Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

EXCUSES FOR NOT GOING TO MASS. This is #3 of my 5-part miniseries on the excuses used by people for not fulfilling the obligation to attend weekly Mass. I gleamed these from the website, which offers timely insight into the challenges now faced by the Catholic Church.

Reason #7: Sunday is my only day off. As a Dominican Sister who taught me used to say, “Imagine if God took a day off from us!” In our often ‘one-sided’ relationship with the Lord, we often take for granted or forget all that God does
for us … which is everything … since we did not create, nor can we sustain, ourselves or our world. Yes, most of us work hard – very hard; and we all truly need a break, but the holy Mass is supposed to BE the ultimate break, if not the
most rewarding respite of all!

For as Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” [Mathew 11:28] How does Jesus give us rest? By giving meaning and eternal value to all we say and do. For by uniting our sufferings and sorrows, works and worries, pains and problems to the Cross of Christ, they become the means by which God builds up His Kingdom on earth. And with four opportunities each weekend at our Parish to come to holy Mass – and with so many Catholic Churches near us – getting to Mass each week should be no problem. Besides, as the great Saint Augustine said: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” So, give God’s rest a try!

Reason #8: There is nothing in the Bible that says I have to go to Mass. We do not hold the Protestant belief in ‘Sola Scriptura,’ that the Bible contains everything we need to know, say or do. While everything in Catholicism is consistent with Sacred Scripture, and nothing in our Faith contradicts what’s in the Bible, Jesus did not promise that a BOOK would keep us orthodox. At the Last Supper, Jesus assured the Apostles and their successors: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.” [John 16:12-13a]

With the inspiration and inerrancy provided by the Holy Spirit, our Bishops, in union with the Pope, the Church sets many rules and regulations. First, she ‘changed’ the Sabbath Day to Sunday, which even most Protestants accept; Seventh Day Adventists, reject this change and worship on Saturday. Ironically, they dismiss what Jesus so vehemently said about the Eucharist being His Real Presence in the 6th Chapter of John’s Gospel! Jesus could not have been more blunt: the Bread is His Flesh, His Flesh is true Food, and His Blood is true Drink. One wonders why the Church even needs to obligate us to take part in this Sacrificial Meal at least once a week! How could we ever want to miss it?

Reason #9: I don’t understand the Priest. As a child, I sought the Priest from India for Confession, assuming if I could not understand him, he could not understand me. [I was shocked to find out how wrong I was about him!] And having gone to Mass in the Vatican and other places that were not in English, hosting foreign missionaries and ministering with Priests from other countries, I feel your pain! For many decades, we sent American-born Priests and Religious Sisters and Brothers to all parts of the world; eventually, they formed their own nativeborn leaders. [Is their increase in Vocations due to their inability to understand us?!]

Let me humbly ask you: do you regularly pray for the Priests who try to serve you, despite our weaknesses and limitations? Do you support the Bishop’s Annual Appeal which provides training for our Seminarians and ongoing formation for those who are already Ordained or Professed? Do you truly strive to comprehend those who speak with a heavy accent, or do you mock or insult them? Do you encourage your own sons and daughters, grandchildren or relatives, to consider a Vocation to a Church Ministry? In any case, the personality or charisms of the Priest should not be the main reason for going to Mass: it is to hear and receive the Lord! Perhaps we need to do our ‘homework’ before or after Mass by using a website or media venue that offers what we do not receive at holy Mass. Next week: more so-called ‘excuses’ for missing Mass.

With God’s love and my prayers,

Very Rev. Michael J. Kreder, VF, KCHS