Continuing from last week: The second paragraph of the Introduction of the Vatican II teaching on the Liturgy focuses on the Eucharist – our weekly gathering at the altar. Once again, my comments are found in the italic script.
For the Liturgy, “through which the work of our redemption is accomplished”, most of all in the Divine Sacrifice of the Eucharist, is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church.
Our Sunday liturgy is to both express who we are and witness to others the nature of the Church. In the Eucharist is found the apex or summit of all of Christian life. The Church is most the Church in the celebration of the Sunday liturgy.
It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that City yet to come, which we seek.
To be a member of the Church I must have my feet in two worlds and while I use well the things of this earth I seek and love the things of Heaven. The Mass doesn’t end with the final hymn; the Mass moves out with each of us into our daily world and through us, and our work, the world is sanctified.
While the Liturgy daily builds up those who are within into a Holy Temple of the Lord, into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit, to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ, at the same time it marvelously strengthens their power to preach Christ, and thus shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together, until there is one sheepfold and one Shepherd.
The concluding rite of the of the Sunday liturgy impels us as missionaries, as ambassadors to carry the truth of the love and mercy of God in all that we do and all that we say – the purpose of which is that the world might believe the truth of Jesus Christ. I am challenged to get the concluding rite right.