Thursday, October 29, 2015

Practice for Heaven

Every time we celebrate the mass just before we begin the central prayer, the Eucharistic Prayer, we sing an ancient acclamation. We refer to it as the Sanctus, or the Holy, Holy. But in Greek it is called by another name, "the Hymn of Victory." Today's gospel tells us why.

The words to the hymn are taken from two different Bible verses. The first half is taken from Is 6:3
Holy Holy Holy Lord God of Hosts
Heaven and Earth are full of your glory.

It is the song of the angels around the throne.

The second half is taken from Mt. 21:9, but is also the conclusion of today's reading from Luke, Lk 13:35.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

In today's gospel the Pharisees want Jesus to leave town because they are afraid. They know that Herod wants Jesus dead, and they are afraid that they will some how get caught up in it, guilt by association.

Jesus responds to their fear, we a statement of absolute faith in the mission. He knows that he can only do one thing, the will of the Father. He must complete his mission. He also knows something else, in the end he will be victorious. The reign of God cannot be stopped.

This acclamation is called the hymn of victory, because every time we sing it we are reminding ourselves that Christ will be victorious, he will come again. He will be the one sitting on the throne,

Jesus is able to be fearless, or to overcome his fear, through faith, absolute trust in the love of his Father, absolute confidence that his Father will never abandon him. He knows that in the end, he will come again in triumph.

All of us experience fears in life.

Can we trust in the absolute faithful love of God for us? Can we turn to God in our fear and ask for the gift of faith?  Singing the Holy Holy at mass is just practice, practice for the day that we will be the ones gathered around the throne with the victorious King.