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Father Muench Says...

‘The Mass is our best prayer’

March 17, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Note 1: I was saddened to learn this week of the death of Mrs. Betty Lucia, the mother of Bishop Douglas Lucia, the bishop of Syracuse. Mrs. Lucia lives in Altona. Before becoming a bishop, Bishop Lucia was a priest of the Diocese of Ogdensburg. I now live in Bishop Lucia’s diocese. I wish to send my regards to Bishop Lucia and his family. His mother will be remembered in my Masses and prayers.

Note 2: I notice that this issue of the North Country Catholic will be out during the week of St. Patrick’s Day. I remember well when I was a child, I am certain that my mother considered St. Patrick’s Feast Day to be a Holy Day of Obligation, a major Feast Day. She made certain that everyone knew I was Irish, at least part of me. So, I send my greetings and prayers to all you Irish.

Today, I would like to take some time with you to continue some thoughts about the prayers of our Lenten Journey. For us, Catholics, prayer means and begins with the celebration of the Holy Mass. The Mass is first and most important for us. The Mass is our best prayer, for our Savior, Jesus Christ, is present in a special way in the Holy Eucharist. In this Lenten Journey, we draw close to Our Lord’s passion and death and resurrection through our participation in Mass. The celebration of the Blessed Eucharist builds our relationship with Our Lord Jesus.

We are now rushing toward Holy Week and Easter. Through our celebration of the events of Holy Week, each Mass will be a celebration of the life, death and resurrection of our Lord. We draw ever closer to the sufferings of our Savior. Each Mass allows us to stand with Jesus at the Last Supper and at the cross and to remember his resurrection.

The Sacred Scriptures for these next few weeks and those of Holy Week become a time of prayer as we become personally involved in the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. The readings of the Old Testament recall for us the Jewish Exodus. As you remember, Moses is guided by God to lead the Hebrew people to freedom from the slavery in Egypt. The Hebrew people would find protection from the last plague on Egypt by taking the blood of a lamb and placing it over the door of their homes. This would be the first celebration of the Passover, a celebration that continues to be celebrated each year in Jewish homes.

We, Christians, are saved by the blood of Jesus, who suffered and died for us on the cross. Jesus is our Paschal lamb. Jesus dies for us. Jesus truly spills his blood for us. The Masses of Holy Week, especially on Holy Thursday and Good Friday and Easter allow us to celebrate our salvation. We are truly united with our Lord and Savior through the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. We celebrate the presence of the Lord Jesus though this magnificent sacrament. Jesus is with us in a special way.

As a priest, I recognize this as the anniversary of my ordination in the events of Holy Week. I truly believe I stand with Jesus at the Last Supper each time I celebrate Mass. As Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist, he called the apostles and the priests of all time to bring his Body and Blood the people of God everywhere. During the Masses of Lent and Holy Week we, priests and people, must offer our gratitude to our God and the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit for bringing this wonderful Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the ordination of the Holy Orders that continues to lead priests to the Church and brings the Lord’s Sacraments to the Lord’s people.

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