Reflection: Nothing Out of Mass

by Father Don Thomas

How truly sad it is to hear someone say "I do not go to Mass anymore because I get absolutely nothing out of it". The reason I say this is so sad is because Jesus Christ gave us the Mass to serve as a reminder of the central act of love on His part, and for us to view it as both a Sacrifice and Sacrament on our part to show our appreciation for His words spoken at the Last Supper, "Do this in memory of Me". He had just changed the bread and wine into His Body and Blood, and He gave the Apostles the commission and power to do the same thing in His Name. He was saying, in effect, that every time you do this, think of Me.

In another "Reflection" we can dwell on and explain the significance, beauty and importance of the Mass, but here in this explanation, I would like to concentrate on why I said at the outset that it is truly sad when someone says that they get nothing out of Mass.

I have heard this any number of times over forty years, I always handled it in the following way, with the result that the person in every case would admit that they were wrong and that they would think twice before they would ever make that claim again. I would never get upset with people who felt that way about the Mass, but I would point out to them that they are missing the point completely when they talk like that, for the proper question should be “Not what we get out of Mass when we go, but rather “What does God get out of it when we go”?

Sunday is not our day, but rather the Lord’s Day. What I think is really sad about this whole situation is that very often an individual will come in late for Mass, missing perhaps some important announcements, the warm welcome that is often extended to visitors, including Non­Catholics or Catholics who have not been so faithful in exercising their Faith, and the setting of the Theme of the Mass prior to the Opening Hymn. All those things are missed.

Then the Catholic who comes in late will very often skip the genuflection to acknowledge the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in which during the week he says he believes in, then he sits there and listens to God speaking to everyone through the beautiful Scripture readings, including the Gospel which is some good news that Christ shares with everyone, and he makes no effort at all to pick up the Missalette to follow the prayers or take part in the singing.

Then, all during the sermon he spends more time looking at his watch instead of listening to some challenges about living a better life in striving to save one's soul. While hundreds of others make their financial sacrificial offerings to support the church in an effort to carry on the work of Christ, this person skips that part week after week, and it doesn't even bother him, because nobody says anything about it.

When Communion time comes, while others go up to receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, where is our friend? If he skips out of church early, he can miss the announcements, perhaps a second collection that is scheduled to help the poor, and yes, he will not even have to wait for the last blessing and closing hymn. He'll beat everyone else out to the parking lot. Isn't that a clever thinker? He kids himself into thinking that he comes to Mass so God will bless him, but he doesn't need the last blessing. What a foolish decision!

This type of person, and there are plenty like him, has provided the answer or the reason why he gets nothing out of Mass. It is so simple to see. He gets nothing out of Mass because he put absolutely nothing into it. As I said above, it is supposed to be the other way around: "What does God get out of it when we go to Mass" and the answer with these people is the same: "Nothing". That really is sad when we are so negative, spiritually dead and spiritually blind, whether it be our own fault or the fault of parents, teachers or even the Church. In conclusion, I would like to say that these people who feel this way are still precious and important in the eyes of God and the Church.

All kinds of instruction classes and information sessions are available, just for the asking. Read the parish bulletin or call the church, and help will be forthcoming in the form of Adult Education. Your effort is important. Do not be afraid or bashful. Act now.

Thank God, millions of others appreciate the Mass and take an active part in offering up the Body and Blood of Jesus to His Eternal Father. They collaborate with the Priest in worshipping Almighty God. They are not doing God a favor. He is the One Who blesses us. What greater gift can we offer to God, our Father, than the gift of His own Son at Mass. It is our way of paying attention to Christ's words: "Do this in memory of Me". Mass is a Memorial Sacrifice.

 

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