The Purpose of Mass

Why do we have Mass?

We have Mass to worship and to receive God’s grace, to unify with him and with other worshipers through the sacrament of the Eucharist. As a sacrament, it is that Jesus himself acting through the Eucharist, and supplies all the graces we derive from it.

At Mass we are able to stand mystically at the foot of the cross and witness for ourselves the same self-sacrifice of Jesus, in an unbloody manner.

Mass is a celebration of this sacrifice. It is the active participation of all that come together in the place of worship. We do not come to Mass simply to receive something passively or to watch a show; we come as participants embracing the grace Christ pours out for us shed by his own blood on the cross.

Different people have different roles at Mass. Some people are Eucharistic ministers. They help distribute the Eucharist to assist the priest when it is necessary in order to maintain the flow of worship.

Lectors help proclaim the Word of God and make it come alive for us. Cantors and choir members lead us in song to help us stay in tune.

The priest is there to serve us by leading us in prayer acting in the person of Christ, explaining the Scripture (Bible) readings, and consecrating the bread and wine so that they may become the body and blood of Jesus.

We only get out of Mass what we put into it.

If we do not find much significance in the Mass it is because our whole mind, heart, and soul are not there. We are called to actively participate.

When we actively participate in the Mass we receive God in two primary ways: we receive him through his Word and through the Eucharist. These are the two main parts of the Mass: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Liturgy is a term that means work or public duty. It is the work of the people, not just one person standing at the altar. All the people gathered are doing the work of celebration.

Liturgy of the Word

During the Liturgy of the Word we receive God in his word. Generally speaking there are three readings and a Psalm (usually sung). The first reading is from the Old Testament, then the Psalm, the second reading is from the New Testament and the third is a Gospel reading.

All three of the readings are generally related; together they incorporate a theme. The priest then gives his homily regarding this theme, how it relates to everyday life or something along those lines.

It is all right if none of the readings or the homily affect you or move you in any fashion because the Mass isn’t just about you. The Mass is about the whole Body of Christ. When we celebrate Mass it isn’t just us or those that we can see in the congregation. There are millions of other people around the world celebrating Mass as well. Not only that, but there are also those people who came before us, have died in their earthly bodies but are still alive in Christ in heaven, just as we are alive in Christ but on Earth.

So a particular set of readings or a homily may not affect you, but there may be someone else who really needed to hear it. There may be someone else going through a tough time and really needed to hear those words of comfort or joy (or whichever emotion is appropriate).

In the first part of the Mass we receive God in his word and in the second part we receive God, through Jesus in body, soul and divinity. We receive God in the Eucharist.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

The first Mass was about 2000 years ago at the Last Supper. Jesus and the Apostles were gathered together in what was Jesus’ final meal before his crucifixion. During the meal Jesus took bread, broke it, gave it to the Apostles and said, “This is my body which will be given for you. Do this in memory of me.”

Afterward Jesus took a cup filled with wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.”

Jesus offers us a chance to partake in his sacrifice by offering for us his body and his blood. This is the sign of our covenant with God. Jesus’ body and blood is the new covenant and Jesus tells us to partake in it in memory of him.

At Mass when we receive the Eucharist, Jesus’ body and blood under the appearance of bread and wine (just like at the Last Supper), we are renewing our covenant with God. We are reconfirming our promise to God to live out our end of the relationship.

A covenant, in this context, is a type of relationship. The type of relationship that God has always had with his people is a covenant. Covenantal relationships are whereby each party mutually agrees to something.

God loves us endlessly and infinitely. God forgives us endlessly and infinitely. Our mutual response to God is to love him as much as we can even though our love is finite. Our response is to obey God and receive his freely given grace to help bring the Kingdom of God here on Earth.

When we receive the Eucharist at each Mass we are making that promise to God that we will hold up our end of the covenant. We are also unifying ourselves to God and to the other members of the Church through the Body of Christ.

