?"Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you?What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?"

"Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me."And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you." Luke 22:19-20

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