“Glory to God in the highest… 01Apr2018

and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” This is a good place to begin our appreciation for today’s celebration of the high point of the Paschal Mystery—the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. As the sun rises to brighten our morning and give life to our day, we recall the appearance of the angels to the shepherds (Lk. 2:13-14) on that darkened night when the Son of God entered the world as a newborn, and began a Life that would change the course of history. It would also change us and our relationship with God. That was the purpose of His coming. That is why we echo today the angel’s glorious announcement and pray the words that have been absent from our liturgical celebrations since Ash Wednesday.                     “Glory to God in the highest.”

Now, here is the challenge for each of us. What do those words mean? It may seem an obvious question, but we say them so often and can pray them during the Holy Mass without thinking about them, and probably while our minds wander on to other affairs that have no relationship to the Holy Mass or to the prayer we gloriously proclaim to God in the highest, in thanksgiving for His marvelous gift.

What does the word glory mean? A simple examination of any dictionary will produce words like beauty, splendor, honor, admiration, distinction, high reputation, renown, worship, praise, victory and success. Some dictionaries might even add a reference to an emanation of light that comes from a person of great and holy sanctity, as depicted in religious art. [For those of you interested in the Holy Shroud of Turin, one of the theories concerning its creation includes an intense burst of light as Jesus rose from the dead and His body took on a new and glorious form.] All of these words and ideas apply to the Resurrection we celebrate today, each of them giving us one small insight into an event that, in its totality, is not easy for our human minds to grasp. Let’s go deeper.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word for glory, is kahvohd (pronounced ka-vōd’). Besides all the other meanings, it has a sense of being weighty or heavy. Now, if we add this sense of weightiness or heaviness to all the words above and meditate on these connotations for a while, we can better appreciate the Glorious greatness of God’s generosity to us and, perhaps recalling that beautiful Christmas scene of the angels singing their praise of God, proclaim with a heartfelt enthusiasm,    Glory to God in the highest!      Alleluia!!

Deacon Richard


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