Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Words from Fr Ed (From November 27th 2011 Bulletin)

…what I say to you I say to all: Watch.
Our new liturgical year, along with the New Roman Missal translation, has arrived. We have been watching and preparing for this for over a year.  The process of translating the texts has taken over 10 years. It is a great opportunity to reexamine our disposition towards the Mass and our preparedness for the graces God has for each one of us at every Mass we attend.

Normally, I would say that the best way to prepare for Sunday Mass is to read the readings beforehand. That is probably still the case, but this year, as we implement the New Roman Missal, perhaps it would be good to spend time reading the new translations, prayers and texts of the Mass. Even the opening greeting deserves meditation, as the assembly response changes from “And also with you” to “And with your spirit”.

Do we come to Mass with the intention of blessing one another?  Do we recognize the Divine character, the Divine Spirit at work in the Mass?  Do we recognize the Spirit of Christ present in the priest, the assembly, the Scriptures, and especially Holy Communion? Edward Sri writes on this new response:

By responding, "And with your spirit," we acknowledge the Spirit's activity through the priest during the sacred Liturgy. We are referring to the "spirit" of the priest, the very core of his being, where he has been ordained to offer the sacrifice of the Mass. Indeed, we are acknowledging that since God works through the priest who is offering the Mass, ultimately it is

Jesus Christ who is the head of the community gathered for the Liturgy, and it is his Spirit who is the primary actor in the Liturgy, regardless who the particular priest celebrating Mass may be.
May we come to know the Holy Spirit, gift of the Father and His Son, at work in the Mass, the Holy Liturgy of our God.

Ecclesiastes 9:9+
I wanted to include the full account of Travis Wood and his encounter with Scripture and the Spirit we believe inspired it:

Here is an account of what happened days after my brother-in-law, David Strong, and nephew, Bridger Strong, were killed in a horrible car accident.

I had barely opened a Bible in the last 20 plus years.  Although I am a Christian, I haven't been one in the practice I need to be. I woke early in the morning at the hotel we were staying at a day after we buried both bodies.  As I awoke, I immediately had names of Books from the Bible running through my head.  It felt as if someone was communicating with me.  (I felt silly. I thought maybe I was trying to contrive something after the horrible accident.)  Finally, a book settled in my mind - Ecclesiastes; then a chapter presented itself - chapter 9.  Things then became a little fuzzy, and verse 12 came to mind, but it was not as clear.

I was curious at this point and opened the drawer next to me from the night stand. I pulled out the Bible and wanted to check the verse out.  I searched the Bible and couldn't find the book in the Bible.  I just decided that Ecclesiastes must not even be a book in the Bible, and that I'd contrived the entire thing to somehow make myself feel better.  I went back to bed. 

I awoke again around 8 a.m. and couldn't stop thinking about "The Message" I had received. My wife was in the bathroom getting ready for the day, and I yelled into her to see if Ecclesiastes was a book in the Bible.  She responded with a chuckle and some concern that I wasn't sure if it was a Book in the Bible.  She told me that of course it was a Book in the Bible and told me the correct pronunciation.  Consequently, I went back to the Bible and searched for it. 

After several minutes I located the Book in the Bible and went to chapter 9, verse 12.  Chapter 9, verse 12 read:  Moreover, man does not know his time;  etc.  I thought, ‘Wow, how fitting. David was just 45 years old and Bridger was just 9 years old."

Later that day, we arrived at my sister's home.  I couldn't wait to tell her the odd thing that had happened that morning.  After explaining to her what happened, but not really knowing the entire verse, Parrish (my sister) was intrigued and wanted to read the entire verse.  She walked me over to David's Bible.  I'd never been in her house or seen David's Bible in my life.  The string David used to mark his Bible had a spot marked in the Bible - Ecclesiastes, Chapter 9. He had several rows of verse underlined, however, not verse 12. One row was underlined twice.  It was verse 9 and read, "Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun."

We were both amazed that, "The Message", I received was the exact same spot that David had marked and last read in his Bible.  What are the odds? Well, they were 100% that day. It impacted us on several levels. It reinforced our belief in the Holy Spirit; comforted us; and gave both of us several messages to what this really meant.  As I tell this story to others, I realize that this story has had different meanings to them as well. Sometimes, you can chalk things up to the coincidences of life. For me, this was more than a coincidence.  It was a Message from the Lord that has multiple meanings in Parrish's life, my life, and the lives of the others who hear it. - Travis Wood

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