“Behold,” Fourth Sunday of Advent

behold-the-man-study-jeffrey-samuels“Behold.”  The word says what it saw.  Underused but trustworthy.  The curtain’s been lifted.  There are no strings attached and there is no agenda.  Just that one, spoken word that startles you from whatever you were thinking or doing, “Behold.”

It’s a new word in the Catholic Mass that replaces (ready for this!) “This.”  Doesn’t that sounds like a good change from this unchanging Church?  Which word captures and holds your breath, even for a moment – “Behold” or “This”?

“This” is a your bill.”  Now that usage makes sense.  A waiter doesn’t deliver the bill to you saying, “Behold!” unless you’re paying for a party of ten.

“Behold, the Lamb of God…” says the priest at Mass.

When the Body of Christ is raised before receiving it, what other word could possibly describe and what other word rightly describes what is shown before you except…you got it, “Behold.”

“Behold,” 

  • the wafer that you’ve eaten countless times is new this day because it is a new day
  • a degree of alertness is called for because something extraordinary is happening before your very eyes
  • in Western movies, they say “beholding” because now there’s a bond between the giver and the receiver

“Behold.”  If only we could use that word in the presence of another person.  Meeting a good friend at the airport and say, “Behold, it is wonderful to see you again.”  Someone is near death and you say, “Behold, a new life lies before you.”  A youngster earns a gold star on her oddly-shaped elephant drawing and you say, “Behold, this earns the refrigerator door!” Pilate even unknowingly uses the word to present the savior of the world.

Let’s begin each day, or at least after a couple cups of coffee with “Behold.”  “Behold” what lies before us in both challenges and successes, those who stand along side of us and what we allow to live within us.  Because the word “behold” can only be from God.

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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