Most Inviting Invitation

18 Nov

You might find that the “Invitation to Communion” in the new Mass translation is the most attractive change, the most inviting moment: inviting us into communion, and inviting us to reflect on the meaning of the words that are chanted. Three references to the Bible are imbedded in “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb. Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Behold the Lamb of God The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) – As Jesus approached, John the Baptist pointed him out to two of his disciples as “the Lamb of God,” the one whom the people were waiting for, the one who would be sacrificed for their sake. Andrew, “our” Andrew, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. The other one is not named. Jesus invites them to come and see where he is staying. They went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. At communion we are that unnamed disciple, with our Andrew. Jesus is pointed out, held up as the “Lamb of God.” We choose to follow. Jesus gives us the same invitation he gave to Andrew, “Stay with me.” In the company of Andrew in the company of Jesus  – that is holy communion.

The supper of the Lamb – Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” (Revelation 19:9) – In the last book of the Bible there is a description of the feast in heaven. It is a wedding feast. The Lamb of God is the groom. His bride, his beloved, is the Church, the believers, the baptized, all those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. The Mass is a taste of heaven. There is a taste of Cincinnati, a taste of Milford, a taste of Clermont County. The Mass is a taste of heaven. The Mass is a wedding feast. As we approach the altar for communion, we are the bride walking up the aisle. Jesus is the groom, at the altar, on the altar, waiting for his bride to come up the aisle, longing to be joined in intimate communion.

Under my roof The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:8) – The centurion, as a military man with a hundred soldiers under his command, knew authority. As a Roman soldier, as an enforcer of the occupying foreign power, he was despised by the people. But his servant is sick at his house. Knowing he was not worthy to have Jesus come to his house, he asked Jesus just to say the word, knowing that Jesus had authority that he could never have, no matter how much he would ever be promoted. Jesus says the word, and his first long distance healing happens. In our unworthiness and sinfulness, we approach Jesus for communion and healing. We are flawed. We fret that we are not worthy to have Jesus enter our home. But Jesus says the word, and comes into our house, into our home, into us, into our lives.

We are Andrew. We are the bride. We are the centurion. Jesus invites us into his company, into a holy communion with him. Jesus makes an offer we can’t refuse.

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