I want to thank you for following all along in this series on the Mass, where our goal was to cast some light on the various movements and prayers of the Mass, so you can more fully and more actively participate.
You can find the other parts of the series here: The Sign of the Cross, ‘The Lord Be with You’, ‘And with Your Spirit’, The Confiteor, The Kyrie & the Gloria, The Liturgy of the Word, The Creed, The Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The Amazing Mystery
In this last installment I’d like to focus on the Communion Rite and the Concluding Rite.
In our previous post we spoke about the Liturgy of the Eucharist where a great miracle took place on the altar. Right when that concludes we enter into what is called the Communion Rite, which begins with the Lord’s Prayer, where we as a community pray together that prayer Jesus taught us when the disciples asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” That prayer is so beautiful because it starts with completely focusing on God and praising him:
“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done … “
Then we begin to focus on some of the needs in our own lives. It is a point in the Mass where you can ask the Lord for various things that you need in the Mass.
After that, we all come forward and receive the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. We receive the Eucharist. I want to emphasize one more time that the Eucharist is not a symbol of Jesus. It isn’t just a remembering. It is a re-presenting of an event that took place two thousand years ago, and that is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. Now he gives himself to us completely: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. It’s such a beautiful thing.
Then we go back to our pew or chair to sit and contemplate this amazing mystery.
The Concluding Rite
Afterwards we enter into the Concluding Rite. It’s very short, but the one thing I want to emphasize to you is the words. The Mass ends with, “Go in peace.” And we respond, “Thanks be to God.” We’re not saying “Thanks be to God” because it’s over. We’re saying it because of everything we have received.
We know God is with us and with the priest in a powerful way in spirit. We know that our sins have been forgiven, the mercy of God has been exercised. We have given him glory. We’ve heard from the lector the wonderful Word of God spoken directly to us as a personal word to us. We have received his Body and Blood into our bodies, giving us the grace that we need. We prayed together as the family of God in the Lord’s Prayer, and so much more that we haven’t really even gone into in this series.
Then we are finally sent. Did you know that the word “Mass” comes from the word missa, which means “to go” or “to be sent”? Isn’t it funny that we call it “the Mass” and a lot of people don’t even know what it means?
So at the end of the Mass we are charged to go into all the world and make disciples.
This is what Jesus said in Matthew 28:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”Matthew 28:19-20
So whether it’s every day or once a week, we all gather here together as Catholics, as Christians, to celebrate the greatest prayer that the Church has given us, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Time stands still, and we participate with heaven in the heavenly Liturgy that is taking place. We deal with our hearts, we hear the Word of God and the things we need to hear. We cleanse our hearts, we worship God. We receive life, and at the end we’re called to go out and share it.
Spread the Power of the Mass
So at the conclusion of this series I want to encourage you to get more actively involved—to participate in the Mass—because you have been given a great commission. The Lord is with you. He is with you in the Mass and he will go with you as you leave and you become a blessing to others.
I hope that as a result of this series the Mass can come more alive for you. I encourage you to share this with your friends, and send a message out. Let them know about this series so they can learn more about the Mass themselves.
We have a tremendous study with Dr. Edward Sri on the biblical foundations of the Mass. I encourage your church to go through it. Your church will change. You’ll change. Once you understand the biblical foundations of the Mass, you’ll never say the it’s boring.
It’s not boring. It’s powerful.
God bless you!
This article is also available as a video here.
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Jeff Cavins is passionate about helping people understand Scripture and become disciples of Jesus Christ. Though he was born Catholic, Jeff went to Bible school and served as a Protestant minister for twelve years before reverting to the Catholic Faith. He then quickly became a leading Catholic evangelist and author. Jeff is best-known for creating The Great Adventure™ Bible study programs published by Ascension, which have been used by hundreds of thousands of people to engage in Scripture in a life-changing way. Some of his recent projects include his podcast, The Jeff Cavins Show, his book The Activated Disciple, and the Great Adventure Bible studies, Ephesians: Discover Your Inheritance, and Wisdom: God’s Vision for Life.