The whole purpose of Mass is to worship God, unite ourselves with the sacrifice of Jesus, and to elevate our lives to the life of God. We will only get out of this relationship with God what we put into it; God’s grace can only work in our lives if we are open to receiving it.

Why do we have to do this each week?

Our salvation is not a one-time ordeal where make a promise to God at one point in our lives. Life is a process and so is our salvation.

When we receive the Eucharist we are receiving Jesus, God. In doing so we are making that commitment each time to live out our end of the bargain. By God’s gift of free will to us we always have the opportunity to choose to fall away from God through sin and we need his grace and strength to maintain our relationship with him.

By receiving the Eucharist at least once a week and making that promise to love God and obey him we are receiving the grace necessary to do God’s will. We grow in faith each time we receive.

An analogous example is marriage. The ideal marital relationship is modeled after God’s relationship with his people. The two parties in marriage give themselves mutually exclusively to each other and promise to make self-sacrifices to support the other person.

The sign of the marriage covenant is sexual intercourse. A marriage is not consummated (made whole) until the husband and wife engage in sexual intercourse and each time thereafter they are renewing their covenant with each other in the unitive act of sexual intercourse.

Likewise we make whole our relationship with God through the Eucharist by eating his flesh and drinking his blood. We are renewing that covenant. We do it over and over and over again to renew ourselves and grow our relationship with God.

Most ordinary people honestly cannot say that if they are married they will only have sex with their spouse once. Likewise we continually renew our covenant with God through the Mass.


  1. Godwin Nwaokike says

    For Christ to be born anew in a mysterious manner during the Holy Mass speaks a lot about His love for us. He abases himself to be present in every particle of the sacred host.

  2. Peter Scollan says

    I have returned to the roman Catholic Church after many years a converted Born again protestant. The Mass is the most simple and merciful way to be healed and converted to Jesus. With an open mind and heart and with the prayers of all the Church. Jesus reveals himself. The Mass is not boring ritual. It is a celebration of all Jesus love for all mankind. Before time began and for all eternity. Jesus life death and resurrection. It may not set the heather alight. But turning to friendly and exciting Protestant churches is not the answer. Trusting Jesus in the Now becomes more exciting and fulfilling, brings peace and joy and really, intimacy no bible talk or great sermon. If your priest or bishop is struggling, pray and help them. Jesus did not come to avoid the social and realities of life. Jesus did not come to save people who thought they had arrived. But to people who they needed him and each other. John 6, Ist Corinthians 13, the road to Emmeas. The last supper. All these scriptures more than verify Jesus real presence. Love one another as I have loved you. Means sticking it out when thing are not only going good but tough as well. Some things I am learning myself. Catholics Are called to shared suffering as well as shared blessing. I believe in individual salvation. But Also living and sharing the Gospel. Jesus chose a motley crew of 12 Apostles. They were in no way Jesus like overnight. It was a life times journey. There are no short cuts or quick fixes. Living the Mass is team work. We all need one another. John and Charles Wesley preached great sermons and wrote inspiring hymns. But the Methodist Church is very much smaller than than their vision. Jumping to see the great local preacher does not entitled Catholics to jump ship .Over my life time that is my great regret. I hope this is helpful.

    • says

      With all due respect to you,Mr.Scollan,your post is somewhat incoherent and disjointed. You claim that you…”returned to the Roman Catholic Church after many years a converted born again protestant”…What the what are you talking about?? What does that even mean? Aren’t catholics born again? Were you re-born in some heretofore unknown sense? To someone who has /is a Born-again, Blood-bought, Spirit-filled child / servant of Almighty God for 39 years,you sound terribly confused. Are you more Christian than I am,now that you’ve returned to Roman Catholicism? Why did you leave to begin with? Which Jesus is better? Are you more saved as a Catholic than you were as a…”converted,born-again protestant? Clarify,please…Thanks.I await your reply.

