Every moment of Mass is important. With the opening Sign of the Cross, we enter into preparation as a community to worship God together.
“It is not a good habit to look at the clock and say:” ‘I am in time, I will arrive after the sermon and with this fulfill the commandment,’” Pope Francis said.
“The Mass begins with the Sign of the Cross, with these introductory rites, because we begin to adore God as a community. And for this reason, it is important to plan not to arrive late, but in advance - this to prepare the heart for this rite and for this celebration of the community.”
The Pope continued his catechesis by explaining the importance of Mass, step-by-step, referring to Mass as a symphony of prayers in which “various tones of voice resonate, including times of silence, creating a moment of agreement between all the participants.
“In this way the common faith and mutual desire to be with the Lord, and to live in unity with the whole community, is expressed.”
In speaking about the importance of attending Mass in its entirety, Pope Francis reminded the faithful of the purpose of the opening Sign of the Cross, the Pope explained that when we mark ourselves, it is not only a reminder of our baptism, it also serves to “affirm that the liturgical prayer is an encounter with God in Christ Jesus, who became incarnate, died on the cross and rose gloriously for us.”
Pope Francis went on to say that each part of Mass is rich with symbolism and serves an important purpose.
While some elements of Mass might seem small to us, the Pope reminds us that “these gestures, which risk passing unobserved, are very significant because they express from the beginning that the Mass is a meeting of love with Christ - who ‘offering His body on the cross became alter, victim and priest.”
In closing, Pope Francis promised he would continue to explain the significance of the next steps of Mass at upcoming General Audiences.