"...the preaching of God's Kingdom is never just words, never just instruction. It is an event, just as Jesus Himself is an event, God's Word in Person. By announcing Him, the Apostles lead their listeners to encounter Him" - Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI
Before I became Catholic, I loved the Scriptures and hearing them preached (and I still do). But there was always something that was missing - even though I wouldn't have admitted it. It wasn't that I doubted having a real relationship with the Lord Jesus, but it always seemed to be of a somewhat distant kind - at an arm's length, so to speak. But that was not the kind of relationship that our Lord called us to. Jesus calls us to have a deep and intimate relationship with Him. What I never realised was that a relationship based solely on words and preaching is not enough - rather it can tend to lead to a dry sort of rationalism that is more concerned with theology than it is with Theos.
In the words of our Holy Father quoted above, preaching is a good and necessary thing - but it is only a means to an end. And the end is Jesus Christ Himself. If preaching does not lead us to truly experience our Lord Jesus Christ, then it is not true preaching. Now, as a Catholic I realise what was missing in my Protestant history, as good as the preaching was. I was missing the true experience of Christ in His fulness. It was only when I was able to start receiving the Sacraments that I realised that it is in the Word and the Sacraments that Christ makes Himself known to us. And Christ makes Himself known to us in the most intimate of ways when we receive Him - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity - in Holy Communion.
It is along these lines that we can begin to see one aspect of the beauty of the Mass. The Mass never just ends with the Scripture readings and the homily...it progresses upwards to the climax of Holy Communion. And so true preaching of the Scriptures ultimately prepares us to experience Christ in the most intimate of ways - when we receive Him into our bodies in the Holy Eucharist.