As part of our family’s Mother’s day gifts to my wife, we let her go to Mass by herself. When you spend a lot of your time in the pew wrangling toddlers, it can be a real treat to go solo.
However, this Mass experience left her a little confused and frankly frustrated.
She ended up sitting behind a mom, a dad, and their daughter who was 8th grade age. They were wearing what could best be described as workout clothes. They were being very touchy feely, talking throughout the Mass, going to the bathroom multiple times, checking their phones, etc.
Unfortunately, this isn’t that uncommon. Rolling into Mass in sweatpants. Talking in the sanctuary, if not during Mass, certainly after the last note on the organ. The one I will never understand is wearing a football jersey to Mass.
But, I don’t bring this up this morning to rant. As much as we can see other’s actions, like this family’s, and say their actions are wrong – we don’t have the whole picture. I think few people go to Mass deliberately being disrespectful. More times than not, they’re missing something.
After my wife told me about this family, we both were left wondering this question: why do they come? And, that’s not meant in a cynical way, but genuinely – what keeps them coming to Mass? Because their actions make it seem that they don’t care.
It’s a question that we must all ask ourselves. Why do we go?
Is it a family ‘tradition’? Do we go for social reasons? To keep up appearances?
Or, do we believe in the Eucharist, that Christ is truly present to us, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity? Do we go to unite ourselves to His sacrifice, offering Him as a gift to the Father, the greatest gift that we ever receive and could ever make, to pay the debt for our sins?
When that’s our why, all else falls into place. But, to begin to embrace this truth and let it transform us, we must turn to God, more than one hour on Sundays.
And, it should go without saying (but I’ll say it), as adult men and women, we need to set an example for our kids and for others in our parish.