Reverence in Church

Clergy Corner by Fr. David A. Runnion

Clergy Corner for February 4, 2018, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Job 7:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 147:1-6; 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23; Mark 1:29-39


Christ's Real Presence in every Catholic Church – and especially His miraculous and salvific action during Holy Mass – warrant our deepest reverence when we are present there.

The Holy Mass is not one event or activity among many others in the Parish, nor a "prayer meeting." The Mass is the center of our life, around which everything else in the Parish revolves and takes second place. It is the center and summit of the Church's life.

At Mass, the Lord Jesus Christ literally makes present in this time and this place His once for all sacrifice on the Cross for the salvation of the world. As Pope Francis said in his General Audience of November 8, 2017:

"The Eucharist is a wondrous event in which Jesus Christ, our life, makes himself present. Participating in the Mass 'is truly living again the redemptive passion and death of Our Lord. It is a visible manifestation: the Lord makes himself present on the altar to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world.'"

Thus, the Holy Father reminds us that the Church is not a place for chit chat or distractions. Neither is it a time for activities other than prayer and worship.

While the world has lost a sense of the holy and the sacred, we are privileged to maintain and foster it in all who enter Christ's church, especially during Holy Mass. So, once we enter the double doors, we make the sign of the cross, genuflect to the Lord, pray silently before (and after) Mass, and participate actively in each component of the Liturgy, reserving our verbal socializing for the Parish Center, Courtyard, or Narthex.

The Roman Missal wonderfully prescribes precisely how the Church is to celebrate what Christ commanded at the Last Supper, and even dictates that announcements, if any, at the end of Mass be only what is "necessary" and "brief."

We have a wonderful, congenial spirit in our Parish Family, which we want to preserve. At the same time, due to the manifest Presence of the Living God and the holy nature of the Sacred Liturgy, we avoid mundane practices during Mass.

Out of love and adoration for our Lord and God, it is our privilege to always exhibit reverence for His Real Presence and for the holy space and time in the church and during the Holy Mass.

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