Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve

Stop Treating Mass Like a Drive-Thru

Our lives are busy. We have work, family obligations, and personal goals that we’re trying to balance. With this time overload, we look for ways to be more efficient and corners to cut. Unfortunately, sometimes during this schedule review, we try to find ways to cut our time at Mass short.

As Alison and I were moving last month, we ended up visiting a parish in Pittsburgh for Mass. Benedict was getting pretty fussy, so I took him into the back of the Church. As we stood back there, I watched a steady stream of people go up for Communion, and then walk right out the door.

Mass isn’t a drive-thru.

In a way, some Catholics treat Mass like McDonald’s. They show up at their leisure, get what they came for (Communion), and then leave immediately. The problem with this approach is that it cheats you of the fullness of the Mass. When you leave Mass early, you’re making four big mistakes.

  • You miss the chance to spend quiet time with Jesus physically in you. The Eucharist is unlike anything we experience in our daily lives. It’s literally a miracle each time the bread and wine are transubstantiated. So when you “Grab and Go” with Jesus, you ignore the reality of what you are taking part in.
  • All parts of the Mass are important. You’ve got to hand it to the Bishops… they crafted a liturgy that feeds you physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually AND made it all happen in 60 minutes or less. That’s a lot to do in one golden hour. It kind of makes you think that there were a lot of things they cut from the liturgy. So if we’re able to do all of those things in the time it takes to develop photos, that must mean that they only kept the things that were absolutely critical.
  • You have a Mass “hanging chad.” How many conversations have you walked away from in the middle of? How many awesome dreams have you had where you wake up just at things were getting good? When you leave Mass early, you miss the closing prayer and song. When you leave immediately after Communion, you basically were having a conversation with someone and then abruptly walked away.
  • It’s disrespectful. The priest stands in the place of Christ. Leaving before him is akin to leaving a wedding before the bride and groom do. Give me a break.

The most ridiculous thing about this whole discussion is we’re talking about 10 extra minutes, at most. Traffic really isn’t that bad, and when you’ve been somewhere for 50 minutes, 10 more isn’t a big deal.

Don’t be a punk. Stay at Mass until the very end and enjoy the fullness that it has to offer.