May 11, 2013 – The Argument For Church

We end the week trying to sort through yet another tragedy – this time near our own backyard as 4 children died in what apparently was a purposely set fire.  There are already several different stories, or rumors, going around as to what the motive of the individual was and the events that led to this horrific tragedy.  The events will sort themselves out in due time.  What we do know is that we need to pray for the family, friends, and all who were affected by this terrible tragedy.  We also need to pray for those who may be having thoughts of taking the lives of their fellow human beings, that the Holy Spirit enter their hearts and lead them to the Lord’s path.

Last weekend I attended both Masses so I could give a little talk about our parish directory and how things were coming along with it.  I want to thank you first of all for your compliments about how the directory looks.  As I said, it is still a work in progress, and there are still more families I hope to receive photos from in order to complete it, so keep checking back on it.  Also, since it is something we can continue to update as time goes on, I plan to continue to add to and update the photos of different parish activities as well.  It has been a project that, though it has progressed a little slower than I had hoped, has also been a lot of fun, and something that we will have at our disposal for years to come.

Anyway, once in a while I actually enjoy attending both Masses.  Call me nerdy, or call me someone who needs to fill up their social calendar, but I enjoy seeing the 2 different crowds, seeing how big of a laugh Fr. Gene’s joke gets at each Mass, and most importantly I enjoy the opportunity to spend that time with the Lord.  As I spoke at the Masses and saw the empty spaces in the pews on both occasions, my thoughts again turned to how it seems that we continue to find more and more excuses to push Mass aside in order to catch up on other things on our schedule. I didn’t want to turn this into a “the future of the church depends on you” sort of lecture, because if you are reading this you are probably a regular Mass attendee.  However, we still have the responsibility to evangelize, and to try to find the means to convince folks to come through the doors of our sacred space.

Pope Francis has stressed in his short time that we cannot find Jesus without also finding the church.  There are also so many other benefits to attending Mass.  This past week I came across a listing of 18 reasons why someone should return to Sunday Mass.  I just want to touch on a few of the ones I thought hit home and may be good persuaders for those who you’ve noticed hasn’t been at Mass for a while.

One is that it is our way to relive the Last Supper.  Every time we go to Mass we do what Jesus commanded us, to receive His body and drink of His blood in the form of bread and wine.  This can only be done during the Mass with a Priest present to celebrate it.  We cannot perform this act at home and we participate in the action without a priest.  We of course have means of gathering together in prayer, but it does not replace the Mass.

Another is that if you want to spend eternity with Christ, you need to get to know Him now.  You probably know people as I do who are good, giving people.  People who would give you the shirt off of their back if you needed it.  However, they do not attend church regularly or even practice their faith.  It is easy to tell ourselves that God still has a place in heaven for them, but do we truly believe that?  I’m sure we believe that if someone does go to church but is not a good, giving person outside the walls, that there may not be a place for them in heaven.  It is a package deal.

Another is that statistics say that people who go to church are less stressed.  I agree with this one 100%.  I look forward to Mass for many reasons, but one of them is that it is an opportunity to get away from the distractions of the “outside” world and focus on other things.  Admittedly, I probably spend too much time with my electronic devices.  Some of it is necessary in order to do website work, to gather information, to check the score of the Cardinal game, etc.  But there are other times when I could probably put down the I- phone or Kindle.  I know that at least during the time I’m in church I will not have those distractions in my way.  Even if the occasion for going to church is not to attend Mass, I still enjoy the time.  If I’m just dropping off something or checking on something, I’ll take an extra minute to enjoy the serenity and feeling of calm and reassurance that the inviting doors of the church bring.

One more is that “Is one hour too much to give to God?  How many do you spend on other priorities?”  This sort of goes back to my original thought that people seem to find more and more reasons NOT to attend Mass, instead of searching for the reasons to attend Mass.  I hear complaints about how much time other activities take, especially sports.  It is bad enough that the Wednesday evening “family nights” are pretty much non-existent, but now more and more activities are on Sunday – out of town tournaments, etc.  Folks still manage to juggle their schedules to accommodate this, and part of that juggling is to set Mass aside.  And until we decide to make a united stand against these things, the juggling will continue.

There are other reasons why folks should return to Sunday Mass, but these are ones that stuck out to me.  I hope you will share them with someone whom you haven’t seen at Mass lately.  It may work, it may not, but God will love us for the effort either way.

Finally, I wish all of our Moms a Happy Mother’s Day, especially my awesome Mom.  May you have a very special day with your families.  God Bless you for all you do!  Have a great day and a great week!  Peace.



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