Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (Jn. 1:29). ⧾
This declaration made by John the Baptist and which we hear before the reception of Holy Communion at every Mass, is a succinct summary of the mission of the Messiah and the mission of the Church. As we noted last Sunday in our meditation, the mystery of the Church is the proclamation of this truth through the ages: Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (Jn. 1:29). This proclamation engages all of us actively through the works of mercy and service, both spiritual and corporal, as we endeavour to alleviate the burden of sin; and passively or mysteriously as we share in the mission of the Son of God, the Lamb of God through the union of our own suffering with His. This union of our suffering with the Atoning Sacrifice of Our Lord made present in the Mass is a source of grace and of reparation; and this union is at once both active and passive, enabling us to find meaning and purpose in suffering, drawing us into the saving work of Christ through faith and obedience. When we come to understand this truth we see how every prayer, every sacrifice, every act of penance, every act of charity is at the service of the saving Mystery of Christ and nothing is without value or meaning. All of this is mystically brought about through the Mass and for this reason we rightly assert that the Mass is everything.
The Mass should draw us into this saving mystery principally through a profound spirit of adoration for the Sacrificial Presence of God Incarnate. Our conformity and devotion to the instructive and transformative grace of the sacred liturgy is the fullest form of participation in the sacred rites of the Church. As we commemorate the events and mysteries of Our Lord’s public life in the yearly cycle of the sacred liturgy, we consciously undertake a transformation in Christ in the awareness that this transformation is gradual and mystical, touching our hearts, our minds and emotions. This is how we correctly understand the term active participation at Mass.