The reason that so much time is being devoted to the explanation of Holy Mass is because, “The Lord our God is Lord alone! And we need to love the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul and all our mind and with all our strength.” And “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Holy Mass is the most perfect expression of our love for God and our neighbor.
Better said, Holy Mass is the most perfect expression of God’s love for us. He loved us first and we can never outdo Him in love. We are wrapped up in mystery far beyond our understanding, but we get glimpses of beauty as we grow in faith. Mass is always about a celebration—a thanksgiving—a dinning experience. With the fast pace life we lead, we are forgetting how to have a good time, to say thank you and we are forgetting how to dine. Countless families rarely make time to sit with each other to share a meal. Jobs, homework, evening commitments make sitting together almost impossible. Televisions in every room promote individualism. Entertainment has become our greatest distraction, so much so, that we have forgotten how to enjoy each other’s company. Even at restaurants, folks that are at the same table are all on a cell phone. The apparatuses have become more important than the person in front of us. Little wonder that the common complaint at Holy Mass, especially from young people is, “I’m bored.” Consider that that is how you got here. Mass can never be boring when we are in conversation with the One who made us, the One who sustains us, the One who loves us more than we love ourselves. We are indeed a distracted generation—paranoid—afraid of our own shadow. The statistics are clear: cell phones, I Pads, laptops have lowered the thinking capacity of children. But we keep using them. The devices have become a popular way to pacify restless behavior. Rather than using discipline, a gadget in their hands keeps them quiet.
Mark well—the consequences will be devastating. Failure to teach the children, abandoning parental responsibilities, absence of classroom management will yield children who do not care—who do not know how to think for themselves—that’s why they don’t pay attention—no one has taught them how.
That’s where love starts—at home—spending time with each other. Parents need to teach their children to respect one another and that people are more important than machines. Holy Mass is approximately one hour, a little more, a little less. Takes discipline to be present, not only physically, but mentally. We cannot be present if we are texting during Mass. Bells sometimes help to focus our attention. When the priest places his hands over the bread and the wine the Holy Spirit is invoked. The bells are rung once to remind us of the importance of Who is becoming present before our eyes. The laying on of hands is the sign for transferring power. That is how Aaron ordained his sons, how bishops and priests are ordained. The hands of a priest are anointed with sacred Chrism, which thus empower him to confect the sacraments. The institution narrative, words taken from the mouth of Jesus from the Last Supper, are what we re-enact in memory of the One whom we eat and drink. At the Communion Rite the priest breaks a small piece of the consecrated host and puts it in the chalice. Silently the priest says, “May this mingling of the body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.” A symbolic action now, however at the beginning of the Church the Bishop would take a small part of his host and have a rider carry it to the communities in his territory and place the piece in the chalice of the presbyter—to show the unity of the Bishop with his priests. Soon after Holy Communion is celebrated comes the sending off. Remember that’s what Mass means—sent. Ite, Missa est. Go forth, the Mass is ended. Better said, the Mass is on the way to where we will make a difference.
To the extent that we love one another, beginning in our family, we will make Christ present. Because we are not far from the kingdom of God.