As the body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:12-13)
St. Paul has a wonderful theology of the Body of Christ. He recognizes the individuality of each person with different gifts, but there is always the recognition that the Spirit who gives us these gifts does so for the sake of the Body. On this Solemnity of Pentecost it is good for us to remember this.
Recently Celebration has been reprinting articles Gabe Huck, a noted liturgist, wrote explaining the basic elements of the Sunday liturgy. This week I will be using some excerpts from his article on how we gather as the assembly.
Gathering around the book and around the table – that is what we do together on Sunday. Because this is so central to our identity as Catholics, so important in our lifelong striving to be good Catholics, we need now and then to think on this Sunday liturgy and how we do it together.
…The liturgy on Sunday is done by an assembly – people gathered. We do not come to be an audience, to be spectators while the specialists do their work. None of us is here to watch.
Somehow we are all both privileged and obliged to come here on Sunday – not to “go to” Mass, not to “attend” Mass, but together to celebrate the Mass…The church has a rule about attending Mass on Sunday. The point of that rule is not to burden Catholics. The point is to make one thing very plain: Each baptized person of this parish is needed here on Sunday. What we do here takes all of us. We are not obliged to come and watch, but to come and do.
During our time together each Sunday, the church is doing in this room what the church needs to do, in order to be the church. The body of Christ is proclaiming itself to be the body of Christ. The body of Christ – you and me – is identifying itself, remembering itself, preparing itself to live as Christ all week long…None of us does this all alone, yet the church does nothing without each of us doing all we can.
Each Sunday we follow many paths to these doors. We come through these doors into the house of the church. Our house. We come into this meeting place – a meeting place for each other, a meeting place for the church and its saints and its Lord…We take water from the baptismal font and sign ourselves with the cross. Here, we say, “I acknowledge that in this room I am conscious of what I am a part of and who we are always: the body of Christ. In this room I let water remind me of my baptism into the church. In this room I let the sign of the cross remind me of the one to whom I belong. And so do I prepare for this deed, this Mass, we do together.”
Thanks to those who have already made contributions for feeding the children lunch this summer. Next weekend Cathy Wittman will explain more about this program and we will take up a collection to help finance this effort.