Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 393

“This day shall be a memorial feast for you,
which all your generations shall celebrate
with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”

When disasters are followed by funerals which are followed by the news media – and it seems to be a daily occurrence – we hear people saying of their beloved dead, “We will never forget them.”

It’s a heartfelt, sincere expression but never and forever are very long times. How do we intend to keep that vow? When President Kennedy was assassinated, a sorrowing nation lit an eternal flame over his grave in Arlington Cemetery. Monuments, usually of granite, have been built to honor the dead of the Vietnam, Korean and both World Wars. We use granite or brass to mark the graves of our dead because stones don’t move themselves and brass doesn’t corrode. These monuments will last a very long time. But forever is even longer.

In today’s first reading we hear God’s command through Moses that the Jews should maintain “a perpetual institution” to commemorate their deliverance from Egypt. Through Jesus the Church inherited that memory and its obligation; we keep it with our Eucharist. We believe that the Word of God and our response, which is faith, outlast even stone monuments like pyramids and Stonehenge. We believe this despite the resistance of our human nature, or perhaps because of it.
Fun isn't just for kids!

Our faith goes further: it teach us this “perpetual institution” exists already in eternity. It is that “heavenly temple” of Hebrews 9:11-12

But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

The Son of God, his sacrifice, the Mass and the Church are perpetual institutions because they exist in God in the Eternally Present Now. We do not create them. Rather, they are revealed to us when we gather in prayer. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.