Getting Ready For Jesus

It’s Sunday morning and you awaken at 10:25 a.m. Still in shock that you slept in so long, you realize that it is Sunday and you have just 35 minutes to get showered, do your hair and get to church in time for 11 a.m. Mass. You fly out of bed and attempt to shorten your morning ritual, so you can make it to church on time. You arrive a few minutes late, and hurry to the first open seat so as not to make your tardiness apparent. While it is true that this kind of scenario happens for some of us from time to time, hopefully this is not a familiar pattern in your own life.

The celebration of the Eucharist is our weekly time to gather as a parish community, to celebrate the Lord’s Day, and to leave renewed and strengthened for our earthly journey. Our presence at the community celebration of the Eucharist is important for many reasons. The most important reason is that God commanded that we keep the Sabbath holy. As Catholics, we understand that it is not only wrong to miss Mass on Sunday; it is a sin.

It is important for us to recognize that the celebration of the Eucharist is unlike anything else we do in our earthly lives. It is where we are nourished and fed at the table of the Lord and the table of the Eucharist. It is where we gather as a community to give thanks to our God for all of His many gifts to us. We are called to honor Sunday and to set it apart as a day dedicated to the Lord.

So how to we prepare for this great gift?

The first aspect of preparation is to make a definite plan to attend Mass. If it is not possible to attend Mass at St. Peter’s on a particular weekend, check out the schedule of other worship times at neighboring churches and plan to arrive on time. 

We know that Jesus is present where two or three are gathered in His Name and in the Eucharist that is reposed in the tabernacle. By this we understand that Jesus is waiting for us to arrive at church and enter into His most holy Presence. While arriving “on time” for the start of Mass is acceptable, it is preferable to arrive at least 10 minutes before Mass to place ourselves in the presence of the Lord and open our hearts to what we are about to experience.

If possible, it is a good idea to read over the readings for the Mass before you arrive. This will help bring the Word of God into our hearts and ready us for what we are going to hear proclaimed. Some people may engage the readings even earlier in the week and pray over them to see how God is speaking to their hearts. This is a very good practice for all of us to consider.

Finally, it is important for us to be present to the Lord when we enter the church for worship. Most of us carry cell phones. Unless there is a situation that requires our phone to be powered on, it is best to power off the phone before entering the church. A cell phone ringing during worship causes a distraction for the community and imposes on the prayerful atmosphere of worship. If your professional or family responsibilities require you to have your phone powered on during Mass, please silence the ringer so that it does not disrupt the worship.

Jesus is waiting for us. He waits for each of us, and He is ready to receive us just as we are. In our busy lives, we often have to cancel plans, sometimes at the last minute. It is important that we begin to order our lives around our Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. This should take primary place over everything else we do.

As we grow together in our understanding of the Mass and how absolutely essential it is to our lives, we will begin to understand why good preparation is so important. God wants to give us everything! He wants to deepen our devotion to Him and shower us with grace and blessings for our lives. Let us be open to what God can do in our hearts through our worthy participation in the Mass. Let us come hungry—ready to be nourished and fed by our loving God!

May God Bless you!

Deacon Tim

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