Cursed is the man whose heart turns away from the Lord. Blessed is the man who trusts and hopes in the Lord. (Jeremiah 17)
The times in which we live can lure a person into a particular kind of cursed cage: The cage of a weekly routine that does not include Holy Mass. Once inside the cage, it can be extremely difficult to get out of it.
My kids have games. I have to work. I don’t fit in at church. I need some down-time. I need a lazy Sunday morning when I don’t have to shave. The Catholic Church is mean. There’s too much Spanish. There’s too much English. Mass is too early. Mass is too late. Father is boring. Father is annoying. The ushers are annoying. The choir is off-key. I like to pray in nature. I like better coffee. I don’t have time. I need to go to the grocery store. I need to go to the mall. I need to fill out my NCAA tournament bracket. I need to pluck my nose-hairs. I need to rotate the tires.
It’s a cage. Outside the cage, in the wide-open space where a person can walk with peace in the sight of God—in the world of true reality and freedom, we have a vital, living link with our Creator. Holy Mass.
Our worship of Him. His love for us. Our bond as a people, as children of one Father. All rolled into one thing. The great, wide-open space, where God’s light shines inside us, and where all people belong, and share life together with God: church, Mass. Sunday morning with God and His people.
The cage: a routine without Mass, of life without Christ as a fixture, a daily reality. The cage of an endless cycle of pressures and reasons and needs and confusions and half-truths and unexamined consciences; the cage of a “weekend” with just parking lots and shopping carts and extra shifts and low-grade clinical depression and tv. The curse of 21st-century America.
Lord, liberate us all from this cage! Draw all hearts to You! Bring us all together, in the heavenly light, in the wide-open, fresh air around your holy altar!