What if you had the opportunity to be a “fly on the wall” of the upper room during Jesus’ Last Supper? I don’t mean hearing someone tell the story about the Last Supper, I mean really being there. Do you think you would be bored, or would you be listening to every word spoken by Jesus and his apostles?
What about Jesus’ crucifixion (or for that matter, any crucifixion)? If you were actually there, would you be bored? Would you be horrified or disturbed in any way? Would the experience leave an impression on you?
If you saw the resurrection of Jesus, or even just heard his disciples talking excitedly about it, would you be moved? Would you at least be interested or curious?
I was once among those cradle Catholics that found the Catholic Mass to be routine, uninspiring, and even boring. I tried to pick the service with the best music and the priest with the best homilies. All the other stuff in between was nice, but usually just tolerated as traditional formality. My American thirst for entertainment and emotional inspiration was hard to satisfy. So, naturally, I church hopped. Church hopping is the spiritual equivalent of channel surfing. “Isn’t there anything GOOD on?!”
When I finally realized what was happening in Mass, my entire perspective changed. The Catholic Mass allows us to be present at the Last Supper, the crucifixion and the resurrection in a real way. It’s not just someone retelling an old story over and over “lest we forget.” We are actually there. Not in a symbolic way. Not in a subjective way (i.e. “I’m there in my imagination or in my heart if I feel it”), but in a true, real, objective way. We are there just as surely as the apostles were there. Millions of angels and saints are worshiping with us, saying the prayers and singing the hymns! All of it is real, even if I feel bored and uninspired. The reality does not depend on my feelings, the music, or the sermon. God makes it happen with or without my participation. Yet, knowing the reality, how can I be bored? I no longer can be.
Gone are the days of wishing the music was better or the preaching was more interesting. Gone are the days of searching for that church with all the right programs, the best worship team or the best preacher. No more channel surfing. It’s nice to have inspiring music and great oration, don’t misunderstand me. The point is Jesus always shows up at the Catholic Mass, music or no music, good sermon or bad sermon. He is present, spiritually and physically, whether or not I choose to be. He is there, waiting to embrace me. How can I be bored with Jesus in the room?