As I sat on the stage for 3.5 hours last Tuesday at Officer Moore's service, I had some time to think. Given the fact that 2 of the hours were spent watching police file in or out of Conseco, I guess I had a LOT of time to think.
One of the things that I started to think about was the fact that the very things that made the service so powerful and moving are the very same things that most people bemoan about the Catholic Mass.
The service for David was
3) full of rituals that not many people knew the origins of but were nonetheless impressed by
4) utterly lacking in spontaneity
The reason for all of these elements is simple - no one wanted attention on themselves and all of us participating at home and at Conseco knew that we were there NOT FOR OURSELVES but to honor David.
Don't all of these things that made the service beautiful also usually serve as ammo against the Catholic Mass?
1) It is too precise
2) It is too planned
3) It is too full of rituals that not many people know the origins of
4) The Mass is utterly lacking in spontaneity
I sometimes hear "gosh father you seem intense at Mass, you need to be more relaxed, you need to be more engaging, etc." Funny that I didn't hear those same remarks from those who saw my comments at David's service.
There were definitely young kids in attendance at David's service as well, and that also made me think. I wondered how many of those young kids and teenagers woke up and said something like, "I don't want to go, I'm not going to get anything out of it, it's cold, I'm tired." The parents of these children, while understanding what their kids were saying, would still have paid little to no attention to their children's complaints, yet how many parents let their teenagers opt out of going to Mass on Sunday for those very same things.
May we as Catholics continue to think about what it means to go to Mass - are we going to first of all get something out of it for ourselves or are we first of all going to Mass to offer something to God.