by Rick Cheek
A couple months ago, I got a call from a parent asking what was the appropriate dress for an upcoming Teens Encounter Christ weekend.
“Comfortable causal is the norm for the retreat. But for Mass, dress the best your wardrobe will allow,” I told her.
“That’s what I thought and also what I like to hear when it comes to dress for Mass,” was her response.
That phone call really got me thinking about the attire I see at Mass on a regular basis, a conversation that comes up frequently in the youth office and among youth ministers when it comes to dress. Where do we draw the line when it comes to retreats, rallies, and camp Masses? Who are we going to see? Jesus! What message are we sending our young people?
So, naturally, it got me to looking at everyday life and how we dress for work, for going out with friends, going out to plays, eating out for dinner, and anywhere, for that matter. We try to look our best because of who we are and who we represent when we go out in public. We want to look our best.
We live in a busy world these days. Life is a constant, going from one event to another, and many times those events are at times that conflict with Mass times.
So what do we do? “Well it’s just Mass,” we tell our children, “so put on your team uniform or T-shirt and shorts, and we’ll leave Mass early to get to the game on time.” Really. Wait a minute. Let’s stop and think about who we are going to Mass to see. As Catholics, we believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. We’re not just going to Mass; we’re going to see a king.
And not just any king — we’re going to see the King of Glory, the Prince of Peace, the Great I AM, who REALLY and TRULY is the Son of God. If a king were to invite us to a royal palace for dinner, we would want to look our best. When we come to Mass, we are invited to a banquet. At that banquet, we will receive something truly special, the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So the next time you are getting ready to send your son/daughter on a retreat, rally or conference, and you know there will be Mass, make sure they pack their best for Mass. And the next time you’re ready to head out the door for the weekend liturgy, ask yourself, “Who am I going to see? JESUS! How do I want to present myself and my family to look in front of him?”