Source and Summit #3 – Greeting
My dear listeners, when the priest kisses the altar is a very important moment of the Holy Mass. Upon entering the sanctuary, the priest approaches the altar and venerates it in a very specific way, he kisses it. This is an act of reverence. .
We usually kiss people and valuable things, things that are important to us. We kiss people and/or objects connected with our history our life, and our beliefs. We kiss the altar because here we sacrifice the Holy Sacrifice, we sacrifice to God the Father our Lord Jesus Christ – the Savior of the world. This is why the altar for believing Catholics is so precious, so important, so valuable that we must pay attention to this act of reverence. Especially you, who are sitting in the church pews, notice how the priest makes this gesture with great respect and dignity. During a Solemn Mass, the priest may also incense the altar, this holy place. I am sure that all of us have seen the incense rite many times. The priest incenses the altar and the cross to remind us that Jesus Christ died for our salvation.
After venerating the altar with a kiss and incense, the Holy Mass begins with the gesture which is very well known for us: the sign of the cross. We start the liturgy of the Holy Mass with the cross, greeting the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is very important to make the sign of the cross gestures distinctly. Because we talk by our gestures. Show me how you make gestures and I can tell what kind of a person you are – whether you truly believe in what you are doing, if you believe in those gestures. Taking care of gestures – it is so important. We begin the Mass with words: “In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit”, the very same words said during our baptism. I beg you – when you start your prayer, wherever you are: in your home, walking down the street, in a church, during Holy Mass, make this gesture distinctly and clearly to demonstrate your true faith and beliefs. After the sign of the cross, the priest welcomes the gathered people with a biblical greeting such as “The Lord be with you”, or “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” When a bishop is presiding, he greets people saying: “Peace be with you.” I think it is critically important to remember that the presider (priest/bishop/etc) is representing Jesus Christ. Thus, it is God Himself who greets us all.