A CHRISTIAN'S GUIDE
MaSS diSTRaCTioNS How to focus on God's presence by Jun Viterbo We all have our own litany of “unique” experiences and observations made during Masses in our parish church. Some are funny, some are vexing, others are annoying—they all distract us from the celebration of Christ’s transubstantiation. So, how do we make sure that we are not distracted from our focus on the Lord? Let us examine some of the sources of distraction and how we can avoid them.
THe HoMiLy Common Complaint. If a priest gives a short homily (less than )inutes , he s jud—ed as not prepared. 1 (on— ho)i(y )ore than )inutes usua((y (eaves us bored and restless. Too many jokes and he’s lacking in content. 1bsence o– jokes and he s stif. Too many anecdotes and he’s too folksy. Too much criticism of government and he’s crossing the line of the Church-State separation. The right length for a ho)i(y is said to be )inutes. on the th )inute, our )inds see) to wander of. 1t this sta—e, a topic on St. 9ohn o– the 3ross is heard instead as 9ohn l(oyd 3ruz. What must a Catholic do: 2e prepared –or the :ass. 1 prayer time scheduled before the Mass will do wonders when we’ve “preread” the gospel and relected on its )eanin—. ’our advanced
Common Complaint. In our years of mass-going, we are bound to have heard them all. There is the new choir whose voices are pure but still lacking in harmony (and perhaps, practice). There are the Madrigal Singers wannabes who perform rather than (ead the con—re—ation. 1nd there’s the “golden girls” choir who can earn that 1 –or ayfort” but whose voices sound more “colorful” rather than a “coloratura”. What must a Catholic do: We suggest a variation of the “hate the sin, not the sinner phi(osophy Love the song, ignore the singer. If we are so enamored with the singing that it leads us to admire the singers rather than the words of the song, then we are not making ourselves part of the communal gathering of the Mass. The choir is supposed to jump start the singing and lead us into prayer. the —reat St. 1u—ustine is often quoted as having said “He who sin—s, prays twice. 2ut as
per Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s blog, the Latin phrase cited for this quote “Qui bene cantat bis orat” is properly translated as “He who sings well prays twice”. Hence, even St. 1u—ustine back in the th century had the makings of a music critic. Sin— we((, pray twice. ;ot sin— we((, no dice?
Common Complaint. Despite the countless church bulletins reminding us on how to dress properly before our Creator, some Catholics still don’t get it. Tube tops, spaghetti straps, backless, low-cut dresses are getting to be more the rule rather than the exception. It has even become de rigeur for men to attend Mass in their khaki shorts (regardless if they are designer brands or not). What must a Catholic do: Let’s dress appropriately. Let’s bring back into vogue the concept of Sunday s 2est. one shou(d he(p the others in focusing on the Lord (rather than distracting them from the Lord) during the Mass. Gone are the days when we thought that going to mass was like meeting the most important person in our life. Perhaps it is time to have a )antra on dressin— up –or church I shall dress to show my respect for the Lord. I shall not lead
p7oto 3r4D8t 1l’ Sul8t-pl138;o
knowledge will allow you to appreciate the readings more. 1–ter a((, the 6ospe( is the ”ord of God and it should not matter how it is exp(ained. 2y a(( )eans, intercede rather than criticize the priest. He’s a man of God after all.
Set Apart for His Purpose