Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pastor is on Vacation

We didn't go to Saturday vigil Mass yesterday because my sister came for a visit. She left this morning, leaving early because she wanted to be home for church service at the Free Methodist church where they live. Her pastor was on vacation last week, so they didn't go, she said. And something else kept them from services the previous week. She really wanted get there today.

I thought about that this morning after she left. I remember when the pastor's sermon was the "meat and potatoes" of the worship. If the pastor was on vacation, one felt a sense of dread at the thought of going to church. It just wasn't the same. And if something came up, even on a week the beloved pastor was preaching, well church could wait. You could always catch a sermon on the radio or read one of the meditations from a Max Lucado book.

This morning, I was beat. My sister and I had a great time. I can hardly wait for her to come for the next visit. But it really took something out of me. As tired as I was this morning, the idea of missing Mass just wasn't an option.

It's not because I am a stickler for duty. I don't go to Mass because it is expected or required of me.

I go to Mass because Jesus is waiting. I go - because not going would be like standing up the groom on the wedding day.

Sure, I am really tired. That's a good reason to go. He gives me strength.

Sure, sometimes I am really busy. That's a good reason to go. He gives me rightly-ordered priorities.

Sure, sometimes I don't feel like being holy or good or happy or thankful or patient or any of those things I am called to be. Sometimes I just want to do my own thing. That's a good reason to go. He gives me a heart of flesh in exchange for my heart of stone.

I understand my sister's thinking. If the cornerstone of Sunday worship is the pastor's sermon, you can take it or leave it. You can miss it now and then or replace it with something else that is equally uplifting.

But, if the cornerstone of Sunday worship is Jesus Christ in Flesh and you have the opportunity for Him to come inside of you - well, count me in.

(Interestingly enough, we had a visiting priest at Mass today. And guess what? I still received Jesus even today! One more wonderful thing about being Catholic. Wherever there is a priest, we can have access to Our Eucharistic Lord Jesus Christ! So, the pastor is on vacation. That's fine. Count me in anyway.)


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