Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Speaking of Sunday

Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem
 So what's your "elevator pitch" about going to Church on Sunday?  You know those brief but precious moments when someone asks you an authentic question about why you go to Mass: what is your less-than-two-minute response that might draw them in to (re)considering Church on Sunday?

If a neighbor notices us going to Church week after week and then finally asks about it, or if colleagues say, "you're Catholic, aren't you?", and then ask whether we go to Mass, these are wonderful opportunities to help "open the door of faith."  So what's your "go to" response?  Perhaps it includes one of the following:
  • Finding a deep, abiding sense of peace:  Doesn't your week just seem to go better when it begins with Mass on Sunday?  Haven't you had an experience of that "peace which surpasses all understanding" (Phil 4:7)?
  • Belonging to something bigger:  Isn't it nice to have a sense of meaning and connectedness in your daily life?  St. Paul explains that "I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, 'This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me' (1 Cor 11:23)."  This same gift of the Eucharist is handed on to us from the Lord to this day.
  • Reflecting on the Word of God:  Who isn't looking for a sense of deeper meaning and for an experience of God speaking to us personally each week?  Isn't it amazing that, with a billion Catholics around the world, we hear the same Scriptures proclaimed each Sunday?  Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we proclaim, "were not our hearts burning within us when he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?" (Lk 24:32)
  • Seeing heaven meet earth:  Who wouldn't want a weekly experience of the Supernatural breaking in and through the words and rituals of our natural world?  Don't we all need "the gift of God's grace" (Eph 3:7), in order to become the better person we want to become?

What else would you add to this list?  And, perhaps more importantly, how would you transition from one of these brief themes into inviting someone to join you at Mass?  The empty tomb--over which the Church of the Holy Sepulchre stands--is the physical reminder of the reality of Christ's Resurrection.  And we may be the only witnesses of this Reality that someone will encounter this year. 

Let's speak of the Day of the Lord in our own voices, making our own the words of the angel, "he has been raised just as he said" (Mt 28:6)!