It’s powerful. It’s powerful beyond words, and when you leave this place on a Sunday, when you leave this place after daily mass, you should feel like you’re walking five foot off the ground because you are a superhero.
In the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen, please, sit.
There were some very determined humming going on during that last hymn.
It strikes me as somewhat odd, as many of you know, I’m a trustee for SPCK, the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, and it’s been about since the 17th century and it predominantly helps people understand their relationship with God through publishing. So we publish lots and lots of books.
And my career before I became a priest was in publishing. And it’s always struck me that the books that sell most in Christian publishing, often those that purport to help people live good Christian lives. So, for example, daily devotional books where you can open a book each day and there’s a daily daily devotional that helps you connect with God. They’re beautiful and they sell wonderfully. So clearly people are looking for a way to connect with God each and every day.
They’re looking for something to help them find that connection with God. And the reason I find it slightly odd that they sell so well is that Jesus gave us the tools we need to connect with God each and every day. He did it the night before he died. He gave it to us in the Eucharist and he gave it to us through scripture. Now, that’s me, being an absolute purist, but we have everything that we need to know God every single day, we have the pattern to live a good Christian life every single day.
And the best devotional you can possibly take home and follow is your Mass Card. Now you’re looking at me like Father’s finally going over the edge and lost it, because how can this help you live a good Christian life? Well, it’s because the Eucharist, the mass, gives us the model of a perfect Christian life. And it’s not a model that the church invented. It’s the model that Jesus Christ gave us. So let’s look let’s look at that structure.
Let’s look at what we do. It’s the reason why we have mass every single day in this church. How does mass start? In the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we call on the name of the Trinitarian God. Brains, tummy and heart, like I preached about last week. And then the first thing we do is confess our sins. We fall to our knees and we say, God, we’ve got it wrong, we’ve made mistakes.
But we want to be better. Will you please forgive me my sins so that I can be better? Will you please wipe clean the slate so I can go out into the world and be better? Then we sing Praise Glory to God in the highest, because the moment our sins are wiped clean, that we receive that forgiveness from God. What do we say? We say, thank you, God, thank you for this wonderful gift. And I know that it’s a gift that stays with you all week because I’ve been stood behind you in the Iceland queue hearing you singing Glory to God in the highest.
So it sticks with us through the week, that glory of thanks. And then we then we offer our prayer for the week The Collect, which brings us back to focus on – Scripture. You know, Catholics, us Catholics in our bit to the Church of England, we often get criticised for not knowing our scripture. But my gosh, we know our scripture, there isn’t a single service in this church that doesn’t have a multitude of readings every single day in this church morning prayer -we have several readings from Scripture. Mass, we have several readings from Scripture, evening prayer, several readings from scripture. We constantly study scripture. And so it’s at the heart of our mass, what is God saying to us today? And that’s the question we try to answer in the homily. How does this scripture affect us today? It’s my job in this sermon to try and open scripture up for you to try and understand what it is God may be saying to you this week.
Or this day if you come every day. Then we have the creed. Is where we stand and we declare our faith together because our faith on our own can be attacked. But our faith together, our faith standing next to the person, the person stood next to us who shares that faith makes us strong. And so we declare that faith together. And then once again, we fall to our knees and we pray to God. We take the opportunity to pray to God to hold before him our worries and our concerns to hold before him those things that we look for his help with, for those areas of our life where we need to be made stronger.
We pray. And there’s something powerful about praying together. And then we start the Eucharist. We start the mass, we bring our offerings forward because all of us, all of us are at that altar when God is made presence through those gifts that are brought to the collection plate through those gifts of service and time, we are all present at that altar. As Jesus is made present. As I elevate the host and Jesus presence is amongst us in person, he is stood next to us making a strong we are all stood at the altar through those gifts.
Jesus is made present in the body and the blood of the Eucharist, and we receive him physically, viscerally. Solidly. Not in metaphore, not in parable, not as some thought experiment. But you come to the front of church and you receive Jesus Christ in your hands. And you consume him and he becomes one with you and you have been prepared to receive him, you have been forgiven of your sins, you have offered yourself in prayer.
You have studied the scripture. And so here you are, clean as a new babe, ready to receive Jesus Christ, to be made strong, physically, viscerally, for real. And now Jesus Christ is inside you, becoming part of you. And you return to your seat full of hope. Full of what Jesus Christ can do in your life today, this week, tomorrow. And in that momen, you are the most perfect Christian, it is possible to be – that pattern that Jesus Christ gave us that night before he died on the cross brings you to that point of being on your knees before him.
And then what do we do? We say another prayer and what’s the final command of the priest? What is the final command of Jesus Christ? Go and announce the gospel of the Lord, because that is the point. We are brought here, we are healed, we are made strong in Christ so that we can leave this place and proclaim his name, we can proclaim his name in word and deed and in love and enjoy and in hope and in support.
It’s powerful. It’s powerful beyond words, and when you leave this place on a Sunday, when you leave this place after daily mass, you should feel like you’re walking five foot off the ground because you are a superhero. Because there is nothing in this world that can stop you. Proclaiming the word of Jesus Christ.
Corpus Christi. The point in the year when we say thank you for the gift the Jesus has given us. So meditate on that gift, take the mass card home, and if you don’t come to daily mass, at least think about those things that I’ve talked about today, think about every single day, starting your day with prayer and asking forgiveness for your sins, starting your day by reading scripture, starting your day by praying.
Starting your day to be made strong in Jesus Christ. Starting your day by walking out your front door ready to proclaim his glorious name. Amen.