Can I Have Your Attention, PLEEEEEASE?!

Distractions. They are all around us. The television mentality is here. Most of us live our lives in segments or should I say snipits. It is like we can not focus on anything more than seven to ten minutes. However, while multi-tasking is the in thing -- it isn't always appropriate.

Unfortunately, such is true today at the sacred liturgy. Each week I see people coming to "attend" Mass. They fulfill their duty, but miss the true meaning of why they are there. Often, I tell my congregation that if they are there simply because of obligation, then don't come. This may sound harsh, I understand. But come on -- the reason we are there is to give glory and praise to God, right? Living in one's own world, apart from the community, not responding to prayer or singing with emotion, what good is it?

People usually tell me the reason that they don't sing is because they can't. Okay, who gave you the voice you have? Apparently, He does not find it offensive. So who are we to judge. I mean we aren't trying out for American Idol. God gave you the voice you have, give it back to Him. But maybe, you have to do it not quite so loud.

Recently, I had a conversation with a parishioner from another parish who came to my Mass. They lamented that their priests are boring and have no life. I asked why they thought that was the case. Frankly, they had no idea. So I said, "How much life do you bring to the liturgy?" The person was taken back and responded, "Me? That's not my job!" So let's get this right. I, as a priest, am the leader of prayer and the cheerleader as well. Wow! Seminary did not prepare me for the "Rah, Rah, Rah!!!" part. See, to me looking out at a bored and non-responsive assembly does not give me anything to collect energy from, especially doing multiple Masses in one day.

Of course, the real reason for going to Mass is to receive the Lord in Word and Sacrament, but with awareness and awe. Paying attention me be difficult, but highly beneficial.