Having a Deeper Understanding of the Mass: Part 2

The Mass is the most awesome thing we can ever do. It is, as it is called, the Source and Summit of all Christian worship and life. It is the source because everything that we do, all the good, all the grace filled moments, Everything comes out of that Eucharist. It’s also called the summit. Think of climbing a mountain. When we reach the summit, when we reach the top of the mountain we can go no further- we have reached the goal. Well, the goal of life is heaven, it’s a unity with God. The Eucharist is the very top of life- it is the living of the meaning of life- being in communion with God (that’s why we say “I’m receiving communion). It is a “foretaste of heaven.” 

Sadly, many people don’t understand the Mass. Many of us grow up going to Mass on Sundays (I hope we can say- EVERY Sunday) but most of us probably don’t know why or what is going on at the Mass. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once spoke of the Mass and used a really great analogy. Imagine you are watching a football game. Let’s say that you are really into football. You know the stats on the players, you know the scoring system and how points are gained. Let’s say you know a lot about the team you are watching and you’re a big fan. One Sunday you are sitting on the edge of your seat and your team just advanced the ball down the field. It’s the 4th down and your team is on the goal line with one more possibility to score the winning point. At that moment, as the commercial break kicks in you go running into the kitchen to grab a drink and some chips and your grandmother, who is over visiting, is in the kitchen. You turn to her and say, “grandma- you gotta come see this, it’s awesome!” Curious, she comes running into the family room to see what all that screaming and commotion is about. The commercial ends and you are there, the moment is about to happen. The ball is snapped, the Quarter back takes the ball, hands it to the running back and he leaps over 2 guys to make the winning touchdown. You jump up and scream, you run around the room, slug your brother in the arm (a necessary ritual) and you hug your grandma. At that moment she looks at you with that look like, “you’re a nut.” You look back at her, “grandma, what’s that look for?” “Look?,” she says as she takes another peek at the replay, “your crazy. What’s the big deal?” You are stunned, “big deal? They just won and that was an amazing play,” you say to her. She laughs at you and shuffles out of the room and goes back into the kitchen. 

Your grandmother did not enjoy, did not experience, the drama of the moment because she didn’t bring any knowledge with her. You know the team, the players, you know the rules and the whole purpose of the game. She, on the other hand, does not know any of that (of course I generalize, there are, in fact, many grandmas that do like football) and because of that she did not get anything out of the game. 

That is the same with the Mass. It is the most awesome, stunning, mysterious event ever and yet, if we don’t bring any knowledge of the Mass to the Mass then it can seem pointless and boring to us. Many times we go to Mass and just sit there waiting for that one weekly hour to be over so that we can get to doing what we want to do. But if we knew what was going on in that sanctuary and on that altar then we would be in awe. We have to bring knowledge to something in order to truly enter into it. This little “blog” (for lack of a better term) is meant to do just that, to help you learn and understand what is going on at the Mass so that you can enter into it and truly love it. Enough of the boredom, enough of the wasting time doing something we know nothing about. Now is the time to learn and to enter into the mystery!