I am on my annual summer vacation and will be back home next week. Please show Fr. Markellos a warm St. Joseph welcome while I am away as he gets acclimated to the parish.
Sitting on the beach the other day, in proximity to my lounge chair, were four women vacationing together. Needless to say, as I was soaking up the sun (sorry skin doctor), I heard just about every word of their entire conversation (not really intending to or really wanting to hear it). I was minding my own business but they were loud enough for me to hear everything that they were saying. I hope that you don't mind it if I give a friendly caution. Please realize you don't know who may sitting next to you (it may be a priest in a bathing suit) and that you may be revealing things about yourselves that you may not want everyone around you to hear. It might eventually wind up in the pastor's column of the church bulletin.
At one point in their conversation (I will spare you the details of their recent dinners, getting intoxicated, where they were from, what their jobs were, how one person did not like to go into the water, etc. See, you really do find out way too many details!) one of the ladies proudly boasted: "Well, I don't go to church anymore!" Here we go! Right up my alley! I thought to myself "What's the excuse this time?" Stay tuned. This might finally get interesting.
I thought about many of the excuses that I have heard about not going to Mass time and time again:
- Mass is boring.
- Mass takes too long.
- All the priest ever talks about is money.
- The priests/people in church are all hypocrites.
- The scandals in the Church are appalling.
- I can pray on my own.
- I am spiritual but not religious.
- I am too busy.
- I have to work.
- We have sports on Sunday.
- We are tired on Sundays and like to sleep in.
- I don't get anything out of Mass.
- I don't think that we should have to go to Mass every week.
- The Church doesn't care about me.
- The Catholic Church first needs to change its view on: women priests / gay marriage / living together outside of marriage / divorce and re-marriage / birth-control, etc.
- The priest is too: conservative / liberal / controversial / political / serious / irreverent / egotistical / long-winded / effeminate / creepy, etc.
I want to add a few excuses of my own: (See if they make any sense or are irrelevant.)
- I don't think it was important that Jesus suffered and died on the cross for me.
- I don't need to receive the Eucharist--the Bread of Life--regularly.
- Hearing the Sacred Scriptures read and explained (preached) does not help me in life.
- I can save myself and give myself eternal life without Christ and His Church.
- I can experience healing and forgiveness of sin without Christ and His Church.
- I am just too proud to admit that I actually may be wrong.
The lady on the beach never did verbalize the why concerning her not going to church.
What other excuses may there be out there?
Don't speak too loud if you don't want me to hear them.
Fr. Ed Namiotka