Since around the time back in June when we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ — known commonly as the feast of Corpus Christi — I have found myself moved to consider the purpose of the Eucharist. Why does the Church ask us to regularly participate in the Mass? Why do we have the weekly “obligation” to receive the Body and Blood of Christ?
Listen to the words from Eucharistic Prayer IV (one of the prayers most often recited on Sundays). The prayer reveals the purpose of the Mass both for us as individuals and also reveals God’s plan for the world:
And that we might live no longer for ourselves but for him who died and rose again for us, he sent the Holy Spirit from you, Father, as the first fruits for those who believe, so that, bringing to perfection his work in the world, he might sanctify creation to the full.
The first thing we notice is a wonderful stewardship message. The Eucharistic Prayer is asking that as we participate in the Mass, we might learn to live not for ourselves but for God. Our lives belong to God. Our lives find meaning in God. Nothing else will satisfy. At the Eucharist, we share Communion with the God who made us. This encounter teaches us to desire God and to live for God.
Secondly, we find a wonderful view of God’s dream for our world. God did not make the world and then leave us to our own devices. God’s desire is that all of creation might become holy (sanctified). It seems as if God wants to transform the entire world into a holy perfection joined to our creator. The place where God is beginning this transformation is at the Mass.
During this summer, please do not take a vacation from the Mass! While you are traveling, you can always find a local Mass at masstimes.org. Come to the Mass. Receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Learn to live for God. Let God make you holy.