Patrick O’Donnell from a Teaching of the Mass
Given by Fr.
Michael McNamara of Servants of Christ Ministries
Given December 18,
© 2002 Precious
The Marriage of
God and Man
One Explanation of
There is a traditional aspect of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that
is not currently taught, that if taught and emphasized, may help
orient people to the value of human life and the human body in light
of God’s value of the same. The simple premise that, as the
Trinity is “communion of the communion” [Original Unity of Man and
Woman; Pope John Paul II, March Talk}. In explanation, the Holy
Trinity is a communion of the three persons of God – Father, Son and
the Holy Ghost. The Mass is God’s initiation to humanity,
collectively and individually [the Church as Bride], to enter into
communion with God, specifically with the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
This communion is bet understood by us mere, sinful humans in terms
of nuptials, as in marital covenant relationship with vows. Jesus
Christ, as the Bridegroom has sent His Holy Spirit, the initiator,
to His bride, the Church. Inspired and strengthened by the Holy
Spirit, the Church, the Bride, responds to its bridegroom, Jesus
Christ, who courts her by word as well as by laying down His life,
His Body and Blood, for her. As one with Jesus Christ, the Church
dies in Baptism to be raised with Jesus Christ, her Bridegroom, in
His Resurrection. To be one with Jesus Christ, we must be of one
spirit, one heart and, then consummate the marriage, two becoming
one, by way of Communion, hence the Mass.
Alb – The White vestments
the priest wears represents the white clothing worn during Baptism,
or simply Our Baptism. Purity, innocence, washed in the Blood of
the long band-like vestment worn by the priest about his neck and
falling to about his knees. This represents the yoke as on oxen,
the surrender to God’s guidance, the submission of the spouse to her
Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
The cord worn by the priest about his waist to hold the Alb close to
his body. A sign that of being all together. You get right with
God and everything else will fall into place. There is order to
The large outer vestment worn by the priest that covers his body.
This garment usually seamless as was Christ’s garment when taken
from Him at the cross, represents unity with Christ as one.
with his people His priestly, kingly and prophetic mission. The
colors of the Chasuble identify with Christ in his various roles.
The bluish/purple color for Advent represents penance and
conversion, but also reflects the bluish/purple that was reserved
for Kings and royalty in days of old. As adopted children, the
baptized are royalty. The reddish/purple color for Lent also
represents penance and conversion, but also represents martyrdom, or
sacrifice of life. As so many prophets suffered loss of life, so
does Jesus Christ. We are called to sacrifice our life, spiritually
first, and may be physically as well. This is for the prophetic
role that we are called to share with Christ. Are we prepared to
live proclaiming God’s word, or the Gospel, willing to suffer for
this as the prophets have done? At least, we must be preparing
ourselves to do so. The white is used during the two liturgical
seasons of Christmas and Easter. The white represents purity and
integrity of life. It also gives a foretaste of eternal life in
heaven. Green, worn during Ordinary Time, represents hope and the
vitality of the life of faith. This is for the priestly mission of
Christ, the life giving aspect of Jesus Christ.
Usually set upon steps, typically three, symbolic of the Trinity. A
wooden altar represents the cross, a stone altar represents
Calvary. The separation of the sanctuary from the rest of the
church is because the sanctuary represents heaven. The altar itself
also represents the body of Jesus Christ and is kissed by the priest
upon entrance into the sanctuary at the beginning of the Mass.
The two candles, each set at one of the front corners of the altar,
represent the dual natures of Jesus Christ, human and divine.
the Word: This is the banquet. This is when there is a reading of
an Old Testament passage, a Psalm Response, a New Testament passage,
and a Gospel reading. The readings are for us to Feast on, feasting
on the Word of God. [One does not live on bread alone, but on the
Word of God.] The Old Testament is read with Christ in mind, while
the Psalm is identification with Christ who prayed the Psalms while
on earth, the New Testament further expands on the Gospel reading
and the Gospel reading is directly about Christ. Christ is present.
Alleluia: During the
first two readings and the Psalm response, the people are sitting as
if waiting, representative of the cemetery [meaning “the waiting
place”]. Upon the first Alleluia, representative of the angels
praising God, those in the cemetery will rise – the Resurrection –
and join the angels in singing Alleluia. In like manner, those at
Mass will rise and respond with the first Alleluia.
of the Gifts: The bread
and wine is representative of God’s work in the wheat and grape, and
man’s labor in preparing the bread and wine. The addition of water,
representative of humanity (possibly the baptized with Spirit), to
the wine, representing Jesus Christ’s divinity. The water, once
united with Christ, can not be separated from the wine. The water
and wine are also representative of the water and wine that gushed
forth from the heart of Christ after the piercing through His side
by a lance following His death on the Cross.
Holy, Holy: Unity with
the adoring angels and elders in heaven as described in Revelation.
Liturgy of the
Eucharist: This is leaving of the banquet table and entry to the
bridal chamber with the intentions of consummating the love or
marriage of Jesus Christ with His bride, the Church. This begins
with the priest approaching the Altar. The consecration is when
Jesus Christ spiritually lays his life down for his Bride, the
Church. His death was at one point in time, on Calvary, 2,000 years
ago, and that was sufficient to redeem all of mankind. He does not
lay His life down again, but as there is no time in heaven, the
sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s life may be remembered in the temporal
world while spiritually we are one with Jesus Christ on the Cross.
His one and only sacrifice transcends time and space and we can be
present at that one sacrifice during the Mass.
is begun with the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, the
host, formerly bread. To preserve faith, the bread retains all
apparent properties of bread, but is Jesus Christ, body and soul.
He comes to sacrifice, to cleanse His Bride, to demonstrate His love
for His bride.
The receiving of the host, Jesus Christ, in Body and Soul, is the
joining of two to become one, as in Genesis – “two become one” in
describing the union of Adam and Eve. Here we are talking about
Jesus Christ becoming one with the communicant – collectively His
Church. This is as in the consummation of the marriage of Jesus
Christ with the communicant, His Church, God and Humanity.
of Jesus Christ after communion is as Mary bore Jesus during her
pregnancy through his nine months in her womb. One, but distinctly
two persons, not unlike in marriage.
Blessing: It is not enough to be one with Jesus Christ in the
Church, but we are to be one with him in the world, and the blessing
is to do just that throughout your life. To live an integrated
life, one with Jesus Christ always, not just while in church.
See Galatians 4:19 My children, I labor until Christ is formed