Through a series of informational articles, we will try to explain terms, prayers, and actions that happen at Mass and why they happen. You will learn about the prayers the priest prays silently during Mass, as well as the people’s parts. References to GIRM in italics refer to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the book from which rites related to the Mass are codified. We hope this information will help to make your participation in Mass more meaningful and understandable.
Why come to Mass?
1. Obligation of the Church – the third Commandment admonishes us to “Keep holy the Sabbath Day.” It is considered very serious if you don’t go to Mass every weekend. One should feel that it is so important and so necessary to receive the benefits of Mass that we should be obligated to go. The Church says Mass is the highest form of worship. God wouldn’t have given such lengthy attention to this commandment in the Bible if it wasn’t very important: “Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day He rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-11)
2. Given and first celebrated by Jesus on Holy Thursday (Luke 22:14-20).
3. Gathers us as a community of believers to give thanks to God for all His blessings.
4. We receive Jesus’ resurrected body and blood at Holy Communion and are strengthened spiritually. The Real Presence of Jesus is present in the Mass. You can pray anywhere, but you can only receive Jesus, body & blood, soul & divinity, at Mass. Transubstantiation is the term used to describe the change that occurs when the priest consecrates the bread and wine which becomes the risen Jesus’ glorified body & blood.
5. Jesus said in John 6:53: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life with you.” Again, this is only available during the celebration of the Mass.
6. We encounter Jesus more fully and completely at Mass than anywhere else except Heaven in two major ways: Word & Eucharist.
Why do you come to Mass?