      • says

        Mr Laurence. I understand from what Mr Scollan said above as this: Mr Scollan left the Catholic Church believing that he was closer to God in the protestant faith. He was a born again protestant for many years. He found out that he made a mistake and returned to the Catholic Church. We, Catholics do not call ourselves born again. For the Catholic Church is the TRUTH and do not use the word “born again” but instead use the word, return home. “Born again” is words used by protestants for they do found a new faith after being Catholics. Catholics do NOT say that we are better than others but all we say that we are trying to “follow Christ” closely. In regard to your question, “why he leave?” I feel that he is like most others who did not give their hearts totally to find out more about their faith. I could say also that feeling might have be a big factor in his turning away from the Catholic Church because he said these words, “…..There are no short cuts or quick fixes. Living the Mass is team work…..” Therefore I could say that when you depend on feeling alone, you definitely will make a mistake. He also did say “…….Means sticking it out when thing are not only going good but tough as well….” Feeling and participation makes life easier in any type of situations. In this case, your spiritual growth. He also mentioned this…. “….All these scriptures more than verify Jesus real presence.” It is ONLY in the Catholic Church that Jesus’ real presence in all the Holy Tabernacles around the world. It is ONLY in the Catholic Church that you will receive Jesus Christ physically in the Holy Eucharist. With this explanation, I sincerely hope you come to understand. May the Lord bless you and His Holy Spirit descend upon you to enable you to see the TRUTH so you also could embrace it.

  3. Against the Roman Catholic Church says

    In Pagan rituals, after a sacrifice was made, the people partaking in the burnt offering to their gods would eat part of the sacrifice. This was done because they believed the knowledge, wisdom, and power would transfer from the sacrificed to the one consuming. This explains the R-C church’s position on transubstantiation.

    The R-C church places so much emphasis on the pom and circumstance of the mass that they take away from preaching the gospel. The church doesn’t believe that God’s grace and faith alone are the answer to eternal salvation.

    If the R-C church removed purgatory, which is NEVER mentioned in the bible, from their doctrines and teachings it would be hard to convince people of a purely works doctrine. By telling people that you believe Jesus is real, you believe he died, you believe he is gods son, you are on the right track. Live a good life and you might make it to heaven. If you had some missteps and don’t make it to heaven right away, dont worry, you wont go to hell. You go to a middle place to continue working towards perfection. One day you’ll make it. This false gospel goes against EVERYTHING Christ teaches. This devalues the sacrifice of Christ. Essentially it says, “Thank you for dying for us. Unfortunately it wasn’t good enough to to get heaven.”

    I hate that a church that so many associate with Christianity has 1.2 Billion members and all of them are blind.

    Test things yourself-just as Martin Luther did. If the R-C church says or believes one thing and the Bible says another, its false gospel.

    • Adolf Goldwyn says

      Would like to point out a couple of anomalies in your post; one is the fact that the phrase ‘faith alone’ is never found in the Bible. It is mentioned just once in the Bible to say that you are not saved by faith alone (James 2:24).
      The other fact that I would like to point out is that not everything we believe needs to be mentioned in the Bible. For example the word Trinity does not appear in the Bible, and yet it is the mystery of the Trinity that makes us believe that Jesus is God. Another term that is often used is that we must accept Jesus as our Lord and Master if we are to be saved. Where in the Bible do you find this idea?
      Our faith is not built on the basis of a book but in the person of Jesus and what he told us through the written and oral tradition.

