Live-streamed Masses nourish the faith of those who are simply unable to attend in person. However, virtual Masses are no substitute for being physically present. We all know from the experience of being separated from our loved ones that meeting on a screen is not the same as being together in the same place.
Jesus Christ is God Incarnate: God made flesh. Jesus came to earth as a man in order to be physically close to us. All of the sacraments through which the Church continues the ministry of Christ involve physical signs – sprinkling with water, anointing with oil, consuming bread and wine, the laying on of hands – and therefore real, not virtual or metaphorical, presence.
In the Mass, God becomes really present through those who gather, through His spoken Word, through the priest acting in persona Christi (in the person of Christ), and in the Eucharist. A virtual Mass can be a powerful aid to us in making a spiritual communion when illness or grave obligations prevent our being at church, but it is not the same as being both spiritually and physically present to God in the same place where he becomes sacramentally present to us.
So remember that virtual is no replacement for the real thing. If you haven’t yet returned to Mass for reasons that are not serious, for example, because you prefer the convenience of live-streaming, it’s time now to go back.
If there are serious reasons (including genuine and serious fear, health reasons, and other grave reasons) why you can’t get to Mass on a Sunday, your parish priest may be able to arrange for you to receive Communion at home.
This blog is extracted from our leaflet Why Should I Go to Mass on Sunday? The Church teaches that attending Mass on Sundays is a solemn duty of all Catholics. This leaflet offers five reasons to come to Mass.