The Gift of the Mass


13 Oct 2015
I have a confession to make: I’ve become a Mass junkie. There’s a hunger that’s developed recently that seems to be a grace. I have been wary of it, asked myself if it’s authentic, but the sense of consolation I feel makes me believe that the Lord is blessing me at the moment.
My junkie-esque attendance at mass is a really recent occurrence; it happened only in the last half of this year. At the beginning of the year, I started going to mass more regularly and as time passed, it became more and more important to me.
I went overseas this July and for the first time when I’ve travelled, it seemed vital that I find mass wherever I went.  This experience released me from my entrenched habits of only attending mass at a particular church and at the same time on a Sunday.
My eyes and heart were opened to the beautiful variety that exists in the expression of our Catholic faith, throughout the world, and even throughout the Archdiocese where I live.
On my return, I felt like going to mass was an experience I needed to continue. I was liberated from my entrenched ideas and suddenly when I attended mass, I felt like I could hear God talking to me.
I have discovered the joy of reading the daily prayers and prayer reflections. It’s a beautiful way to start the morning. If I make it to mass that day, the readings are familiar and they echo through me as I get the opportunity to hear them a second time.
Considering that the gospels were largely passed down as an oral tradition for many years following Jesus’ death, it’s perhaps not surprising that hearing the Gospel spoken, read by the celebrant, has a special kind of power to touch us.
The homily then gives me a chance to reflect on them a second time.
Now, let’s be honest, homilies can be a bit of a mixed bag. There have been homilies that I have struggled with because they were too academic, too far outside my life experience, or too boring.
There have also been homilies that have caused me to laugh out loud. Some have brought me to tears or really made me think. In my current pilgrimage around Canberra churches, I have been blessed to discover that there are certain priests who through their homilies and the power of the Holy Spirit have the ability to reach out and move me.
There’s a Tuesday evening mass I attend because I am fascinated by what random topic this particular priest will talk about.
There’s a lunchtime mass, where parishioners are taken on a journey throughout the week, each day a different interconnected chapter of the story.
I am uplifted by the energy and enthusiasm of a priest at a charismatic Sunday mass. I marvelled at the most recent Sunday where the priest there managed to talk about fairies, catching monkeys in India, and St Ignatius of Loyola all in the same homily and still remain highly credible and engaging.
Finally, most extraordinarily, there is a priest who gives down-to-earth humble homilies that reach behind my defences and go straight to my heart.
It is one of his homilies that I credit for bringing me back to mass.
To be honest, like most people I think, the strength of my faith ebbs and flows. There are times when I attend mass and feel lacking in grace or humility, when my mind wanders and I am not very present.
No matter where I am spiritually though, there is a something really comforting about being with God in his house, like visiting a favourite relative.
I put my feet up and we have a chat or we hang out in silence together.
Although God is with always with me, being in a church often allows me to block out everything else and focus on my relationship with him.
When I am there, I feel so blessed to be invited to his table to share in His word and in Him.
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