Monday, August 18, 2014
Thanks be to God
A priest reflects on the passage in the second chapter of John's Gospel, the marriage feast at Cana, and shares with us the results. He begins with the shape of the church buildings he has seen over the years. He doesn't know why they build churches with high ceilings but his experience in saying Mass in buildings with low ceilings made him appreciate the high ceilings.
At times, he has said Mass in large churches with small clusters of Christians scatter throughout the church. Not a very efficient use of space he thought. Seeing the Christians leaving the church he wondered, did the churches have to be that large.
The inside of the church with the floor, the walls and the ceiling can be seen as a large water jar. In the Gospel story, our Lord tells the servants to fill the jars with water, and this became the wine for the feast after the first batch was consumed. He wants us to see us going into a church that is like an empty jar, we become the water that fills the church. During the Mass, we again experience the love that Christ has shown us and intoxicated with this love we become changed into the new wine of his love. With this love, every place we go, we bring his joy, gratitude and love and fill all we meet with what we have received. We are called to go out to those whose life doesn't have the joy and fullness that Jesus wants us all to possess.The second example is from chapter 47 of Ezekiel. The water from the sanctuary of the temple flows out and nourishes all the land giving life to all that it comes in contact with. Are we not like this water coming out from our churches to give life to all that we meet.
There are many who do not have the time or do not participate in the life of the community but they do attend Mass on Sundays. These Christians need to know why they attend Mass. They are renewed by the encounter with Jesus and his mystical body. They are filled with his life and spirit and sent out to others to share what they have received, and to help others to find joy and meaning in life.
As in Ezekiel we are the water that gives nourishment to all that it meets. He wants to believe those who are anxious to leave the Church quickly after communion on Sundays are those that want to begin sharing what they have received at the Mass.
At the end of each Mass the priest sends us forth. We are filled with gratitude. We want to carry what we have received to the whole world. After the blessing, we are told to 'Go" and we answer with a loud: Thanks be to God.