The most powerful part of the Mass is centered on receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. In addition to that transforming experience, there are other beautiful things that occur during Mass. Shortly after the Mass begins, we all recite the Confiteor together “I confess to Almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned….” And, at the end, “…therefore, I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me…” So, right from the beginning of Mass, we acknowledge who we are to each other and ask for help from each other. You can feel the love for each other knowing who we are….disciples of Jesus Christ. The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins and after the Consecration of the bread and wine we say the Lord’s Prayer and then turn to all those around us and give a Sign of Peace to each other. More love. Two more short powerful prayers from Scripture and then we receive Communion together. As St. Ignatius of Loyola said that if you don’t get emotional at some point in the Mass, it was no a good Mass. That should be your experience.
So, one morning in January during prayer time when I was going through the Daily Readings, I was struck by the words in Heb 24-25: “We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another,…” I knew what this was all about. Why we need to be physically together to live our faith. God sent His only Son Jesus to be with us physically and Jesus instituted the Sacraments to be outward physical signs of grace for us.
The meditation from Word Among Us for that day is below and describes best the ways we can rouse one another.
DAILY MEDITATION: HEBREWS 10:19-25
We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24)
How simple the gospel message is! Through his cross and resurrection, Jesus has opened up a way for each of us to be set free from sin and enter into the presence of God. Jesus is risen, and the door to heaven is now wide open. But as simple and straightforward as this message is, we sometimes need help seeing the open door that’s right in front of us. And that’s where brothers and sisters in Christ come in.
Sometimes they remind us that the sacraments are powerful and readily available. They might say, “You seem pretty burdened. Have you thought about going to Confession? The parish down the road has confessions every Saturday.” Or “I’m going to an online Mass at the end of my shift today. How about joining me from your computer?” Or “I wonder if your dad might be open to receiving the Anointing of the Sick?”
Sometimes they point out opportunities we might have overlooked. They might tell us about a homeless center whose food pantry is running low. They might invite us to a virtual parish Bible study we have been meaning to check out. Or they might urge us to write to our representative about an important issue.
Sometimes they help us see where the Holy Spirit is already at work in our lives. “What a great idea!” a friend might say. “That sounds inspired. How can I help you make it work?” Or “You always seem to have a bigger perspective than I do. I really appreciate the way you help expand my vision.” Or “You’re so good at getting to the heart of a complex situation. Don’t be afraid to say it the way you see it.”
Sometimes they exhort us to trust God and to believe when our faith is wavering. At other times, our faith helps them persevere through a challenging time.
In all these ways and many more, we can “rouse one another” to a deeper surrender to the Lord!
“Lord, help us to give and receive the encouragement that will make us faithful stewards of your gifts.”