I have become more and more aware of what I have termed ‘Convenient Catholicism’ and it disturbs me.
We all have heard the problem of “Easter and Christmas Catholics”, but there is a larger problem than that in which we don’t hear much about – Convenient Catholicism.
Convenient Catholicism is what I call those Catholics who go to church when either something bad has happened or they don’t have anything to do. Then, when some new love comes in their life or when they get a new hobby, or when summer rolls around and they spend the weekends on the river, all of a sudden going to Mass is not a priority.
Yet, as Christians, what we do reflects on us and also it reflects on the Church as a whole and on Christianity as a whole.
How many of you have heard people say they don’t go to Mass because they are ‘too busy’ or they point to other people who are ‘good people’ and indicate how they don’t go on a regular basis? Do you see how when we find ourselves living in a condition of grave sin, we tend to compare ourselves to others (instead of Jesus and His teachings)? What I’m doing is not so bad compared to this person.
One of the greatest problems we face is the lack of respect and honor for the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the core of the Catholic Church. If we fail to respect and honor the Eucharist for what it is then we have failed to honor Jesus. We must never forget this.
We must be diligent in protecting the faith – even at the risk of having to confront someone who is not respecting the Eucharist or respecting the faith.
We don’t expect people to be perfect – we know that won’t happen. But, we can expect people to do certain things in life and in the Mass and one of them is to honor the Eucharist.
How do we do that?
We must live our life in purity and chastity. If we are married, we must not commit adultery or any form of grave sin against our spouse. If we are single, we must remain in a state of chastity until we celebrate the sacrament of marriage with that special someone. But, and here is where we tend to experience the largest problem, if someone is divorced, then we must remain in a state of chastity until an annulment is obtained and remarriage is granted by the Church. Otherwise, we must abstain from receiving the Eucharist.
This is not convenient. It’s not easy. But, being a Christian is not easy.
But let’s also remember there are serious consequences to receiving the Eucharist during a state of mortal sin.
“To respond to this invitation (Eucharist) we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience. ‘Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eat and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.” (CCC 1385)
Now, we also have to remember that when we receive the sacrament of Reconciliation, we must be truly sorry for our sins and understand the seriousness of the sins. It doesn’t mean we go to confession every Sunday morning for living with and having an intimate relationship with someone we are not married to just so we can receive the Eucharist, but we remain in that state of mortal sin when we return home.
We also must remember not attending Mass is a mortal sin, unless certain circumstances are present. Laziness, I’m tired, or I was visiting my girlfriend are not covered under those circumstances. It’s not convenient to get up every Sunday and go to Mass – despite other things going on – but it’s not only necessary, but it’s required.
What about fasting for an hour before Mass? I think, at some point, we have all broken that and still received the Eucharist during Mass. It’s not convenient to get up earlier on Sunday to eat breakfast and fast an hour before Mass, or simply skip breakfast until Mass is over, but it is necessary.
When Jesus becomes first in our life – Jesus becomes first in our homes. When Jesus becomes first in our homes, then and only then, will Jesus begin to be first in our cities and country.
Change in our society begins with change in Christian homes. Respect and honor for the Holy Eucharist must be essential and a core foundation for our homes.