Thursday, July 17, 2014

Something Greater Than the Temple

Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney

(Isaiah came to Hezekiah and said:) “Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover.” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD: “O LORD, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly I conducted myself in your presence, doing what was pleasing to you!” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go, tell Hezekiah: Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you: in three days you shall go up to the LORD’s temple; I will add fifteen years to your life. I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will be a shield to this city.” (Isaiah 38: 1-6)

You saved my life, O Lord; I shall not die. (Isaiah 38:17)

(When the Pharisees chastised Jesus because his disciples picked heads of grain and ate them on the sabbath, Jesus replied:) “I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.” (Matthew 12:6-8)

Lord, I am in awe of the mercy You show this humble servant as I strive and so often fail to do Your will.

Oh, how quick we are to play God—when someone else is involved.

There I was at Mass last Sunday, smiling and chuckling when the earnest young transitional deacon referred to Little Shop of Horrors and said, “Now, that might be before your time for some of you. In fact, it’s before my time.” There was something so sweet, so tender, so vulnerable about it.

My smile turned to a frown when the celebrant said the Breaking of the Bread/Agnus Dei in Latin. Some folks joined in; people my age and younger either mumbled through it or stood quietly. Now that’s before my time, I thought, thinking nothing sweet, tender, or vulnerable about it. Why was he choosing an option that so obviously excluded so many of us? Should he even be mixing Latin and English at a Mass? Is that even allowed?

In short, I had become a Pharisee, focusing more on the particulars instead of letting God be God through the celebrant. How different my reaction to these two men, neither of whom know me by name, both of whom are called to a special vocation. After all, the Mass is a remembrance and celebration of Jesus’s sacrifice and resurrection, His winning of eternal life for us. I know the response in English, and saying it that way regardless of the language the celebrant used fills me with awe. Something greater than the temple or the celebrant is here—if we get our pettiness out of the way.

Offer a rosary or other prayers for someone ordained or called to the consecrated life.

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