This is a recap of five reflections from a series printed in our bulletin the first weeks of Easter on the importance of participating in Sunday Mass, and why we should commit ourselves to weekly Sunday Eucharist:
IT IS JESUS HIMSELF WHO INVITES US TO MASS
The most fundamental reason to come to Mass is that Jesus is inviting each of us. In Saint Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he writes:
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor 11:23-24)
OUR FAITH AND FRIENDSHIP WITH JESUS DEEPENS AND GROWS AT MASS
J.R.R. Tolkien, the much-loved Catholic writer, said “The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion.” This term, Communion, means a profound union with Christ, specifically in the Eucharist. Because Jesus is truly present at the Mass, this is where we go to form, nurture and deepen our faith and friendship with Christ.
VIRTUAL MASS IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR THE REAL THING
Live-streamed Masses have been a blessing for many people during the Covid-19 pandemic, and continue to nourish the faith of those who are simply unable to attend in person. In ordinary situations, virtual Mass is not a substitute for being physically present. We all know from the experience of being separated from our loved ones that meeting on a screen is not the same as being together in the same place.
Yes, a virtual Mass can be a powerful aid to us making a spiritual communion when illness or grave obligations prevent our being at church, but it is not the same as being both spiritually and physically present to God in the same place where He is sacramentally present to us.
GOING TO MASS HELPS US GROW IN HUMILITY
Some people worry they aren’t holy enough to go Mass; or some think they don’t need Mass to be holy or spiritual. There is a saying that: “The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” If the Church is a hospital, the Mass and the Eucharist are Her remedy and medicine.
The Mass reveals and offers God’s mercy to sinners. If we come to Mass like the blind man at Bethsaida, crying out Kyrie eleison! (Lord have mercy!), we will grow in humility, recognize that we are in need of help, find the source of that help, and grow in holiness, which is intimacy with God. We cannot heal ourselves, but we can come to Mass and be healed.
GOING TO MASS DEEPENS OUR SENSE OF MISSION
Mission is at the heart of the Mass. Our English word Mass comes from the Latin word missa, whose root is missio, meaning mission or sending. After we have received the LORD in Holy Communion and have given thanks, we are blessed and sent on mission to live and proclaim the Gospel we have heard, sharing with everyone we encounter what has been given to us in the Mass.
¨ Go forth, the Mass is ended.
¨ Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.
¨ Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.
¨ Go in peace.