Monday, August 24, 2015

But Mass Is So Repetitive and Boring!

The other day a friend said to me, “Hey Bill, how come you go to Mass every single week? Mass is the same old thing every time. I can’t believe you waste your time going through the same repetitive, boring ritual every single Sunday.”

I replied, “Well, I don’t. Sometimes I go to Vigil Mass on Saturday.”

He rolled his eyes and said, “You know what I mean. You go to Mass every weekend, and it’s the same old thing every time.”

I paused for a moment and said a quick prayer to St. Shecky, the patron saint of smart-aleck comebacks, and then said to my friend, “Let me ask you something. Why do you eat every day? Why do you sleep every night? Why do you do your laundry every week?”

He said, “Um, I don’t do laundry. Ever since I put a new red shirt in with white stuff, and turned everything pink, my wife won’t let me near the washing machine.”

Now it was my turn to roll my eyes and say, “You know what I mean.” I continued, “Why do you do those boring repetitive things over and over again?”

He said, “Well, with food, I need to nourish my body, or else I’ll die. With sleep, I need to rest and recharge my batteries, or else I’ll, um, I’m not sure what’ll happen if I never sleep, but I’m sure it’s not good. And with laundry, that’s obvious. You don’t want me walking around with dirty, smelly clothes, do you?”

“You mean dirtier and smellier than what you usually wear?” I asked. (By the way, I forgot to mention this conversation took place on a weekend, the time when we guys often relax our hygiene standards—by which I mean we pretty much have NO hygiene standards and will put on any article of clothing that does not have visible mold colonies chewing through the fabric.)

Getting a bit more serious, I said, “What you just said are the exact same reasons why I go to Mass each week. I need to get spiritually nourished on a regular basis, or else my soul will starve. I need to rest and recharge my mind, and get away from all the electronic noise once in a while. I need to clean myself of all the selfish thoughts and nasty attitudes that build up during the week. That’s why I go to Mass: to keep my soul and spirit healthy and clean.”

My friend thought about this for a minute. Finally he said, “I guess that makes sense—for you. But for me, Mass is so boring. I don’t feel nourished or cleansed or any of that stuff. That’s why I hardly ever go anymore.”

“I totally understand,” I said. “There was a time years ago when I felt the same way. But that was before I discovered a really important celebrity was in attendance at Mass.”

“Celebrity?” he said. “Around here? Who do you mean, the mayor? That wacky weatherman on TV?”

“No,” I said. “I mean the Creator of the Universe. Jesus Christ Himself is really present in the Eucharist at every Mass.”

“Wait, you don’t really believe that stuff they taught us in 3rd grade catechism class, do you?” he asked.

“Why shouldn’t I?” I replied. “Jesus taught it, St. Paul repeated it, and the Church has proclaimed it for 2,000 years. He is truly present in a special, supernatural way. And it only happens at Mass.” Then I took a deep breath and said quietly, “Why don’t you join me at Vigil Mass today? It starts in an hour.” 

My friend looked at me and sighed. “OK, why not?” he said. Then he tilted his head, lifted his arm, and sniffed. He looked up and said, “But first I’d better put on a clean shirt.”

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