REFLECTION FOR 7-25-21
The past 16 months have certainly had their challenges. With the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, the leaders of the Catholic Church granted dispensation from attendance at Sunday Mass for over 15 months. During a portion of that time, some of the faithful continued to attend Mass while wearing masks, observing social distancing, refraining from singing and kneeling, and even receiving Holy Communion on the way out the door. Other Catholics watched the Mass on TV or found other ways to “Keep Holy the Sabbath.”
Now that the dispensation has been lifted and the obligation to attend Sunday Mass has returned, why should we choose Mass? Is it just because it’s the rule? Or are there other reasons?
The first Mass was actually what is now known as the Last Supper. Two things happened at the Last Supper that provide compelling reasons to attend Mass today. First, after Jesus blessed and distributed the bread and wine which he transformed into his Body and Blood, he gave the instruction to, “Do this in memory of Me.” When we attend Mass, we are honoring Jesus’ last request before he went to Calvary to die in our place.
Secondly, at Mass, we have the awesome privilege of receiving Jesus into our own bodies in the sacrament of Holy Communion. These lines from the hymn “Gift of Finest Wheat” may sum it up best – “The mystery of your presence, Lord, no mortal tongue can tell; whom all the world cannot contain comes in our hearts to dwell.”
At Mass, we experience the solidarity of the community of believers who share our faith. There is strength in numbers, and Jesus has promised that “where two or three are gathered in my Name, there am I in their midst.”
Of course, the list goes on and on…At Mass, we hear the Word of God proclaimed and explained so that we can better understand it and live it out in our daily lives. We sing the words of the beautiful hymns that also help to deepen our spiritual growth. And, as we sit in the house of the Lord, we can join our voices to the angels and saints who have gone before us as we praise our merciful and loving God.
So, I propose that the real question is not “Why choose Mass”; but rather, “Why would you want to be anywhere else?”