Thursday, October 29, 2009

WORSHIPPING GOD PROPERLY


The celebration of Sunday Eucharist is so important to Pope Benedict that for several years he has been emphasizing its essential place in the Church. On November 27, 2006 he wrote a letter to Cardinal Arinze for a “study day” that the Congregation for Divine Worship was holding to discuss "Sunday Mass for the sanctification of the Christian People." Here is an excerpt from that letter:

How much more necessary it is today to reaffirm the sacredness of the Lord's Day and the need to take part in Sunday Mass! The cultural context in which we live, often marked by religious indifference and secularism that blot out the horizon of the transcendent, must not let us forget that the People of God, born from "Christ's Passover, Sunday", should return to it as to an inexhaustible source, in order to understand better and better the features of their own identity and the reasons for their existence. 

The Second Vatican Council, after pointing out the origin of Sunday, continued: "On this day Christ's faithful are bound to come together into one place. They should listen to the Word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion, Resurrection and Glory of the Lord Jesus and giving thanks to God who "has begotten them again, through the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, unto a living hope'" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 106). Sunday was not chosen by the Christian community but by the Apostles, and indeed by Christ himself, who on that day, "the first day of the week", rose and appeared to the disciples (cf. Mt 28: 1; Mk 16: 9; Lk 24: 1; Jn 20: 1, 19; Acts 20: 7; I Cor 16: 2), and appeared to them again "eight days later" (Jn 20: 26). Sunday is the day on which the Risen Lord makes himself present among his followers, invites them to his banquet and shares himself with them so that they too, united and configured to him, may worship God properly. 

Therefore, as I encourage people to give ever greater importance to the "Lord's Day", I am eager to highlight the central place of the Eucharist as a fundamental pillar of Sunday and of all ecclesial life. Indeed, at every Sunday Eucharistic celebration, the sanctification of the Christian people takes place as it will take place until the Sunday that never sets, the day of the definitive encounter of God with his creatures.

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