Why come to Mass?
Since the dawn of time human beings have striven to relate to their maker and to offer worship. Worship is our deepest calling as human beings - a vital part of what it is to be human. It is the stance of the creature towards its creator.
In pre-historic times human and animal sacrifices were offered to God in the misunderstanding that this is what would be pleasing to Him. When Abraham tried to offer his son, God said ‘no’.
The Psalmist in Psalm 50 revealed what God wanted.
"I need no bullock from your house, no goats from your fold. For every animal of the forest is mine, beasts by the thousands on my mountains. I know every bird of the heavens; the creatures of the field belong to me. Were I hungry, I would not tell you, for mine is the world and all that fills it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer praise as your sacrifice to God."
In modern terms this means there is nothing we can give to God that He has not already given to us. It is the offering of a grateful, thankful heart that pleases Him. Praise should rise up from within us. If it is not in our hearts it will not be on our lips. Hearts that are thankful and aware of the true, loving nature of God are born in prayer, reflection and meditation on God’s presence, especially in the beauty of nature and the wonder of creation.
When God made us, He made us free. The decision to worship God is our own to make or to withhold. Love cannot be forced or coerced as it would cease to be love. Of the ten lepers in the gospel story only one returned to thank God for his healing.
The Church is to be the community of people who like that one leper, recognise the source of all goodness in the world and to give thanks for it. If an unseeing and ungrateful world fails to recognise God’s hand at work, let us not make the same mistake.
We are a chosen race; a royal priesthood; a holy nation; set apart (for one purpose only), to sing God’s praise. What a calling! What a privilege! What better opportunity than the Sunday Eucharist to join with the community of believers, to offer freely to God what He deserves. It should be no surprise to learn that the word ‘Eucharist’ itself means ‘thanksgiving’.
Sometimes life is sweet and praise is easy. Sometimes our worship is offered despite difficult circumstances and negative feelings. At such times the sacrifice is only too real and our worship is an act of faith in God’s provision and ultimate victory in our lives.