How To Prepare For Mass
A quick prayer while kneeling in the pews, or even a glance through the weekly bulletin are rituals in which we all engage in order to prepare ourselves spiritually and mentally. But can we go further?
One way to prepare more fully for Mass is to read the gospel and its commentary in advance. Let’s look at the readings on the Feast of the Transfiguration as an example of how preparing for Mass helps aid our encounter with the Heavenly liturgy.
In the gospel reading (Luke 9) the story of the Transfiguration is recounted. Amidst the story of Jesus’ revealing Himself in His glory, we hear about Peter’s offering to erect three tents and we see that Elijah is there present. Understanding these two things in particular helps to paint a fuller picture of the reading.
Did you know that the Jews leave an empty seat at their Passover meal table for the prophet Elijah? When Elijah arrives at the Seder meal, it is believed, then it will be to announce the arrival of the Messiah. And so with Jesus’ showing the apostles Himself in all His glory, along with Elijah present, the gospel reading is telling us that Jesus was revealing to the Jews that He was the awaited Messiah.
The reading’s featured tents are important as well. Tents, after all, housed the Jews wandering in the desert on their way to the promised land. Jesus’ arrival in all His glory, as revealed on the Mount during the Transfiguration, is a signal that the Jews have arrived in the promised land with His coming to His people: a spiritual promised land, namely the kingdom of Heaven. Peter’s offering to erect tents was in vain because the journey to the promised land is now over; with Jesus there present they have already arrived.
In these ways we see just how rich each week’s gospel readings actually are. Lets spend time preparing ourselves for Mass by understanding the readings in advance of Mass so that we may advance (to Heaven).
By Ryan Bilodeau