+ Peace and Goodness to you on this great Feast Day!
Today we celebrate Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church! It was nearly two-thousand years ago that the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles, and everything changed forever. That same Holy Spirit still is living and active in all of us, and most especially when we come together as community, as Church. And when do we most come together as community? Is it the Italian Festival? Is it at the Lenten Fish Fries? Is it the Spring Fling, or coffee and donuts, or First Communion? While those are all great opportunities for community, fellowship, and some great food, the primary time that we come together as Church is at Mass. The Church makes the Mass happen. And the Mass is what builds and unites us together as Church. It is an amazing exchange. The Holy Spirit works Its miracles and the Church becomes the vehicle, the instrument, of the Holy Spirit.
The more committed, connected, and involved we are with the Mass, the more connected we are going to be to the Church and the more open we are going to be to the Holy Spirit. And so how can all of us pray better at Mass? How can we get more out of what we are doing? Let’s look at some ways. It’s been a while since we’ve done this, so this weekend let’s examine how we are doing.
The very first thing that we need to do to make Mass better for all of us, is show up! As Catholic Christians, we make a commitment to being at Mass every Sunday, even when we are traveling. The Mass is the spiritual power-shot that all of us need, at least once a week, to keep following Jesus! Exempting ourselves from that help and that power-source is spiritual suicide. We need it that much! Many times, it is precisely when we most don’t feel like going, that we need to make ourselves get here, because that exactly when God has the greatest message for us! Mass should be our priority for the weekend, not a last-minute thought of when we are going to fit it in. We need to all be committed to Sunday Mass. God has always done some amazing things on Sundays.
Secondly, we’ve got to prepare for Mass. Going to Mass isn’t like going to the movies or a ballgame. We’ve got to prepare. The Church says that we should fast from all food for one hour before Mass. Only water and medicine are generally allowed. Gum is NOT allowed according the fast. Chewing gum at Mass, even if you’re not going to Communion, is not supposed to be going on. We should read the readings. What a great thing for the family to do in the car on the way here! We can come a little early and prepare ourselves by individual prayer, or by joining in the Rosary before Mass, preparing for the communal prayer that is the Mass. Most particularly, we can come on time. Most Catholics wouldn’t think about being late for a ballgame, or movie, or a play. Why in the world do some of us think that we can consistently come to Mass late all the time? We’ve got some Catholics who don’t know that the Mass begins with the Sign of the Cross, because they’ve never seen it! We need to do our best to be here on time.
Next, we need to participate. You know we watch so many things all the time! We watch movies, and ballgames, and concerts. We watch TV, and the computer screen, and now even we even watch our phones. We don’t watch Mass. We participate in Mass. If you’re sitting there watching, you’re not doing it right. You gotta pay attention. You have to pray the responses. You gotta sing! Even if you sing like I do, you still have to sing! Singing is praying twice. Double up your prayers! We’ve got to pay attention. If where you are seated is causing you to daydream and wonder off, find a new place to sit. Nothing should distract us from what is going on at Mass.
When it comes time for Communion, we need to ask ourselves whether or not we should be going to Communion this week, or not. Do we have serious sin standing between us and God? When we come down front, right before we hear, “The Body of Christ” or “The Blood of Christ”, we should make a bow as our act of reverence before we receive Holy Communion. And our “Amen” for both the Body and the Blood are two of the most important words all of us say all during the entire Mass. We don’t say “Amen” and they are NOT supposed to give us the Body or the Blood. It is that big of a deal!
Finally, at the end of Mass, we are all supposed to stay through the end of the closing song. The priest is supposed to be the first person to leave Mass. To consistently leave Mass early, right after Communion is a serious sin. It is an insult to the Lord our God. We need to all stay until the very end of Mass, the final Blessing, and the closing hymn.
If we all followed these procedures we could all get more out of Mass and pray together better than what we do. Remember, the Mass makes us Church. The Church connects us to and empowers us with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is what we need to live as Catholic Christians in the world that we live in today. May we respect and love the Mass more and more in our daily lives. And by doing that, may the Holy Spirit become an ever greater part of our lives in the Church in 2013!
+ May God bless us on this feast day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!