  4. Arlo says

    Hi Everyone

    This is a terrible sin to add and make a wrong doctrine of the “last Supper” Jesus broke bread ( a usual thing of having a meal together?) and said at the last meal “Do this in memory of me” So as remembrance so we do not forget His death of the Cross setting us free from sin and the devil, we gather together to break bread, share with one another and share some grape juice (wine is what the disciples had-grape juice) and we remember the shed blood of Jesus for the remission of sins. The Body of Christ is a term used is a body of Bible Believing people. People who love God and HIS Word (Jesus is the Word of God). S the unity of the Body of Christ is celebrated at the breaking of bread on a Sunday in Church (church again is a body of believers not the four walls that the Catholics revere!!)God is not in the four walls of a catholic church building or any church building for that matter but as scripture says “Ye are the temple of God and God dwells in you”

    I was Catholic and searched for the Truth because I could not understand this lie of transubstantiation of the Roman Catholic doctrine (all false teachings) and Mass!! What Mass where in Jesus teachings is there a mass? It was always groups of committed Christ followers who gathered together to break bread and study HIS\\ teachings about His Father’s Kingdom! When I was almost dying with o cur the Word of GOD alive ad active was preached to me by a Pastor (a shepherd of a flock it means and Biblical) and I was instantaneously healed! My life changed I realized that all this so called Roman Catholicism was a pack of lies! Gods Word s TRUTH.
    The catholic church is powerless not a fever is healed and one must ask why? Where is the Power of God at work if its connected to the Source of Power??Powerless because not connected or related to the Power source God Almighty!Whereas Christianity of a follower of Christ and His Teachings is filled with Power to overcome, and follow the purpose of God which is to restore the image of God in man and establish Gods Kingdom on earth. Each of His followers are called to carry out HIS “Misseio Dei” of building HIS Kingdom on earth. Not just go for so called “Mass” and not bring one non Christian to Gods Kingdom!
    Roman Catholicism is all pom and glory taken by fallible men which is an abomination to God. “I shall not share my Glory with any” is Gods stance!!
    All Catholics, including the pope must be ‘born gain in keeping with Jesus Teachings to enter in the Kingdom of God and follow Christ not man (Pope is a man appointed by man-all sinful ad fallible) Jesus is the Only sinless one who gave His life for you and me!The cross is th Only way to salvation.
    You Catholics out there please start reading Gods Word and search for the Truth like I did Do not just swallow anything and everything the Roman law taught people!! I searched and found HIM the One True God and HIS Word that set me free from all religious garb.I was completely healed and prospered as I sat at HIS Feet daily (The rd of God) and studied worshiped and developed a close relationship with our Creator God Almighty! God calls us to a relationship with HIM as He was with Adam and Eve n the garden. Not just to try to reach HIM thro the Pope, the nuns the priests, praying to Mary (this blessed mother of our Lord is in Heaven), to Joseph (who is dead and also in Heaven) etc etc ….all nonsense cooked u stories of the Roman empire called the papacy!
    How could Catholics be so ignorant and blind is something I weep over!God save them! is my prayer and cry! I was once blind but now I see! Even as Catholics we never kissed statues (we would laugh as children as my father reminded us these were clay painted and dolled up by man)
    May God open the eyes of all Catholics who read this my experience with the Truth having come fro a Roman Catholic background.I searched for Truth and found HIM (The Only way to our Heavenly Father) Priests are not holy fathers! I refuse to call them so. We only have a Holy Father in Heaven and our physical fathers!!

    • Db says

      You are truly a lost and confused soul. I pray you find forgiveness for your words against Christ and His Church. I am sorry you were not given the proper formation by your parents about the truth of Catholicsm and that you have thrown away and trampled on Gods greatest gift to mankind, The Eucharist. I pray you find peace.

      • Chris says

        There was no last supper, it was a passover seder. The Jewish Messiah Yeshua was showing the Jewish disciples, he was the passover lamb of the Jewish God. The bible was a middle eastern book written for a middle eastern people, Jews.
        When the gentiles (heathen) became numerous in numbers they incorporated heathen (gentile) holidays, and that is what happened in the church days well after Messiah.
        All I ask for you brothers, and sisters is read the bible for yourself, and pray to the God of Abraham, Issac , and Jacob yourself. You do not need a mediator, Jesus (Yeshua) is our mediator.
        Yeshua, His Hebrew name like all Jews have meaning. Yeshua means salvation.
        We are all members of the body of Christ, not the body of church, and religion created by man, backed by the devil , and still is destroying this body. Love, brother in Christ, Chris. Shalom

