Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Story of the Mass

Do you know where to find the story of the Mass in the Bible? Here's a hint: It starts in Genesis, right at the very beginning. It ends in Revelation, and it's contained in everything in between.

Since telling the entire story of the Mass would be a little excessive for a blog post, how about contemplating the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus? (It's at the end of Luke if you want to read it.) In the first part, the disciples are walking along the road, when Jesus joins them. They do not necessarily recognize him, but He teaches them things from Scripture. Then they break bread together, and they come to know Him in the breaking of the bread, just like we have a chance to do at every Mass.

There it is, the liturgy (or celebration) of the Word in Scripture, then the liturgy of the Eucharist, instituted by Christ at the last supper.

My priest likes to tell the story of the Mass by referencing a giant "M". The first part of the Mass (the upward stroke of the first part of the "M") is us ascending toward God. We begin to approach Him in prayer, beginning with the opening prayer, followed by acknowledgment of our sins, and then culminating in a hymn of glory to God.

The next stroke of the "M" is God descending towards us in the Scripture, in His love letter to us. Following the Scripture, after the homily, we begin our next approach toward God. We profess our faith, lay our petitions in confidence before Him, then begin our prayers in preparation toward the Eucharist. This culminates in another hymn, the "Holy, holy, holy" based on Scripture from Isaiah (6:3, I think) and Revelation, as well as an echo of the Jews' proclamation of Jesus as Messiah from Palm Sunday. The final downstroke of the "M" is God coming to us in the Eucharist. The whole Mass is a communion with God, a back and forth interaction between the Creator and the created, but in the consecration and Holy Communion, He comes to us fully and completely.

And that is the story of the Mass, union between God and Man.


  1. I love that! A big "M"....beautiful!

  2. The Homily I heard yesterday was very similar to this! It's so encouraging, CM! Love it!

  3. That is a wonderful analogy!

    Thank you for this post; I'm not a member of the Church quite yet, and reading things like this are immensely helpful to me.