And now for those who do not read Español but would LOVE to know what the heck it is that I am posting…
Here you go…
Once again, Bless you Father Leo, and thank you for Catechizing and Educating us all…
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (2011)
Basic understanding about Mass!
Our faith is founded on the Commandments, traditions & precepts of God. We live our life based on the law of God & the world. In life, we face so many do’s & don’ts, thou shall & thou shall not, do this & avoid that & so on & so forth. Even the church is founded by the laws of God & man.
When we celebrate Mass, we need to follow certain standards or rubrics or liturgy. God definitely wants us to be with Him in Heaven, that is the reason why He guides us down the right path and to do the right thing, the reason why He wants us to do good & avoid evil. He wants us to go in the right direction, to be in the right place & at the right time.
Let me share with you a little background & history of our celebration, the Holy Eucharist. I want to make this a series of explanations for us to understand fully what Mass is all about.
We are Eucharistic people but until we deeply understand what Mass is all about, Mass won’t take its deeper roots in our life.
People stay away from church because they normally don’t understand the value & meaning of the Mass. I took this from my former parish St. Rose of Lima, Simi Valley, under Fr. Joe Shea, pastor.
We focus first on the names that developed throughout history. In the NT, Mass is referred to as the “Breaking of the Bread” when Jesus instituted the Eucharist (Mt. 26:26-29) & the action by which the disciples on the road to Emmaus recognized the risen Lord.
It is also called “Eucharist” in the early days, a Greek word meaning “thanksgiving or to give thanks”. During the Mass, we gathered together to give thanks to God.
Later, Mass was called “Holy Sacrifice”. As Catholic Christians, we believe that the one & the same Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary is made present on the altar. The Sacrifice on Calvary is made accessible to us; we can close our eyes & know that the moment of salvation is here. That moment was & is so Divine that it transcends time & space & is made present to us believers so that we can enter into that Paschal Mystery.
Even later, our greatest prayer & act of worship was called the “MASS”, a word derived from the final dismissal of the Eucharist, in Latin “Ite missa est” which means “Go, you are sent”. We are sent forth to live what we celebrate in the holy Eucharist.
During every Eucharist, we believe that Jesus is present in four profound ways:
1. Christ is present in the congregation that gathers to praise & worship. In Mt. 18:20, Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst.”
2. Christ is present in the person of the priest, who represents Christ the high priest, as the priest celebrant leads the Eucharist. The priest always act in “Persona Christi”, in the person of Christ.
3. Christ is present in the Word of God that is proclaimed & explained.
4. Christ is preeminently present in the bread & wine that becomes the Body & Blood of Christ.
As in the early Church, Mass has two main parts: Liturgy of the Word & Liturgy of the Eucharist. Before Vatican II, if you were late to attend the first part, you could still attend the second part & fulfill your Sunday obligation BUT Vatican II placed an equally important emphasis on Both parts of the Mass. It is no longer acceptable to come late to Mass & miss the Scripture readings & the homily. (That’s why other priests get mad if you’re late…not me because if you are, you have to triple your collection!)
The roots of the Mass lay in the Last Supper, the Passover meal that Jesus shared with his friends. Jesus instituted the Mass or the Eucharist at the last Supper (cf. Mt. 26:26-28, Mk. 14:22_24, Luke 22:17-20, 1 Cor. 11:23-25) Vatican II document on Liturgy states that Jesus gave us the Eucharist in order to perpetuate the Sacrifice on the Cross throughout the ages until He should come again…(SC 47) When Jesus said to His apostles, “Do this in memory of me,” we believe Jesus meant those words for each one of us, not just the priest.
So Sunday Mass is a very solemn obligation. To explain why & how…’til we meet again next time!
Why do we need to come together in the Eucharist, is one of the basic questions we need to answer next time.
Remember mass is not only an obligation, it is a way of life!