In the Unleash the Gospel Pastoral Letter, Archbishop Vigneron reminds us, “In the Holy Eucharist we reach the summit of our participation in the victory of Christ over sin and death.” But many Catholics don’t always experience the Mass as exciting or important. Perhaps we need to take a deeper look into what exactly is going on when we go to Church. Together, let’s dive into the why behind the Mass.
Distracted At Mass?
Everyone gets distracted at Mass, so you don’t need to beat yourself up about it.
Do a heart check: what are you looking for when you come to Mass? Wherever you find yourself, here are some ways to attune your heart during Mass:
- Ask the Lord for help: “Lord, help me stay present to the Mass today.” Remember Jesus says, “without me you can do nothing.”
- Arrive 10 minutes before Mass begins to recollect and be alone with God.
- Even if you are familiar with the prayers of the Mass, try following along with the Missal in your pew. Sometimes, certain prayers will stand out to us when we read them, in addition to hearing them.
- When you find your mind wandering, be gentle with yourself. Simply bring your attention back to the celebration, and ask yourself, “What is Jesus speaking to me at this moment?”
- If you attend Mass with others, ask them, “What struck you about the readings today?” Share your insights too.
Get to know the Mass
“With the Eucharist, God has truly given us everything. Although God is all-powerful, He is unable to give more; though supremely wise, He knows not how to give more; though vastly rich, He has not more to give.” –St. Augustine
The Mass matters because the sacraments matter. The Mass is our participation in the re-presentation of the Paschal Mystery–that is, the death and resurrection of Jesus. But there are many moving parts during Mass that can be distractions for us. Let’s talk about what we see at Mass and how they can lead us to God.
- Learn about the meaning of the liturgical colors we see at Mass.
- Listen to Fr. Craig and Fr. David’ experience of celebrating the Eucharist from a priest’s perspective.
- Spend time with Jesus in prayer throughout the week in your local Adoration Chapel – Eucharistic Adoration is an extension of the Mass.
- Hear Archbishop Allen Vigneron share about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the larger context of our relationship with God.
- Prepare for Sunday by subscribing to Unleash the Gospel’s 52 Sundays, and receive dynamic and family friendly reflections, activities, recipes, fun facts, prayers, and more right in your email inbox–all for free!
- Ask your parish priest about his favorite part of the Mass.
- Invite grandparents, parents, or neighbors to share about what they know about the Mass, and consider this question yourself.
- Invest in understanding the Mass by reading about it. Here are some suggestions:
Enter into the Word:
“Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” —St. Jerome
Why should Catholics read the Bible? Archbishop Vigneron tells us clearly in Unleash the Gospel that Sacred Scripture is to be a foundational part of our lives as missionary disciples, “Listening and responding to God’s word in the Sacred Scriptures must be at the heart of our efforts to unleash the Gospel. One who is in love desires to know more and more about the beloved” (Marker 3.2).
Let’s get practical about how we can enter into the Word and learn more about Jesus:
- Review the Mass readings the night before you attend Mass; let them stir your heart (readings can be found on the USCCB website).
- Spend time with Scripture throughout the week in between Sundays.
- Hear from your fellow missionary disciples about how to read the Bible
- Be inspired by the saints’ love for Scripture.
- Bring a Mass companion with you like Word Among Us or Magnificat.
- Designate a “Mass journal” to capture during Mass what catches your attention about. the readings, so that you can return to these insights throughout the week.
- Learn how powerful Scripture is from Archbishop Vigneron on the Eyes on Jesus podcast.
“Since all Scripture speaks of Christ, immersing ourselves in the word is a way to deepen our initial encounter and grow in our relationship with him.” Let us open our hearts to Christ through opening our hearts to the Word (Marker 3.2).
God’s word is “living and active” (Heb 4:12). Let God’s living and active Word transform your life by giving his Word your attention at Sunday Mass, and throughout the week. Give the Lord time to speak to you. Receive what he has for you. You’ll be surprised at how close the Lord will draw near to you.
The Power of the Eucharist
“In that little Host is the solution to all the problems of the world.” —Saint John Paul II
Jesus tells us, “I am the Bread of Life.” When we receive the Eucharist, we come before the Lord in the same faith that the apostles lived out in the early days of the Church. Unleash the Gospel (Marker 3.4) reminds us, “In this Most Blessed Sacrament we have the source of our zeal and strength to unleash the Gospel.”
Here are 7 things to keep in mind when it comes to the Eucharist:
- The Eucharist is truly Jesus.
- The Eucharist is vital to our relationship with Jesus.
- The Eucharist heals us.
- The Eucharist strengthens our community.
- The best way to prepare for the Eucharist is by making a good Confession.
- Receiving the Eucharist gives us courage to fight our battles.
- The Eucharist is the summit of all of our aspirations.
Share the Mass with others:
When you have good news, the natural response is to share it with others. Vatican II tells us that the Mass is the “source and summit of our lives as Christians.” This is why inviting others to Mass is important, especially as we continue to move forward from the pandemic.
Unleash the Gospel makes it clear: “Through the Eucharist we become stamped with the pattern of Christ’s own self-giving love so that we can reproduce that pattern in our own lives. Thus the goal of the liturgy is never just to receive the sacrament and go home; it is to become a living tabernacle through which Christ is made present to others” (Marker 3.4).
- Don’t be afraid to mention Mass in conversation with others, even if they are not Catholic.
- Share about your love for Jesus in the Eucharist with your friends.
- If neighbors or friends have not returned to Mass after the lockdowns, gently invite them to attend with you the next Sunday.
- Welcome newcomers at your parish to your spiritual home.
- Consider joining the hospitality team at your parish; if they don’t have one, start a team.
- Share podcasts with your friends about the Eucharist, such as this one with Fr. John Riccardo.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you to share Jesus.
The Mass can transform your life. Attending Mass will empower you to grow into a stronger disciple of Jesus; let his victory enter into your life. Tap into the power to unleash the Gospel through this gift of our faith, but most of all, encounter the Lord and the truest desire of your heart.