The timing of reading this chapter is perfect! We celebrate Palm Sunday this weekend and will hear a Gospel proclaimed at two points in the Liturgy. The first Gospel is read at the very beginning of the Mass telling of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. We hear of the crowds spreading cloaks and branches while crying out, “Hosanna in the highest.” Gray states that the actions of the people indicate their public proclamation that Jesus is their King. One who “comes in the name of the Lord” corresponds to prophecy from the Old Testament. At Mass, our acclamation of “Holy, Holy, Holy” echoes the voices of those people 2000 years ago. As they welcomed Jesus, we too, anticipate the Eucharist we will receive.
“In the Church’s liturgy, we, like the disciples who welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem, greet Jesus with the Benedictus, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ With the Benedictus the Church hails Jesus who will become truly present on the altar. Each and every Eucharist is a coming of Jesus.”
How are we prepared to receive Jesus? Are we eager and joyful or has it become simply a routine? Let us take the opportunity of this Palm Sunday to reflect and respond. As we hear the first Gospel tell of Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem and the second Gospel speak of His love for us through His suffering, passion and death, may we come to the Altar to receive Him with hearts that are humble, grateful, joyful and yearning to receive Him…Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity!
– Deacon Ralph
There’s so much to ponder in this chapter that I don’t even know where to begin or how to keep my notes short and manageable. Let me just focus on how the chapter starts and then ends. I’ll leave what is in between to you all to comment on. The explanation of the Transfiguration is of great value for all of us. The author explains this imagery as a glimpse at the perfected and glorified humanity of Christ. Yes, we see his divinity too, but what we shouldn’t miss is Jesus’ true humanity – his image and likeness to God. We know that we have this within us as well! I would like to think that along our earthly journey we are working on our own transfiguration as we travel toward final beatitude, refining and improving the image within us. Those thoughts tie in neatly with how the chapter ends, focusing on the Eucharistic ‘coming’ of Christ and whether we realize what we have before us and within us. Is our body a worthy receptacle? Do we really perceive what we receive? Does that impact how we prepare ourselves to receive the Eucharist? Does it motivate us to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament – face to face with Christ? Does it influence our body language, our manner of dress, our behaviors at Mass?
Outside of Mass? If we answer no to any of those questions, are we prepared, as believers, as Catholics, to make a change?
Feel free to comment on any of the questions found at the end of this chapter or on this chapter in general.