While in college, I participated in a music ministry program. We were a group of students, musically inclined, that studied the liturgy together and collaborated to select the music, coordinate the choirs, and play/sing at the Masses. We met periodically with the heads of the campus ministry music program to learn more about the liturgy, how to select appropriate music and grow together as a community.
In particular, we studied the Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concillium (SC), the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Periodically, we would have quizzes on what we were learning. Our liturgy director would jokingly say, “If you don’t know the answer, just put down SC #10. It covers everything. This is the famous source and summit passage. Simply put, the liturgy is both the source from which the Church and her people draw their faith and the summit toward which all the actions of the Church are aimed. It really encompasses everything.
As I was driving home with John from Sunday school, this memory came to mind. I had asked John what he had learned about that day. He did the typical “I don’t know.” I pressed him further, asking if they had heard any stories. He said, yes, one about Jesus. I asked what Jesus was doing in the story. “Dying on the cross” was his answer.
Now, it is very possible that they did talk about the sacrifice of Jesus, but I am inclined to think that they probably did other things, based on the papers he was sent home with. Regardless, John taught me a very important lesson about our faith.
When it all is boiled down, our faith is about the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, the Paschal Mystery. Without the Paschal Mystery, we just have a nice guy who said some unique things a long time ago. The power, the compelling witness, the suffering faith of Christians everywhere, comes from the Paschal Mystery – the source. As Christians, we are called to become Christ.
But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to live [just] as he lived. (1 John 2:5-6).
So in a way, John got it right. Regardless of what they actually talked about, it can be traced back to the source, to Jesus. And at the same time, it pointed toward our ultimate goal, union with Jesus.