Bishop Gruss discusses sacrifice, thanksgiving and how Jesus is literally present at Mass

Christianity isn’t simply about being a good person and doing the right thing. It’s about laying down one’s life the way Jesus did for others and living a life of sacrifice.  Bishop Robert Gruss shared this during the Sept. 1 First Friday presentation at the Cathedral. 

Pointing at the Crucifix, Bishop Gruss continued, “We alone can’t do this, but Jesus can change our hearts to be like His so that we can live the sacrificial life that He is calling us to.” 

On Friday, Sept. 1, Bishop Gruss concluded a year of teaching about the Mass as part of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative by the U.S. bishops that aims to inspire, educate, and foster a deeper faith in the real presence of Eucharist, and draw the faithful into a deeper, intimate relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist. 

Encounters with Jesus

Throughout the year, Bishop Gruss emphasized that the Sacraments are not events to attend, but rather personal and intimate encounters with Jesus.  

Bishop Gruss also talked about the ideal disposition as we prepare for Mass asking, "Do we come to Mass with a desire and expectation of a personal and intimate encounter with Jesus, an encounter that can be life changing and life transforming? It matters where are hearts are when we come through the doors of the Church."  

Bishop Gruss emphasized how the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) also opens the door to receive grace and helps us prepare for our encounter with Jesus at Mass.

“If we are serious about our faith, we should go to confession at least monthly,” said Bishop Gruss. “Once or twice a year is not enough.” 

“Bishop tells it like it is,” said Patricia Weslock, a parishioner from St. Thomas Aquinas in Saginaw. “We need to think about the meaning of Mass, what we’re doing and why. I don’t think our hearts and minds are aware of the reality of what the Mass is about.  I’m glad that Bishop is helping us understand how we can grow in our relationship with the Lord.”  

Jesus is speaking to you 

In June, Bishop Gruss spoke about the Eucharistic prayer and how it is the most important part of the Mass. 

“With the words of the consecration, it’s Jesus speaking to you,” said Bishop Gruss. “The priest is speaking in persona Christi. That’s very important. But it's very important to realize that during the consecration, Jesus is saying to you ‘take this all of you and eat of it, for this is my body.’ In that moment, Jesus is literally present. 

“You need faith to believe that these words were spoken by Jesus and that the bread and wine has been changed into his body and blood. It’s a mystery of love which you can’t clearly define because there’s always something more. That’s why we call this the mystery of faith.” 

“It’s nice to hear about the consecration, said Sue Stinnett a parishioner from St. Jude Thaddeus in Essexville. What the Bishop said reminded me of how close God is. Sometimes I have anxiety. A lot of the time at the consecration, I can calm down and say prayers from my heart and it lessens my worries and anxieties. It comforts me. The consecration means a lot to me. I can say to God thank you for being there for me.”  

Throughout the year, Bishop Gruss has encouraged the faithful to invite others to Mass. He also encouraged everyone to watch and share recordings of his First Friday presentations about the Mass so that everyone can grow in their understanding and appreciation of the Mass.