Coming together, assembling, is at the heart of our Sunday worship. The reason behind each of the ritual actions of the first part of the Mass can be found in this word: gathering. The purpose of these rites is to bring us together into one body, ready to listen and to break bread together.
In medieval Europe, it was a custom to go down on one knee (to genuflect) before a king or person of rank. This secular mark of honour gradually entered the Church and people began to genuflect to honour the altar and the presence of Christ in the tabernacle before entering their seat. Today many people express their reverence with an even older custom and bow to the altar before taking their place.
Posture, song. When the Mass begins everyone stands up. Standing is the traditional posture of the Christian at prayer: It expresses our attentiveness to the word of God and our readiness to carry it out.