I walked into Mass just as the priest was finishing the opening prayer. Great, I thought to myself, that priest is saying Mass. Well, at least Mass is still Mass even if the priest gets on my nerves. Then it was time for the homily. This particular priest tends to get on my nerves as he preaches, and not in a holy-challenge-me-to-be-better kind of way, but in a way that drives me a bit batty. As I sat there, readying myself for another homily that I was sure would make me angry, I seriously considered pulling out my cell phone. I was in the back of the church - who would see me? Yes, you read that right: I literally considered pulling out my cell phone in the middle of Mass - not to read the readings or read a reflection on the readings, but just so that I could tune out of the homily. Then it hit me: I need Mass in my life. We live in a world that it is so easy to tune out of. Don't like waiting in line at the grocery store and talking to people? Pull out your phone! Dislike commercials on TV (who doesn't?)? Pull out your phone! Mom or Dad yelling at you? Pull out your phone! We've got these devices in our pockets that allow us to escape and/or be distracted at the drop of a hat. That's exactly where I was that morning at Mass: ready to tune out of the thing I didn't really want to endure. I wanted a way out. In that moment of nearly reaching for my phone, I was even more grateful for my faith and for Mass. Mass challenges me - the readings, the homily, the offering of peace - it moves me out of myself. Even the priest who gets on my nerves and whose homilies drive me batty challenges me. I was in a place where I was worshipping God and yet I wanted the out of my cell phone to distract me. There lies the beauty of the faith: it shakes me. It makes me do and endure things I wouldn't necessarily do on my own. My faith makes demands of me that lead to much growth in my life, even if that growth is a bit painful at times. I'll admit: I still didn't listen to much of the homily. Instead, I sat in the pew that morning and thanked God for challenging me to not escape so instantly. I thanked God for Mass, for teaching me to be present, if not to the homily, then to Him in prayer. I was and am grateful that He calls me out of myself, out of my cell phone and into prayer and relationship with Him, the best and most beautiful being in my life.
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