La Salette, a Blessing
(Corpus Christi: Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-36; Luke 9:11-17)
“Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you.” These words are recited by the priest at the offertory of every Mass.
This is such an ancient prayer (as reflected also in Jewish practice), that one is tempted to think that when Jesus, in the Gospel, “said the blessing” over the loaves and fish, and over the bread and wine at the Last Supper, he may well have used words almost identical to those.
Melchizedek, in the first reading, prays in similar terms, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth,” and then adds, “Blessed be God Most High.” Who is blessing whom? We understand how God blesses us, but how can we bless God?
The Hebrew verb “to bless” is related to the Hebrew noun meaning “the knee.” When we bless God, we are bending our knee to him, a gesture of worship. But in that case, how does God bless us, since he cannot possibly worship us?
When he blesses us, God “bends the knee” in order to come down to us in our need, much as we might kneel by the side of a person who has fallen.
In today’s solemnity we give thanks for the Eucharist—which itself means thanksgiving—and for the priesthood which makes it possible for the Church to carry out Jesus’ command, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
Most of us are able to attend Mass daily if we wish. But in many parts of the world the faithful cannot receive the Eucharist daily or even weekly, but only when a priest makes the rounds. Then they flock to the Mass from miles away. (Please pray for priestly vocations.)
Those whom Our Lady of La Salette called “my people” had fallen so low that they did not recognize the gift of the Eucharist, even though it was easy to get to the local Church. So Mary, having so often bent the knee to her Son on our behalf, came down to us in the hope of raising her people to a life worthy of the name of Christian.
Through the Beautiful Lady, God has blessed us. There are many ways in which we may bless him in return.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.