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Same Thing, Different Names

by Gus Lloyd

This article is reprinted from the booklet, A Minute in the Church: The Mass, by Sirius Catholic Radio personality, Gus Lloyd. It is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.

I. Introduction

Mass "I don't get anything out of Mass."
"I'm not being fed at Mass."

I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard those two sentences. I could make an enormous donation to my favorite charity and still be a wealthy man. In my nearly 25 years on Catholic radio and in ministry, I have heard those words (and slight variations on them) more times than I can count. In fact, they may be the most common things people say when I ask why they don't go to Mass anymore. Truth be told, it makes me want to cry.

Believe me when I tell you I get it. In fact, I've been there and done that. I grew up Catholic but stopped going to Mass in my mid-to-late teens and stayed away for many years. Those exact same words probably came out of me at some time. Only after I returned to Christ and His Church did I develop a deep love for the Mass. It took time and study.

Why are these sentiments so common? Most people would probably say that they experience bad liturgy. In other words, the music was terrible, the preaching was boring, the priest couldn't be understood … the list goes on and on. Those reasons on the surface seem rather valid. After all, we're an experiential people. When our experiences are less than optimal, we drift. We find ourselves not paying attention. Soon we're more interested in what others are wearing or doing, and we've completely lost focus on what we should be paying attention to. Herein lies the greatest problem: we're not paying attention. We got so distracted by the externals that we fail to see the greater reality of what is happening right before our eyes.

I'm a great believer that if anyone had a complete understanding of the Catholic Mass, there is no way they would ever leave the Church. Why? Because they would understand that the Mass is the "wedding feast of the Lamb." [Rev 19:9] It is a particpation in the heavenly banquet of the King. It is heaven on earth!

II. Same Thing, Different Names

While most Christians are familiar with the term "Mass," there are many different ways to refer to the same thing. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraphs 1328-1332, refers to many different names for the Eucharist, or Eucharistic celebration.

It is sometimes called The Lord's Supper or the Breaking of the Bread. These terms show its intrinsic connection with the Last Supper. Because the Eucharist is celebrated communally, it is sometimes referred to as the Eucharistic assembly.

Because "it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church's offering," we call it The Holy Sacrifice, or Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The Eucharist is also called The Holy and Divine Liturgy, or sometimes simply The Liturgy. This comes from a Greek word meaning "public work" or "the work of the people." This differentiated the public aspect of the Eucharist from private prayers.

Other expressions are The Sacred Mysteries, The Most Blessed Sacrament and Holy Communion. Finally we refer to the Eucharistic celebration as the Holy Mass, a word that comes from the Latin missa, a form of the word "to send forth."

Taken from A Minute in the Church: The Mass
Copyright © 2015 by Gus Lloyd
Reprinted by permission of copyright owner.
Copies of the booklet are available at Gus Lloyd's website.

CanticaNOVA Publications / PO Box 1388 / Charles Town, WV 25414-7388
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