Kimberly and I are back now after being gone for most of the summer. For the first time since we met 50 years ago, we enjoyed a summer of road trips, visiting family and friends, seeing God’s beautiful creation, and spending time at our place up north. We truly appreciate the support of Fr. Todd, the parish staffs, and the encouragement from you to just “GO” and enjoy the summer.
Of the many things we did, there was one that always remained the same – being at Mass on Sunday. No matter if we were in New Hampshire, Virginia, Tennessee, Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, Indian River, Elmira, Gaylord, Grayling, on campus at Notre Dame, or Adoration at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in New York; our Catholic brothers and sisters welcomed us to join them in worshipping at Mass as part of a universal faith family with the common bond of giving thanks to God and sharing His presence in the Eucharist.
As a cradle Catholic literally going to Mass my entire life, I can sometimes take going to Mass for granted. After all, it is our “obligation” to do so. But our travels this summer helped me realize how precious Mass is, especially worshiping together as a faith community giving thanks and praise to God. Going to Mass is standing up for what we believe by bearing witness to Christ before the world while openly professing and celebrating our Catholic faith to show others there is something greater in life to come. But we cannot experience this feeling if we only go to Mass simply because it is our Sunday “obligation” or someone told us we had to.
In his book, Rediscovering Catholicism, Matthew Kelly writes as Catholics we have lost our sense of wonder about the Mass. He says we are so unaware of the mystery and the privilege of the Mass that we can hardly wait to get out of church. Kelly says if we truly believe Christ is present in the Eucharist, then the power unleashed within us through receiving the Eucharist is “unfathomable.” He writes the only way to undergo this spiritual transformation at Mass is to rediscover the wonder of the Mass – the same wonder those First Christians discovered celebrating Jesus’ presence among them when He said ‘do this in memory of me’. I think that’s what I did this summer – I rediscovered the wonder of the Mass.
Our Catechism reminds us that God’s overall plan is to draw us closer to Him so we can share in His life. God calls us to seek Him, to know and love Him, and be in unity with His family. This is why we go to Mass – not because we have to, but so we can join together and be one with God.