The Eucharist and the Parts of the Mass—Part 2

08-01-2021Fr. Charlie's Homilies & Teaching NotesFr. Charlie
  • A home builder would never start with the roof or windows.  He always begins with the foundation—level ground and a cement foundation.  He then proceeds to build the walls, the joists and all of the structure needed to build a sturdy house that will not collapse
  • God, the Divine Builder and Architect, has done the same: before sending His Son Jesus to redeem us by his Cross and resurrection, he prepared the way for over 2000 years.
    • He begun with the Covenant with Abraham and his descendants, signing the covenant by the circumcision of the males.
    • Then around 1400 years before the Lord’s birth, God revealed to Moses His Name, some of His attributes and the Ten Commandments.
    • He also rained down Manna, bread from Heaven as a sign of his intent to feed His people with Heavenly food.
  • God then commanded His people to observe yearly festivals marking the great events in their history, with the first and greatest of these being the Passover.
  • The Passover was the whole exodus or liberation of the Jews from their slavery in Egypt.  They passed through the Red Sea and continued on their (very long) journey to the promised land.
  • God commanded the Jews to celebrate this event every year as their major feast.
    • They were to begin with sacred meal—the Seder Meal—that included an unblemished lamb, unleavened bread and 4 cups of wine.  There are some other elements as well, such as the charoset and the bitter herbs and a few other items.
    • Note—since the destruction of the temple, when the Jews were no longer able to offer blood sacrifices, they do not eat lamb at their Seder Meal.  We Christians understand that to mean that Jesus is the final lamb that was sacrificed once and for all.
    • Throughout these 3,500 years the Jews do not see the Passover celebration as just an historical event, but as a way of actually being present at the great event of the Exodus. 
      • Of course, that is exactly what we say about the Eucharist—it allows us today to be present at Calvary.
  • If is no coincidence that Jesus chose the Passover as the event in which to Institute the Eucharist and to die on the Cross.
    • It was patently clear to his disciples that Jesus was claiming Himself to be the perfect unblemished lamb to be offered to the Father by His Cross.  He was also the priest who would do the offering.
    • Then by instituting the Eucharist at the Seder Meal, He was saying that this would now be the new Sacred Meal of Remembrance under the New Covenant.
    • In addition to lamb, the Seder meal contained unleavened bread and 4 cups of wine—the cup of sanctification, the cup of deliverance, the cup of remembrance,  and the cup of acceptance.
      • Jesus only drank 3 cups; he said that he would not drink the fourth cup until he was in the Kingdom of Heaven.  But he did drink it at Gethsemene when accepted the cup of suffering that the Father had prepared for Him.
  • Some non-Catholics accuse us of inventing the Eucharist; but all one has to do is to read the Old Testament and the New Testament carefully to see that everything Jesus did was prefigured in the OT.  He was fulfilling all that God had prepared Him to do.
  • This was clearly evident to everyone in the early Church, especially those of Jewish background. 
    • The Cross of Jesus was the New Passover event, leading us from the slavery of sin through the waters of baptism.
    • The Seder Meal was to become the Eucharist, were we could always and forever enter into that event that became for us our salvation.
  • Jesus knew that the Bible alone would not maintain unity in the Church throughout the ages.  The proof is that there are thousands of denominations among Bible-alone Christians, all interpreting the Bible differently. 
    • Instead, he left the the Eucharist.  If you go to Uganda, or Brazil or India or Manilla, the Holy Mass is being celebrated as we are doing right now.  That is what allows us to be catholic—universal.

Gathering Rites

  1. Entrance Antiphon (we will begin to do that)
  2. Gathering Song—bring us together.  “When we sing, we pray twice.”
    1. When the procession party is at the back of the church, we begin with the antiphon and then the song.
    2. Importance of everyone singing.  It doesn’t matter how good or not so good your voice is.  What matters is to lift up your heart in prayer and song to the Lord
  3. Entrance Process—one of 4 processions in Mass
    1. Entrance—this is the beginning of Mass.  This procession is with altar servers with cross, candles, incense; Deacon carrying the Book of the Gospels; Priest and concelebrants.
    2. Offertory-the people bringing up the gifts and perhaps the collection. In the early church, the people would bring up homemade bread and wine as well as food for the priest and for him to give to the poor.
    3. Communion—those who are to receive.
      1. A custom has developed where people who cannot receive Holy Communion come forward with their arms crossed to receive a blessing. 
      2. It has been at least 12 years that the Bishop has prohibited this practice.  Why?  Because EMs and Deacons are not authorized to give people blessings at Mass, only the priest.  And he can only do so at the designated moments in the Mass.
      3. We understand that parents with small children can’t leave them in the pew alone, but please don’t expect a blessing.  What the EMs may say is something to the effect, may the peace of our Lord be in your heart.  And they do so without touching the person—we don’t want to put particulates of the host on a person’s forehead.
    4. Recessional
      1. It is the reverse of the entrance Procession
      2. It is not appropriate to leave before the priest does.  If you can’t wait for the whole song to end, at least wait until the priest exits. 
  4. Four Presences of Christ in the Mass is highlighted when we use Incense
    1. The Gospel
    2. The Eucharist
    3. The Priest
    4. The People
  5. Genuflection to Tabernacle (beginning of Mass, after reposing the Lord, and before recessional.
  6. Veneration of the Altar (kiss the relic of the saint/martyr)
  7. Greeting—always begin with the Trinitarian Greeting, sign of the Cross. 
  8. Penitential Rite “Before bringing your gifts to the altar, be reconciled” 
    1. There are 3 forms.  I prefer the Confiteor (I confess …)
    2. The priest then says the prayer of forgiveness—venial sins are forgiven; (mortal sins must be brought to confession).
  9. Gloria—ancient hymn of adoration and praise to our God.  It is omitted during Lent and Advent.
  10. Opening Prayer (Cóll-ect).  Brings us all together.  If you want to know if you’ve arrived late for mass, the question is: did you make it to the opening prayer?