Late for Mass

A question that many adults ask me is what is required to fulfill the Sunday obligation for Mass attendance. I generally respond by paraphrasing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but always remind them of how important it is for them to be there, regardless of when they arrive.

This past Saturday was an interesting day for me. I woke up at 7 a.m., and I had intended to wake up at 6 a.m. This meant that I wouldn’t have time to run a few important errands before a conference that began at 8:30 a.m. The day was wonderful, and I left around 5 p.m. As I pulled out of the parking lot at the expo center, I realized that there was just enough time for me to make it Mass. Going to Mass, however, meant that my errands would still be unfinished, and there wouldn’t be time later in the day. I decided I would run my errands and go to Mass on Sunday.

The problem, of course, is that I knew I wouldn’t make it to Mass on Sunday.

When I finished my errands it was 5:30 p.m. – the start time of Mass. I told myself it was too late to attend Mass, and I decided I would go to work instead (which is at my Church for those who don’t know). During the drive, I had an internal battle with myself about whether or not I should go to Mass. The battle ended when I arrived and it was 5:40 p.m. – certainly too late for Mass. I began to walk to my office but, at the last minute, turned to the Church. A few moments later, I took my seat in the pew. To my surprise, only the Penitential Rite was being recited. Perhaps the opening song had a lot of verses, or the introduction took a few extra minutes. Regardless of what the reasons were, I had missed next to nothing.

God is constantly calling us to be with Him. But, the devil is also at work to call us away. It is not enough for us to wait and hope for the best. We must be active in our lives of prayer, worship, devotion, charity, and all that God created us to do. When God calls to us, we must respond: even if we think we are too late.