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Thursday, March 20, 2014

How The Presence Of Christ Is Revealed At Mass

At times it can be difficult to understand the reality of Christ's presence in our lives.  The difficulty does not stem from a lack of faith as much as from a lack of recognition. Needless to say, this includes Mass. Christ is
attendant at Mass in several different ways.  The Liturgy of the Word is all inclusive, in that each person within the Church participates. It begins with the first reading, and concludes with the Prayer of the Faithful. During the Liturgy of the Word, members of the Church both speak the Word of God, as it is written in the Scriptures, and receive it as we listen to the Lector. In proclaiming God's Word through the Scriptures we become the mouthpiece of God's divine Revelation. Christ's presence in the Scriptures is evident:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God... And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth (NRSV, John 1:1-15).
The homily serves to better illuminate the message of the readings of the Liturgy of the Word. The homily is generally given by the parish priest. Throughout mass, the priest speaks in persona Christi, or, in the person of Christ: “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (NRSV, Luke 10:16). The Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the revelation of Christ's presence in it, is the sacramental center of Catholic worship, spirituality, and true discipleship. During the Eucharist Christ's presence is evident in both the congregation, as the Mystical Body of Christ, and  physically, through the bread (later known as the host) and wine, which after the consecration are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ. Monsignor William Fay, General Secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, describes both the establishment of the sacrament of the Eucharist as well as its necessity:
The Lord Jesus, on the night before he suffered on the cross, shared one last meal with his disciples. During this meal our Savior instituted the sacrament of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages and to entrust to the Church his Spouse a memorial of his death and resurrection (Fay,  The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist).

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