Loading
The greeting at Mass: A welcome into the very life of God

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you" (2 Cor 13:13).

When the priest greets the people at the beginning of Mass with these words, he is using the last words of St. Paul's second letter to the Church of Corinth. Since St. Paul refers to God the Father, simply as "God," this blessing is clearly Trinitarian. It expresses the Church's belief in one God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is the longest blessing used by the Apostle to end any of his letters. And, it briefly sums up the very essence of the Christian life.

In this greeting, Paul does not follow the order in which we normally name the divine persons of the Trinity. Rather, he first mentions Jesus who is the Son before he names God the Father. This very unusual word order unlocks for us the theology of St. Paul about how we are saved.

Paul begins the greeting by saying "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ." "Grace" is one of Paul's favorite words. He uses it to express the salvation event. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we are reconciled with God. Thus, it is through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that we come to the Father. As Jesus himself said, "No one comes to the Father except through me" (Jn 14:6).

Paul ends the greeting with the words "the communion of the Holy Spirit." In the new translation, "communion" will replace the word "fellowship." Unlike "fellowship," which may sound to some overly masculine, the word "communion" is gender-neutral. It translates the Greek word koinonia.

First of all, the expression "the communion of the Holy Spirit" reminds us of the intimate relationship that every believer has with the Holy Spirit. The Risen Lord pours out his Holy Spirit on each of us. It is because of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us that we can call Jesus "Lord" (1 Cor 12:4); and, it is in the power of the Holy Spirit that we call God "Father" (Gal 4:6).

Second, the expression "the communion of the Holy Spirit" also reminds us that the Holy Spirit gives to each of us different gifts for a purpose. Using these different gifts, we are to work together for the good of the whole Church and thus form one body, one communion of faith (1 Cor 12:7; Gal 5:22).

When the priest, therefore, says, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you," he is using one of the earliest expressions of our faith in God as a Trinity of three persons, equal and distinct, yet one God. This greeting reminds us that we have a relationship with each of the divine persons. It is through the Son that we come to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, this greeting draws our attention to the Trinitarian dimension of the Liturgy. In Liturgy, all three persons of the Trinity are taking us up into their life as the one God and forming us here on earth as the Body of Christ.

Printed with permission from the Beacon, newspaper for the Diocese of Paterson, N.J.

Ads by Google
(What's this?)

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
31

Liturgical Calendar

October 31, 2014

Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 14:1-6

Gospel
Date
10/31/14
10/29/14
10/28/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Phil 1: 1-11
Gospel:: Lk 14: 1-6

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/31/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 14:1-6

Homily
Date
10/31/14
10/29/14
10/28/14
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: