Dear People of St. Andrew the Apostle:
Reflections of Church Etiquette
Zeal for the House of God consumed Jesus, and He was enraged to see what the Jewish people were doing to the grounds of the Temple in Jerusalem. He taught that the House of God was a House of Prayer. It is important that we reflect on Jesus' zeal for God's House and how we approach our own attendance at Church.
There are two things to remember:
a. We gather to celebrate a HOLY event
b. We gather in a Church which we believe is God's House and therefore a House of Prayer.
Over the last several years the gathering aspect of God's House has been emphasized over its role as a House of Prayer. People enter, often pay no or little attention to the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and engage in conversation with one another, often at the top of their lungs. Sometimes you would think that the Church is a social hall rather than a place of sacred prayer and worship.
It is certainly appropriate to greet one another in God's House. Hospitality should always be a key feature of our faith. If prolonged conversation is necessary, then the narthex, or entrance to the Church, is for that purpose. Greeting people, making them feel welcome, and inviting them to worship is always appropriate. Deciding to engage in conversation that could take place anywhere is not appropriate within the Church. Silence is golden, and it allows others to enter into prayer in preparation for the celebration of Mass.
What do we wear? People sometimes say that what we wear is of no consequence to God. Perhaps they should review the parable of the wedding banquet where the one who is not dressed appropriately is cast out. To worship God is to give God His due – to do our best for Jesus. What we wear is an outward manifestation of how we feel interiorly about what is due Jesus – sometimes we dress as if we are going to a picnic or even to the beach, rather than to a sacred and holy banquet hosted by Jesus. We do the least for Jesus rather than give him our best. Why is that? Shorts, tank tops, revealing clothes, bard midriffs and shoulders…how is that our best for the Lord?
Being ON TIME and staying to the END OF MASS are two more issues that bring into question whether or not we are doing our best for Jesus. Coming late suggests that the Word of God is unimportant to be on time for…leaving early suggests that once I have received what I want I don't need the rest of the Mass, so despite the fact that Jesus is still present in the closing parts of the Mass, I don't need him…I have other things to attend to. Sorry Jesus.
Together let us work to "shape up" our worship and offer Jesus our absolute best effort.
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