In the Old Testament, the Jews had a powerful and beautiful way to worship — daily sacrifices in the Temple. Following God’s commands, they worshiped Him twice a day (and frequently more often).
But then something happened — they began to take for granted their unique relationship with the Lord. They started becoming lackadaisical in their worship, offering the worst of their produce and the sickliest of their flock. They would sacrifice externally but internally their hearts would be far from Him. They combined their sacrifices to the Lord with sacrifices to idols.
And so the Temple was taken away — destroyed by the Babylonians first in the 500s BC, and then by the Romans in AD 70. God stripped the Jewish people of sacrifices because they were no longer pleasing to Him.
Last year, a poll showed that only 1/3 of Catholics believed that Jesus was truly present in the Eucharist. We have all been at Masses that were undignified, sloppy, and borderline-blasphemous. When the priest “dabs” at Mass, when there are balloons covering the altar or secular songs for the Communion meditation, when the priest changes the words of the Eucharistic prayer, when there are no genuflections and a casual reception of Communion as if it were a snack, when many Communions are unworthily received because people no longer believe in Confession or mortal sin, when people would rather go to their kid’s soccer game than the Banquet of the Lamb — then the Mass will be taken away from us.
Right now, without the Mass, we are realizing what a treasure it is. Without public Masses, there is a hunger being stirred up among some of the faithful. God has allowed this time without the Sacraments to awaken us to the reality of the power of the Sacraments — they are Life Itself! When all this ends and Masses have returned to normal, may we never take for granted such a gift. May we never prioritize anything over the Mass… lest we lose this great consolation, this great Sacrifice, ever again!