Why go to Mass on Sunday?
Pope Francis reflected on the question “Why go to Mass on Sunday?” during his General Audience today, held in the Paul VI Hall.
Missing out on Sunday Mass means missing out an encounter with the Lord, he said.
We go to Mass on Sunday to meet the resurrected Lord – or better still – “to let ourselves be welcomed by Him, to hear His word, eat at His table, and by his grace fulfil our mission as members of the Mystical Body of the Church.”
Sunday is a holy day for Christians, and it is rendered holy by the celebration of the eucharist which is the living presence of the Lord amongst us, he said. “Thus, it is the Mass that defines Sunday for Christians… What sort of Sunday can it be if it is lacking an encounter with the Lord?”
The Pope turned his thoughts to persecuted Christian communities are not able to celebrate Mass every Sunday and who do their best to gather in prayer on this holy day. He also mentioned many people in secularized society “that have lost that Christian sense of Sunday that is illuminated by the Eucharist: “this is a real shame” he said, reflecting on the need to recuperate this need.
Pope Francis recalled how the Second Vatican Council asked us to celebrate the Lord’s Day as a day of joy and rest from servile work as a sign of our dignity as children of God.
“Without Christ we are condemned to be weighed down by the fatigue of everyday life, with its worries and fear of tomorrow” he said.
Our Sunday meeting with the Lord, gives us the strength to live today with trust and courage and to go forth with hope. In the Eucharist we receive a foretaste of the eternal bliss and repose to which we are called in which there will be no more fatigue, nor pain, nor grief nor tears; only the joy of living fully and for ever with the Lord.
The Pope finally acknowledged that the quality of Christian life is measured by our capacity to love the other, but, he said “how can we practice the Gospel without drawing from the energy provided by the inexhaustable source of the Eucharist?”
We go to Mass, he concluded, “not to give something to God, but to receive from him the grace and strength to remain faithful to his word, to follow his commandments and, through his living presence within us, to be witnesses of his goodness and love before the world.”