16 May 2017
The Second Vatican Council called for “fully conscious and active participation” in the liturgy. And what we’re called (by baptism) to participate in is what God is doing. God is the one who calls us to himself, who speaks to us through Scripture, who gives himself to us in the Eucharist; God is the one who sends us out to “go and announce the gospel of the Lord.” We’re participating in what God is already doing.
And that’s a reason why we have the Sign of Peace at Mass. Jesus said to his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” God is offering us his peace, and we participate in that by receiving his gift of peace, and then offering the same gift to others. But it isn’t just a cordial greeting that we offer; it’s the peace of God.
Christ’s peace is his oneness with God the Father, and that “oneness” we know as the Holy Spirit. Christ extends to us an offer of his peace. He offers us a share in the divine life of God, the Holy Trinity. In other words, his peace is “life, life in abundance.” That’s what we want to be “fully, consciously, and actively participating” in today and forever: the life of God, the peace of Christ.
And our participation in that is renewed at every Mass, every time we receive “the peace of the Lord,” and share that same wish of peace and life with our neighbors.