Sunday, September 4, 2011

When Mass Makes Sense

This morning my family and I went to mass. We haven't been to church in so long that when I finally found the offering envelopes, I wound up recycling the months of June, July, and August. Yikes!

I am Catholic by baptism and then again by marriage, but the years in between I was raised Protestant. I vowed during Pre-Cana (that's marriage class taught by priests for those of you of other faiths) that I would raise any children Catholic and I am. And while neither adult in the house seems to remember that Sunday is for church, my daughter does and it's important we support that.

I try to get something out of the liturgy. Sometimes, the story is not relatable or the delivery too dry. Sometimes, I just wholeheartedly disagree with what is being said. But then there are days, like today, that it clicks.

Today the sermon was about love. Of all the commandments, "love thy neighbor" reigns above the others. If you love your neighbor, you won't (fill in the blank - steal, kill, covet his wife or ass, you get the picture). If you genuinely care about your fellow man, then you cannot do him harm. It seems fairly simple.

But what if this universal "neighbor" is a jerk? Does things that are annoying? Does things that are mean-spirited? Treats you with disrespect? Am I obligated to love him because the Bible tells me so? (that was a bible song from my youth). The answer is "Yes"... and "No".

As humans, we are flawed. We can shoot to do the right thing in all situations but it is our failure to measure up that makes us human and so we have an automatic "out" card... at least, that's what I got of mass today. Nice, huh?

All kidding aside, my understanding was that I don't have to like that person, I just have to appreciate they have as much right to be here as I do even if they don't think the same of me. And perhaps if I'm nice to them maybe they will be nice to me and in turn, the world will be a nicer place for all just as the commandments had hoped!

Well, seems easy enough. I'm going to try and put that into practice tomorrow when I take my daughter Labor Day Sale shopping. Let's see how many neighbors I can find the love for while we fight over the last pair of shoes in my size ;-)

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