comparison of the Eucharistic gathering with the family dinner party
begins with the invitation. Whether by telephone, in person, or over the
Internet, we receive an invitation to this special family gathering,
and enthusiastically respond by checking our calendars and making plans
Similarly, the “Theology of Celebration”
from the post Vatican II document Music in Catholic Worship, describes
our liturgical gathering thus:
“We are Christians because through the
Christian community we have met Jesus Christ, heard his word
in invitation, and responded to him in faith. We gather at Mass that we
may hear and express our faith again in this assembly, and, by
expressing it, renew, and deepen it.” MCW #1
Our liturgical prayer is not done at our own bidding, but given in response to that initial touch that comes from
our God. Like Michelangelo’s depiction of creation on the ceiling of the
Sistine Chapel, God reaches out to humanity, divinely stimulating us
into a response.
As members of the same family we know each
other well, share a common history, and enjoy each other’s company
enough to want to get together again and again. Sometimes our gathering
includes good friends or neighbors who have become part of the family
over the years.
Perhaps someone is invited that we are not
that fond of; this happens in many families. How will we react to one
another and get along? What is our attitude going into the celebration?
If needed, will there be an opportunity for reconciliation?
Once the date for the family dinner party
has been set we begin the task of making all the arrangements. We have
been taught that as a guest at this meal our first question is “What
shall I bring?” The same is true for liturgy.
(May 8, 2005)