We celebrate today the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Body (and Blood) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and what an appropriate time to call everyone back to the celebration of Sunday and Holy Day Masses. We celebrate today specifically the Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Blessed Sacrament. With all of this in mind, it is a good time to begin a series of bulletin columns (and videos) to discuss the Mass, especially considering the teaching from the Second Vatican Council which declares that the Eucharist and the celebration of the Mass is “the source and summit of the Christian Faith.”
I recently saw a meme online which declared, “Mass should be your excuse for missing everything else.” Unfortunately, we often make everything else our excuse for missing Mass. Today, I'll provide five reasons why we should attend Sunday Mass weekly. Of course, it could all boil down to the fact that attending Mass is part of the Third Commandment—Keep Holy the Lord's Day—and that God and His Church has given us the obligation to attend Holy Mass. These five reasons go beyond the Commandments and obligations. It is important to note there is a hierarchy of reasons, so we begin with the most important, then second most important, and so forth.
- God is worthy. God is worthy of our worship and praise. God is deserving of our adoration, deserving of our time and energy. We probably do not think this, but worship is an act of justice. Justice is giving what is due to another person. God has given us everything; God has given us the big things—life, family, health, His Son and His Spirit, redemption, salvation—and the small things. Everything good in our lives is because of God's goodness to us. What is due to God? Everything: our lives, our worship, our thanksgiving, our time. Justice demands that we attend Mass to give God our worship and thanks. God is worthy of our worship and adoration. God is worthy of at least an hour of our time on Sunday.
- We are transformed in the presence of God, even if we don't “get anything out of it.” A person can go outside all day and still get a tan or sunburn, even if it was a slightly cloudy day. This is because we were in the presence of the sun. Similarly, we intentionally place ourselves in the presence of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit when we attend Mass. Even if we don't feel God's presence, even if we don't like the music, even if the homily is boring, even if we don't receive the Eucharist for whatever reason, God's grace is at work in us, transforming us to become more like Jesus Christ.
- We are able to witness the miracle of the Eucharist. As I mentioned above, Jesus Christ gives Himself—Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity—to us in the Eucharist. At the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus says, “I am with you, even to the end of the age.” In the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus is present to us in a real, actual, true, and substantial way. Jesus' promise to remain with us is fulfilled as bread and wine is transformed completely into His Body and Blood, food we consume to transform us into Christ.
- We hear Sacred Scripture. God speaks to us through Sacred Scripture, and at Sunday Mass, we hear passages from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the Epistles (Letters), and the Gospels. We hear how God has worked for our salvation from the beginning of history; we hear how God has been at work in our lives.
- It is a moment when the Communion of Saints gathers together in worship, in song, and in hearing the Scriptures and preaching. We may hear good music and good preaching, so this is the last reason we attend Mass. Most important to this last reason is that we gather together with our parish community to pray, but not only our parish community: the Church Triumphant (those in Heaven), the Church Suffering (those in Purgatory), and all the angels are present at Mass with us!
As we reflect upon these, I believe it is important for us to notice that the two most important reasons for attending Mass have nothing to do with what we receive or how we feel. May Holy Mass become for each of us the excuse for missing everything else.
We are saints under construction, fed by the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Have a great week!