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What are we doing here?

By Msgr Michael de Verteuil
Chair of the Archdiocesan
Liturgical Commission

What are we doing here in this church building this Saturday evening/Sunday?

We have come to receive this gift God has given us. It is all God’s work – it is the Lord’s Word, the Lord’s Body and Blood, which God offers us. Jesus offers us communion with Him (1 Cor 10:15–16). Jesus earnestly desires to share this gift with us (Lk 22:15).

We have come to celebrate a victory meal. Christ has died; Christ has risen. Alleluia! Jesus instituted this meal we know as The Last Supper, when He told His disciples, “Take, eat, drink…. Do this in memory of me.”

The Bible refers to this meal as the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:20) and the breaking of bread (Acts 2:42). Through His cross and Resurrection, Christ has won a great victory over evil for us, making eternal life, joy, and happiness possible for us.

So, we gather at the table of His Word and the table of His Body and Blood in joy and thanksgiving to celebrate this victory.

We are here to make memorial of a sacrifice. Sacrifice is a gift of the self and what greater sacrifice, what greater self-gift given than that of Jesus. He gave His life as gift for us, and we come to remember that in the ritual, we celebrate making present the sacrifice of the Cross.

In this memorial, Christ unites our sacrifice, the gift of our lives, with His – “the lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer and work are united with those of Christ and with his total offering” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1368). Remember St Paul writing to the Romans (12:1–2), “Make of your whole lives a living sacrifice to God”.

We are here to offer ourselves to the Father in union with the sacrifice of Jesus –“Pray, my brothers and sisters, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.”

We are here to give thanks. “Let us give thanks to the Lord…….It is right and just, our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give God thanks.”

We come with the heart of Mary to this Mass – “My spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour. He looks on his servant in her/his lowliness… and does great things for me.”

We think of all the blessings of the past week and the great gift of Jesus to us in His cross and Resurrection. How can we not be a thankful people?

We are here to leave. We are here not only that we may grow closer to Jesus or have Jesus answer our prayer. We are here too to be formed more and more into the Body of Christ – as we pray in Eucharistic Prayer II, “Humbly we pray that all of us who partake in the Body and Blood of Christ may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.”

Or as we pray in Eucharistic Prayer III, “…. grant that, we who are nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, may become one body, one spirit in Christ.”

This unity is so that the mission of Christ in the world may be continued, and all may come to know of the love of God and receive the invitation to the Kingdom, “Go and announce the Good News.”



“Do not live entirely isolated, having retreated into yourselves, as if you were already justified, but gather instead to seek the common good together.” (1905)


St Barnabas, Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1905)

CCSJ Social Justice Education Committee