So, we have started Lent and one of the actions that our church is taking is encouraging people to arrive “on time” which to them is 5-10 minutes early.
I’ve got a couple thoughts on that.
I show up to mass early (99% of the time) and it irritates me those times that the priest isn’t there and doesn’t start on time, (which is usually the same priest every time.)
That doesn’t jive!
Pot calling the kettle black? If you want me to be there early, start mass on time.
Also, I propose that people arrive late and leave early because they are in a state of rebellion, which may be conscious or unconscious. Born and raised Catholic, you HAVE to go to mass every weekend. HAVE TO. It is a COMMANDMENT. It is an OBLIGATION.
So, I propose that those folks coming late or leaving early are staying faithful to their obligation but internally saying, “I don’t have a choice to go, but I am going to say when I get there and when I leave. They can’t control me that way.”
The reality is that we really do have a choice to go or not. Oh wait a minute, then we are committing a MORTAL SIN if we don’t go. So then we have to go to confession before we go to communion as the little prayer at the beginning of mass only forgives venial sins, right? I think I got that right…all these rules and regulations.
So our choice is to not go and commit a mortal sin or go and express our autonomy by saying when we go and leave and even what we wear. All forms of rebellion in my opinion.
So what’s the answer?
I wonder what would happen if we could choose to go? If the preaching and the music and the message drew us in. DREW US IN. Made us WANT to be there. That might be a game changer wouldn’t it? I think that’s why Willow Creek and Joel Osteen have such big dynamic followings. Those folks WANT to be there! They don’t HAVE to be there.
I remember growing up as a kid and walking into church finding out it was Father so-and-so doing the mass and I turned around and groaned and my mother grabbed my shirt and whipped me around and I was berated to disliking the preacher, his methods, his style. Not allowed.
Well, I am a adult now
and I still struggle.
And I HATE being motivated by guilt.
So what is my choice?
Own my God-given free-will. Process all the wounding I feel having grown up in the Catholic church. And make decisions without a hidden agenda of having to prove anything. Just be in relationship with HIM.
That’s still a work in progress.
A Daily work in progress.
What time do you get to mass?