There is a very awesome event taking place in my city this weekend. I am very excited to attend and have been looking forward to it for several months. The event is a contemporary Christian music festival. It will be filled with fun. It will be very uplifting to join thousands of my brothers and sisters in Christ as we praise our Lord. What this event is NOT though, is worship.
I know many Catholics who have fallen away from the Faith and taken up this false sense of worship in Protestant Evangelical congregations. They are very well intentioned and sincere in their efforts to glorify God, and they do so with great effort and effect. The problem is, what they do is not worship, and does not meet the guidelines that Christ himself instructed us on how he was to be worshiped. Christ left us very specific examples or how to worship him once he ascended to the Father and left all of us behind and in the capable hands of his Church; a Church that has existed since that first New Testament Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled it with divine wisdom, power and authority. Christ's Church manifests the Kingdom that Christ came to Earth to specifically establish. That church is the Catholic Church. It is a universal church that unites God’s Kingdom throughout the entire world. A Church who worships as the Old Testament figures and Fathers did, through a sacrifice that is the fulfillment of those great prophets and Law. You see, Christ did not come to institute a new form of worship, or to establish a new Kingdom, he came to fulfill the old institution of worship and bring to a climax the unification of the old covenant with the new, and then to extend it to all of his human creation throughout the Earth. The Great Commission commands us to instruct and teach everything that Christ did and stood for. He did not dictate that the apostles instruct the faithful on everything that was scriptural or written down, since nothing at that point had been written down, but he wanted all to know Him! He gave us Himself for that purpose of worship and unity. The Eucharist brings us together universally within a sacrificial offering mirroring the offerings and sacrifices that were carried down throughout the thousands of years outlined in Old Testament Scripture. Jesus instituted the fulfillment of the Passover Celebration in the Eucharist. That is the worship he expects of us and the worship that all those who deny the Eucharist and the importance of Catholic Liturgy refuse and reject. It is a rejection of Christ himself, who so selflessly suffered and was killed to be the sacrifice that fulfilled these Old Testament prophesies that go all the way back to the first book of the Bible with the sacrifice of bread and wine offered by the High Priest Melchizedek in the presence of the Father of our Faith, Abraham. This first appearance of bread and wine as sacrifice occurred in the ancient city of Salem, which would become Jerusalem. That sacrifice would then surface again in Exodus, with bread and wine, as Moses led the Hebrew people to freedom and on toward the promised land. God hovered over the waters of Baptism in the very first lines of Genesis, and the other sacraments would emerge during the trials and journeys of David and Solomon and all the Jewish Kings that would follow, all the way to Jesus Christ himself, the great King, Priest and Prophet who would bring us the ultimate Sacrifice and means to salvation, the Eucharist. The Eucharist which was instituted within the shadows of a Passover Meal, with the new Manna from Heaven offered by God himself in the 2nd person of the Trinity.
So, a concert, is wonderful, but not worship. It in no way is elevated to the magnitude of what Christ gave us in the Eucharist and it is so sad and unfortunate that so many of us miss this amazing and Divine Truth. So, go praise God with concerts, music and great sermons, but worship the way our great ancestors of the Faith did, with sacrifice. Sit at Mass and remember, embrace and participate in those great sacrifices of the past, because Christ has given us the great opportunity to be made present at those events within this temporal realm of time and space with the Mass. The Mass transcends all of that, and makes present Jesus himself Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in a meal that will unite all Catholics around the world who participate. It is the same sacrifice every day! That is worship! In that is found our salvation and our God!