Dear friend: We miss you at church. Yes, we really do miss you.
Life is very hectic nowadays, and often the weekend schedule is so busy there isn’t enough time to squeeze in Mass. Also, a very popular idea in our culture is that it’s OK to be “spiritual,” but not religious. If people just think about God once in a while and pray to him on their own, without going to church, that’s perfectly fine.
Well, Jesus never said anything like that. In fact, he did say, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (Jn 6:53)
What exactly does that mean? For 2,000 years, Christians have understood that Jesus’ words mean we must partake of the Eucharist. By virtue of a supernatural miracle, the Eucharist truly is transformed into the body and blood, soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ. And the Eucharist is not something we can have while at home, or while walking through the woods, or while thinking about God and being “spiritual” on our own. No, unless a person is sick or homebound, or there are some other circumstances, the Eucharist is available only in a sacred space, specifically in a church and specifically during Mass.
Jesus founded the Catholic Church when he said, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt 16:18)
It’s interesting that Jesus entrusted his perfect message with an imperfect organization. Apparently, he figured if the Church was perfect, people might be tempted to worship the Church rather than God. So, despite many instances, especially in recent years, when both Church leaders and laypeople have sinned and caused terrible scandals, the Catholic Church still is strong. Jesus is the head of the Church, and Jesus promised that not even the power of hell will destroy it.
Contrary to what is often said in our popular culture, the Church actually is a very humble organization. Catholics know that everyone sins and falls short of God’s perfect glory, and so we realize we need to take part in the sacraments on a regular basis and receive God’s forgiveness, mercy and grace.
Many people claim that Mass is very boring, the same ol’ thing every week. Well, contrary to how our popular culture views virtually every human activity, the Catholic Mass was never designed to be a wildly entertaining experience. It was designed to be sacred worship.
To be fair, quite often the homily at Mass can be very inspiring, and quite often the choir and musicians are fabulously talented. But even if Mass seems a little boring, that’s fine, because it is still the only way to receive the body and blood of Our Lord. Mass is the unique vehicle God created to allow struggling sinners (that would be us) to come into full contact with the Savior of the world. If we could only see how much the angels and saints in heaven rejoice during every single Mass — even Masses that seem boring to us — it would take our breath away.
In a spirit of humility and fellowship, we sincerely ask you to consider joining us once again. Come back to Jesus’ Church. Come back to the faith your parents and grandparents taught you. Come back to the holy sacrifice of the Mass and receive the flesh and blood of Our Savior in the Eucharist and be part of our parish community once again.
We miss you at church. Yes, we really do miss you.
Bill Dunn is a recovering atheist who resides in Torrington. He loves Jesus, his wife and kids and the Red Sox (usually in that order). He can be reached at MerryCatholic@gmail.com.