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Scots Catholic

Calling Scotland's 841,000 Catholics to unite as one voice

Mass Too Long for You?

Hear What Pope Francis Has to Say

Anthony Horan considers another of the Pope's recent homilies where he again tackles a classic issue which often springs up in Catholic life

It's a subject that will have affected most in one way or another through life; 'My goodness that Mass was long', or 'those Catholics don't half like to kick the backside out of it, that was an hour and a half!' Whether it's ourselves, our relatives/friends, be they Catholic or non-Catholic; at some point in our lives we have experienced someone complaining about the length of the Mass.

Well, in keeping with his habit of getting in about the nitty gritty of everyday Catholic living, Pope Francis has decided he wants to have his say on the matter.

During his homily on 31st May in Casa Santa Marta the Holy Father focused on the 'joy' we should feel as Christians, especially when we go to Mass, yet he conceded that this is not always the case. The Pope said, "we Christians are not so accustomed to speak of joy, of happiness. I think often we prefer to complain."

The Pope continued, "often Christians behave as if they were going to a funeral procession rather than to praise God."

I have to confess that this probably rings true for most of us. If it doesn't happen now it probably happened for a lot of us when we were younger. It's almost like going to Mass out of a sense of obligation rather than out of joy with the purpose of giving praise and glory to God. We tend to ask God to help us and quite often we do actually say thank you; but do we praise Him? Do we actually praise Him with passion? He created us after all and He has promised us eternal life. It really doesn't get any better than that!

On the issue of length of the Mass the Pope said "[we may say] this Mass is so long. If you do not praise God, you will never know the gratuity of spending time praising God, the Mass is long. But if you go with the attitude of joy, of praise to God, that is beautiful! This is what eternity will be: giving praise to God! And that will not be boring; it will be beautiful!"

It certainly is a very good point. It's fascinating to hear people complaing about the length of the Mass yet they are relying on Jesus to give them eternal life. They are relying on him to make them immortal yet they are not prepared to spend a little extra time with him while they are here on earth. 

Jesus wanted his disciples to spend one hour with him while he prayed before his passion. Okay, so sometimes the Mass can go beyond that hour; but is it really so painful that it justifies complaining? Is it anything compared to the suffering he endured for us while being scourged at the pillar and hanging from the Cross?

The Pope is right; if we do wish to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven for eternity then we must be prepared to give praise to God for eternity. In Heaven this will be our desire, to praise God for all time.

One or two hours isn't much out of a total of 168 hours per week. Think about it...