The Holy Mass is not about what parish you belong to, what Mass you attend, how big the church building is, or how lousy the parking might be. Mass is not about attending the same service as your friends, or wearing the latest fashions, or having the coolest worship music. Holy Mass isn’t about going to Saturday Vigil so you can sleep in on Sunday morning or pushing the limits of the Eucharistic fast so you can still go out for breakfast beforehand. Mass isn’t about sitting up front or sitting in the back or always sitting in the same pew at all. It isn’t all about the preaching or the singing or the flowers or the incense. Mass is not about who you sit with or who you talk to. It’s not about the amount of your offering, the price of your new shoes, the stained glass in the windows or the theatrical lighting. Mass has nothing to do with the sound system, the color of the carpet, the gold of the candlesticks or the new air-conditioning system. Mass isn’t about whether you like or don’t like the Pastor, think the music is too modern or too traditional, or like or don’t like the coffee and pancakes afterwards. Holy Mass is not the time to balance your checkbook, text-message your boyfriend, chew gum, or look at your watch to see if the football game has already started.
Mass isn’t about being entertained or about being surrounded by people who look just like you do, think just like you do, pray just like you do, or vote just like you do. Holy Mass isn’t a social hour, or a gossip fest, or a complaint club. The Mass isn’t a place for you to shop for dates, sell a car, or close a business deal. Holy Mass is not about what kind of job you have, what kind of car you drive, where you kids go to school or where you went on your last vacation. The Holy Mass wasn’t created by God so you could have a quiet place to shut out the world, think about your to-do list and plan out your coming week. Mass isn’t about the number of church ministries, the size of the church budget, or the fancy, full-color bulletins. It isn’t about powerpoint sermons or glitzy new websites or homily podcasts, or newspaper columns. The Holy Mass is not about you liking the new hymnals or not liking to hear sermons about giving your money or volunteering your time.
The Holy Mass is also not a place where you won’t find the most profound mystery and miracle the world has ever known. The Holy Mass isn’t just ancient words and medieval music. It’s not just words at all. The Holy Mass is about meeting the Eternal Word Himself – Jesus Christ, in the reality of the Eucharist. The Mass is about coming together as a family of faith to worship God and receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion. Next weekend, when you come to Holy Mass, forget what it’s not about and open your heart completely to the marvel, the wonder and the unfathomable mystery of what the Holy Mass truly is: Jesus, the Christ.
“I am the Bread of Life.”
–The Gospel of St. John, Chapter 6, Verse 48