Sunday after Pentecost—8 November AD 2020
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Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
“As Jesus was speaking to the crowds, behold,
a ruler came up and worshipped Him....”
In this Gospel we
see another example of some of the Jewish people coming to understand
that Jesus Christ is God the Son. Not only do people of high and low
station come to ask favors of Him, but we even see that they come and
worship Him. This is significant, for, particularly among the Jews,
worship was something reserved for God alone. The man in question—a
ruler of the people—went so far as to say that his daughter was dead,
but that Jesus (being God) could raise her from the dead! It is hard to
imagine a greater example of our dependence on God than to acknowledge
that He controls both life and death—a profound act of worship!
Now, we ought to
understand what it means to worship God, for such worship is our duty.
It comes from the fact that God created us, keeps us in existence, and
that we are completely dependent upon Him. God made us free willed,
rational, creatures “to show forth His goodness in this world,” and we
do this by uniting our free wills with His will and by worshipping Him.
and the virtue by which it is fulfilled, are both called “religion” —
natural religion if we know it only through unaided reason; revealed
religion if it is made known to us more directly by God or through His
Church. This implies that the worship of God is incumbent upon all men
and women, even if they have not had the benefit of the Judeo-Christian
revelation—thinking men and women are capable of knowing their Creator
through the evidence He leaves in creation.
Prayer—the lifting up of the mind to God to
adore, thank, appease, or petition Him. Even relatively “selfish”
prayer of petition acknowledges our dependence on God.
Good Works—done in conformity with God's
will, with the intention of glorifying Him. We worship God when we love
our neighbor enough to help him fulfill his needs.
Sacrifice—returning to God those things
which are precious to us, as a demonstration of our love and good will.
In the Old
Testament God expected the sacrifice of those things necessary to the
livelihood of His people—their animals and their cereal grains. In
Gospel times, God Himself gave us the perfect sacrifice, when, acting as
both priest and victim, He offered Himself on the Cross. And, He gave
us the means to renew this sacrifice in time and place through the
activity of His ordained priests offering the Eucharistic sacrifice of
the Mass. This is why the Mass is the perfect form of worship;
surpassing all manmade forms. In fact, the Mass (and the Sacraments,
which derive from the same redemptive act of the Cross) combine the
aspects of prayer, good works, and sacrifice into one divinely unified
should, therefore, center around the Mass and the Sacraments—frequent
attendance at Mass, Confession and Holy Communion. But, there should
also be a place in our lives for private, meditative, prayer—a few
Paters and Aves, a rosary, or perhaps something less
structured. We need this private prayer to become more intimate with
God—to know Him in a familiar and personal way. And, of course, both
private and formal worship should be frequent and regular—more than just
a Sunday morning affair.