Who Is The Visitor?

I noticed a curious quote on a Zenit piece on the concluding rites at Mass, attributed to G. Chatziemmanouil in “La Divina Liturgia: Ecco, io sono con voi … sino alla fine del mondo”:

And, while we dare to stammer to our illustrious visitor: ‘It is well to be here’ (Matthew 17:4), Mother Church reminds us that the end of our liturgical journey must become the start of our journey of witness: Let us go in peace! We must leave the Mount of the Transfiguration to return to the world and follow the way of martyrdom in our life.

Jesus, the visitor? In the biblical reference to the transfiguration, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up Mount Tabor. In the Jewish tradition, mountains were God’s country. Peter may well have been stammering–I usually read this scene as classic Petrine foot-in-mouth. But in church, as well as on Mount Tabor, and Mount Sinai, we are more like Moses, Elijah, or the chosen three: invitees and witnesses to the things of God.

I don’t want to pick apart a quote disembodied from an original context, except to offer a caution on liturgical devotion that gets too saccharine. I still prefer the notion of human participation in Christ’s worship of the Father. Jesus is less a visitor at Mass, or really anytime in church, and more of the host.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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