St John's Q&A

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Is the Mass real? (Part I)

A small boy is sent to bed by his father.
Five minutes later...."Da-ad...."
"I'm thirsty. Can you bring a drink of water?"
"No, You had your chance. Lights out."
Five minutes later: "Da-aaaad....."
"I'm THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water??"
I told you NO! If you ask again, I'll have to spank you!!"
Five minutes later......"Daaaa-aaaad....."
"When you come in to spank me, can you bring a drink of water?"

Sometimes when I am giving a talk to youth, I will ask what their experiences of going to Mass are. "Too long", "boring", "same thing every week", and "can't relate to it" are usually the most popular answers. 'Fair enough', I tell them...we'll come back to that later.

Then, I ask them how much time they spend watching T.V., movies, and listening to music each day. As they throw out the staggering numbers, I tally up their stats and try to come up with a conservative estimate. According to them, it's fair to say that they spend at least 2 hours a day doing these things (it's probably much higher than that), which means about 15 hours a week.

Then, I ask them if, for the most part, the TV and movies they watch are real. 'No' they say. 'So, why do you spend so much time watching them?' I ask them. They say it's because movies engage them, and take them to another place. Whether it's a character or the story itself, movies and TV entertain them on different levels (mainly emotional). Even though they have nothing to do with the story and don't participate in the show at all, they walk out saying, 'that was awesome'.

'How much time do you spend with God each day?', I ask them. Then, I hear a pin drop. Oops. They do talk to God each day, but it's less than an hour. We come to the conclusion that they spend at least one hour with God each week- at Sunday Mass. So, and this is the main point of the exercise, is the Mass real? 'Yes', almost 100 % of them say at once (probably because this seems like the obvious answer).

I ask them to honestly think about what they are saying. Are they really agreeing with the Church which has taught for 2000 years that the bread and wine truly become Jesus' body and blood during Mass? Do they really believe Jesus' own words about the Eucharist: "This is my body"? Is what happens on the altar at Mass for real?


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