Friday, February 24, 2017

What is Holy Eucharist and Why is it so Significant?

Written by  Fr. Deyre Azcuna

Many people stop coming to Sunday Mass because they find the celebrations boring and dry. They come to Mass with lots of expectations that have not been met. For instance, many of them expect to be entertained. They want the priest to always have jokes, stories and new gimmicks. They demand contemporary and more upbeat music from the choir. They want something new and spectacular every time. No wonder the most attended Masses are Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday – there are added attractions: ashes, palms and Easter eggs.

Worse still is that there are some priests who have fallen into this kind of thinking. Instead of being ministers, they try hard to be entertainers – giving the people what they want to see and hear, rather than what God wants for them. Their aim is to please the people, not God. In effect, the Word of God is not preached faithfully and prophetically. The celebration becomes like a performance and the priest takes center stage acting like the host of a show.

It is really unfortunate that many of us have lost sight of what is really essential in the liturgical celebration. In the Mass, it is not the priest, or the ministers, the congregation, the music, or the service that truly matters, but Jesus Christ, who personally offers His eternal Sacrifice of the Holy Mass.

Pope Benedict XVI insists on this when he says: “The Liturgy is God’s action.” The center of the liturgy is not man, but God. Therefore, no bishop or priest can change the liturgy just to please and entertain the people. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal is very strong on this: “Nevertheless, the priest must remember that he is the servant of the Sacred Liturgy and that he himself is not permitted, on his own initiative, to add, to remove, or to change anything in the celebration of Mass” (GIRM #24).

Knowing and believing that Jesus is truly present, we then do the best we can to celebrate the Mass faithfully and meaningfully. Pope Benedict XVI said, “The best catechesis on the Eucharist is the Eucharist itself well celebrated.” This is what it means by the expression “active participation.” Pope Benedict XVI also said: “The primary way to foster the participation of the People of God in the sacred rite is the proper celebration of the rite itself. The art of celebrating is the best way to ensure their active participation. The art of celebrating is the fruit of faithful adherence to the liturgical norms in all their richness...” (Sacramentum Caritatis, 38).

There is a classic saying in Catholic Theology, “Lex orandi, lex credendi.” The law of prayer is the law of faith. It refers to the relationship between worship and belief.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “The Church's faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles - whence the ancient saying: lex orandi, lex credendi. The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition” (CCC, 1124). 

Read 1372 times Last modified on Friday, February 24, 2017