Take a Pilgrimage to Mass

You might not be able to make it to the Holy Land this week, but if you’re going to Mass, consider yourself a pilgrim. Jeff uses the Jewish understanding of pilgrimage to help us prepare our hearts to meet God in the Mass and receive his blessing in our lives.


  1. The Blessing- 4:48
    1. The very last thing that happens in the Mass
    2. Speaks to the longing and yearning in our hearts—we all want to experience the peace of God in our lives
    3. Many people miss the blessing
    4. Blessing means wholeness, approval, an endorsement from God that you are mine and I want you to be blessed in every way—an actual transfer of grace and life
    5. We say “Bless the Lord”
      1. Relates to having an awe of God and obeying him with our lives
  2. Our Whole Life Is a Pilgrimage
    1. Saint Pope John Paull II– TMA #49 “The whole of the Christian life is like a great pilgrimage to the house of the Father, whose unconditional love for every human creature, and in particular for the ‘prodigal son’ (cf. Lk 15:11-32), we discover anew each day.  This pilgrimage takes place in the heart of each person, extends to the believing community and then reaches to the whole of humanity.”
      1. Our whole life is like a pilgrimage to the house of the Father
      2. What happens personally with us extends to the Church, and what we do as a Church extends to all of humanity
      3. What we do every Sunday has consequences for all of humanity
      4. Today, the Church is the New Jerusalem and each one of us can be a living dwelling-place for God on Earth. But at the same time, we journey toward the eternal house of the Father in Heaven.  Read Catechism No. 1013.   
      5. The journey of life, according to the Catechism, is a pilgrimage offered to us by God as a “time of grace and mercy” during which we work out our destiny in accordance with his divine plan.
  1. In the Old Testament, God is always giving his people his blessing
    1. Abraham—God gave a blessing that helped everyone to turn back to him
    2. Aaronic Blessing –“Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you: The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Numbers 6:22).
    3. “The blessing of life without end is what every pilgrim desires. It also is the goal of God’s ‘plan of sheer goodness’ for mankind” (see Catechism 1).
  2. Pilgrimage Psalms are called “Psalms of Ascent”—used by Israel to go up to Jerusalem and journey to the House of the Lord
    1. Jerusalem was at the top of seven hills, so any journey to Jerusalem is a journey upwards.
    2. Psalms 120-134—often called the “Traveler’s Psalms”
    3. Psalm 121:
      1. Speaks about how when the road is bumpy and rough “God will not allow your foot to be moved”
      2. “God who keeps you will not sleep”
      3. The desert sun can be exhausting on a long trek, but the Lord provides shade
      4. Verse 5- A promise that “the sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night,” speaks of round-the-clock protection.
      5. “The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore” (vs. 8).
    4. Psalms 133 & 134
      1. After days on the road, the pilgrims finally come to the Temple
      2. For Israel, the Temple was the only place they could hear the name of God pronounced in the Aaronic blessing
      3. They would go three times a year during their holy festivals
      4. This blessing was supposed to happen every day at 3 PM. Luke begins with an old priest who can’t give this blessing (Zachariah), and it ends with Jesus raising his hands over his disciples and blessing them
  1. God is Present to You at Mass
    1. Psalms of Ascent are meant to prepare God’s people to experience God’s presence
    2. In the Mass, we receive God’s body and blood—his True Presence, so we need to prepare
    3. Southern Steps of the Ancient Temple Mount
      1. The 15 steps going up to the Temple were built purposely uneven. They keep one’s approach to God’s presence from becoming automatic or thoughtless.
      2. You are forced to think about each step, contemplating what you are doing and even singing or reciting the psalms as you go.
    4. How can you apply what you’ve learned about pilgrimage to your own preparation for Mass, or for Adoration, or for reading the Scripture?
  2. Practical Tips for Your Trip to Mass
    1. If you are a father, be the pilgrimage leader. Be ready 10 minutes earlier than everyone and be excited to be at Church. Find out the readings for that Sunday and familiarize yourself with them. Try to get the family to Mass 10 minutes early
    2. Encourage everyone in the family not to focus on life’s problems, but on the God who can solve all problems
    3. What mood are you setting on the ride to Mass? What are you doing during your ride?
      1. Turn off the radio and phones
      2. Pray the rosary
      3. Read the Gospel
      4. As you walk into Mass, give God all of your thoughts
      5. On the way home, don’t be afraid to ask your children questions about what they heard in the Gospel

We’d Love to Hear from You

Do you have comments or questions for Jeff? Use the comment box below, or email Jeff at thejeffcavinsshow@ascensionpress.com. You may hear your question or comment in an upcoming podcast episode!

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  1. Dear Brother Jeff,
    I once watched your videos explaining Holy Mass in the most beautiful way. It made me understand each and every part very clearly and also made me understand the importance of The Holy Mass. I’m trying to find the same Videos to make notes but looks like its been deleted on YouTube now. Please let me know if there is any way I can get those videos to make my notes and revise on it to remember it

    Thanking in advance

  2. Jeff, I love your show and all the studies that you lead. In this particular show I liked your practical pointers on how to prepare for mass. Keep up the good work and may God bless you always. I do hope to be able to join you on one of your pilgrimages to Israel. With much love, Elisa

    • Elisa, thanks for taking a moment to share your kind feedback. We’re glad you are benefitting from the show in your spiritual life and hope that the pilgrimage works out!
      -The Jeff Cavins Show Team



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