Help to understand the importance of Mass and why you are missing
it, from Newsletter 26th April:
My dear People, I know we all miss being at Mass so much. I know also that very many of you do go on the internet and live-stream Masses and other Devotions from all over the world. It is great that we are able to do that today. But nothing can replace that coming together and being with the Lord.
Virtual reality is fine, except … that you don’t have a virtual reality breakfast or dinner. It won’t satisfy you for very long!
One reason, among many, why we miss Mass is that it is what Jesus asked us to do, and it is Jesus giving himself to
us in his physical body and blood, which feeds and nourishes us. I know every year in
Easter time I remind you
that all the sacraments flow from the Easter Mystery, especially The Mass. Vatican II referred to The Liturgy as
“the source and summit of the Christian life,” from which the whole of Christianity flows, and to which it returns. All parts of The Mass come from the scriptures and from Jesus himself.
The Mass begins with the Opening Rite, the Gathering of the People, and the very start says why we are missing it; we are unable to gather. Normally we come together as the Catholic community, beginning with either the Entrance Hymn to join in, or the Entrance Antiphon, (always used on weekdays, which is a verse from a psalm or scripture), after which follows The Greeting. As we gather we are invited to look into our hearts and acknowledge our sins.
Think of the first Easter Night, as the disciples are gathered in the upper room, and the Risen Lord comes, “Peace be with you.” (When a/the bishop is present, as a successor of the apostles, that is also his greeting) Jesus knew how uneasy the disciples were, so he reassures them, saying peace again, and commissioning them to forgive sins (Jn. 20:19ff)
We then pray the Kyrie, Eleison (Lord, have mercy) The disciples were glad when they saw the Lord; we sing Gloria in excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the highest; This is song of the angels at Christ’s birth) Then the Collect (the collected prayer of the people) The Ministry of the
Word; Readings from the Old Testament, always answered by a Psalm, a second reading from the New Testament; the preparation for the Gospel, Alleluia acclamation, and a reading from the Holy Gospel.
Then just as Jesus did on the road to Emmaus, the priest is to ‘break open the scriptures,’ opening our hearts, recalling God’s great works for us, and feeling our hearts burn within us! On Sundays we profess our faith, Credo, following Thomas, who on meeting the risen Jesus made his great statement of faith, ‘My Lord and my God.’
Then in our Bidding Prayers we pray for all of humanity; The Church, the world, the living, and the departed.
The Ministry of the Eucharist; we fulfil the Lord’s command to ‘Do this in memory of me.’ (It is good to recall it is a command of the Lord, not just to love God and one another, but to ‘do this’.) The Gifts are offered, Thanksgiving is made in the Preface, the Sanctus, (Holy, holy) sung, and the bread and wine consecrated, become the Body and Blood of the Lord. The Lord’s Prayer and Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) are sung, All this happens as the bread is taken, blessed, broken and given, all as Jesus did at the Last Supper, and also at Emmaus. We receive the Lord and then the Concluding Rite. After a prayer, we are blessed and sent out, rejoicing, re-charged for His service. ‘Go on your mission,’ (Mass is ended, we are fed and nourished by Word and Sacrament)
This is a great reminder that what we celebrate Sunday-by-Sunday, day-by–day, is not what we’ve made up. It is
what Jesus left us, and has been continued since He was with the disciples. The 1st Reading last Sunday from Acts
2:42-47 says “The whole community remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the
breaking of the bread and to the prayers.” (In Eastertime the 1st Readings are from the Acts of the Apostles)
All that we do is from the scriptures.
Dr Scott Hahn in his book “The Lamb’s Supper,” tells how all we do at Mass is there in the scriptures, and esp. in
Apocalypse/ Revelation. The references are here: Sunday Worship 1:10; a high priest 1:13; An altar 8:3-4, 11:1, 14:18. Consecrated celibacy 14:4. Priests (presbyeroi) 4:4, 11:15, 14:3, 19:4. Vestments 1:13, 4:4, 6:11, 7:9, 15:6, 19:13-14. Lamp stands/Menorah/candles 1:12, 2:5. Penitence Chapters 2 & 3. Incense 5:8, 8:3-5. The book or scroll, readings 5:1 Eucharistic Host 2:17. Chalices 15:7 Ch. 16, 21:9 Sign of Cross 7:3, 14:1, 22:4. Gloria 15:3-4. Alleluia 19:1, 3, 4, 6, Holy, Holy, 4:8. Lift up your hearts 11:12, The Great Amen 19:4, 22:21. Lamb of God 5:6 & throughout. Virgin Mary 12:1-6, 13-17. Intercession of Angels and Saints; 5:8, 6:9-10, 8:3-4. Michael, Archangel 12:7.
Readings from Scripture Ch. 2-3,5: 8:2-11. Antiphonal chant 4:8-11, 5:9-14, 7:10-12, 18: 1-8. Priesthood of all the Faithful (the people) 1:6, 20:6. Catholicity/Universality 7:9. Silence 8:1. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb 19:9, 17.
At the Office of Readings for most of Eastertime the 1st Reading is from Apocalypse. John says it was on the
Lord’s Day, Sunday, when he had this vision which is of the Mass. He mentions trumpets and harps, which in his
day were the standard instruments for liturgical music, as the organ is today. Scott Hahn also says, “If you read the
book from end to end, you’ll notice that all of God’s great historical interventions–plagues, wars, and so on–follow
closely upon liturgical actions; hymns, doxologies (that is Glory be) libations and incensing. Scott also notes that
Apocalypse, like the Mass, divides rather neatly into half: Chapters 1-11 is a Proclamation; Liturgy of the Word. The
first 3 chapters form a sort of Penitential Rite, and then the second half, chapter 11v 19 –end of the book, The Liturgy of the Eucharist. It opens with God’s Temple in heaven, with the chalices at the banquet /supper of the Lamb.
I hope all this helps you understand the importance of Mass, and why you are missing it.