by Clyde Ericson Nolasco
Up on a Sycamore
After three months of lockdown, ECQ being lifted, and allowing some business establishments to resume operations, many Catholics are already clamoring to return to mass and asking why the government does not allow masses in parishes and churches considering that malls, groceries, and supermarkets are already open where social distancing is more difficult to be observed.
Before the lockdown, the last activity I did outside was a shoot for an online mass for Dominus Est. Back then, we were all eager to do it weekly to bring Jesus to every home during this extraordinary time and believing in the indispensability of the Eucharist.
It was one Easter Sunday during my grade school years when I started to fall in love with the Mass. The priest, with all his convictions, sermoned about the importance of completing and paying attention to the whole liturgy. He stressed that dropping by the church while on your way back home from palengke or doing your errands, dipping your fingers in the holy water font, doing the sign of the cross and murmuring some prayers then leave, is not attending the mass.
After that homily, my perception towards the Eucharist changed and I was enthralled to discover its mystery.
WHAT IS THE MASS?
The mass is a thanksgiving!
The Holy Mass is also known as the Eucharist. This word comes from the Greek word Eucharistia or “thanksgiving.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the Eucharist “is an act of thanksgiving to God” (No. 1329). When Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper, it is to give thanks to God who never fails to bless us.
The mass is a remembrance!
1 Corinthians 11:24: and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." Jesus instructed His apostles that every mass must be a commemoration of His love for us, of His sacrifice for us.
The mass is a celebration!
The Eucharist as "the source and summit of the Christian life" (Sacrosanctum Concilium 10) allows us to have a glimpse of the heavenly liturgy and the Kingdom of God. It is a foretaste of the promised eternal life that we are to enjoy with God at the end times.
WHY ATTEND THE MASS?
Online masses, yes they have helped us survive the past quarantine months, but they lack a thing or two that makes it different from a usual Sunday Mass in the church.
It is mysteriously nourishing.
The Eucharist is different when you can receive it physically. As we believe it, it is the Bread of Life that nourishes our tiring souls. And during this pandemic, when everybody is bothered and anxious, the more that we need to receive it. It has a mysterious and miraculous effect on the faithful. I would remember leaving the mass many times feeling better. It is a mystery that promises hope and life.
It is binding.
Whenever we attend the mass, we participate in commemorating the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus and we do it as one Church. By participating fully, actively and consciously, we fulfill our responsibility as the Body of Christ. It feels different singing, responding and enjoying the presence of God with other faithful, a perfect example of what we call, “unity in diversity.”
Once this community quarantine is over and church masses are allowed again, let us see each other present in the Eucharistic banquet!
Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.