Appreciating the Mass.
The Fifteenth Friday of Ordinary Time.
Lessons from the primary feria, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• Exodus 11: 10—12: 14.
• Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-18.
• Matthew 12: 1-8.
The Third Class Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul, Confessor.*
First & second lessons from the common "Justus ut palma…" for a Confessor not a Bishop, third from the proper, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:
• I Corinthians 4: 9-14.
• Psalm 36: 30-31.
• Luke 10: 1-9.
9:09 AM 7/19/2019 — All this week we’ve been reading from the Book of Exodus, and today’s first Scripture lesson is perhaps the central event of that book: the Passover. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the Passover meal, or “Seder Supper” as it’s called, is a prefiguring of the Blessed Eucharist; but, its presentation to us here in the context of today’s Mass enlightens us to what may not be obvious in today’s Gospel lesson.
The passage from Matthew clearly is a testimony to our Lord’s divinity, as He explains that all the rules and regulations pertaining to the sabbath are subject to His directive, because He’s God. Whether the Pharisees criticizing the behavior of His disciples picked up on that I don’t know—probably they did not. What’s more to the point, though not central to the overall passage, is the simple but profoundly significant passing reference made at the very beginning of today’s Gospel lesson: why did the disciples pick the heads of grain and eat them? Because they were hungry. During the whole of our Lord’s public ministry He and His disciples were fastidious in keeping all the prescriptions of Jewish law; why, on this occasion, do they deviate and engage in an act of manual labor forbidden on the sabbath? Because the hunger represented here is a metaphor: it’s not a physical hunger but a spiritual one; and, the fact that our Lord allows it to be satisfied in spite of the need to break a rule to do it testifies to our Blessed Lord’s desire that the Eucharist, being His own Body and Blood, should be the very source of all our spiritual energy. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass must become that singular event which gives both direction and fuel for the journey of our day’s tasks.
Let’s use the occasion of this Mass, then, to renew our devotion to the Mass itself, to resolve to prepare for it prayerfully, to give worthy thanksgiving for it afterward, and to embrace as our own the sentiment we prayed today in the response to today’s psalm: Cálicem salutáris accípiam, et nomen Dómini invocábo—“I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.”
* A secular priest of the Archdiocese of Paris, Vincent de Paul was the founder of the Priests of the Missions, known as the Lazarists, and the Sisters of Charity. He died in 1660, and Leo XIII proclaimed him the patron of all charitable associations.