Sunday, May 24, 2020


"We, as individuals in the community, should also carefully consider whether we should celebrate Mass inside the building or via livestream, which has become a common channel of communication for many local churches. While we all want to resume a normal life, the simple truth is the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a sometimes fatal respiratory infection, is still out there." Guam Daily Post Editorial, May 24, 2020

It is time to engage the central issue of what makes Catholic worship different than every other "worship" and why Mass "via livestream" CANNOT be our "common channel" to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - if you are Catholic, of course.  

For almost every other Christian expression of public worship, "worship" is, for the most part, a combination of singing and sermons. That's something that can be done at home, at church, in a barn, on the beach, or sitting in front of a screen. 

But Catholic worship is not that. The sermon usually makes up only about 10% of a Catholic worship service ("The Mass") and is sometimes optional, and singing (this will surprise most Catholics) is not even permitted except for under a very strict formula (as outlined in the post-conciliar document Musicam Sacram)

Catholic worship is different because the Catholic Mass is exactly what Jesus commanded us to do when on the night before he died, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ instructed his apostles to "DO THIS." 

He didn't give a sermon, and other than the strictly formulaic psalms as prescribed for the Passover he was celebrating, he didn't lead them in song. 

Worship is very serious business for anyone who takes Jesus Christ seriously. For a Catholic, there are three main instructions in Scripture relative to worship:

1. "Do this in memory of me." While Christ's command is found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the most complete form is provided by Paul: And giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat: This is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of me. 1 Cor 11:24

2. "And on the first day of the week, when we were assembled to break bread." Acts 20:7. Here we see that the first Christian communities understood that they were to assemble on the first day of the week, every week, and "break bread," which is of course in obedience to Christ's command to "DO THIS." 

3. "Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven." Mt 10:32-33. While confessing Jesus before men certainly means preaching, sharing, and living the Gospel, our Church teaches us - as Jesus did - that the highest form of confessing Christ before men is the public celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And millions of Christians have gone to their certain and often horrible deaths over the last two millennia for daring to "assemble to break bread," and many still do. 

By the way, that last verse is also why it is a mortal sin to willfully miss Mass. Another word for "confess" is "acknowledge" (See: New American Bible) And how did Christ command us to acknowledge him? With songs? With sermons? With private prayer? No. While all of the above still count, Christ commanded us to acknowledge him, to commemorate him, to confess him before men with our physical - and for centuries often life threatening - presence at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

"Corona" is Latin for "Crown." It is time for us to come out of our holes and take the crown we have conceded to Caesar (wherein we have denied him "before men") and give it back to Jesus Christ. But only if you're Catholic.

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