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December 22, 2020
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December 22, 2020

Eucharistic celebration explained Pt 4: Mass & Mission

Msgr Michael de Verteuil, Chair of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission concludes a series of articles looking at some areas of our Eucharistic celebration.

Over the last five weeks, we have looked at different aspects of the Mass. But Mass does not end at the church door—the Mass is incomplete without ‘the vital link of liturgy and mission’.

We have celebrated and now we go to live out what we have celebrated.

As we celebrate, the Eucharist forms in us certain values and attitudes such as gratitude, respect for creation, unity, service and sacrifice, an eschatological outlook which we are called to live in our daily lives.

Let us take a look at these.

Gratitude. The word Eucharist means thanksgiving and we give God thanks explicitly a number of times in the Mass—a very small sample: “Let us give thanks to the Lord…It is right and just always and everywhere to give God thanks; …. we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice.”

As we give God thanks in the Eucharist so we are called to do in every day as we cannot separate our daily lives from our celebration of the Eucharist.

Respect for creation. We believe that all God created is good and that all of God’s creation can be an agent through which God can work. In our celebration, the Lord comes to us through bread and wine which earth and vine have given. We pray, “Heaven and earth are full of your glory….Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation…” Pope Francis, particularly in Laudato Si’, has reminded us of the care we need to take of our common home.

Unity. We gather as the Body of Christ to celebrate the Mass, one people with Christ at the head. We pray for unity among us: Eucharistic Prayer (EP) 11- “Humbly we pray that all of us who partake in the Body and Blood of Christ may be gathered into one.” EP 111: “that we who are nourished by his Body and Blood and filled with the Holy Spirit may become one Body, one spirit in Christ.’ We share with one another a Sign of Peace, and as we share in Communion we come into communion with Christ and one another” (1Cor 10:16–17).

Therefore, outside of Mass there should be no divisions among us, no gossiping and bad-talking, and we should seek to forgive one another.

Eschatological outlook. We believe that Christ will come again and time as we know it will come to an end. We pray with this outlook throughout Mass e.g., the Mystery of Faith: “….profess your resurrection until you come again”; “…as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ”; ”… that we may merit to be co-heirs to eternal life”; “Blessed are those called to the Supper of the Lamb”.

Outside of Mass, we try to live with this outlook, recognising that this earthly life is not all we have and thus spending our energy, time, treasure with the right perspective.

Service, sacrifice. The centre of our celebration is the Paschal Mystery, the death and resurrection of Jesus, the self-gift of Jesus for us: “This is my body…this is my blood given for you”.

“In the Eucharist, God has shown love in the extreme, affirming the criterion of service” (John Paul II). As we celebrate in the Mass, so we live our daily lives—with the attitude of serving others, of loving one another.

We leave from the celebration to announce the Good News, to glorify the Lord by our lives. As Pope Benedict wrote, ‘The first and fundamental mission we receive from the sacred mysteries we celebrate is that of bearing witness by our lives.’