The Procession

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Why do we have a procession from the back of the Church to begin Mass? As with the past topics we have covered, the physical actions we perform in our Faith convey a message which would take much longer to say with words. Case in point, the procession takes about a minute, while its explanation takes 3-4 minutes.

A procession always has a destination; you process to something. In our case, we process to the altar which represents Christ, so at its foundation it is a procession toward God.

Now while it is technically only the ministers who process down the aisle, they represent the larger assembly. One of the reasons we all face the same direction in the pews is to reflect this. We are all moving in the same direction, moving toward God. This unified movement toward God is very important, for it is a reflection on how all of us outside of Mass should be living our life, toward God. We are growing in holiness together, not as individuals.

The more unified in this act we are, the smoother and easier the road, the procession, will be. If you have ever been to a Packer Game or any stadium environment, you probably have experienced the same frustration I have when encountering someone who is walking against the flow of traffic. It causes a ripple of chaos.

The same holds true when someone stops suddenly or is just standing there. It causes great disruption. So it is on our spiritual procession toward God, the more we grow in the holiness, the less we move away from God or stop because of sin, the quicker and easier it is for not only ourselves to reach him, but others as well.

It is one of the strange yet beautiful aspects of our Faith, when we grow in holiness, the people it benefits the most are those around us. We make it easier for them to move to God. So the procession before Mass represents the procession of all of our lives. Our procession toward holiness, our procession toward God.


Be Enlightened by Jesus

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The Gospel for today is a well-known passage: the Parable of the Sower and Seed. And while every reflection I have ever heard on this Gospel focuses on contemplating what seed we are, I want to draw our attention elsewhere. I want to focus on the section that scares us, the section that we tend to ignore because we aren’t quite sure what to do with it.

When asked why He speaks in parables, Jesus says, “Gross is the heart of this people…they have closed their eyes lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted.” This is a harsh condemnation for the people in Jesus’ community. But as I read these words, I cannot help but find them applicable even now.

We have become a people so defined by our political affiliation that we can’t have friends with opposing views, or have civil discourse on matters of global significance. Instead of letting the Gospel dictate our politics, we have let our politics dictate our Gospel. We have fashioned Jesus in the image and likeness of party values, forgetting that it is us who were fashioned in His image and likeness. It is us who close our eyes and ears to the parts of the Gospel that don’t fit with our political doctrine. It is us whose hearts have grown gross and refuse to be converted by the entirety of the Gospel message.

But we are called to be disciples. We are called to see what others do not see, to hear what others do not hear, to be enlightened by Jesus first, party affiliation second…or last. We are called to be the unifiers, to stand in the middle ground, to be mediators and bridge builders. This is challenging work in a system that makes it ‘either/or.’ But as Christians, let us be the ‘and.’