Monday, July 6, 2009

The Universal Church and Mass

Another title for this could be "Why I love the Catholic Church: #532."

The word "catholic" means universal and that really strikes home when you think about the mass. The mass is the same wherever you go in the world and because the Roman Catholic Church is spread around the world, there is literally a mass going on someplace 24 hours a day.

Each mass is laid out the same way, although there are going to be some variances because of different regulations made up by different bishops throughout the world. They all contain the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist and contain the same pattern. This means that no matter what country you are in you can going to mass and be familiar with what is going on.

The readings at all the masses are the same (for the most part) for that day wherever you are in the world. Again, there are going to be some variances. For example when one diocese celebrates a certain feast day and there are occasionally options for longer or shorter readings. For the most part though, every mass you go to has the same readings for that day. For example, the first reading for today (July 6th) is Genesis 28: 10-22a and the Gospel reading is Matthew 9: 18-16. The readings readings for every day can be found at the Bishop's Website.

A third aspect is on the spiritual sense of the mass. When we are in mass, we are not locked into a certain time and space. As difficult as it may seem to believe--considering you may be sitting there bored--the mass transcends time and space. When you participate in the mass, you are not just with the people in that building. No--you are at mass with the universal church--the whole body of Christ--throughout the world and with those in Heaven. I know you are thinking, "Jamie, you should have recovered that marijuana and not smoked it" but it's true. We honestly don't appreciate the mass and how amazing it is.

What does this mean as for the universal church and why do I love it so much? Well, it means that no matter where I am in the world, or what time it is, or what language it is in, I can go to mass and follow along, hear the same readings, and truly feel as if I am part of the Body of Christ.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely!
    My husband & I had the opportunity to go to a Maronite Mass. Much of the Mass is spoken in Aramaic - the language Jesus spoke. I think I may recognize 3 Aramaic words from the Gospels, and I didn't hear any of them when we were at Mass. But I knew just what was happening, because the order of the Mass is always the same. I find it comforting to know that I'll be able to get the sense of what's happening no matter what language is spoken.