Saturday, January 04, 2014
Rita Ferrone, reflecting at PrayTell on her experience of Midnight Mass, notes that the presider "gave a self-righteous scolding to the occasional attenders." Meanwhile the comments on an article I wandered onto (about ways to make Christmas Mass accessible to those who are not habitual attenders) made me nearly weep, and glad I was not a stranger showing up at their parishes for they would prefer I neither have a seat nor receive the Eucharist, for that should be reserved for those (who they know) to come regularly to Mass. Stranger? You must be a C&E (Christmas and Easter) Catholic, which is, of course, no Catholic at all.
I can't imagine what it might feel like to have made the time, even just this once a year, to go to Church and be treated to a scolding. The lost sheep has returned, do we not feast, rejoice? There is a spark, do we sniff and blow it out?
Nor can I quite imagine what it must be like for those who regularly attend to be upbraided. Is this how the Word that comes to dwell in our midst is to be preached at the celebration of the Incarnation? Do not those who regularly come to this table deserve to be fed with carefully prepared preaching appropriate to the Solemnity which they have waited for through Advent's weeks? Apparently not.
One commenter speaks of struggling with the contempt in which s/he holds the interlopers at Christmas Mass. I'm struggling, too, with my feelings about those who feel there is no room at the inn for strangers, however they've found their way to the door, and however long before their next visit.