Sunday, March 21, 2010

Give a Brother a Hand

First of all -- answers to last week's question. What are the other two places in the liturgy where the presider addresses Jesus directly?

Well, it turns out I was wrong, there are way more than two. Michelle and Anonymous, you rocked the house. The penitential rite is addressed to Jesus: "Lord (Jesus Christ), you heal the contrite... you came to call sinners... you plead for us at the right hand of the Father." So, too, the Agnus Dei -- "Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world." Those were the two I was thinking of.

But the three memorial acclamations in the middle of the eucharistic prayer are also addressed to Jesus: i.e. "Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life, Lord Jesus come in glory." And the Gloria, after a brief address to God, speaks in great detail to Jesus:
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

How did I forget that one? No idea. Anonymous and Michelle, I definitely owe you a casserole. Hope you like ziti!

Mmm. Ziti.

Thanks for setting me straight!

Second -- The Sign of Peace: An Introduction.

Not long ago I was at weekday Mass in a big church, not very full, all of us congregants spread out as far as we could be from one another. Even so, almost no one was more than a pew or two distant from anyone else. At the sign of peace, most people just gave "the wave.” You know the wave. The person turns in your direction, maybe smiles slightly and places his or her palm face out, somewhere between the gesture you find in an icon of Jesus and the Supremes singing "Stop in the Name of Love.” When used at a distance, and with a second of eye contact, it can be a pleasant form of acknowledgement, "Hello from across the room.” But when you're standing one pew apart, the vibe is often more like, "Please don't touch me.”

Is it me? Am I emitting black rays of negative energy?

A week later, at Sunday Mass elsewhere, I noticed the same thing: though the pews were crowded, many people would not extend a hand to one another, or they did so only to people directly in front of them. And the ritual lasted only about 10 seconds, before the organist was on to "Lamb of God…” and the priest was breaking the host. It is not like this everywhere. Still, when I encounter it I cannot help but wonder, What ever happened to the sign of peace?

Tomorrow: A little history of the sign of peace

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Thanks for the ziti! I'm a credit to my professors (I think)...