The other day in class with my grade nines, we read an article together that outlined the top nine reasons to go to Mass. One of the reasons, that we discussed in length, was “community”. Many Catholics today, and I’m sure just as many Christians, believe that they can worship on their own, that it’s the best and only way to pray. But, I’m not sure I buy that, sure it’s great to pray on your own, but all the time? Most of the important things we do, is with other humans and not by ourselves. Doesn’t it then make sense, that our religion should be practiced with others too?
We are individuals who need human companionship, and we crave attention from other humans. Many successful and happy people are surrounded by strong communities of friends and family, and some of our worst murders are loners. If it is good and natural for humans to be together, then it makes perfect sense that Jesus would have desired us to be together for the greatest prayer in Catholicism, the Mass. Jesus didn’t have the last supper with himself and God, for example, he shared it with others.
Another point that we discussed, was how participation enhances our lives. One of the best examples, we talked about, was their high school experience. For example, students who participate in some kind of activity end up enjoying high school a whole lot more than those who don’t participate. I loved high school, but it wasn’t because of the academics, it was because I participated in as much as I could. Those who I graduated with, who hated high school, were those who never participated. Is it possible that we can make the same connection when we talk about participation in the Mass? I believe we can.
Being Christian is not easy, but going to Mass every Sunday with others gives you a sense of solidarity, and when you are feeling down in your faith others can help encourage you. Clearly, God, who knows us best, recognized how important community is, and that’s why he designed the mass to be done in a group and not individually. Let us all pray for those who have left the Church, or who see no purpose in organized religion, that they will see the value of a faith community and see that this is really where Jesus wants us to be.