Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sine dominico non possumus!

The days move inexorably on. That sounds like and is, in fact, a weary statement, but not a hopeless one. A week or so ago, while considering everything in my own life, lives of those about whom I care, and the world in general, which seems to be getting worse by the day, even as we in the West continue to live in our bubble and pursue our destructive cultural-political path, a verse from St Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians popped into my mind: "If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all" (1 Cor 15:19). Sooner or later reality bears this truth out for all of us.

Earlier this week I was struck by something Hank Hanagraaf, host of the "Bible Answer Man" radio program said in a monologue: "Christ's resurrection is a game-changer." Then yesterday a friend shared a great insight by William T. Cavanaugh: "What makes martyrdom possible is the eschatological belief that nothing depends on the martyr's continued [mortal] life; if he or she dies, that death is not ultimate..."

At least for me, one of the important aspects of Sunday, of gathering to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy, is not only to be reminded, but to participate in, even if in a mediated way, the event of Christ's resurrection.

Sine dominico non possumus! (i.e., "Without Sunday we cannot live"). As he did with so many things, Pope Benedict pointed this out beautifully and simply: "The Sunday precept is not, therefore, an externally imposed duty, a burden on our shoulders. On the contrary, taking part in the Celebration, being nourished by the Eucharistic Bread and experiencing the communion of their brothers and sisters in Christ is a need for Christians, it is a joy; Christians can thus replenish the energy they need to continue on the journey we must make every week."

I long for life, for that life that is truly life. There is only One who gives this; the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Eucharist I will participate in today is but a down-payment on future glory. I believe this with my heart, even when I am otherwise underwhelmed.

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