Imagine inviting someone you dearly love over to your home to spend time with you and enjoy a delicious dinner. We have all, I am sure, been extended an invitation to visit friends and loved ones. A visit, at least in the South, is not complete without a mouth-watering meal. How many times have you spent time socializing with loved ones and then immediately get up and leave following eating the meal? If we invited guests to our home only for them to partake of our food and then immediately leave because they had other places to be, I wonder how many of us would want to invite those individuals back? I wonder how many of us would question just how important we are to that person.
The sad reality is this is how most Catholics treat Jesus. We show up to Mass, halfway listen to the readings and homily, and then receive the Eucharist. After partaking of the heavenly meal, we immediately begin gathering our belongings and preparing to leave. Many times, the recessional is not even close to ending before we are turning around, reaching for our belongings, and preparing to leave. The choir is still singing the recessional hymn as we make our way out of the church.
We show up, tell Jesus “Thanks for the invitation”, eat the meal and then immediately leave.
“The Holy Eucharist is the perfect expression of the love of Jesus Christ for man” – St. Maria Goretti.
Jesus Christ gives all of Himself to us and yet we rush out of the church as if it were a race to see who can get to their vehicle first. There is nothing more important you can do following Mass than sit in thanksgiving and gratitude in prayer to Jesus.
“When you have received Holy Communion, close your bodily eyes so that you may open the eyes of your soul. Then look upon Jesus in the center of your heart”- St. Teresa of Avila
It is difficult to close your eyes and open the eyes of your soul to Jesus following Holy Communion if you are rushing out to your vehicle to be the first in line at your favorite restaurant for lunch. If you are “not getting anything out of Mass” then it is probably because you’re too concerned with getting out of Mass. A five-minute prayer after Mass to give thanks to Jesus for the gift you have received in the Eucharist, seeking forgiveness of sins, listening with an attentive ear to the voice of the Lord, and focusing on the most important thing of the day – Jesus in the Eucharist – can change your life and your faith. Too often, however, perhaps we feel others will judge us if they’re rushing out of the pews and to their vehicles while we are kneeling in prayer. Maybe we do not want to have to wait at the restaurant for lunch, so we are hurry out to grab a table before it gets too busy. Perhaps we are rushing out of Mass to get home before the kickoff of the football game.
What is more important than Jesus? That is a question only you can answer.
Stop being the rude dinner guest that says, “thanks for the meal, but I have to run”.