    • Nick says

      Greetings Arlo, Amanda and Db,
      What, when and where is your doctrine on the Last Supper from?
      Read John 6 over and over to absorb Jesus’ instructions on the Eucharist.
      How do you renew the new covenant with God then? Through your words…No.
      By remembering His death on the cross…No.
      The new and eternal covenant cannot be consummated in such an easy fashion.
      The Church Jesus built through Peter and the Apostles, guided by the Holy Spirit, has not changed the
      new covenant (receiving the Eucharist) in over 2,000 years. Through the invention of many men (Protestants), the covenant was changed for their own convenience then misguided many over the years. 2 Peter 1:20,21 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. The Truth is found in Jesus, His Teachings, His Church and His Authority given to Peter and succession of popes. His whole revelation, His whole deposit of faith. What is whole? Catholic
      Thank you for this forum with which to speak from, Nick

  5. chennaicatholic says

    Though I am a fervent Catholic , I have doubts which cannot be easily explained. I read in this blog we eat Christ’s flesh and drink his blood when we receive the Holy Communion. How does this practice differ from
    cannibalism as we cannot do such things to another human being. If it is a mystical body of Christ , we still
    commit the same action of eating the flesh and drinking one’s blood. After receiving the communion which is the body of Christ how do I understand this physical experience and at the same time reconcile to the the thought that I had just eaten someone’s flesh and receive His grace? I think that’s why the protestants consider it more as symbolic ritual rather than actual live experience. Please explain.

    • Amanda says

      I am protestant and I think the Eucharist is what I have had a problem with. I mean, not a problem.. I am searching for truth and I have been looking to the Catholic Church. I am confused. Does receiving the Eucharist mean one is being saved and refilled with the Holy Spirit?

      • Dominic says

        Amanda. Catholics commemorate the eating of body and blood of christ because HE commanded them to do so. It means that any time you take a holy communion, u unite with christ. He said his blood is the NEW, when u drink His blood, u simply renew/strengthen ur vows with HIM.

      • Chris says

        There was no last supper, it was a passover seder. The Jewish Messiah Yeshua was showing the Jewish disciples, he was the passover lamb of the Jewish God. The bible was a middle eastern book written for a middle eastern people, Jews.
        When the gentiles (heathen) became numerous in numbers they incorporated heathen (gentile) holidays, and that is what happened in the church days well after Messiah.
        All I ask for you brothers, and sisters is read the bible for yourself, and pray to the God of Abraham, Issac , and Jacob yourself. You do not need a mediator, Jesus (Yeshua) is our mediator.
        Yeshua, His Hebrew name like all Jews have meaning. Yeshua means salvation.
        We are all members of the body of Christ, not the body of church, and religion created by man, backed by the devil , and still is destroying this body. Love, brother in Christ, Chris. Shalom

        Amanda the Messiah broke the unleavened bread, bread without yeast as yeast represents sin, and sin is death. Anyway what did he say, do this in remembrance of me. Sometimes when people, man, start something such as a religion this get confusing because the devil is behind it to drive people away from the truth.
        Any way in this case it means to remember him. It is an honor to do so. The way to heaven is by asking for forgiveness of our sins, and accepting the God of Israel.
        When Yeshua rose from the dead he passed through the Tabernacle, and sprinkle his blood on the alter, and pass through to the Heaven. He made the last sacrifice for the atonement of sin.

      • David says

        You must be born again to be saved John 3:16
        Catholic Church has many many doctrinal errors from praying to Mary and saints ,purgatory , priests fore giving sins, and doing pentence for our sins when Christ paid it all! if you want to correspond

  6. john L. Msuya says

    – Why do Catholic Priests do not marry?
    – How was that decicion reached?
    – How many among the 12 deciples were married?
    – Why do Catholics do not allow Women to become Priests?

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