Liturgy: The Mass and So Much More
In the Gospel of Mark (3:31-35) Jesus is told that his mother and brothers and sisters are outside a crowded house asking for him. When Jesus responds to this message he says, “Who are my mother and my brothers? Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
This response of Jesus might seem shocking to us. Is Jesus denying his family? No. In fact it’s the opposite. Jesus is broadening the understanding of family from the narrow perspective of those who just share a biological connection to “those who do the will of God”. The ones who do God’s will are also members of the family of God and brothers and sisters with Christ.
“Who are my mother and my brothers? Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
In our life of faith when do we experience a physical gathering of the family of God? In other words when do we come together as a group of men and women seeking to do God’s will in our life? At Mass.
As you might be familiar, the word litourgia is Latin for the “work of the people”. When we come together for Mass we participate in the Liturgy. As the Catechism teaches that the Mass is the central expression of the Church’s liturgy, it also reminds us that there is more than just going to mass. The Catechism says, “the word liturgy refers not only to the celebration of divine worship [Mass] but also to the proclamation of the Gospel and to active charity. In all these situations it is a question of the service of God and neighbor” (CCC 1070). There are 3 key aims of liturgy pointed out here: worship, proclaiming the gospel, and serving others in charity.
"There are 3 key aims of liturgy pointed out here: worship, proclaiming the gospel, and serving others in charity."
When we serve God the Father by worshiping Him fully aware of what we are doing at Mass then letting the grace of Mass (particularly the Eucharist) inspire us to serve our neighbors; we are doing the will of God. The will Jesus mentions in the gospel passage.
In short, liturgy comes from following the 2 great commandments: loving God with all our heart, mind and soul and loving our neighbor as ourself. In those two actions of the Church, as individuals we live out our baptismal identity. An identity that allows us to be recognized at brothers and sisters of Christ under the guidance and care of our Blessed Mother who is us the first model of one who said “yes” to the will of God.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Michael Chrisman
Director of Worship
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