I am glad to see that the number of people who have come back to Mass has grown over the last couple months. For the last three weeks, we have had more than 500 people at Masses and that’s a good thing. It’s a sign that people really desire to worship Our Lord.
If Mass were just a matter of watching, then we could just as easily participate in it online or in person. You can get the same experience of listening to a lecture or a music performance by watching it on the TV as hearing it in person. That is why people who attend those events are called the audience which is literally from the Latin word “to hear.” However, as St. James reminds us, we have to be doers of the word not hearers. (James 1:22) In Mass, we are not just an audience watching the priest and other people do something. We participate in the Mass by praying the Mass with the celebrant.
By the merit of our baptism, we are all made into priests in the sense that we are all able to worship God. Everyone can lift up their prayers to Him at Mass whether those prayers are adoring the Lord, thanking Him for the many good things He gives, praying for forgiveness or praying for something in particular. As faithful Catholics we should desire to be close to Our Lord in the blessed sacrament and to worship Him as He desires to be worshiped in Holy Mass. Just as we are not satisfied being far away from those we love but want to be with them. So, we should desire to be as close to Our Lord as possible.
Coming to Mass is more than just learning about our faith. In fact we can do that more effectively in a number of different ways. It is also more than simply “receiving Jesus” because the reception of Holy Communion, as good and encouraged as it is, is not necessary for participating in Mass. The purpose of Mass is to worship our God. We should all pray that this pandemic comes to an end and we can all return to Mass together. So long as there is a chance that people might get sick, we ought to take all the proper precautions we can to be safe. However, it would be so much better to return to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because Jesus is really there and desires us to worship Him.