For a fourth week readings deal with the Eucharist. This in itself tells us of its paramount importance. In the first reading its associated with wisdom. Christ tells us communion with Him is the way to happiness, a share in the life of God even in this world. Lets confess ways any failure to appreciate the mass..
When my family is on holidays the first thing they always ask is where to find mass. Its part of their life and that’s as it should be. For the mass is an Irish heritage since penal times when people huddled in fields, or in makeshift houses, with a priest on the run. I remember my mother telling me how, before horse and traps or cars, they’d walk miles to mass, barefoot, over rough puddle-filled roads or on the back of the ditches. Their shoes were tossed over their shoulders; they’d put them on when they reached the church. They wouldn’t dream of not going to mass, it was as natural as the seasons and very scriptural. For Christ says that unless we eat his flesh we wont have life in us. The intense life of the mass, like a diamond, enriches with many facets of God’s beauty, bringing sparkling glory into our lives.
The word itself comes from the old dismissal phrase “ita missa est”. We’re asked us to go and live in daily life the holiness we celebrate. As a eucharistic people we should live in the everyday the union with God and others what the mass signifies, a life of thankful charity. Indeed Eucharist is an old Greek word which means to give thanks. In it we give thanks to God for Christ, for life, for nature, for salvation, and above all for the gift of himself to sustain us for life’s journey to eternal happiness.
Yet another insight into the mass comes from its title “the breaking of bread”. After the resurrection, the disciples recognised Christ in the breaking of bread. At the last supper he broke the bread and gave it to them. St. Paul describes the early Christians as meeting every Sunday for the “prayers and the breaking of bread”. Like us Irish this is what gave the early followers of Christ their communal identity as Christ’s people.
Then again we’ve the Irish world for the mass, Aifreann, from the latin word for offering. This reminds us that the mass is a reliving of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and a participation in its merits. There Christ offered himself to the father for us, in the mass we unite our joys, trials and sufferings with His perfect offering for our and the world’s salvation. We’re not silent spectators but join our lives, joys and sorrows, our own and community needs with Christ’s offering of perfect praise.
The names for the mass then contain many aspects of its mystery They signify what wise and holy people know instinctively, that its life. That’s why we wisely offer the Aifreann naofa, or holy mass, continually for deceased loved ones. We know its power and efficacy for liberating the dead, often lost in darkness, for it is the supreme sacrifice of redemption. So all in all, lets continue to give thanks and glory to God in the breaking of bread, scripture reading and communal prayers that is the mass; remembering and making real for us the life, death and resurrection of Christ. For his continual presence with us in communion guarantees our triumph and that of the church over the world, the devil and all that drags us down since the fall. For the things of this world’s vain values of which Satan is lord fade to ashes at last, but to Christ in the Eucharist belongs the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever, amen. So as a glorious eucharistic people, lets profess our faith with joy..
Prayers of the faithful
And as Christ’s body gathered in the Spirit to share in the bread of life, we pray confidently to the father for our needs..
For the church throughout the world that it may live out its universal mission, and in the power of the eucharist transform the whole world into the glorious kingdom of God…
For ourselves in our homes, communities and country that witnessing to Christ and all that good, we may practice and pass on to our children the priceless gift of eucharistic faith.
For missionaries at home and abroad that through the mass they may bring Christ’s living saving presence to all people…
For the old, the lonely, the sick and the neglected in our society that through our love and care they may know the saving love of God in Christ, and bear their sufferings like he did on the cross for the salvation of the whole world…
For the diceased members of our community especially those who have died recently….having shared in the eucharistic banguet here may they enjoy it with loved ones forever and ever.
And we ask all these our prayers through Christ our Lord from whom all good things come to us in the holy mass, amen
The Irish are all doom and gloom about weather. Psychologists say this is a way of vented inner discontent. For even if the weathers “good”, we say “ah but in tow weeks time its going to rain again”. We see only “bad” weather. I put the word “bad” in parenthesis, for as a wise Kerry woman once said: sun, rain, frost, snow, storm, they’re all my friends. She’s right, all things are positive when seen aright. People in arid areas dream of rain. We’d have no growth, green fields, fresh lakes or rivers without it, but for some the glass is always half empty, never half full. Its the same with faith, God showers its immense gifts on us but some see only abusing priests, and use that as an excuse for apostasy. Lets not let anything separate us from the glory of God in Christ Jesus our Eucharistic Lord..Hail Mary