As the Church prays Contributors

Search long and hard: You’ll find no substitute for the Mass

As the Church Prays
Michael Podrebarac is the archdiocesan consultant for the liturgy office.

by Michael Podrebarac

Well, this had to come eventually. The column in which I use the standard “Top 10” format made popular by the “David Letterman Show” beginning in the 1980s.

It worked decently back when I wrote for my high school newspaper. Let’s see how the format has aged on me.

Here’s my Top 10 list of not-so-good reasons for not going to Mass.

10. “I really don’t get anything out of it.” Maybe that’s because you don’t understand that it’s really about what you put into it. That’s why we call it “offering” Mass.  Something to consider.

9. “Sunday is my only day off.” Understood. Go early Sunday morning. Then you’ll have the rest of Sunday to enjoy some rest (which God himself invented, by the way).

8. “The homilies are boring.” If so, be as patient and attentive as possible. The message is what matters, not the style.

7. “I don’t need Mass to experience Jesus.” You perhaps don’t need the Mass to experience Jesus. But you do need the Mass to experience Jesus in the way only Mass can afford you to, and the way that matters the most: sacramentally, as a member of his mystical body, presented to the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit, completely. Try topping that.

6. “I drift off and start staring into space.” When this happens, ask God to receive your life and fill it with his love and grace. Ultimately, the Mass is sacrificial in nature. Make an offering of yourself. And try working on your concentration skills: Start with the Gospel reading, the creed and the eucharistic prayer, and then build up from there.

5. “The people at church aren’t always nice.” Tragically, true sometimes. So reverse the trend, starting with yourself. Remember, this seldom stops you from going to the stadium, or the mall, or a restaurant.

4. “I don’t like the music.” Think about why. Is it because you perhaps see it as an engagement tool, or even entertainment, rather than sung prayer? If it’s poorly presented, that’s certainly another challenge, but not a reason not to go.

3. “The church has too much hypocrisy.” That’s why we need the sacraments, for we are all sinners. And every Christian who sins is, at least for a time, a hypocrite.

2. “I don’t really understand what’s going on.” Take time to learn. Resources abound. Start by following along in the missalette.

And the Number One not-so-good reason . . .

1. “I’m not going to go simply because I’m told to.” Good for you! Go because you want to. Learn to want to.

Start by considering the Lord’s love for you, and how best you might respond.

About the author

Michael Podrebarac

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