Eucharistic reflections in preparation for the Eucharistic Congress. June 2008.

Reflection # 3

August, 2007

by Peter Thompson

The Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith. Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC #1327.)

Gloria in excelsis Deo.

On Sundays of the year, except Advent and Lent, and on solemnities, that is major feast days, the Gloria is either said or sung. Those of us who have participated in the Easter Vigil, may recall how special the Gloria is after the many days of Lent. Then it is accompanied with the ringing of bells as we exult in the Lord's greatness. We join our voices with the whole Church; the Church Triumphant in heaven, the Church Suffering, in Purgatory and the Church Militant here on earth. Together with the whole host of angels who sang these same praises at the birth of our Saviour.

We worship Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We cry out, "and peace to his people on earth." True peace, the peace that is not of this world can only come when the hearts of men are transformed by Christ and will bend the knee before the one true God.

The Gloria is an ancient hymn of praise. It is also a prayer of faith; we who have not seen God praise his Holy name and list his titles and attributes. Lord God, Heavenly King, Father, Son of God, Lamb of God, Holy God.

Next time you sing this glorious hymn of praise, let the words you pray carry your mind, heart and soul to greater heights as you contemplate the Almighty, awesome and Holy God!

Opening prayer.

This prayer is known as the Collect. It is as it were a prayer that collects our thoughts together in a short and succinct invocation. Sometimes focusing on a specific feast or saint that we are venerating today, and will petition that specific saint's intercession, so that we might respond to God's grace as they did in their lives. It is easy to miss this prayer through distractions that effect us all, and I find the missalette very helpful in enabling me to focus on the individual prayers that are said by the priest.

God's word. ( Dei Verbum)

Since the revision of the liturgy following the Second Vatican Council, the Church in her wisdom established a three year cycle of scripture readings. If you attend Mass daily, then over that three years you will have heard proclaimed readings from Genesis to Revelation.

We are now at the part of the Mass known as the table of the word. Not that Christianity is a religion of the book, but rather the religion of the Word. The Word is Jesus, the Son of God become incarnate. John 1:1. (CCC 108). At every Mass the Sacred Scriptures are proclaimed with readings either from the Old, and or New Testament, the Psalms and always a reading from one of the four Gospels.

Holy mother the Church recognizes our need to know God and to grow healthy and strong in our faith.

The scriptures are the inspired word of God. ( 2 Tim. 3:16.) If we desire to know Christ then we need to immerse ourselves in his word. St Jerome who translated the Bible from Greek into Latin said. "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ"!! Pope Benedict XV in an encyclical letter, "Spiritus Paraclitus" written in 1920 writes."Our one desire for all the Church's children is that, being saturated with the Bible, they may arrive at the all surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ."

Do you wish to know Christ?
Do you desire to be holy?
Do you desire peace and joy in your lives?
Then allow God to speak into your heart through his sacred word.

We need to prepare ourselves for our Sunday celebration, and one way would be for the whole family to read in the week ahead, the scriptures that you will hear proclaimed the following Sunday. These are available to us in the monthly missalette and in this way we can gain greater knowledge and understanding of God's will for us. The homily will then have more meaning, as you will have already meditated on the scriptures to be read. Why not take down the family Bible, blow the dust off and open the pages to the readings that you will hear. It always helps to read the verses before and after the specific reading as this can give a broader picture and greater understanding of what the Lord is saying to us personally. The Bible is not a dead book but is the living word of God, and if we will take to heart these timeless words you will find your life being transformed in Christ.

Speak Lord your servant is listening!
May God bless you.