Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me. (Luke 22:19)
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God’s presence is everywhere. Mass is my favorite place to come into his presence. Each part of the liturgy helps me experience a personal encounter with Jesus. Here’s the place to develop this relationship with Jesus and cultivate it in our children.
Christ is present in the assembly of the body of Christ in the pews, for he has promised “where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt 18:20) So sing and pray knowing that Christ is among us, gathered as the body of Christ.
Christ is present in the priest or bishop who presides in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. When they vest before celebrating Mass the priests “put on Christ” in a special way.
Christ is present in the word proclaimed in the readings. It is Christ himself, as the Incarnate Word, who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read.
The Real Presence of Christ is always manifested in the elements of bread and wine, which become his body and blood. The most intense manifestation of the presence of Christ is in the holy Eucharist.
Christ is present in the presence of the saints and angels adoring God around the altar with us, as Jesus offers his body and blood to God his Father in heaven for our sins.
Christ is present in the holy Eucharist that we receive in each of our individual bodies, so he is dwells inside us.
Each of these channels of his presence is real, even though different. Each offers us a unique opportunity to recognize Christ with us, around us, within us.
We can prepare to receive his presence in the Eucharist through repentance and meditation before mass. Fully participate in mass. Surrender to the Lord at the consecration with expectant faith in God that he will fill you with his love to overflowing.
Burn in your mind the memory of that moment of communion with him. Stay in his presence by returning to this touchstone during the day with songs of thanksgiving in your heart. Cherish him as you bring his presence everywhere you go.
Which of these manifestations of Jesus’ presence in the mass do you find most endearing?
Copyright 2014, Nancy Ward
Image © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 2.5