Continuing our series on Exodus, the People of Israel have left Egypt, been driven out of their homeland and they have passed through the Red Sea, prefiguring our Baptism into Christ and the freedom that comes of being washed from the old identity of sin into the new identity as children of God.
A year later, that haven’t gotten very far. They camp out around the mountain of the Lord: Sinai. Throughout this year, the Lord God is giving them the Law through Moses. By doing so, He is forming them to be His chosen people, a people particularly His own. This Law forms them as something unique and special in the ancient near east: they are the only monotheistic nation. They are the only nation whom God has chosen to be His own.
But the Law is not the culmination, is not the high point of what the Lord God is doing in them at this point. Rather, on the year anniversary of their departure from Egypt, they renew the Passover with Worship. Because that is what makes them different: whom they worship and how they worship.
And their worship is what makes them different, too. But how they worship is also how they relate to God. This is what made Israel a nation. This is what made Israel unique. Their worship of the Lord God was the heart of who they were and what they did on a day by day basis. Hence the long pages of the Law, hence the emphasis on the proper celebration of the mysteries which the Lord God lays out for the people.
Which brings us to today: there are so many voices in and out of the Church today who want to make us just like everyone else. Even among faith filled and passionate Catholics, there can be a very strong desire to not stick out, to not be different.
But the thing that makes us different, the thing that makes us unique, is still the call to worship God in Sprit and in Truth. This is what sets us apart from everyone else.
Again, that reminder that the Second Vatican Council called the Mass the Source and Summit of the Christian life.
So a major part of the Beacons of Light pastoral planning process is a focus on how we celebrate the Eucharist, with an eye towards always celebrating these mysteries worthily and well. Because if we are doing this, we will flourish. If we are focused in on the Mass as the central core of who we are as Catholic and the sources of everything that we do in the world, we will be the people God has chosen us to be.
And I know it sounds odd to say this shortly after we have announced that we have a smaller schedule of Masses than before. But there is a power when a community gathers together into a full church. There is power when we know each other across current parish lines. There is a power in being bound together into one Body in Christ.
And so we hold this up as the example. That as the people of Israel were formed into God’s chosen people at Mt. Sinai; we can be renewed into the people God has called us to be every time we come together in worship of the Lord at Mass.