"On Jesus Christ and the Liturgy" Fr. Khaled Anatolios, PhD
(Fr. Kahled is a priest in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and Professor of Biblical Studies/Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity at University of Notre Dame)
Christ is the point of human encounter with God. Two natures together in one person.
Church Fathers referred to Psalm 85:10 "Truth has sprung up from the earth..." - with the incarnation God is no longer just in heaven (Augustine)
Liturgy is the event in which the encounter of God and humanity become available and we can participate in it. It is a Christological encounter. A multitude keeping festival = the Church. In the liturgy we become one body, one spirit in Christ. We encounter each other in Christ.
Liturgy as Exodus. Every liturgy is Passover. We pass over to freedom in the spirit from death in sin. It begins as soon as we begin our preparations for going to Mass. But it doesn't happen through our efforts. Christ doesn't wait for us. He goes out to accompany us. It begins with the family preparation. But also within spiritual preparation. What do we need to be liberated from?
Liturgy as Kingdom. In Eastern Church, we begin "Blessed is the kingdom in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus came to say that "the kingdom is among you" (literal translation of the Greek)
PENITENTIAL RITE AND DOXOLOGY (The "Gloria")
If the liturgy is a Passover, we begin by leaving something behind. In the Penitential Rite we declare our liberation from sin in Christ and announce the kingdom. (Repent!) And leave behind what is not the kingdom.
Christ never receives our confession, because he has already given his grace to us and has repented on our behalf. He leaves behind all that
LITURGY OF THE WORD
Epistle to the Hebrews opening. Continuity - God the Father gathers up all the ways he has been speaking and places it in Christ. Scripture is communication of the incarnation. The opening of the Epistle clears the way for the proclamation of Christ. When we hear Jesus proclaimed in the Gospel, we encounter him.
LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
Liturgy as sacrifice - we need to recover the meaning. Last Supper: "This is my Body" = This is my Life. "This is my Blood" = This is my death. Christ can do this because he is in command of his life and death. (John 10:18) This communicates the sacrifice.
See Hebrews 10:1-14
Jesus's self offering is his whole will to the Father. He offers all of us in himself. Perfects for all time those who are sanctified. It is a love covenant with God - "here I am to do your will."
What happens to sin in the middle of that offering? How does Christ take away the sin of the world? (As Lamb of God.) In real sacrifice, you have to enter into - to empathize with the other. Christ enters into our humanity with all its messiness and becomes part of it... His pain was greater than any human pain because he suffered all the woundedness of the world because he empathized and took on all our suffering. He did this while in the Trinity, so it becomes part of the holiness of the Trinity.
Eucharist needs to be spiritually digested because it's spiritual food - it is digested spiritually by contemplation and through reflection on Scripture.
The Holy Spirit is the "extrovert" member of the Trinity. It comes down and transforms the bread and wine and then it transforms us. Every Eucharist is a Pentecost.
GO IN PEACE
Jesus never says "Peace be with you" except after the Resurrection. The peace of Jesus is a definitive peace. The peace of a fullness of communion, of encounter between God and humanity. Humanity is fully integrated into the life of God - and we are sent to bring this peace to the world.
Pope Benedict in Sacramentum Caritatis... we bring the pain and suffering of the world and offering them with the gifts.
We lift up our hearts with Gods help. We get new hearts from God at the liturgy.