Last week I spoke about the Church’s insistence that at Mass we participate fully, consciously and actively. Why do we do this? Because this is our greatest act of public worship. We need to be engaged in what we do at Mass. In this age of short attention spans, being fully attentive for an hour at Mass is not easy. I think there is a reason we call Christian worship “liturgy”. The word “liturgy” literally means “the work of the people.” In its original secular use, it referred to public works done for the good of the people and by the people - the building of bridges and roads and public facilities. In its religious use, it means the hard work of coming together to offer praise and thanksgiving to God our Father through Jesus our Lord united in the Holy Spirit. And it is hard work! To listen attentively to the readings when your inclination is to let your mind wander is not easy. To become one with others in gesture and response is not easy. To resist the desire to do our own thing and to allow the Church to show us the way of Christian worship is not easy. In today’s world, the question often is “what is in it for me?” When it comes to Mass that is the wrong question. What we need to ask ourselves is “what can I do for God and for others?” What we do for God is give of ourselves as a sacrifice of praise at Mass. That means trying to be totally present to what is happening= at Mass. What we do for others is, first and foremost, just showing up. We show love and respect to our brothers and sisters at Mass by our presence. We say, “We are the Catholic Christian community of Hershey and I will be here for you! We are in this together!” In a very real way, being present - to God and to one another - is the hardest work of all!
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