This coming Friday May 24, summer began—maybe not on the calendar, but the school year, 2018–2019, has finished. What a glorious season of the year, but then I enjoy all seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. As we enter the summer months, I always take a look at our prayer life, especially regarding weekend Mass. Can’t we just pray at home, or on the lake, or on the mountain top and do just as well in our relationship with God?
The Mass is the best expression of what it is to be a Catholic. It is the very first thing that the early Christians felt they needed to do. After Pentecost, they recalled that Jesus had instructed them to gather for the “breaking of the bread” (their way of speaking about the Mass). In this way, they believed they would experience the presence of the Risen Lord.
Within the Mass people of all walks of life sit together: the well-to-do sit next to the unemployed; children sit with their parents; people who don’t even like each other during the week are there at the Lord’s table; many times people of different races, ethnic groups, and even of different languages are united in prayer and song. There are college graduates alongside those who didn’t finish high school; factory workers alongside business people...the list goes on. All are there because they share one thing in common: their faith in Jesus Christ and their identity as Catholics. It’s a “uniting of everybody” Church, and you belong there also.
In our prayers, singing, and silence we can experience the presence of Jesus in others around us and within our own hearts and minds. More than in any other way, we believe that at Mass He is in our midst. Never forget the promise that Jesus made, that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Last Sunday I concelebrated with Fr. Mac the 10:00 am Vietnamese Mass as 10 young people received First Holy Communion. Even though it was in Vietnamese and I didn’t know the words, I knew what we were doing, “we were gathered around the altar of the Lord in the celebration of the Eucharist”.
When I pray the Eucharistic prayer, we believe it to be the prayer of Jesus making present here and now the very sacrifice He offered on the cross and offered to God the Father in the name of all of us. We share in that offering. This is why we attend (or “bother”) with Mass every Sunday, or do you???