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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Friday, October 21, 2011
30th Sunday of the Year – 23rd October 2011
A Game of Two Halves

Last week I wrote about the new translation of the Creed which completed our catechesis on the new Roman Missal up until the start of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. But before I begin that part of our Mass we need to ensure that the title of this week’s editorial remains firmly in football and doesn’t apply to our daily celebration of the sacrifice of Christ for our salvation.
The Church is nourished in wisdom at the table of God’s Word and in holiness at the table of the Eucharist. The Word announces the new and everlasting Covenant between God and man while the Eucharist sees it physically renewed. The spoken Word of God recalls the history of salvation while the Eucharist makes it present in the sacramental signs of the liturgy. In the Mass, where the Word is heard and the Eucharist is offered there is one single act of the worship of God. As it is October, the month of the Rosary, we would do well to reflect on Mary to help us understand the unity between the two “parts” of the Mass. Mary is blessed because she has faith, because she believed in the words of the angel Gabriel. In this faith and belief she received the Word of God into her womb. But she did this not just as a person who listened and made it her own but in order to give Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to the whole of humanity. The Word is proclaimed to Mary and the Word is made manifest in her by her response. In other words (excuse the pun) the Word of God through the angel brings about a physical action which gives Christ to the whole world. Thus, while the scriptures give guidance on the value of human life from conception to death, the rights and responsibilities of the human person, the search for justice and peace for all, the Eucharistic action which follows requires us to live out these very aspects of the Christian life in our daily comings and goings. Those very words are the words of life, always relevant, always new, with the power to change and renew people’s lives. In the scriptures we do not find dead letters but Christ, the eternal Word of the living and active God. So what we hear at the start of Mass is meant to call us to action. When the homily is finished it is not the moment to think, “In 15 minutes it will all be over.” Rather, it is the moment to consider how we shall put that Word of God into action in our lives during the week when we have celebrated the fulfilment of all those wordy promises made by God so perfectly brought to completion in the sacrifice of Christ for man.
There are not two halves to Mass. When the inspiring Word of God is forgotten for the sake of receiving the Body of Christ and getting on with our lives, we dismiss the truth that the Word who was with God in the beginning and the one who is the Bread of Life, and who gives life to all who eat Him, are one and the same. And when we split this unity into two halves, we might as well go and play football on Sunday and really have a game of two halves.

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 10:47 am