A person attending Mass. CNS file photoA person attending Mass. CNS file photoI read Anthony Dass’ letter to CatholicNews (More People Coming Late For Mass Now, CN, July 24). I would like to share a different perspective. I used to be annoyed, like Mr Dass, by those churchgoers who are late for Mass. Without knowing them, I judged them in my heart. 

An experience that changed me happened when I was attending weekday morning Mass at a parish and there was this couple who were perpetually late. They would appear when the celebrant was sharing his homily.

After Mass, some of us would gather together for breakfast and we would gossip about this couple and how disrespectful they were to Jesus to receive communion even though they were late for Mass.

One morning, I met a friend who was attending the weekday morning Mass and I was sharing my disappointment with her.

She knew this couple and explained to me that they had an elderly and sickly parent and every morning they had to send their parent to the nursing home. They had to help the caregiver to nurse, clean, feed this parent and wait for the nursing home vehicle to come and pick up the parent before they could rush for the morning Mass to seek blessing and healing for their parent.

That was why they were usually late.

I was very ashamed of myself for judging them without knowing them. Instead of judging them, I turned to praying for them and I think Jesus heard my prayer. This couple were able to be punctual for Mass not too long after. I am thankful to Jesus for blessing this couple and their family.

Some of the late churchgoers are domestic helpers. They do not have the privilege of time as they may need to finish their housework before they can leave the house. Others may not have the blessing of a supporting spouse to have a Christian faith. They may have to wait for their spouse to go to work or leave the house before they could quietly attend Mass, so that could be the reason for them being late.

Of course there will be those genuinely late churchgoers, but at least they are late and not skipping Mass.

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are all asked to be merciful to others, even those we do not know or even those that annoy us during Mass like those with special needs and the late churchgoers. We should not judge them for “we know not of what we are doing”.

We should instead pray for these people that they may be blessed with the freedom and privilege of time to be early for Mass.

I hope this sharing could provide a different perspective to life at the Catholic Church Mass.


Kevin Chew
Singapore

Comments   

0 #2 Anthony 2016-08-14 11:07
I've something to add to Kevin Chew's great letter.

Even so, who are we to judge?
The point is not if their reasons (whether known or unknown) need to justify our perceptions.

Even if the Mass is a prayer collect, we are first, a community collect part of that Mass 'congregation'.
Get to know them and help them.
It may even be simply a motivation factor. (Or someone might say lame excuse, but we are not judges.)
When I was a teen. It was just nerdy to be at Mass. Of course, if you didn't have a welcoming christian community to come to, why would you look forward to it?

We need to practice what we preach as followers of Christ. Our faith has no place of judgemental perceptions, even though we often instinctively to do it.
Our first call, is to Love.

"Kill them with kindness." (Paraphrased)
Mother Teresa
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0 #1 Rex Fernando 2016-08-10 11:13
Thanks Kevin for sharing.
True... Who are we to judge?
Everyone have their own problems. We should be happy that they at least attend mass. I work with Indian Migrant workers who are especially working in the shipyard. They have work even on Sundays from 7am to 7pm. I see them rush to the 730pm Tamil mass in Boon Lay. But they are very early when they have no work on Sundays. There are many FDWs who cant even attend mass as they do not even have off on Sundays. As you mentioned, instead of gossiping about them lets pray for them, their hard work and their families.
Rex
Singapore
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