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Let’s Take a Moment to Greet One Another . . . . NOT!!

  /   Thursday August 29, 2002  

Once again, I’m throwing in my two cents on a St. Blog’s discussion. This time, it’s on Fr. Rob Johansen’s blog. His pastor has introduced the practice of turning and greeting one another before Mass starts. Supposedly, he wants to foster a “sense of community.”

However, well-intentioned people may be in implementing the practice, I just can’t find a cuss word bad enough to describe how I feel about it. If we want to make the Church more friendly, having people greet one another for no other reason that they are told to do so won’t work. It’s fine to greet people as they walk into the church. By all means, acknowledge the people you see around you in the pews as you walk in (but please take your long conversation outside the church). These things are more genuine. However, the Mass is not the time or place for meet and greet. We gather together to pray and to worship. In a meet and greet before Mass, we either already know the person, or we will likely quickly forget the name of the person.

The sense of community in the Mass should come from the praying and singing as a body, the silent prayers said in preparation, and most of all from the Eucharist. A community must be built around a cause. We are not together just because we feel like getting together, but because God has called us. We get together at other times to share meals, study Christ’s teaching, and to work for the poor or the protection of the unborn. We get to know each other by standing together for Christ. We share common belief and have a common destiny. In so doing, we build a real community. If we stink at hospitality, it’s likely because we don’t believe all of this. Getting people together to learn the faith and strengthening belief in the Real Presence will work must better than a “meet and greet” before Mass. Besides, if a person won’t participate in the ministry of the Church, what makes one think that he/she will become more cordial by shaking hands with a person before Mass.

I have a greater concern about all of this emphasis on “seeing Christ in one another.” I realize we are supposed to see Christ in one another, but I think it has been carried to an extreme. In our current atmosphere, one could be forgiven for thinking that the only real God is the God “in our hearts” (by our own design) or that the “Spirit” is what we create when we get together. Not everyone will go this far, but some probably have. This may be why a lot of Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence. Some of you may feel that I’m exaggerating, but remember that the Devil never asks that our first step be a big one.

Some other good reading on this subject:
On Mark Shea’s website
This blog by Emily Stimpson
This other blog by Emily Stimpson

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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