Saturday, January 06, 2007

Make Sunday Mass one's Resolution

Not that I've comprehended why a believer would miss Sunday Mass voluntarily, but we all know that a lot of our brothers and sisters in the Church do, especially in these latter days when the threat of damnation doesn't work to put rears on pews anymore.

This is what our archbishop +Timothy proposes in this week's Herald of Hope column, which can be found at this link now, and at this link after next Thursday. He recites lots of the to-me-noncomprehensible reasons, and rebuts them nicely. But he never got to the two reasons that sometimes restrict me to listening to his wise teaching and to the devout worship of my fellow parishioners on the radio.....

"There's snow/ice/subzero wind chill/dangerously high heat index, so it isn't safe for me to try to get to church by myself; I dare not get my wheelchair stuck/fall down/be frostbit/get hyperthermic...." and "It costs $6.50 (sub your local transit or paratransit fare here) to go to church, and I don't have $6.50 this week."

For these, the best answer is a bit of Works of Mercy, or, "We'll get by with a little help from our friends". Please, if you live by elders or people with disabilities or medically fragile people, don't dawdle about clearing your sidewalk and alley. Maybe even volunteer to clear theirs while you are at it. Remember that cars can drive over ice and slush that walkers and wheelchairs can't safely navigate. Think of it as an offering to God.

And, look out for your fellow parishioners. In every parish I've ever been in all my life, there have been "assigned seats", people sit in the same places, next to the same other folk, every Sunday. Maybe there are some of the seasonally missing from your pew who are also in your neighborhood; if you drive to church, maybe you can give one of them a ride with you, safer than daring the weather in the dangerous seasons.

Unfortunately, a lot of the genteel or elderly poor are determinedly independent and trying to pass middle-class, so they are not likely to volunteer the information that they aren't in church because they paid the mortgage/rent, the electric and gas, the pharmacy, and so on.....and ran out of money. (It took me a long time to get over that; I was raised in a poor-passing-middle-class family and was trained from childhood what not to ever let others know.) But when you ask where someone's been and they trust you enough to say "had to wait till payday", know that a book or two of the appropriate transit or paratransit tickets are a fine gift and can be a true godsend.

So then, it will be more fulfilled that all the believers will be gathered together on one place.


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