09-01-2019Treasures from our Tradition

The readings today center on mindfulness, awareness of where we stand in God's plan. The mountain of Sinai carries a message of the majesty and distance of God, while Jesus' presence as host of the banquet speaks of intimacy and mystery. September's shadow calls us all to mindfulness as we prepare to return to life outside of summer. The Christian life holds these two places of knowledge of God in careful balance. Even in the accounts of the Passion we see the table of the upper room in balance with the Mount of Olives.

Altar means "high place," yet it is also a table. The former liturgy of the Latin Rite began with the priest bowing at the foot of the altar's three steps, chanting Introibo ad altare Dei, or "I will go to the altar of God," followed by the altar servers' response, "The God who gives joy to my youth." Many parishioners can recall and recite this scene by heart. As with so many things in liturgy, there are layers of meaning in our worship. The altar table evokes memories of the high places once reserved for encounter with the holy, and the intimacy of the table where hospitality draws us to share food and drink .