Did you hear about the snail that landed a job as a pizza delivery guy? So the first day on the job he set out to deliver a pizza. As he slowly crept along the sidewalk with the pizza on his back, behold two turtles waddled up beside him, took the pizza, crawled to the house ahead of the snail, delivered it, and collected the money and a tip.
Someone saw what happen and called the police. When the police arrived, they asked the snail what happened. The snail responded, “I don’t know. It all happened so quickly.”
Underneath this green garment that I am wearing is a white garment. The Latin word for “white” is “albus.” So this garment is called an alb. The priest wears it under the chasuble, the outer garment. I’d like you to imagine for a moment that all of you are wearing a white garment.
In our first reading today we heard that Elijah threw his garment over Elisha, calling Elisha to follow him as a prophet.
At our baptism, we were called to be a follower of Christ. And the white garment we wore was a sign of our following Christ. In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul says, “Clothe yourself with Christ.”(Cf. Romans 13:14) White is a symbol of being washed clean. White is a symbol of joy.
Baptism is the first sacrament. This chasuble is a symbol of the priesthood, but first a priest is baptized. That’s the foundation of our life of faith.
St. Peter tells his people in his first letter: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Peter was not speaking to a group of ordained priests but to the ordinary faithful, to the baptized faithful. They -- you -- are a royal priesthood, due to baptism.
A priest is called to offer sacrifice. With Christ on the cross, all the old sacrifices go out. Now there is only one priest, Christ. Now there is only one sacrifice, Christ’s eternal gift of himself to the Father. Only now, we join in. By baptism we are members of the Body of Christ. So now we give ourselves with Christ to the Father. We all share in the priestly offering of Christ.
Why do we offer Christ to the Father? Because it is the perfect gift, the perfect way of saying thanks.
(Why do some people not come to Mass? Could it be that they are not grateful?)
When St. Peter talks about all the Christians being a royal priesthood, he is saying that all of us are active in the Mass, not just the ordained priest.
Sometimes an announcement is made that Fr. Alan or Fr. Mike is our celebrant today. That is not correct. I am the priest-celebrant, the presiding priest, or the presider. All the baptized are celebrants.
I heard about a town whose officials invited everyone to come to the first annual Easter Parade at 10:00 AM on Easter morning. Hundreds of townspeople lined up along the sidewalks at 10:00 AM. 10:00 AM came and no parade. 10:30 AM, still no parade. By 11:00 AM all the folks went home.
The next day they complained to the officials. The people said they waited for the parade but it didn’t show. The officials responded, “An Easter Parade is not something you come and watch. It is something you participate in. You all should have been marching down the street.”
The Mass is not something we come to watch. It is something we all participate in. We offer ourselves with Christ to the Father in thanksgiving. /Our participation includes listening, singing, receiving…
In Eucharistic Prayer I, we have these words, “We your servants and your holy people offer to your glorious majesty …this pure victim, the holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy Bread of eternal life, and the chalice of everlasting salvation.”
In Eucharistic Prayer II, III and IV, after remembering Christ’s death on the cross, the priest prays, “We offer you the Bread of life and the Chalice of blessing.”
Notice that the priest says, “We offer…” not,“I offer…” The priest is the presiding celebrant speaking on behalf of all the celebrants.
Remember the traditional Morning Offering prayer? It includes these words: “I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day…in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world…”
That’s the spirit expressed in our Eucharistic Prayers. We participate with our minds and hearts. Then we all express our participation by singing or saying, “Amen,” at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer.
“Through him, and with him and in him, O God almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, forever and ever. Amen.” “Amen, Father. Please receive our gift. And then we will receive your gift in return, -- Jesus in Holy Communion.”
Yes, because of our baptism we can still envision ourselves clothed in white. Sunday Mass is our weekly way of saying, “At baptism, I committed myself to God. I put my hand to the plow, and I ain’t turning back. I am clothed in Christ.”