SATURDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT DECEMBER 5, 2020
R. (see Isaiah 30:18d) Blessed are all who wait for the Lord. Praise the LORD, for he is good; sing praise to our God, for he is gracious; it is fitting to praise him. The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem; the dispersed of Israel he gathers. R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He tells the number of the stars; he calls each by name. R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord. Great is our LORD and mighty in power: to his wisdom there is no limit. The LORD sustains the lowly; the wicked he casts to the ground. R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
REFLECTION: “Praise the LORD, for he is good; sing praise to our God, for he is gracious; it is fitting to praise him.”
The faithful Jews sang psalms during various types of sacrifices to God under the Mosaic Covenant, or the Law of Moses. The Jewish priests were the privileged few who were allowed to participate in theses sacrifices, except for the sacrifice of thanksgiving, the todah sacrifice. This peace offering was initiated by anyone who wanted to thank God for being saved from great danger. The priest would sacrifice the lamb and consecrate bread on the altar. This sacrificial meal was brought to the laypeople’s home and served with wine. There they sang psalms of praise and thanksgiving, such as Psalm 147.
The todah sacrifice is the backdrop for the Catholic mass. The Hebrew word, todah, translates to the Greek word, eucharistia, which is the summit of the mass and the invitation for all to give praise to God. Let us think of our Jewish roots in attending mass by giving thanks. Most of us petition God for our needs and ask for comfort in sorrow as soon as we enter church. However, if we think of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, we should want to thank God first.
Let us take an honest look to see the eminent danger of being without Him. Our eternal life depends on the sacrifice of the one who “heals the brokenhearted”, “binds up our wounds” and “calls us by name”. We are created to praise God and He has invited us to share in the Eucharistic meal, a meal of thanksgiving.