What is Liturgy? Part II
What is Liturgy? Part II

Our 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 to attend.

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)

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