#MyMassTakeaway for the 4th Sunday of Advent, December 23, 2018. Find the Mass readings here.
Something struck me when I heard the priest pray these words at the consecration during Mass today: “Make holy therefore these gifts by sending down your spirit upon them like the dewfall.”
Images flooded my mind.
I wake up on a fresh spring morning.
The sun sends its rays through the trees and glistens off the droplets of water gently covering the grassy lawn.
I kneel down to see the dew so delicately balanced on each blade. One wayward breeze, and they drop to the ground.
I straighten and take a step into the sea of green. The cool, damp water sticks to my toes.
The people are starving.
They go to sleep hungry, knowing that the morning will bring no relief for their growling stomach. They will die soon, and their children too.
But in the nighttime, a blanket of soft white flakes floats down softly from the heavens.
The morning brings joy as the people realize the ground glistens, not with dew, but with manna.
Bread from heaven.
A young girl works quietly at her chores.
She hums a song of praise to her God.
Her ordinary day is made extraordinary by the visit of an angel. He tells her good news. He asks her permission.
She says yes.
The Holy Spirit descends upon her. The power of the most high overshadows her. A new baby is brought to life within her.
The infant Son of God.
The friends are gathered in the upper room.
They begin eating the Passover meal together.
Suddenly, Jesus departs from the expected traditions. He takes the bread and blesses it, and the cup as well. “Take, eat, drink,” he tells them.
This is it. The moment Jesus came for. The sacrifice of all sacrifices.
The redemption of our sins.
I looked up at the priest, standing there at the altar, arms outstretched over the bread and wine.
Just moments ago, the offertory: my son brought up the gifts, like he does every Sunday; my daughter tossed our envelope in the collection basket.
Bread and wine and money aren’t the only gifts we offer at Mass. There’s something else there, if we wish.
On the altar with the bread and wine, we offer the gift of self.
I imagine the Spirit of God coming down from the priest’s hands, hovering over the gifts. I see the Spirit settle upon the bread and wine, gently covering them.
I feel the Spirit settling upon me.
Gentle. Almost imperceptible.
The slightest distraction will shake him off. But I pause in my mind, body, and soul. I let him linger, like the dew balancing on a blade of grass.
In a moment, the priest will say the words of consecration.
By the power of God, the bread and wine will become more than they are. They will be made holy. They will be made the one who is holy.
They will cease to be bread and wine, and will become Jesus, the Lord.
And then I will take this bread. I will eat it.
And by consuming it, God will change me, too. He will make me more than I am. He will unite me to himself and elevate me to share in his life.
He will take away my sins.
He will give me his grace.
He will help me grow in virtue.
This baby who’s coming in a few days, he is everything. He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. He is God with us. He is the Bread of Life.
He is coming, like the dewfall.
He will settle upon us in the stillness of the night on Christmas Eve. The morning will shine with the splendor of his presence.
Lights and gifts and music and celebration will mark his coming.
If we’re not careful, we’ll shake him off. If we’re distracted and busy and chaotic, we’ll miss him.
Will we pause for a moment? Will we embrace the stillness necessary to let him enter into our lives and transform us.
Just for a moment, allow yourself to feel his presence. Ask him to make you holy. To change you from the inside out. To make you like him.
He gives himself as a gift for you.
Amidst all the gift-giving of Christmas day, will you give yourself back to him?
Make holy, Lord, this gift of myself.
Send down your Spirit upon me like the dewfall.
Featured Five Takeaways:
Susan wrote a beautiful reflection today on how we dress for Mass reflects our love and reverence for our Lord.
Her ending particularly touched my heart:
“Let us come to the altar with all our brokenness, and all our love, but may we consider that one, above the other, be reflected in our dress.”
Ingrid wrote a gorgeous meditation on the power of words. Just, wow!
And her artwork to go with really moved me. At first, I didn’t see the women, just the negative space. But even then, it really tugged on my heart.
Once I read the words and the two women appeared, I had to catch my breath – the beauty of Ingrid’s artwork never ceases to astound me!
I love how Amy drew the lines for us, connecting the Old and New Testament.
She reminds us that we’re literally only hours away from celebrating the fulfillment of the prophecies with the birth of Christ!
The homily Mary was listening to sounds so similar to the homily I heard this day!
Peace doesn’t mean the absence of conflict.
It’s so hard to remember that, right? I’m grateful that Mary highlighted this!
Ginny got the rare treat of attending Mass alone. And while she missed her kids, she’s got some great reflections about motherhood today.
“We are, in a sense, like Mary, formed to be the nurturing, protective force of new life. We aren’t immaculate like she was, but our children fill us with His sanctifying grace.”
What’s Your Takeaway?
Leave a comment here, or join the conversation on social media with hashtag #MyMassTakeaway to share your reflection about Mass today!
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