Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Gospel at Mass

When, for example, on the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost we hear the Gospel of the "Widow of Naim" we must take it not only historically (as it occurred 1900 years ago) but also liturgically (as it is happening now). Today Mother Church brings her dead (or crippled) children back to the compassionate Jesus who by His life-restoring, life-perfecting mysteries will heal these sons and daughters and given them back to their Mother, the Church, turning her sadness into gladness. Weep not, good Woman, here is your son, your daughter, restored to life!

The Gospel (chanted or read in Holy Mass) is not only instruction, it is also revelation. In human form the divine becomes present. As often as the holy Gospel is announced, Christ the Lord steps into our midst. "Jesus in the midst of His disciples!" If the Gospel were instruction only, the frequent repetition of certain Gospel-portions might be considered unnecessary. But because it is an appearance of Christ, a revelation of the Lord, an "epiphany" of our God-King, it is as refreshing as the daily rising sun, old yet ever new. No matter how often a passage be read (liturgically, not just privately), no matter how well we might know its contents, it is for us another opportunity to say: Gloria tibi! Laus tibi! to Christ our Lord again becoming present in our midst.

Fr. Martin Hellriegel, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, p. 34 (1944)

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