St. Paul uses the example of the body to teach unity in the midst of diversity. We all have something to offer…and we all have something to learn from those around us. May we work together – offering our best – to strengthen the Body of Christ.
The celebration of the Eucharist is the highest form of Christian prayer. Jesus defines the bread and wine and his body and blood, and then he commands his disciples to “take and eat…take and drink” in his memory. Besides the readings we will hear at Mass, some other crucial Scripture passages testify to this essential element of our faith:
Luke 22: 14-23
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
What happens when we go to Mass? What do we encounter when we open our hearts to this hour long prayer? Here are few key points:
We hear a good selection of the Word of God
We receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion
We unite in prayer with others
We pray for the sick, those who have died, and our special needs
We have a few moments for silence and reflection
Of course in our fast paced, entertain-me-so-I-won’t-be-bored world, we can look upon the central prayer of the Church and wonder why the Mass doesn’t “get modern.” The reality is that the Mass continues to adapt to the culture and times. The real question is this: Do I come to the Mass with an open heart to encounter the Lord and his disciples? Do I come with a focus to offer my life to be renewed by Christ?
Here are seven ideas for getting the most out of Mass:
Read the Sunday Scriptures ahead of time. This way you can get a sense of the key themes and be better prepared to follow the homily.
Come prepared to pray. This seems obvious, but many people often don’t come with their “list” of intentions and needs. Take some time before Mass to consider who or what in your life could use a prayer.
Pray before Mass starts. Sometimes we can rush into church, drop into a pew, and try to follow along with the Mass. Give yourself 5-10 minutes to reflect on the past week, look to the next, and ask the Lord for guidance and strength. It really helps!
Receive Holy Communion with heightened awareness. This is Jesus Christ who offered his life on a Cross for the salvation of our souls. It’s his blood that was poured out for the forgiveness of our sins. Make that moment of receiving Him intentional and reverent; let the “Amen” come from your heart!
Pray after receiving Holy Communion. You have just received the Lord Jesus into your body – you have become a living Tabernacle – there is no better time to offer the deepest, most important issues on your plate to the one who loves you.
Consider one takeaway that you experienced from every Mass. Name one thing (just one is perfectly fine) that struck you at every Mass. Perhaps it was a point in the homily, a line from a hymn, someone you prayed for, something you experienced, or an insight that came to you in silence. By naming one takeaway you actively participate in the prayer and engage your faith as you live your life.
Use a resource to get the most out of Mass. Some people like a devotional, missal, or prayer booklet – something that can be used both in and out of church. Others prefer an online resource where they can follow up at a website, video, or podcast. Still others favor their smartphones for handheld resources that they can take anywhere. Find what works for you…the only true measure is the resource that helps you engage your faith each and every day.
Jesus Christ gives us the gift of himself in every Mass. He defines what we do and commanded us to do it. Every time we come to Mass we encounter the Lord and allow his grace to transform our lives. May his Body strengthen our bodies; may his Blood flow through our veins.
After all, as his disciples, we have his work to do.
The Eucharist was defined and commanded by the Lord so that his disciples would be strengthened with his Body and Blood to face the challenges of life. May we receive Jesus Christ through our participation at Mass with fervent desire!
Every Mass offers us the miracle of an encounter with Jesus Christ. As we draw near to the altar to receive the Lord in Holy Communion, may we strive to understand WHAT we are doing and WHY we are doing it!
St. Paul teaches that we are part of the Body of Christ, and as members of this body we work with and for one another. What’s more, Jesus explains in a parable that the Kingdom of Heaven is open to many that society might not recognize as belonging to this body.