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Look, Receive, and Be Transformed


During this Year of Faith, we will blog reflections and stories to accompany you on your faith journey.
 
braes of balquhidder“Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” – Invitation to Communion
 
Sometime during the 8th or 9th century, St. Angus came to Balquidder, a stunning valley surrounded by forested hills in the Scottish highlands. Moved by its beauty, he said it was a “thin place”—a place where the separation between heaven and earth was very thin. St. Angus built a church on that spot, and it has survived to this day.
 
We, too, experience a “thin place” every time the priest calls us to communion by announcing, “Behold the Lamb of God.” At that moment, the separation between heaven and earth is bridged, and Jesus, the face of God, is revealed in our midst.
 
The supper of the Lamb
The new translation of the Communion Invitation uses the word “behold” rather than the simpler “this is.” The solemn word “behold” is a direct connection to John 1:29, where we read that John the Baptist announces Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
 
This is implies a statement or teaching about something; behold conveys a sense of “here he is” or “pay attention” and signifies clearly and with more majesty an announcement that someone special is present in the liturgical assembly.
 
It is an invitation to look, receive, and be transformed by the body of Christ made present in our midst.
 
A solemn invitation
The second part of the Invitation to Communion, “Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb,” comes from Revelation 19:9, where the angel speaks to John about the martyrs who have shed their blood for Christ. The destiny of the martyrs is not death but a special place at the wedding feast of the Lamb—the eternal feast where all creation will be healed and God’s reign of peace and justice will prevail.
 
The word “behold” is a solemn invitation to look upon Jesus, the Word of God, the Savior of the world, our brother, and receive him who comes to transform us by his death and resurrection. As we find ourselves at the altar of the Lord, we recognize it as a “thin place” where we as Church, God’s people broken and healed, become Christ’s body and are sent forth to glorify God by our transformed lives, to go forth and announce the gospel.
 
Suggestions for Prayer:

    – Pray and reflect on the word “behold.”
    – Reflect on a “thin place” where you experience the divine presence in your ordinary life.
 
Reprinted with permission from Living with Christ. For more information or to subscribe, visit www.livingwithchrist.us or call 1-800-214-3386.
 
Sr. Terry is the Executive Director of RENEW International and a Dominican Sister from Blauvelt, NY.

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