The Mass of the Early Christians
You and your family push aside the curtain and enter a room at the back of the private home. You are warmly greeted by friends who have gathered on this Sunday morning to celebrate the Lord's Day. You listen as the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read. Then the presider explains the readings and exhorts all present to live a life worthy of the Savior. After a few moments of prayer, bread and wine are blessed, broken, and distributed to all present. Before you leave for home, a collection is taken up for the needs of the church.
Sound familiar? It should. It's the same Mass we celebrate today. Only this account comes from the year 67 AD -- barely 30 years after Christ's death.
In The Mass of the Early Christians, author Mike Aquilina uses anecdotes and historical texts to show vividly how the Mass was celebrated at the beginning of the Christian Church, trace its progression over the ages, and highlight the fascinating diversity that arose as Christianity spread throughout the world.