Father Dan’s Message

Fr. John Gerritts  |   

10 December 2023

We continue our journey through the season of Advent, a season of hope and preparation, with another section from Bishop Robert Barron’s book, This is My Body, A Call to Eucharistic Revival. This book was handed out the week before Advent began. I hope you have enjoyed prayerfully reading it thus far. If you haven’t picked it up to read yet, it’s not too late! You could read five pages a day and still finish it on Christmas Day.

Bishop Barron begins the second chapter of his book on page 36 with the statement, “An elemental biblical truth is that in a world gone wrong, there is no communion without sacrifice.” He goes on to say that setting the world aright is God’s great desire. And this can only be accomplished with an acceptance of sacrifice with our lives.

When I first encountered Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire ministry nearly a decade ago, one of my favorite elements of his teaching and preaching was how he used the simple meaning of words (etymology) to convey his message. Surprisingly, I had expected that Bishop Barron would provide for us the etymological origin of the word “sacrifice” but he did not in this section – if you found it and I missed it, please let me know!

The English noun sacrifice comes from two Latin verbs, sacrare (to consecrate or dedicate) and facere (to make or do). Those things of the natural world that are ultimately made into a dedication, humans have believed throughout history are to become holier through an offering made to the divine. Thus, we can begin to see how the Eucharist (bread and wine consecrated to God) is in fact a sacrifice.

The word sacrifice should be familiar to us from the Catholic Mass, we hear it often especially in the words of the Eucharistic prayer. Here at Saint Patrick parish Fr. John and I on Sundays most often use Eucharistic Prayer III, which contains within it the word sacrifice or sacrificial four times. The prayer references Christ’s presence in the Eucharist as “a pure sacrifice… holy and living sacrifice… sacrificial Victim… and Sacrifice of our reconciliation.”

Notably, in all of the Eucharistic prayers of the Mass the priest invites the people to rise and join in the Eucharistic prayer with the words, “Pray brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the almighty Father.” It is here at this moment in the Mass that all the faithful are encouraged to present their own sacrifice or intention for the Mass that can be presented on the altar with the gifts as the sacrifice of the Eucharist is offered to God. I invite you to re-read page 67 of Bishop Barron’s book where he alludes to seven scenarios where a person might unite their own sufferings to the sacrifice of Christ.

This is a lot to reflect upon. We will discuss this more in the homily and reflect upon the idea of Eucharist as Sacrifice in light of the Scripture readings for the Second Sunday of Advent.

O Sacrament most holy, O Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine.

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