On my drive home this afternoon, I was flipping the radio stations, listening for something decent – fruitless! I stumbled upon two radio hosts discussing the New Translation of the Mass. I was curious, so I tuned in for a few moments – until I heard something so disturbing and so disrespectful to our Lord, that I quickly hit the button to turn the radio off.
I was deeply saddened when I heard this gentleman give some examples of what he thought some of the responses “should be.” I found them utterly disrespectful, and appalling. The radio hosts suggested that if the Church would have modernized the responses, people (who have been away from mass) may come back to church.
I could not disagree more. Christ and the Church does not bend to mankind. This attitude has led to the watering down of our faith in many places. Mankind should bend (and I mean literally – to the knees) to Christ, our Lord and King.
With this advent season, we also begin a new church year. If you have been away from church for awhile, I invite you to come back. This joyful time of anticipation and preparation is the perfect time to start anew.
Why is mass attendance important? Why Sunday (or the Saturday vigil)? Can’t I honor the Sabbath in another way? These are all questions that my students have asked, and questions that you may have as well.
First, the mass is the highest form of prayer we have while still on this earth, because it is here that Jesus’ one sacrifice on the cross is made present to us. Jesus is not sacrificed again and again, rather we “time travel” so to speak. We are made present at that one true sacrifice of Christ. Through the words and actions of the priest and the Holy Spirit, Jesus becomes truly present each time that the Holy sacrifice of the mass is offered. If we truly believed that, would we not be pounding the church doors down to get inside – would not the line be down the street and around the block? Think about it.
I think it’s so awesome that we are able to offer up our intentions at the highest form of prayer available to us; however, if that does not move you, think about this. “Keep Holy the Sabbath” is the third commandment. It is not an option. Everything we have – EVERYTHING – we owe to God. We owe Him praise, worship and thanksgiving. What if we woke up tomorrow with only the things we remembered to thank God for today? The mass is the best way that Catholics have to express this gratitude.
God loves His children – that’s you and me – and everyone in the world. He has so many graces and blessings that He wants to bestow upon us though the sacraments. When we don’t participate in them, or when we don’t go to Sunday mass, it’s like telling God, “No thanks. I don’t want the blessings that You want to give me.” Isn’t life hard – especially in these times? Wouldn’t some added strength from God come in handy?
Whatever your reasons for staying away from church, I ask you to pray about it. If you feel that God may be calling you to come to Him, pray to be open to His beckoning. Ask for an increase in faith and fervor. He will not deny you!
May you all have a blessed advent. May the beauty of this season of anticipation and preparation draw you closer to Jesus, the newborn King.