Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mass Class

Mass Class

Mass is a very ancient tradition that goes all the way back to Jesus’ Last Supper with his apostles–the meal he ate with his most trusted friends before his sacrificial death. At that solemn time, Jesus spoke with his apostles and shared with them his own body and blood in the form of bread and wine. These twin themes have been essential to the Catholic Mass–and the entire Catholic experience–ever since: the development of community and sharing of God’s word coupled with the sacrifice of Christ, giving his body and blood (in the form of bread and wine) for us to consume and so be one with his body.

Mass as our High Point
The Mass is a big deal for Catholics. According to the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, which is sort of the official user’s guide to the Mass, it is central both to the communal life of the Catholic Church and also to the individual experience of each Catholic. It’s the “high point” of our ability to worship God and God’s ability to “sanctify,” or make holy the world in which we live. In fact, all the other “sacred actions and all the activities of the Christian life are bound up with it, flow from it, and are ordered to it” (16). Of course, we think it’s a good time too. For more information on the Mass, just click any of the links below.

Why Call It the Mass?
The name Mass comes from the Latin phrase that was said when people left the Sunday celebration: "Ite, missa est."» read more

Five Ways to Think About the Mass
Mass is not often thought of as a celebration, particularly by the small children who are forced to go. However, the Last Supper, which was the original Eucharistic celebration, was in many ways the first Mass.» read more

Why Does the Mass Matter Anyway?
There are all sorts of things we could tell you about why the Mass matters. There is theology about why you need to go to Church. There is a deep spiritual tradition about what the Mass can provide.» read more

Cast and Crew
Elsewhere in Mass Class, we've talked about the Mass as a celebration. Now, for small celebrations-especially religious ones-all you need is some pizza and a few fine, religious movies, like "Office Space" or "The Bourne Identity."» read more

What to do at Mass?
It's helpful to think of Mass as a dinner party. Here are five tips that will make it go well.» read more

What’s Happening in the Mass?
The gathering rite gives a formal beginning to our mass and sets the mood. It is helpful to have this start, so that we all know that this is the time to open ourselves more fully to the presence of God and to leave our preoccupation with schedules, plans, and other daily concerns behind.» read more

Transubstantiation is the term used to explain the change that actually happens to the bread and wine offered at Mass into the Body and blood of Christ.» read more

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