As I was talking with a fellow Catholic Christian, he shared with me an insight he had about attending church services. He shared a rather simple story of a man who decided not to attend one of his family’s birthday parties. He simply said, “I don’t need to go to my brother’s birthday party. He already knows how much I love him.” Many Christians say they don’t need to go to church services using the statement, “I don’t need to go to mass. God already knows that I love him and he loves me, so I don’t go.” How sad!
I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons I attend church services is to show God that I love him. I can’t say that I love Jesus and then not go to church. It’s like saying that I love my brother, or grandchild, or wife and then not go to a party for them. I want to be with them, especially at a party in their honor. One of the ways we show someone we care is by going to their party. Not going to their party shows that we really don’t care much, at least that is the impression we give.
Our 50th wedding anniversary is coming up soon. My children will probably throw a party for my wonderful wife and me. If the people invited don’t come, I would seriously think they had an emergency, or they don’t care much. At the least I would be greatly disappointed. I wonder if Jesus feels the same way when we don’t attend mass or other church services. I am reminded of a rather humerous story about a young man who claims to love his girlfriend. He says to her on the phone, “I love you and I care about you. I would climb the highest mountain for you. I would swim the deepest ocean for you. I would walk a million miles to see you, but I can’t come over now it’s raining out.” The love seems hollow.
Talk is cheap, unless it is backed up by action. Saying you love someone and then not showing it seems shallow. Everyone one of us has been invited to be at mass, the “Supper of the Lord” or other church gatherings. These are opportunities to gather with others to honor and worship the God who loves us unconditionally and incomprehensively. I hope we all show that we love him to by going to his party.
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his light shine upon you and give you his peace.”