St. Maximillian Kolbe once said, “If the angels could be jealous, they would be jealous of one thing… the Eucharist.” I mentioned in the first article that the Holy Mass is not just something we do as Catholics. Rather, it lies at the very heart of the Christian experience per se. No Eucharist, no Christianity. Now that we have gone through brief a reflection of the sacred liturgy we can appreciate this fact. When God becomes flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ, He truly gives Himself to the world. He hands Himself over to human beings as a human being so that He might enter into the depths of His creation and renew it from the inside out. He sacrifices, “makes holy”, Himself in the world through the Cross subjecting all things to Himself so that God might be all in all (1 Cor. 15:28). This act of sacrifice, in which divinity pours Himself out to the last drop of blood, pierces through space and time founding a supra-historical reality within the world, namely, the “Body of Christ” i.e. the Catholic Church. The Church is the sacrament of Christ; the continuation of Christ’s being in the world. As Catholics, we are not simply disciples of Jesus; we are members of Christ’s very person sharing in His life. God does not reside in the distant heavens removed from the events of the world. He continues to dwell within His creation through His mystical Body in whom He has chosen to perpetuate His sacrificing action. The premier means of preserving this action of salvation in the world is the Holy Mass, the Eucharist. “Take this all of you and eat of it for this IS my body which will be given up for you” (Matt. 26:26). With these words, Christ establishes a conduit of constant communion with His Church as well as a channel of grace by which she can participate in His communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Truly, in the Eucharist, God becomes all in all. When we go to Mass, we are entering into the greatest event of world history. It is not a gimmick or a stale performance re-enacting an important dinner. It is an explicit and necessary continuation of the ministry of Jesus Christ. It is summarized beautifully in the fourth Eucharistic Prayer when the priest says: “Look, O Lord, upon the sacrifice You Yourself have provided for Your Church…” To attend Mass and celebrate the Eucharist is to share in activity of Jesus Himself, who is the perfect sacrifice that God Himself has provided for the Church. This is why we go to Mass above all else; to share in the sacrifice of Jesus.
The Sacred Liturgy – Part IV