Connections, Eucharist draws us back to Sunday Mass by Deacon Dave Van Eperen
For many years now, Catholics have moved away from the church’s teaching (and Christ’s invitation) to attend Mass on a regular basis — the Sunday obligation.
In the past two years, the pandemic has only served to further confuse things as we received a dispensation from this obligation, then it was lifted, put back on again, and now this past July lifted again.
This has led people to ask, “How can it be an obligation one week and not the next?”
Perhaps the way to look at this is not from the perspective of it being an obligation, but instead seeing Mass as a family celebration that we all want to be part of.
Over the past year, I have talked with many parishioners who have come back to Mass regardless of the status of the dispensation. There were many reasons for them coming back, but they all centered around three ideals. t I heard almost without fail was that people missed being with other people. There was a sense of community that they missed by sitting in their living rooms watching the livestream. Being able to have a chat with someone they haven’t seen in a while, find out how others were doing and reconnecting were all things that were part of their experience of coming back.
Along with that, people were missing the opportunities to volunteer, to minister to others, to be part of the church’s call to serve the surrounding community. Much of this was on hold during the pandemic, but as ministries started up again, there were many who were eager to jump back in and begin serving others again.
As disciples of Jesus, the church gives us many opportunities to practice our discipleship through serving others and there is a genuine enthusiasm in being able to do that once again.
Another thing I heard often was that people just missed the feeling of being in church, they missed the energy and sense of spirit that is present in a building that has experienced close to two centuries of praising and worshipping our God.
The sights, sounds and smells of being present at Mass bring all our senses into the experience and allow our hearts to be filled with the love of God in a wonderful way.
Lastly, people missed the Eucharist. They missed being able to come forward and receive Jesus in the sacrament. At most Masses, just before Communion, we sing a song that prepares us to come forward to receive Jesus. “This is Jesus, our Savior. God is with us in this sacrament. Come receive Him, adore Him. This is Jesus, our Lord.”
If you have not been back to Mass in a while, perhaps now is the time for you. Ask God to open your hearts to what it is that you are missing each weekend.
We would love to see you again!