I like to focus on the Most Holy Eucharist on Easter Sunday, because the Eucharist is the Resurrected and Glorified Jesus Christ made present for us in the Most Blessed Sacrament. We celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord specifically on Easter Sunday, but every Sunday, and every Mass, is a celebration of the Resurrection, just as every Mass is also a memorial of the Passion and death of the Lord. On this Easter Sunday, many of us won’t get to receive Holy Communion and almost none of us will get to go to Mass. We’ve been encouraging people to watch and listen to the Mass however they can and to make a Spiritual Communion, but that truly isn’t the same as actually attending Mass. In the Mass the Body of Christ, which is the Church, is gathered together to worship our Lord and God and be united to him through the Most Blessed Sacrament of His Body and Blood, and our physical presence there is important. After all, it’s important that the Son of God really became flesh and didn’t just appear to. However, just being physically present at Mass isn’t enough, either; we need to actually be paying attention. We need to actively participate in the Mass, and we can do that part even sitting in front of our computers or TVs, and God can use that to bring unimaginable graces into our lives.
Before Mass even starts, take 3-5 minutes to prepare yourself for Mass. Try to push any distractions out of your mind, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to focus. Take this time to tell God what you are offering the Mass for: a particular grace, a person, the intentions of the Pope, etc.
During the Penitential Rite, really ask God for mercy. You probably don’t have enough time to do a full examination of conscience, but in the brief pause remember any particular sins that are weighing on your soul and ask God to give you a holy hatred for every sin and a desire to never be separated from Him.
Try to really pay attention to the readings as they’re read. You don’t need to analyze them for every little detail, but at least listen for something that stands out to you: an idea, theme, phrase, or action. During the homily, listen for the main point. God can and will speak to you through the homily, whether the homilist is interesting or boring. You may learn something new, find something to bring to prayer, or be called to do something.
While the gifts are being prepared, prepare to offer yourself to God along with them. Place your intention on the altar with the gifts. Place yourself on the paten with the host and in the chalice with the wine. Ask the Lord to transform you through His grace just as the bread and wine or transubstantiated to become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then, during the Eucharistic Prayer focus on the words the priest is saying and unite your prayers to his.
After Mass is over, just get up and walk away immediately. Take a moment to thank the Lord for the great gift of the Mass, of your faith, and of the Church. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you put the graces you’ve receive to use so that, through this Mass, you might grow in love of God and neighbor in some tangible way.
Fr. Bryan was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from July 3, 2017 to June 2022.