November 4, 2018

As we enter into this month of November, we join the Holy Father in his universal intention for November: That the language of love and dialogue may always prevail over the language of conflict.

Each Sunday we gather and hear God’s word of love proclaimed to us in word and sacrament. The Sunday Mass is our school of prayer, and our school of life. The Second Vatican Council told us that the Mass is the source and summit of our faith. That is, it is the source from which all our life comes, and it is the summit to which all our life is directed.

At Sunday Mass we enter into the dying and rising of Christ. At the sacred liturgy we encounter the Word Made Flesh as His word is proclaimed to us and as it is shared and consumed by us in bread and wine.

We Catholics take Sunday Mass as a serious obligation, because it is at Mass, Sunday after Sunday, that we are “schooled” in the life of a disciple. We listen to our great scriptural tradition of “love and dialogue,” which are at the heart of our encounter with the living Christ.

This is where our identity is shaped and formed. It is at Sunday Mass that we acknowledge values and priorities that are rooted, not simply in the fashion or politics of our day, but emerge from the sacred covenant between God and the people he has chosen as his own. We are that people, plunged into the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is in his dying and rising that we discover the pattern of our own life in the world.

This past Thursday, on All Saints Day, we celebrated those heroic lives that point us toward an integrated life of discipleship and the unfolding of the kingdom of God in our midst. One writer, reflecting on the monastic life, recently wrote how scripture shapes the life of the monk:  “To imagine the world the scripture envisions, and to live within that imagined world as though it was real - and then by their practices to make it real” (Luke Timothy Johnson, Commonweal Magazine, 10/5/18, p.22).

This is the call not only of monks but to all of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. The Mass is our regular and privileged encounter with the living Christ who dialogues with us in a language of love. In a world that is dominated by the language of conflict, we imagine a different world - a world characterized by mutual respect, by the language of love and dialogue.

Instead of a world of conflict, of one side against another, the scriptures and the Eucharistic Sacrifice invite us into a world of self-giving and mutual care, where unity always prevails over conflict. In our political and cultural environment, we have to be intentional about imagining this world that the scriptures and our ritual envision. We have to be intentional about allowing those values of love and dialogue to shape us more than our world’s values of conflict and hate.

If we can “live within that imagined world as though it was real,” then by our practices we can make it real.

God Bless,
Fr. Gary Lazzeroni