Reflecting on today’s first reading, which recalled the manifestation of God in the form of a cloud at the temple during the reign of King Solomon, the Holy Father said that while God spoke through his people through the prophets and Scripture, the Lord speaks in a different manner through this theophany. This theophany occurs today through the liturgical celebration, particularly the Eucharist.
“When we celebrate the Mass, we don’t accomplish a representation of the Last Supper: no, it is not a representation,” he stressed. “It is something else: it is the Last Supper itself. It is to really live once more the Passion and the redeeming Death of the Lord. It is a theophany: the Lord is made present on the altar to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world.”
“We hear or we say, ‘But, I can’t now, I have to go to Mass, I have to go to hear Mass.’ The Mass is not ‘heard’, it is participated in, and it is a participation in this theophany, in this mystery of the presence of the Lord among us.”
The Pope went on to say that despite the importance of God’s presence in the liturgy, many often spend their time in Mass looking at the clock and “counting [down] the minutes.”
“This is not the attitude the liturgy requires of us: the liturgy is God’s time, God’s space, and we must place ourselves there, in God’s time, in God’s space, and not look at the clock,” he said.
“The liturgy is to really enter into the mystery of God, to allow ourselves to be brought to the mystery and to be in the mystery. For example, I am sure that all of you have come here to enter into the mystery. However, someone might say: ‘Ah, I have to go to Mass at Santa Marta, because on the sight-seeing tour of Rome, each morning there is a chance to visit the Pope at Santa Marta. It’s a tourist stop, right?’ All of you here, we are gathered here to enter into the mystery: this is the liturgy. It is God’s time, it is God’s space, it is the cloud of God that surrounds all of us.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to ask the Lord to give them the “sense of the sacred” in order to distinguish between everyday devotions and the importance of the Eucharist.
“The Eucharistic celebration is something else,” he said. “In the celebration we enter into the mystery of God, into that street that we cannot control. Only He is the unique One, the glory, the power. He is everything. Let us ask for this grace: that the Lord would teach us to enter into the mystery of God.”