“Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” —Ephesians 1:3
Before we were created, the Lord destined us to “praise His glory” (Eph 1:12). Our bodies are not ideal for thinking, working, or running. Our human limitations are obvious when we forget information, stumble over our words, stumble over our feet, or get tired. However, our bodies are tailor-made to praise God. From our renewed minds (see Rm 12:2), singing tongues, praying lips, open hearts, raised hands, to our dancing feet — we are created to praise God always and forever.
Our greatest praise of God is Eucharistic worship. At Mass, Jesus, the eternal High Priest, is not only the Object of our praises but also the Leader of our praise and worship to the Father and in the Holy Spirit. Through, with, and in Jesus we share at Mass in the heavenly praises offered by the angels and saints to the Holy Trinity.
In this book, One Bread, One Body, we try to help you better understand, appreciate, and apply the readings for Mass. Thus, you will better celebrate the Liturgy of the Word, the first part of our praise and worship at Mass. If we are helping you praise the Lord and worship in the Eucharist, please let us know, for this is the purpose of our ministry.
Praise the Lord always and forever! Praise our Eucharistic Lord!
Prayer: Father, fashion perfect praise in my life (see Ps 8:3). “Let the high praises of God” be in my throat (Ps 149:6).
Promise: “They went off, preaching the need of repentance. They expelled many demons, anointed the sick with oil, and worked many cures.” —Mk 6:12-13
Praise: Praise You, risen Jesus! You are “the Way, and the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6). Alleluia!
From the beginning of the treatise On the Mysteries
Saint Ambrose, bishop
[ 337 – 397 A.D. ]
Now the season reminds us that we must speak of the mysteries, setting forth the meaning of the sacraments. If we had thought fit to teach these things to those not yet initiated through baptism, we should be considered traitors rather than teachers. Then, too, the light of the mysteries is of itself more effective where people do not know what to expect than where some instruction has been given beforehand.We gave a daily instruction on right conduct when the readings were taken from the history of the patriarchs or the maxims of Proverbs. These readings were intended to instruct and train you, so that you might grow accustomed to the ways of our forefathers, entering into their paths and walking in their footsteps, in obedience to God’s commands.
Open then your ears. Enjoy the fragrance of eternal life, breathed on you by means of the sacraments. We explained this to you as we celebrated the mystery of “the opening” when we said: Effetha, that is, be opened. Everyone who was to come for the grace of baptism had to understand what he was to be asked, and must remember what he was to answer. This mystery was celebrated by Christ when he healed the man who was deaf and dumb, in the Gospel which we proclaimed to you.
After this, the holy of holies was opened up for you; you entered into the sacred place of regeneration. Recall what you were asked; remember what you answered. You renounced the devil and his works, the world and its dissipation and sensuality. Your words are recorded, not on a monument to the dead but in the book of the living.
There you saw the levite, you saw the priest, you saw the high priest. Do not consider their outward form but the grace given by their ministries. You spoke in the presence of angels, as it is written: The lips of a priest guard knowledge, and men seek the law from his mouth, for he is the angel of the Lord almighty. There is no room for deception, no room for denial. He is an angel whose message is the kingdom of Christ and eternal life. You must judge him, not by his appearance but by his office. Remember what he handed on to you, weigh up his value, and so acknowledge his standing.
You entered to confront your enemy, for you intended to renounce him to his face. You turned toward the east, for one who renounces the devil turns toward Christ and fixes his gaze directly on him.
“It is enough for the disciple to be like his Teacher.” —Matthew 10:25, RSV-CE
In the original temptation, Adam and Eve were tempted to become like gods (Gn 3:5), knowing what was good and what was evil. They sinfully succumbed to that temptation, and soon it was not enough for them to have this knowledge. In a sense, Adam and Eve became their own “God.” They decided to be greater than their master (cp Mt 10:25).
Jesus teaches: “It is enough for the disciple to be like his Teacher” (see Mt 10:25). Disciples imitate Jesus in His character and in His ministry. They strive to be holy as the Lord is holy (1 Pt 1:15-16). Disciples beg the Lord to send them out in His ministry and mission (Is 6:8), and then they proceed to humbly and obediently do only what the Lord assigned them (1 Cor 7:17).
St. John the Baptizer, as he was succeeding greatly in His ministry, resisted the temptation to become more than his Master and said, “He must increase, while I must decrease” (Jn 3:30). The prophet Isaiah was given a vision of the holiness of God to help him resist this temptation (Is 6:1ff). This vision helped him to grow in fear of the Lord and an awareness of his own sinfulness. Then he began a prophetic ministry which still endures 2,500 years later. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord (see 1 Pt 5:6). Imitate the Master as His disciple. Heaven and earth will be changed. That is enough.
Prayer: Father, give Your people an overwhelming outpouring of the spiritual gift of fear of the Lord.
Promise: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ ‘Here I am,’ I said; ‘send me!’ ” —Is 6:8
Praise: St. Kateri chose to join the Church and reject the warring behavior of her parents’ tribes.
Let me start with holy charity, the root of all the virtues and the gift most characteristic of Camillus. He was so fired by this virtue, both towards God and towards his neighbours, especially the sick, that just to see them was enough to melt his tender heart and to make him forget every pleasure, every earthly delight and attachment. Indeed, even when ministering to just one sick man, he seemed to burn himself up and wear himself out with the utmost devotion and compassion. Gladly would he have taken upon himself all their sickness and sufferings to alleviate their pain or take away their weakness.
So vividly did he picture and honour the person of Christ in them that often when distributing food to them he thought of them as his ‘Christs’, and would beg of them grace and the remission of sins. Hence he was as reverent before them as if he were really and truly in the presence of his Lord. Of nothing would he speak more frequently or fervently than of holy charity. He longed that it should take root in the heart of every man.
To fire his brethren in religion with this fundamental virtue, he would impress on them these sweet words of Jesus Christ: ‘I was sick and you visited me.’ Indeed, so often did he repeat these words, he seemed to have them engraved on his heart.
Camillus’ charity was so great and wide-ranging that he took to his kind and loving heart not only the sick and the dying but also all other poor and wretched people. His heart was so full of devotion for the needy that he used to say: ‘If ever there were no poor to be found on the face of the earth, people would have to search them out and even pluck them from below the earth in order to do good to them and show them mercy!’