Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Mass Explained

As I said in my last post, I've been listening to The Mass Explained by Fr Larry Richards. It's great. There was very little new information, given that I've read the books by Scott Hahn's and Mike Aquilina's. However, he didn't talk as much about why we did the Mass the way we do, but what it meant to God and what it should mean to us.

I'm not going to quote the whole CD (although I have notes from it all), but I would like to share some of the things that really struck home for me.

Abraham was told by God the Father, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love, and give him to me." And Abraham goes and does that. He's walking up the hill and Isaac says to him, "Father, here is the wood and here is the fire, but where is the lamb for sacrifice?" And Abraham pronounces something which is prophecy, "God himself will provide the lamb." ...

At the top of the mountain he ties up his son and goes to offer him up. What is happening at this moment is that all the other Baals and gods of these other people said, "to prove you love me give up your children to me." And they sacrificed their children. When Abraham was told to do that by God he was thinking, "Ok, you're just like all the other gods."

But see what happens, right when Abraham is ready to kill his son, God says, "Don't you dare! Abraham, don't give up your son to prove your love for me. Abraham, I will give up my Son, to prove my love for you!" And that's what happens at every Mass.
I knew this, I really did, but I suppose I'd never really thought about how this was God's Son, His only Son, whom He Loves.
Do you know what it cost Jesus to give us the Mass? It cost Him His life. To give us the Mass it cost Him His life. If we are truly going to enter into any Mass, it must cost us our lives... We don't go to Mass to see what we can get. We go to Mass to die and to rise again...
In the fourth century it was a crime punishable by death to be caught at the Mass...All these Christians are being killed just because they are going to Mass. So finally the Emperor asks some Christians, "Why don't you just stop going to Mass." And this is what they say, "Christians make the Eucharist and the Eucharist makes the Christian. Without the Eucharist, we cannot live."

They're saying, "we can't be alive, we can't live, we can't be Christian without the Eucharist. I would rather die then not receive Christ in the Blessed Sacrament"

...Can we say that ourselves? Can we say, "I cannot live without the Eucharist."?

We must go to every Mass as if it's our first Mass, our last Mass and our only Mass...
Can I say that? The God of the universe gets down, on his hands and knees and to wash us clean and I wonder whether the floor will make my knees dirty. Our Lord has the audacity to humble himself and become food for us, while I have the audacity to be distracted and bored. Lord, grant me the ability to truly know and love you in the Blessed Sacrament. Teach me to love you in the mass.
I offer up my whole life at the offertory so that I may be transformed into Christ...

When you're one with Jesus, you're one with everyone else...You know the person next to you right now? That person, if you make it to heaven, you're going to love that person more than anyone else on this earth. And if they make it their going to love you the same way...Heaven is the place where God will love us, we'll love each other and we'll love him, intimately, forever. Heaven is about love and at every Mass we get to experience that reality.

When he sends you forth, it means "Go forth!" Go forth and be Christ to the world now, go and make disciples of all nations... Go forth and show the reality that you've just received the God of the universe and now you will be the presence of God by being his tabernacle to the world.
How many times have I received Jesus and run out the door? How often I've been afraid to talk to someone, afraid to say hi, afraid to have the wrong words. How often I've been afraid to love, even after seeing how much God loves me. Oh Lord, help me to learn to love as you love so that I may bring your love to the world. Amen.

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