Our word Mass comes from the Latin word missa, which is at the root of the dismissal that gives us our mission. The final blessing gives us that last dose of supernatural grace we need to fulfill our mission to bring souls to Jesus' Sacred Heart.
Way back in the year 155 AD, a man named Justin Martyr described something in writing. See if you can recognize what he was describing.
Holy Water fonts at the entrance to the Church bring to mind our Baptism, which is how we entered the Church, the spiritual Body of Christ. Dipping our fingers in a Holy Water and making the sign of the Cross is how we enter the Church the physical building. The action of the priest washing his hands goes back hundreds of years when it was a practical necessity to clean his hands after receiving all the community's various gifts during the offertory. Now we spiritualize that action and the priest prays for interior purification so that he can offer the sacrifice of the Eucharist with a pure mind, heart, and soul.
Very quick 2 sentence highlights of the past 4 topics - the Stole, Chasuble, Opening Procession, and Genuflecting.
Genuflecting is a sign of humility, an offering of service, and a proposal. Usually our souls lead our bodies to do the right thing, but sometimes we need our bodies to lead our souls to enter the right attitude for worship and prayer.
The Opening Procession is a victory parade in which we are proud of what God has accomplished, and also a pilgrimage showing us our ultimate goal - reaching the table of the Heavenly Banquet. If we get on and stay on God's team, we'll reach it.
The Chasuble is the outermost vestment worn by the priest and the color corresponds to the liturgical season or the feast being celebrated. It also serves to hide the priest so we can more readily recognize that it is also Jesus at work.
2018-12-30. The Ambry is a compartment in the sanctuary that contains the 3 sacred oils. These oils are used in a variety of sacraments. The ambry is a visible reminder of the connection we have with those we love who are not at Mass because we are connected through the sacraments we both received that made us part of God's family - the Body of Christ.
2018-12-23. The ambo is the structure in the sanctuary from which the Biblical readings are proclaimed. Like the altar, it is also a table. Whereas the altar feeds us the Bread of Life, the ambo feeds us the word of life. We need both. Before the Gospel is proclaimed, we make a triple sign of the cross on our foreheads, lips, and hearts. The prayer we can pray at that time is "May the word of the Lord be on my mind, on my lips, and in my heart."
2018-12-16. The Altar is (1) a symbol of Christ, (2) a table for a meal, and (3) an altar for sacrifice. We bow and the priest kisses the altar because it's a symbol of Christ. It's a table just like Jesus had at the Last Supper when He instituted the Eucharist. It's an altar for sacrifice where we place our whole selves to offer to God in union with Jesus' sacrifice to the Father.
2018-12-9. The Sanctuary is the place that is (1) set apart, (2) holy, and (3) where God dwells. This floorplan of our church tells the story of the Christian faith and of our lives since we start with separation but then move into union.