Column: Symbols, like words, can remind us of God’s gifts

Father Mike Stubbs is the pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Overland Park and has a degree in Scripture from Harvard University.
Father Mike Stubbs is the pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Overland Park and has a degree in Scripture from Harvard University.

by Father Mike Stubbs

In our house, confusion has sometimes arisen over whether or not the dishes in the kitchen dishwasher are already clean, or whether they are still waiting to be washed.

It is not always obvious. To alert one another to their state, we place a refrigerator magnet on the door when the dishwasher is running. It reminds us that the dishes are clean.

Similarly, a day planner can help us remember appointments and meetings when we enter a notation about them. We need re- minders, whether they come to us in the form of words or visual signs.

Sunday’s first reading — Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a — twice invites the people of Israel to recall what God has done for them: “Remember how for forty years now the Lord, your God, has direct- ed all your journeying in the desert. . . . Do not forget the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”

These reminders come in the form of words. It is the word of God which is life giving, another verse in our reading tells us: “Not by bread alone does one live, but by the word that comes forth from the mouth of the LORD.”

This fits in well with the feast we celebrate on Sunday, Corpus Christi. In instituting that sacrament, Jesus commanded the disciples: “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:25). Besides bringing us the living presence of the Lord, the Eucharist impresses upon us the memory of his sacrifice on the cross, the great act of love accomplished for us. It is not enough for us to read about Jesus’ sacrifice in the Gospels, although it is important for us to do that. Reminders come to us, not only in the form of words, but also in tangible signs. The Eucharist is a tangible sign of Jesus’ love.

The word of God reminds us of all that God has done for us, especially through Jesus Christ. That is the purpose of the first half of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word.

But we do not stop there. We continue on with the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We follow the command of Christ: “Do this in memory of me.” In giving us his own body and blood as food and drink, Jesus once again reminds us of what he has done for us.

 

Leave a Reply