In this little series of ti morceaux I’ve been going through the Mass, highlighting its various parts and – I hope! – stirring up a little interest in the most important way in which Catholic Christians worship. Having just finished dealing with the Liturgy of the Word, we now move on to the second part of the Mass, usually called the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
As its name suggests, this part of the Mass is the more fundamental part. Every Catholic sacramental celebration or prayer-moment in the Church contains a Scriptural component, a “Liturgy of the Word” if you want to call it that. The Bible is the basic Catholic prayer-book, after all. But ever since the Lord Jesus identified Himself with bread and wine at the Last Supper and then said “Do this in memory of me” our Eucharistic action has been special. It’s more than “our favorite” kind of prayer. It’s the prayer-action which identifies us more than anything else as followers of the Lord.
I admit I have never really understood the impulse which fueled so many Protestant reformers when they largely rejected the idea of “Holy Communion” in favor of services that consist almost exclusively of preaching. And I say that as someone who loves the Scriptures and preaching, and very much realizes how much more we need to understand and embrace God’s Word. It’s just that part of His Holy Word is a command, “Do this!” And so in fidelity to the Bible we continue to “proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes again” (1 Cor 11:26b).