For most of us today attending mass has become a compulsion rather than a celebration. There is a beautiful quote by Saint John Vianne which says “If we really understood the Mass, we would die of Joy.” Such is the power of the Mass. But unfortunately for most of us today it is a ritual rather than what we do out of joy and love.
What prompt me to write this article is that a few days back when I went to attend Mass on Sunday, since it was very crowded I choose to sit just outside the church doors where they had placed chairs. I was taken back, shocked and also saddened to see the behavior of people who had come to attend the mass. I could see a bunch of ladies sitting out and chatting and giggling about something. The kids running and screaming. The atmosphere seemed to me like that of a fair rather than church.
It is a sorry state of affair to see the elders themselves setting a bad example to the kids. Though they attend the Mass there seemed to be no respect or reverence to the Lord. Today Mass has become like an small outing for the family. Parents bring along with them juice, chips and biscuits. Throughout the Mass the children nibble on food and throw the waste here and there without even being aware of the holiness of God’s temple.
I remember when I was big enough to understand and attend the Mass, my parents did not even carry water bottle with them and insisted me to wait till the Mass was over if I wanted something. Every time I would get up from my place they would stare at me and made sure I sat and attended the Mass without disturbing the people around me.
Today children aged 9 or 10 run about and play during the mass, and the elders who accompany them are not even bothered. Definitely when these kids grow up they would never be able to understand the importance and holiness of Mass and the coming generations would not even bother to attend.
I still remember a few years back when I had gone to attend Mass on Saturday evening a group of youngsters entered the church busy munching on some fast food giggling as if it was a party and its even sadder that those kids belonged to a well to do Christian family whose parents were holding high positions in church council. Today church has become a fashion parade where all are eager to attend Mass to show off their new stylish clothes rather than to spend some valuable time in God’s presence.
A few days back while attending the Mass I was not able to concentrate because there was a little boy who was constantly troubling, screaming and tearing the pages of Hymn book. I was angry with the mother who was just watching all this and not doing anything to about it. Immediately a religious Nun from behind scolded the mother and asked her to take the kid and sit out. I felt a little bad and thought she was rude but later on realized what she had done was really commendable. If she would have not done so, many people around me would end up not hearing anything. As grownups we must not only respect Gods temple and give reverence to the sacred celebration of Mass but also stop people and be bold enough to tell them when we are disturbed.
Attending mass must not be just for the sake but it must be a fruitful encounter. Hence whenever we are disturbed or feel someone is causing trouble we must not step back to go and ask them. Church is a holy place and has church goers it is our responsibility to maintain its decorum.
Most importantly let us teach our kids and instill in them a love for the Mass. Let it be not an option to take our kids out every weekend and let them make merry. It is our responsibility to educate them about the importance and power of Mass.
It is said by Saint Pio of Pietrelcina “It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without Holy Mass.” Hence God has given us a greatest gift in the form of the Holy Mass, let us be holy and attend it respectfully.