Thursday, March 31, 2005

Holy Thursday

I attended Holy Thursday Mass this year for the first time in my life. (I know. Let the flogging begin!) It was the most beautiful Mass I have ever attended. Holy Thursday offically marks the end of Lent, so we are allowed to sing the "Gloria" again. The bells of the church are rung for the last time until Easter Vigil during that part of the Mass, and I had to stop singing because I was starting to cry! I was so moved during the whole thing: the washing of feet, the transfer of the Holy Eucharist, all of it.

And what was so awesome about it was that the church was full and EVERYONE sang! And what I thought was: This is what Mass should be like! And Mass could be that way every Sunday if the people there really understood what was going on. The thing about Holy Thursday is that the folks who were there to mark Jesus' last meal, his last few hours, attended because they wanted to be there. It was extra special because everyone was engaged.

Sometimes the Catholic Mass gets branded as stuffy or boring-not exciting. If the people who think that were at the celebration on Holy Thursday, they would see that the problem is not with the Mass. The problem is with the people who go there expecting to be entertained. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not entertainment. It is worship. And it is stirring if you are locked into it.

God is gentle. He whispers His invitations to us. He whispers to our souls to come to Mass, to celebrate, to worship. He does not call to us like a carnival huckster, promising us an hour that will shock and amaze. No, he gently stirs our souls. If we are humble and quiet, and enter into His Church to worship and celebrate, we will be shocked and amazed.

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