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Weekly Message from Our Pastor – 5/21/2017

This weekend, at the 5pm and 11am Masses, twenty-one of our young parish family members will receive their First Holy Communion. We pray and hope for many subsequent Holy Communions for these wonderful young people who are the future of the Church. We also pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, will intercede for them and keep them close to her Son. Thinking of First Holy Communion, and in light of this Sunday’s Gospel (John 14:15-21; where Jesus says: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”), may we contemplate Jesus’ gift of the Mass and the Eucharist, as Father Paul Mankowski, SJ, writes:

The sacristy is the room adjoining the main space of the church in which the priest vests himself for Mass. Often in a sacristy one sees a wall plaque or poster with this message: “O Priest of God, celebrate this Mass as if it were your first Mass, as if it were your last Mass, as if it were your only Mass.” The words are helpful in pointing out that, if he’s not careful, a priest can grow inattentive to the significance of what takes place on the altar. Himself reminded of the true importance of the Eucharist, the priest is more likely to celebrate with the devoutness it deserves.

Yet the fact is that each member of the laity will also have a Last Mass. It may come sooner, it may come later; but for each of us the day will arrive on which we will have taken part in the Eucharist for the last time. So the admonition has a force beyond the priest-celebrant. If we knew tomorrow’s Mass would be our last, would we do things differently from usual? How would we prepare ourselves? How would we dress? How carefully would we listen to the readings and prayers? With what attitude would we approach the altar to receive Communion?
Most of us, perhaps, would pay attention to things we hadn’t noticed before, and many of us would find that there is much more going on at Mass than we had realized. No aspect of the liturgy is without its own purpose and meaning. The words, the colors, the bows and genuflections, the washing of hands and cleansing of vessels, the position of the hands in prayer, the elevations, the bells and even the silences all have a particular ritual significance.

And we might also pay more attention to ourselves, so as to shake off that spiritual laziness to which all but the greatest saints occasionally fall victim. Can you remember anything about the Scriptures read at the last Mass you attended? If it were your Last Mass Ever, you would. “Stay awake,” says Jesus to each of us, “for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13). His first Eucharist was, and is, His only one.

With prayers and peace in Christ, Fr. William