Our Holy Father Pope Francis often speaks about the importance of Sunday Mass. He emphasizes the need for our active participation in the Mass, including, when appropriate, the reception of the Eucharist. He reminds us that we are not called to observe; we are called to participate in the mystery of the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ.
At one of his general audiences, he stated, “ …For Christians, it is vital to participate in the Eucharist, especially on Sundays, since it allows us to unite ourselves with Christ, taking part in His victory over death, and to enjoy the fruits of the resurrection.” He further noted, “The Lord Jesus wants to give us in the Eucharist His Paschal love so we can love God and our neighbor as He loved us, giving up His own life.” These profound words of Our Holy Father should resonate with us as we are in the midst of the Church’s Eucharistic Renewal.
The Catholic publication, “Our Sunday Visitor” also addressed the importance of the need to actively participate in the Mass when it stated, “…when you come to Mass, you pray with your whole being. You use all your senses. You see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. You use your body by genuflecting, sitting, kneeling, standing, walking, and singing.” It went on to note, “The Mass also gives you the opportunity to:
“Seek forgiveness for your sins.
Learn how God’s word impacts your life in the homily.
Offer yourself to the Lord.
Experience the miracle of bread and wine changing into the Body and Blood of Christ.
Reach out to others with the Peace of Christ.
Admit that you are not worthy, and then come forward to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ.
Receive a special blessing.
Be commissioned to go out and make the world a better place.”
The publication also reminds us that, “When we come together at Mass to pray and worship God, we fulfill a deep need inside of us to be in communion with other people. … They help us to see that we are not alone. They remind us that we are all part of the Body of Christ.”
As we reflect on the words of Our Holy Father and the sentiments expressed in “Our Sunday Visitor”, we are encouraged to participate in the Mass in a spirit of reverence, respect and thanksgiving. We are invited to recommit ourselves to making the Mass the heart of our day, not a small part of our day, each Sunday, as we truly and publicly proclaim and live our faith.