For many years of my life (before I was a priest) I just showed up to Mass. I had not thought much about it, and I certainly did not give any attention to what the readings may be. In preparing my homily for Sundays, I find it helpful to look ahead on Mondays, to allow myself to pray and reflect on these readings all week. I find when I do this, not only do I think by homilies are better, but I am often surprised by how God uses these reflections to surprise me!
I think this type of process could also be helpful for others. If the Sunday readings are designed to be God’s word to us, we should try to do everything we can to put ourselves in a place where we can more fully and completely understand what it is that God is trying to tell us. It is also an attempt to recognize that Mass is most about our relationship with God and with each other. Consider this quote from Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Document on the Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council:
“To accomplish so great a work, Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, “the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross”, but especially under the Eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes. He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).”Sacrosanctum concilium (vatican.va), paragraph 7
It remains, then, important for us obviously be attentive to the Blessed Sacrament, because the enduring presence of Jesus, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity is the way Jesus is most present during Mass. But this is not to say the other ways in which Jesus is present (the priest and ministers, his Word, and in the people of God who pray and sing) are not important. It is important to see Christ in all these ways, for in each of these ways Christ longs to speak to us.
The hope of Meditation Mondays is that it could be a way to pray before we arrive at Church, and hopefully for many days before we arrive at Church. Hopefully by highlighting a phrase or two the Holy Spirit can ruminate in our hearts. The goal of our spiritual lives is our salvation, which we can do nothing to earn. But we can recognize more completely the ways in which the Spirit is active and the ways in which Jesus pours out to us his grace-filled salvation.
Mediation Mondays will be posted, at least most of the time, on Sunday evenings at 5:00pm central or 15h00 GMT. If there are things that particularly strike you and are helpful to you, feel free to leave a comment below. And as always, let’s pray for each other.