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+314+ Eucharistic Prayer: Heart-to-Heart (Family Mass 4)

Fr. Joel Homilies

Jesus wanted to give his friends the very best, so He gave them himself. At the Last Supper He offered them His Body and Blood and told them, “Do this in memory of me.” When we gather at Mass and remember Jesus, we become participants in His story: Sitting in Mass is like sitting at the last supper; Kneeling is like kneeling on Calvary; Standing is like standing at the empty tomb. He comes to give us His own heart, and He only asks for one thing in return: Will you give God your heart? (3 Feb 2013)

Family Mass #4

Eucharistic Prayer

The Liturgy of the Eucharist is second half of the Mass.Mass is like a show and tell: God tells us about His love for us, and then He shows us.

  • The Liturgy of the Word is the part where God tells us He loves us.
  • The Liturgy of the Eucharist is the part where God shows us.

As Catholics, we believe that the Eucharist actually makes Jesus present. Through the ministry of the priest, when we “Do this is memory of me”, our remembering through the Holy Spirit makes us participants in the death and resurrection of Jesus: we sit at the Last Supper; we stand at the foot of Calvary; we step into the empty tomb; we kneel because our Lord is coming.

We sing the Holy, Holy, Holy, words taken from the Heavenly Mass in the book of Revelation. Then we ask the Holy Spirit to bless the offerings (first bells). The priest stands in the person of Jesus and repeats his words from the Last Super offering the bread (second bells) and the wine (third bells). After the offering of the bread and the wine, the priest genuflects. We believe that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has now stepped down from heaven to become present on the altar in the middle of our church in our own little town of Oconto. Even though the gifts still look like bread and wine, they are really Jesus. We call this miracle transubstantiation.

We proclaim the Mystery of Faith to remind us what this is all about. Fr. Joel has chosen to use different mysteries of faith depending on the season:

  1. We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection, until you come again. (Christmas, Easter, and the little Ordinary Time right now)
  2. When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again. (Lent)
  3. Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free. (the long Ordinary Time after Pentecost)

The priest has about three paragraphs to explain what we have just done. We recall the Death and Resurrection of Jesus and pray that we may be made one by the Holy Spirit. We pray in particular for the whole church. We pray for our Pope and our Bishop by name that this sacrifice might bless them. We remember all the dead and pray that we may all be one with the Saints in heaven.

As a general pattern, the priest prays on behalf of all the people with his hands open and ends with Through Christ our Lord. The people respond “Amen” meaning “me too” – this prayer is my prayer as well. This same pattern ends the Eucharistic Prayer. The priest holds up the chalice and paten that are now holding the Body and Blood of Jesus and sings his part, “Through him, and with him, and in him, O God almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.” The people respond by singing their part, “Amen.”

That ends the Eucharistic Prayer. The Our Father is part of the Communion Rite and we will cover that next time.

God continues to give us Himself and he continues to ask for ourselves in return. He asked for our mind during the readings and our stuff during the Offertory. Now he asks for our hearts. “I died for you, I poured out my blood for you, I was stabbed in the heart for you. I love you. Do you love me?” Will you give God your heart?