Growing up, I still remember the two priests that taught me to truly appreciate the mass. The first left our parish when I was eight years old, and the other was a part of my life for the next 6 years. The first priest, taught me how to truly respect the mass- and how we should conduct one’s self through mass; and the second priest taught me the importance of all the details of mass.
A son honors his father,
and a servant fears his master;
If, then, I am a father,
where is the honor due to me?
And if I am a master,
where is the fear due to me? 6e
In learning about the mass, one of the things that I see so often neglected is how we present ourselves at mass. Not just in physical appearance-but the appearance of our soul.
When you offer a blind animal for sacrifice,
is there no wrong in that?
When you offer a lame or sick animal,
is there no wrong in that?
Present it to your governor!
Will he be pleased with you—or show you favor?
says the LORD of hosts.8f
Originally, the offering of a sick, lame, or blind animal was forbidden against the law. So it was two-fold really, the priests weren’t offering the best of the best-implying where their loyalty and that they didn’t invest themselves 100% into believing. Secondly, they were breaking the law by getting rid of the easily disposable animals rather than the best of the best. We are the best of the best. But so often we bring ourselves to mass in a state of being blind, sick and lame (remember figuratively here not literally). We come complaining, we come distracted, we come without a pure and clean soul from going to confession.
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
my name is great among the nations;
Incense offerings are made to my name everywhere,
and a pure offering;
For my name is great among the nations,
says the LORD of hosts.11g
These imperfect sacrifices that were brought by the people of Judah was extremely displeasing to the Lord. He would rather have the offerings be offered with sincerity, through the whole world (rising to the setting sun). Lastly, it anticipates a pure offering which is the foreshadowing of the mass. The offering an animal for sacrifice, is the foreshadowing of the offering of the Sacrificial Lamb at mass. The offering of the precious Body and Blood, the perfect unblemished Lamb (not the sickly, lame and blind one).
We have every capability of bringing ourselves to mass clean and pure. We have every chance to bring ourselves to confession, to make it through all of mass, to not complain, to not roll our eyes, to focus on mass. But we let every distraction get in the way. We let the football game at 11, the toddler eating the cheerios off the floor, and the teenager twirling her hair to distract us from bringing our pure self to the altar for the sacrifice of the mass. WE let running errands, an extra hour of sleep, chores, and busyness get in the way of morning mass, adoration and confession. Which can all lead us to bringing ourselves to mass with a sincere offering of ourselves.
So, I challenge you-tomorrow, this weekend, or next week; take the plunge. Get up that extra hour early, set the hour aside to go to adoration, or add it to your list on Saturday to make it to confession. After all, the Lord wants your most sincere offering of yourself.