Skip to main content

What should I bring?

My family had a big get-together yesterday for a great niece's birthday.  Just an ordinary backyard blow-out with hot dogs, little kids in bathing suits, and lots of lemonade and beer.  I contacted my niece-in-law last week and asked,  "What can I bring?"

"What can I bring?" is the question women have been asking each other forever.  Mary probably figured out some way to ask Elizabeth that before the Blessed Mother went to visit her cousin.  "What can I bring?" is not just a question about food, it's a question about helping, community, sharing gifts and pitching in.  "What can I bring?" means "I care" and "I want to be a part of this in a more intimate way than just showing up.  I want to share, not just partake."

By far, the biggest complaint young people have about Mass is "It's boring".  Adults say the same thing;  we just say, "I don't get anything out of it" since "It's boring" sounds even more juvenile and whiny when it comes out the mouth of a thirty-something.  And I'm not saying I've never been bored at Mass, but I readily recognize that when this has happened, it's been my fault, and not a problem with the liturgy.

Just as "What can I bring?" means more than just "What kind of food do you still need?", "It's boring" means more than "I want to be entertained." (Although it means that too.)  "It's boring" means "I'm just showing up.  I don't want to share or partake.  I'm just gonna sit here and wait for something marvelous to happen."  And it doesn't work that way.

One of the things we need to do to prepare for Mass (and yes, Virginia, you do need to prepare for Mass), is to ask,  "What can I bring?"  Tell God that you want to share and partake, not just be a fleshy blob of humanity taking up space at the party.  The Mass is a party - the Great Wedding Feast, the Best Supper, the Seder of the Savior, the Biggest and Best Family Get-together.  And just as we would ask Aunt Mabel "What can I bring?"  we need to ask ourselves (and God!) "What can I bring to this feast that will make it more meaningful, more filling and fulfilling?  I don't want to just show up.  I want to participate."  God wants you to be a welcomed guest, but not the kind of guest who gets waited on hand-and-foot, but rather the kind of guest who rolls up his or her sleeves, helps to serve the food, dances to the music, and stays afterwards to clean up.  You know, like a family party.  And just like a party isn't a party without Aunt Mabel's pickled herring or Cousin Anita's hummus and pita chips, the Mass isn't complete without YOU.

This week, as you're looking towards the weekend, and making plans, take a few minutes and ask God.  "What can I bring?"

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…