After the entrance procession and the Sign of the Cross, the priest greets the congregation with one of three greetings.The third option, which is used several times in the Mass, is:
Ruth 2:4; 1 Sam. 17:37; 2 Th. 3:163. The Lord be with you.This is a simple greeting, but it speaks volumes. Instead of speaking of God’s peace, love, grace, or communion, the priest prays for us to be in the very presence of the Lord. What does it mean when the Lord is in our midst? It means refuge from worldly strife (Ps 46:7), victory over sin (Rv 21:3-4), deliverance from our enemies (1 Sam 17:37), and success in our godly endeavors. (Jos 1:9) Wherever the Lord is, there too are His many graces and blessings.
The words “The Lord be with you” are nearly identical in meaning to the name “Emmanuel” (“God (is) with us”), which Isaiah prophesied and St. Matthew identified with Jesus. (Isa. 7:14; Mt 1:23) Thus this greeting is a prayer of the hope for salvation, for Jesus came to “save his people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21)