In this episode of Symbolon, we explore the Holy Mass and how as Catholics, we gather to celebrate the Lord’s supper. When we refer to the Liturgy of the Eucharist in Holy Communion, we say the same prayers which the early Christians recited at mass uniting us with the early Church thus commemorating Christ’s sacrifice as it was in this last supper. The episode was all-encompassing and offered answers to these common questions:
What is the order of the Mass?
- Introductory Rites
- Liturgy of the Word
- Liturgy of the Eucharist
- Concluding rites
What is the significance of the Introductory rites?
They allow us to prepare ourselves for Mass while asking for forgiveness and getting our mind, body and soul ready to celebrate and be a part of the sacrifice.
Why do we worship in a ritual manner?
When we worship, we do so with body and soul; this means it is necessary to accommodate a stance of worship. Ritual words are taken from Scripture and infused into prayers used during Mass. Some of these words are:
- Peace be with you; and with your spirit
- The Sanctus- Holy, holy, holy
- Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof (The Centurion’s prayer)
What is the Liturgy of the word?
It’s the part of the mass where the Word is proclaimed and we encounter God speaking to us through the Bible. Its made up of the First reading from the Old testament, Second reading from the New testament (but not from the Gospel books) and a reading from the Gospel.
A Responsorial Psalm (from the book of Psalms) is usually taken in between the first and second readings which can be seen as the congregation’s response to the first reading; It was also a staple part of worship during the time of the Jews. The first reading is also significant in showing the connection between the Old testament and the Gospel; the Gospel also points out Jesus Christ’s workings and fully helps us to understand the Old testament.
What comes after?
The Homily focuses on the message in the readings or a certain period of the church’s calendar. It reminds us of who Christ is, what the scripture is saying and how we apply it to our daily lives. All our prayers, intentions and concerns are taken up to God during the mass.
To prepare for the Eucharist, the priest standing in the person of Christ takes the gifts of the people, bread and wine is blessed and we are made present through the sacrifice.
What is the Liturgy of the Eucharist?
This is where transubstantiation takes place; we receive body and blood, soul and divinity in the Communion. The gifts of bread and wine are transformed to the body and blood of Christ. When we are presented with Communion, the priest says “The Body of Christ” to which we respond “Amen” as we confirm our acceptance of Christ himself. It means that we are going to live doing what Christ asked us to do which is celebrate the Eucharist in His memory.
What is the significance of the Concluding rites?
Here, we are sent off to bring Christ to the world and it is an opportunity to give ourselves to the Lord. The world desperately needs to see Jesus in through our eyes and as Christians, we need our lives to be the Gospel through which others are attracted to a life in Christ.
It is also our Catholic obligation (CCC 2181) to attend mass every Sunday and on Holy days of Obligation as God asked us to keep Holy the Sabbath, to give thanks, honour and glory to the creator of the universe. Going to mass is not a spectator event, we need to actively participate and go forth to be Christ to others, being the peace that others need.
Rather than consider what you are getting out of mass, ask yourself how you are preparing for Mass. Do you seek to understand every aspect of the mass or do you just attend and accept it as a weekly ritual?
The Holy Mass is very symbolic and makes better sense when we open up our hearts and minds to the significance of certain rituals. Do not be afraid to ask questions in a group of young people like yourself. Approach any priest you feel comfortable with or reach out to us so we can help you with getting the answers to your specific questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Will you join us at our next session?