The Catholic Mass is More Than Meets the Eye

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Sometimes we can do things so often that we inadvertently go through the motions.  This can happen in our work, relationships, and in the worship of our Lord at Mass.  At every Mass we are getting a foretaste of the wedding supper of the Lamb mentioned in the book of Revelation 19:7-10.  Sometimes it helps to take a step back to realize the miracle and greatness that happens at Mass.

When we attend Mass, we are entering a holy place in which a heavenly event is taking place. Not only are we present when the basic elements of bread and wine are transubstantiated to the Body and Blood of Christ, but those at Mass are transported in a mystical way to a heavenly banquet. Though the reception of communion happens a few prayers after the Canon is complete, it is vital from a theological and catechetical perspective. With Christ present with his Church, the bridegroom has come for his bride.

After the commingling of the Body and Blood, the priest tells those present to behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This is the praise of the angels and those in Heaven as seen in Revelation 19. In Revelation 19:9 and Angel told St. John. “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (NRSV).

At this point in the Mass, the priest is passing on this wedding announcement from heaven. Like a groom at a wedding, our Lord calls to us and wants to have an intimate relationship with his bride. He does this by giving himself, his own Body and Blood, as a way to show his eternal commitment to us. Like a bride, we process down towards our groom to be united with him. In the Eucharist we are united with Christ not only spiritually, but physically. Being united with the flesh of Christ is the most personal thing we will be able to experience.

The Old Testament book of Song of Songs has very vivid imagery between a man and wife symbolizes the love that Christ has for his Church. One passage that is particularly relevant to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb is Song of Songs 1:2 which states, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.”

This is exactly what St. Ambrose says happens during the reception of the Eucharist:

“Of His goodness, therefore, He nourishes us with the breasts of the Law and Grace, soothing men’s sorrows with telling them of heavenly things”.-St. Ambrose

The second person of the Blessed Trinity has forgiven us of our sin and unites himself with us with his very body. The Wedding Supper of the Lamb is a taste of the heavenly worship that we will experience in eternity and unites us with the church suffering and church triumphant in heavenly praise.

Next time you are at Mass take that extra moment to thank Christ for the very gift of himself. Take the time to realize that we are worshiping the King of the universe alongside those who have gone before us in the faith. There is much more happening at Mass than meets the eye.

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