"Do this in memory of me." Lk 22:19
One of the most important words in the Catholic tradition is remember, and today, on the feast of the Dedication of the Church of St. John Lateran, is a good time to reflect upon it. When we pause to remember the Dedication of a church, we do so, not first to admire the building, no matter how beautiful, but to offer a prayer of gratitude for all the people who gathered there over the centuries. We remember the people who put brick upon brick; we remember the joy generations of people felt to be free enough to gather in faith for small and great feasts and, in the case of St. John Lateran, we remember that it is the parish of the Pope, the community to which the Holy Father belongs, the people given to him as pastor so that he might be renewed in his own faith.
Each day for many of us at the Eucharist, and at least once a week for all of us, we are called together to remember our baptism, that we are church. We gather for the celebration of the "breaking of the bread" with other believers as members of Christ's body knowing that when we are together in Christ, faith comes alive in a visual way. We gather to be re-membered, bonded to one another in hope. Some of us are hands, others feet, but all have a role and function in the living body of Christ.
The first action of the church, moreover, when we gather is to take a moment to reflect on our lives and ask pardon for those times when we forgot who we were, when we ignored the gospel, when we failed to be Christ's body for others. Then we listen and ask God that the scriptures themselves will help us remember the saving love of God for his people and Jesus' handing himself over to God as servant. More, we remember that though the church struggled early in its life to be good news, she never forgot that Christ was her center and the one to whom she would always return for nourishment and strength.
When we enter the liturgy of the Eucharist we intentionally remember and repeat the Eucharistic words of Jesus: This is my body; this is my blood, given up for you and for all. Remembering that Jesus is the bread of life given for our nourishment and renewal in faith helps us remember that we must be bread for others. In this way, we prepare ourselves to be sent into the world so that others can find in us the love of God in Christ and be lifted up in hope.
Today, thank God for anyone who helps you remember who you are in Christ.