The memorial of our Redemption

Remembrance Day is this Sunday. It is the most important annual memorial celebration in our national life as Canadians, and a day we share with millions and millions of people in numerous countries. We recall and praise those who have made the supreme sacrifice in the struggle for peace and against tyranny. We observe a reverent silence.

The celebration of the most holy Eucharist is called a “memorial.” But it is different from all others. We must not take this word in a too narrow sense. It is mysterious and even paradoxical. In all other memorials we remember and honour the life of someone who is dead. In this one, we remember (and more than remember) and honour the death of someone who is alive!

During the sacred celebration, and precisely at the moment of the consecration, the living Risen Lord—”Death has no dominion over Him any more”—becomes present and offers again what He did upon the Cross. He does not die during Mass, He died “once for all” on Calvary, but he renews the offering of Good Friday. During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, “we proclaim the Death of the Lord, and profess His Resurrection” until he comes again in glory.

As a liturgical prayer, quoted by the Second Vatican Council, puts it: “as often as this memorial sacrifice is offered, the work of our Redemption is carried out.”

Let us pray that ever greater clarity and reverence may be seen at each and every celebration of Holy Mass, so as always more clearly manifest what is happening, and Who it is, that is carrying it out.

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