We remembered St Matthias on Friday. At two Masses.
In two homilies, we were reminded that St Matthias was called to serve . As we are all called to serve . The priesthood of all believers.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that all people, lay and clergy and religious, have vocations. Have a role to play in the Church, in showing the world the love of Christ.
Bishop Elliott, the main celebrant of Friday night’s Mass for Priests in the Year for Priests, reminded us that priests need us, the laity, the faithful . Priests and religious need our prayers.
But we need our priests and religious. We need their example, their teaching, their guidance, their prayers, their masses.
In encouraging us in our vocations in the world, as Christian laypeople, in our roles in the Church, it is also helpful to remember the distinctions between laity and the clergy and religious.
Both masses on Friday were masses that were set apart Set apart? By this I mean there was a sense of the sacred. Yes, the laity had a role to play , for want of a better term, but in each instance, the role was not contrived. There was no sense of someone orchestrating parts of the mass, fiddling with rubrics, to add a bit here and a bit there, a layperson here and a layperson there. (Does this sound a bit like Old MacDonald?)
These were no “circuses”, no man centered masses. But masses where the Eucharist, the worship of God, the reception of Our Lord in the Eucharist, was central, was paramount.
As it should be. For receiving and adoring are part of our main focus of Mass, not doing , not everyone playing a role, not jokes, not people. Not “look at my daugher serving”; nor ” weren’t those Prep kids so cute with their song and liturgical movement.”
As cute as they may be, as well ( or as poorly!!) as my sons may serve mass, my sons , and others, are not the central focus. It is not about us. It’s about God.
When we are drawn closer to God, when we know our Faith and know God’s love, then we live our Faith. We worship as a community and thus community is built. We receive God’s Graces in the sacraments, we hear His voice in the silence, the white spaces of our Mass. And hopefully there is time for this silence, this reflection. Hopefully the masses we attend are not filled with words. Words. Words. People entertaining us. Extraneous actions or jokes.
When we worship as a community, with a sense of awe of being in His presence and receiving Him and His Graces, then we can go out and share. Share our love, our smiles, our compassion, our empathy, our listening ear, our friendliness, our cultures, our Faith, over cups of tea and lunches and suppers . Within our parish communities. In our workplace. With our families. In our every day lives.
As St Matthias was called, so are we, too, called. And we need to pray for those who are called in an extra way, to be priests and religious.
We are called to worship and then to share Christ’s love. We are called as God’s people.
We remember that we are not to clericalize the laity, to paraphrase the Holy Father.
We are not to make the mass about us but about God.
Particularly as we come close to Pentecost, and reflect on the Holy Spirit leading the Church, through the hierarchy and then through you and me.