Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P.
Remember the song, My Favorite Things, from the Sound of Music?
If you were to write a list of your favorite things, how many could you come up with?
There is a great little book out entitled, 14,000 Things to be Happy About. 14,000! I recommend it because it starts us thinking about all the things we take for granted that we really should be grateful for.
We call the Mass the "Eucharist." "Eucharist" comes from a Greek word for "Gratitude." We gather at Mass to give thanks. And one of the best ways to prepare for Mass is to sit back, reflect with your family and friends, and list some of your favorite things, -- favorite people, favorite food, favorite music, favorite places you've been. There are all the gifts of nature - the sun, the moon, the stars, animals, plants. All the wonders and talents of our bodies - to see and hear and taste and touch, to dance and sing.And the wonders of our minds, to think and to speak and to learn. Preparing to Eucharist can be a lot of fun. And once we get a good list of the ordinary things to give thanks for, we then are ready to go deeper.
Imagine.conversing with God and being the spokesperson for God to his people. Moses was chosen. Moses was special. Moses was blessed.
But. Although Moses heard God speak, he didn't hear the words of Jesus, who is the Word of God. We have the fullness of God's revelation in Jesus.
Moses ate manna in the desert which fed him physically, but he didn't have the Body of Christ, the Bread of life, to feed his soul. We do.
Another major prophet was John the Baptist. John was truly a maverick. A strong, holy, humble and committed man. And Jesus praised him. He said, "There is no greater man born of woman than John the Baptist." Then Jesus added, "But the least born into the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
Born into the kingdom. He was talking about baptism. John was great. Greater greatness is given to those baptized into Christ Jesus. That's us. We are now members of his body. We are united with Christ.
Sometimes we take life and our faith for granted. The Mass gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on all the ordinary and all the extraordinary blessings we have received.
The long prayer in the middle of the Mass is called the Eucharistic Prayer. It begins with the Preface. I say,
The preface continues, reminding us of some truths of our faith.
At the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest says or sings, "Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, Almighty Father, forever and ever." The congregation responds, "Amen!" In ancient Rome St. Jerome said the sound of that "Amen" would rock the nearby pagan temples! They were such a grateful people. We should be no less. We should at least rock the walls of the church. If we lost our voices, how could we express our gratitude? We could clap our hands until they hurt. But we have our voices. We need to look deeper, feel gratitude more deeply, and not be afraid to express it.
Jesus said, "Do this in memory of me." Do not forget me. Do not forget my great love, shown by my death on the cross for you. That's why we gather here at Mass. To remember and give thanks.