Sunday, July 21, 2013

Why Mass Cannot Disappoint, Even When I Don't Like the Music, the Homilist or the Architecture

My family and I were out of town this weekend, dropping our older son off at a camp where he is working as a CIT, or a counselor in training. I had this idea we were going to stumble into an unfamiliar Catholic church and emerge spiritually uplifted by the pastor, the liturgy, the music and so on. Well, that didn't happen. And you know what? None of that matters.
That's because, in the end, it isn't about me. Thank God for that.

The church itself was not my style. It was a church in the round. I couldn't even find the tabernacle. We had hoped to sit, unobtrusively, in the back. Instead, this morning we entered a jammed church, complete with a cry room, where cheerful ushers gestured us toward the front. Up we went. 

The cantor was an odd looking man in a poorly fitting suit. He sang loudly and off key. The homilist was a visiting priest who was, in his own words "here to beg for money." He went on, with slightly offensive jokes and a put down of his former order, and the money begging.  His charity sounded dubious (and when I looked it up later, it is). As he kept talking, I found myself distracted by the altar servers' shoes: all the girls were wearing ballet slippers. I started wondering if that was part of their dress code. 

So the Mass was not meeting my expectations. But then I realized, as the priest was consecrating the Eucharist, that all those details that were annoying me so much are irrelevancies. 

We are here, broken travelers, to worship and to be privileged with a foretaste of heaven in the consecrated bread and wine. And that is so much more than enough, so much more than any of us deserve. 

As we walked up for Communion we sang "Servant Song. The lyrics reminded me why we all are called into being. 

What do you want of me Lord? 
Where do You want me to serve You?
Where can I sing Your praises? I am Your song.
Jesus, Jesus, You are the Lord.
Jesus, Jesus, You are the way.

I hear You call my name Lord, and I am moved within me.

Your Spirit stirs my deepest self. Sing Your songs in me.
Jesus, Jesus, You are my Lord.
Jesus, Jesus, You are the way.

Above, below and around me. 
Before, behind and all through me.
Your Spirit burns deep within me. 
Fire my life with Your love.
Jesus, Jesus, be the warmth of my heart.
Jesus, Jesus, You are the way.

You are the light in my darkness. 
You are my strength when I’m weary.
You give me sight when I’m blinded. 
Come see for me.

Jesus, Jesus, You are my light.

Jesus, Jesus, You are the way.


  1. I can definitely relate, it is hard to not be distracted when things are just not what you'd like to see or hear. I know I am definitely guilty of that! Excellent reminder of why we're really there and what really happens in that time we spend.

  2. I have to constantly remind myself of this when the presider is someone I don't care for, or if the music is distracting or if the homily is not very well done. Jesus is still present in the Eucharist, in the people, and in His word.