“Behold,” Fourth Sunday of Advent

behold-the-man-study-jeffrey-samuels“Behold.” The word says what it all. Underused, but colorfully trustworthy. The curtain’s been lifted. There are no strings attached. There is no agenda. The package has arrived. The fat lady just sang. The boat’s docked. The alarm went off. It’s one 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 sound like a good change from this unchanging Church? Which word captures and holds your breath, even for a moment – “Behold” or “This”?

“‘This'” is your dinner 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 now at Mass who once only said, “This is the Lamb of God.” An angel appears in your living room and first says, “Behold!” If I was one of those biblical characters, I’d say, “You can cut the ‘behold’ part – just seeing you got my attention. Typing this I use an exclamation point after that word. That’s redundant.

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 right 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 like meeting a good friend at the airport and saying, “Behold, it’s 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 faithfully walk alongside us and what beliefs and principles we allow to live and deepen within us. Because the word “behold” can only begin and end with God.

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. All available on Amazon.com
“Soulful Muse,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons
of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
“Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up

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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