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Mass Is Not a "Worship Service"

It was cold and rainy last night, and I had no one attend Mass. Before you go and begin to feel sorry for me, stop. This happens once in a while. Not regularly, but it does happen. The interesting thing about the Mass is, it is not a "worship service". You see, a worship service is just that: a service for the people to be able to gather together and worship. The Mass, however, is quite different. It is a sacrifice.


What I am getting at is this: in a "worship service" if no one shows, then the pastor will probably cancel the service -- if there is no one to serve, then there is no reason to have the service. In Mass this is never the case. The focus is not about whether there is someone to serve, because the Mass is not about the people in the pews, but about the Lord on the altar.


In essence it makes no difference whether there are 1000 in attendance, or if it is only the priest. The One Who is on the altar is what the Mass is all about. Thus, even if it is only the priest, the same sacrifice is still present, and there is still eternal value in the ceremony. There will still be a spiritual effect (and often physical too!) that comes from the celebration of the Mass.


Of course I want people to attend Mass, and, yes of course, there is greater benefit to the people when they do attend. I am not saying that I do not care if anyone shows. I am merely showing that the Mass is not an entertainment display; it is not dependent on us. It can still accomplish great things contrary to the modern idea of worship being for the priest to say, "look at me" and for the people to ask, "what do I get out of this?"


People can get sick, weather can be uncooperative, and there are numerous other reasons why any one day that it may be only the priest present for the Mass. It never makes me disappointed that I am alone for the Mass (because I am not truly alone!) because I know that the intention is going to be offered up, and that my parishioners will benefit spiritually from what I am doing. This is the eternal value of the sacrifice of Christ, and this is why the Mass is so amazing.


So, know this: as you go about your business and seek to fulfill your calling before God, I (along with a host of other priests) will continue to present the Sacrifice as God commanded me to. You will continue to receive the blessings that come from the Mass, and God will continue to work in our lives. If you are able to assist at Mass, then that is wonderful. You will experience God's grace in a fuller way. But, Mass will happen either way, and God will be glorified.

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