Pastor’s Corner – February 8, 2015

Liturgy Corner 17

with Fr. James

Distraction at Mass:

Eucharist as Formation


It is obvious that when we gather at Sunday Mass we are engaged in the worship of God. But what is not so obvious is what deepens and what limits that activity. Before we can usefully explore what does and does not make something a distraction at Mass, we need a clear notion of what the Eucharist’s intended focus is.

Focus. As I wrote in my very first Liturgy Corner article, neither the Vatican II documents, nor official documents since, have ever made any such shift in emphasis from God to the congregation. God is ever the focus of the Mass, through the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Jesus Himself being offered back to the Father. Everything else is secondary to that focus. Community is a product, not the main focus, of Mass. But why?

Purpose. To answer why is to tell the primary purpose of the Eucharist. The deepest purpose of the Mass is formational. Both as individuals and as a community, the goal of Mass is to conform us to Christ, to turn us into saints. Just how it is supposed to do that is part of its mystery.

In the weeks that follow I hope to show some rather surprising conclusions of what kinds of things detract from both the proper focus and the primary purpose of our weekly Eucharist.