Sunday, September 15, 2013

Its about joy! The Sacrifice at Mass leads to new life in Christ!

Each year we hear the parable of the prodigal son.  I dare say we all know the message…”God loves the repentant sinner”  This year I will not preach on it as hearing it says perhaps more than I could say.  I wish to invite us to think about the result….the great joy that being forgiven brings!  When we are right with God, we can clearly see God’s goodness in ourselves.  We can clearly see our gifts and talents and without the burden of sin, utilize them for the good of all. Recognizing this change from darkness to light, embracing it and enjoying the newness of life can set a rule for our own behaviors and keep us on the right track.  We all say that we develop bad habits through repetition….we remember and repeat.  What about the joy of knowing we are forgiven and made new….we can also remember and repeat.  To strive by allowing the joy of being forgiven to be remembered and used as a tool to stay strong.  Memory is very powerful.

God never wants to hate, but always wants to heal!  God wants to lead us out of bondage, as God led the people out of Egypt. This is done at every mass.

The Mass allows us each week to recognize our goodness, and to allow it to help us in the days ahead.  If we can embrace the mass as our communal prayer; be giving thanks and experiencing the joy of God wanting us as God’s own, there is something to strive for.  Where are the moments of goodness that can lead to joy in the mass?  After recognizing our sins in the beginning we ask God for mercy and forgiveness.  God does not refuse.  A moment of goodness via mercy to cause great joy!  The sacrifice we make to let go of our sins, is followed by great joy.  As is the mass.  We first enter into the sacrifice of Jesus in His passion, that part of the Eucharistic Prayer when we enter the last supper and ear the words….”for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this in memory of me.”   What then follows with the raising of the gifts in the great doxology is the joy of the resurrection. The joy of being found by the good shepherd, the joy of finding the goodness symbolized by the lost coin, and of course the joy and celebration that completes the story of the prodigal son…  The mass teaches us that once being reconciled with God, we are equipped to do great things.  Better care for our children, being peacemakers in our world, better stewards of the precious gift of life both unborn and born, and stewards of the world we share by our service to others.  This is the joy that Christ brings.  God sends us out to do the same.

So today at communion, in the few moments after receiving, take a moment to reflect on the gift of Eucharist that calls us into union with Christ and each other.  Take a moment to reflect on the wonderful gifts that each of us has been given, and how to joyfully utilize them to bring joy to others, the lost sheep, the joy of reclaiming lost joy as the women finding the lost coin, and the return of lost women and men who seek the joy and abundance of God’s kingdom.   Then offer them as a commitment in our song of praise, fully prepared to be sent by God to live the gospel.  Let's share our joy by bringing joy to others!


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