The Mass Explained

During last Sunday's televised mass, Bishop Edward Burns of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, gave a very interesting homily. Instead of talking about the gospel reading, he instead gave a lecture on the different parts or rites of the Mass.

To give some examples, he explains why the priest or bishop say what they say. And why the clergy responds the way they do. Most of it is based on the Bible of course, and he cites specific passages as it relates to them.

He explains the offertory and what is really being offered during that time — spoiler, we are offering ourselves.

He explains why the sign of peace is offered to your neighbors before communion. It is related to the offertory and he mentions the Bible passage related to this. It has to do with making peace with yourself and your neighbors, before you can fully offer yourself to God.

He explains why during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest or bishop speak in persona Christi — speaking as if he is Christ himself.

He explains why the Liturgy of the Eucharist exists in the first place. Spoiler, it is a command from Jesus himself. He quotes the Bible passage where Jesus gives out the command and says, “Do this in memory of me.”

He explains why the bell is rung during consecration. And this one is not something Bible related, but was for a practical reason. Back in the olden days, when people would gather in large numbers — sometimes even outdoors — there were no mics or speakers around to let people know what is happening during the Mass. So a bell was rung to let people know that the body of Christ is being shown to everyone.

He also briefly touched on some Catholic traditions. Traditions like how or why we pray to the saints. The key being, we do not pray to the saints, but we pray through them. It's the same thing as asking for prayers from other people. You don't pray to them, you pray through them.

There's also the tradition of lighting candles whenever we go to church to pray. One of the explanations for this practice is interesting, and is something I've never heard before. The lighted candles stand in vigil for us before the Lord. And so our prayers continue, even as we leave the church to go about our day. Wonderful.

For someone like me, who hasn't thought about it in a long time, it was a great refresher. The last time I really poured through the rites of the Mass, was when I was in elementary. For those interested in the Mass or Catholicism, this homily from Bishop Burns provides a glimpse into why Catholics do what they do.

This post is Day 76 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Visit to get more info, or to get involved.

Tags: #Bookmarks #Catholicism #Spirituality #Theology #100DaysToOffload

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