I had no intentions of going to this Mass tonight. I actually was pondering going to the 8:30 pm Mass at UM-St. Louis or at least chew the fat with Fr. B before hand, since I was on campus already. Something told me to go home (I had planned to go shopping too). As soon as I got home, my awesome friend Mark texted me saying he was going to Mass. I asked if I could tag along.
Mass was packed, mostly with college students. There were some older, professor age people and some grad students sprinkled in. There were what I'm guessing were Jesuit Scholastics (aka novices). It was pretty close to standing room only. Most schockingly was the fact people sang! It was quite loud!
Music was provided by a variety of instruments and a choir behind the altar. (I think they should be in the choir loft so that when they start boogying to the music...but alas, I digress). The students were really good!
Gathering: Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty
Gloria: Sing Glory to God...
Preparation of the Table: Set Your Hearts on the Higher Gifts
Mass setting: Celtic and the half Latin, Half English echo Lamb of God
Communion: I Am the Bread of Life, Hungry
Sending: City of God, Let the River Flow
Father sang the Preface and used Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation I and there were no bells. There were 4 concelebrating priests and 3 servers, I'm sure somebody could have rung them. Also, the wine was poured into the huge goblets after the Consecration. Everyone, I think, except my pal and I, held hands at the Our Father and left the pews so it went across the Church.
I have a confession to make. I'm not the best Catholic. I'm not even a better than average Catholic. I know what I'm supposed to believe and what the Church teaches. That following what the Church teaches thing is hard. Lately, I've been a really bad Catholic. I'm going through a rough time right now. The grant that was paying for me to go to school ran out of money so I lost 2/3 of my income. My dissertation isn't going well. I'm getting ready to graduate soon and am having a hard time dealing with that. I fell on the ice and damaged my knee and I have no health insurance. Then someone cleaned out my bank account. Then there is some other stuff going on that has no business on the Internets. I feel abandoned by God, unloved by God and unworthy of His Love. So I've been hopeless and despairing lately. If it wasn't for a special friend and Jake, I'd be in sorry shape.
I know why I had to go home. I had to hear this homily.
It is a tall order in today's Gospel, Be Holy and Be Perfect like god. The good news is that none of us is, but Jesus is. When we are asked to be perfect, we look at our successes and other worldly things. This is not what it means to be perfect. In the world, the perfect rise above othrs. Only Jesus can help us be perfect. Let's go back to Theology 101. There is 1 God in 3 persons. The only difference is the relationship. Father mentioned the stuff in the Nicene Creed, about the Jesus being begotten of the Father. The one part of the Trinity is defined by the other parts, the parts need each other. It isn't like that for you and I. People come and go but we remain. We are more independent than God. We need to realize that we can't do it alone and that we need others. Perfection is about realizing weaknesses. Needing others is not a weakness. We grow more like God when we need others. The Gospel is not about staying in an abusive situation. Sin plucks Sin. We need to stand up to violence and break the cycle. Jesus knew the laws and rules of his day and was clever about such things. He wants us to be clever. It's almost as if Jesus went to a Jesuit School (bwahahahaha). We have to put our love out in the world. In the reading from St. Paul, St. Paul says the baptized become a Temple of God. God dwells within you. Your heart is the new altar. One day the physical church will be gone but you will remain. You are a symbol of what will become... How can you make a sacrifice of the heart now? In the Mass, we pray to the Father. We gather as Jesus, children of God. We are the Body. We don't come to Mass to watch, but to offer the Sacrifice. We need to offer ourselves. We need to be open, to sacrifice and to pray. The Lord has something for all of us.
It was a pretty awesome Mass :)
But I have one thing to snark about! In the bulletin was a list of things to do to get the least out of Sunday Mass. It was basically a list of don't do this. One of the items listed was "Don't contribute to the collection, or if you do, use coins." Uhm I have a problem with this. Some people are poor and have nothing to contribute. Some people only have coins because it is all they have. The Widow's Mite and all that... For a parish and campus community big on social justice this seemed rather insensitive.
...Let the lost man say I am found in Him
Oooooh let the river flow...