A ciborium containing hosts and a flagon of wine are seen during Mass at St. Therese of Lisieux Church in Montauk, N.Y., in a file photo dated April 23, 2017. (OSV News photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
Source and summit: An encounter of God’s mercy
BY DR. JEFF ANDRINI, OFFICE OF EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLESHIP
“The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.” Inspiring words from the document Lumen Gentium from the Second Vatican Council and yet, what do they practically mean to us today?
Our Acts 2:42 groups will gather this month and reflect on the meaning of source and summit, and they will consider the witness of St. Justin Martyr from the year 155. Please take a moment and read his witness from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1345. It is obvious that the structure of our Mass today has changed very little in all these centuries.
In the Liturgy of the Word, we gather, hear the scriptures proclaimed, and reflect on the teachings of Jesus. Then in the liturgy of the Eucharist, we receive Jesus’ body and blood and rest in the awe that we are made worthy through his life, death, and resurrection. We receive Jesus in four ways at Mass: through the priest, community, scriptures and in the sacrament. As Bishop Medley offers in his reflection for our Acts groups this month, “we are given mercy from God.”
We admit our need for God and confess our sin to one another as we say, “I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned.” We recognize that we are not worthy of God’s love and mercy, yet God comes to us to meet our deepest needs and transform us by his mercy and challenges us to be his mercy to all we meet.
Jesus is the source of all we need. To be fully human we must be fully connected to the divine. In the sacred liturgy, Jesus is faithful to us, even though we are not faithful. He renews the covenant of God’s love with each of us as we reach the summit, the apex of the Christian life and we proclaim, “I am not worthy, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” Here we receive the unfathomable gift of God’s mercy, and we are fulfilled.
This is where the rubber meets the road… we, as individuals and as the Body of Christ, are sent forth on mission. Sent forth to carry the love and mercy we have received to a hurting world. To our children who may not be attending church, to our friends going through various traumas and to people we do not know that long to find love and mercy in this chaotic world.
We are told to, “Go in peace.” As we have been transformed by our encounter with Christ, we are called to be channels of transformation in our world. It is not because of our goodness, but rather the goodness and grace of God, that we can share God’s love in our actions throughout the week. How do you live out this mission to yourself and others?
Peace in Christ,
Dr. Jeff Andrini is the director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship, and can be reached at [email protected].
Originally printed in the November 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.