Weekly reflections by Father Cusick on the Sunday Gospels and the Catechism of the Catholic Church
About Meeting Christ in the Liturgy
The Catechism invites us to consider the centrality of the Sacrifice of the Mass, or liturgy, in our lives and how it is that we truly encounter Christ therein.
"The Symbol of the faith (the Creed) confesses the greatness of God's gifts to man in his work of creation, and even more in redemption and sanctification. What faith confesses, the sacraments communicate: by the sacraments of rebirth, Christians have become 'children of God' (Jn 1:12; 1 Jn 3:1) 'partakers of the Divine nature.' (2 Pet 1:4) Coming to see in the faith their new dignity, Christians are called to lead henceforth a life 'worthy of the gospel of Christ.'(Phil 1:27) They are made capable of doing so by the grace of Christ and the gifts of his Spirit, which they receive through the sacraments and through prayer." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, or CCC, 1692)
It is in the Sacrifice of the Mass, the liturgy, that we know, love and worship Christ most fully in this life. The Second Vatican Council taught that the sacred liturgy is the "source and summit of the Christian life." In this perfect prayer of Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit to God the Father we have all we need for salvation.
Father John-Peter Pham, in his book "A Primer for the Catechism of the Catholic Church", reminds us "The word 'liturgy' is derived from the Greek term leitourgia, meaning 'work of the people,' which was used to refer to any public duty or service. In theological usage, the term refers to the official public worship of the Church, as distinguished from private devotion. Nevertheless, the liturgy is more than this since "Christ, indeed, always associates the Church with himself in this great work in which God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified. The Church is his beloved Bride who calls to her Lord, and through him offers worship to the eternal Father. The liturgy, then, is rightly seen as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. It involves the presentation of man's sanctification under the guise of the senses and its accomplishment in ways appropriate to each of these signs." (Sacrosanctum Concilium 7; CCC 1066-1109)
Today many have grown indifferent, irreverent, and hurried in their celebration of this most sacred gift. By returning to the sources of Catholic teaching on the liturgy, we can grow in our faith that God indeed is in our midst really, truly and substantially in the Eucharist and truly speaks to us in the proclamation of the Word in the liturgy. Through the knowledge of the truth of our encounter with the Lord in the liturgy, there can be a new springtime of Catholic faith and life. Hence, the title of this web site: MEETING CHRIST IN THE LITURGY.
It is essential for all that the liturgy be the "gate of heaven", that the Word of God and the sacraments bear fruit in an evident love for God and others as the kingdom grows in our midst. In the Mass we do indeed see Christ "face to face" as St. Ambrose taught.
This website has been created as an apostolate to offer reflections on the Gospels of Sunday Masses for all the faithful and to draw attention to the presence of Christ in Word and Sacrament.
Because the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is the universal standard of the truth which the Catholic Church believes and teaches, it is the primary source upon which to base reflections on the Word of God, to remain faithful to the truth into which the Holy Spirit continually leads the Church in her members. For this reason each homily includes references to the Catechism. Visit each week and grow in your knowledge of the Scriptures and the Catechism.
In the future, reflections for the Sunday Gospels of the entire year will be available under the search engine entitled "Library".
Parishes and other religious organizations who wish to publish these reflections in bulletins or other communications are asked to email Father Cusick for permission.
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The peace of Christ be with you.
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