Why are we so infatuated with coffee or preaching or music, if it isn’t the most important thing? Are we that shallow? Why do we lose the point in the midst of all the things trying to make the point?
We know when we have a good cup of coffee.
Things like coffee can be judged and measured. We know when we have heard a good homily because we have an emotional or intellectual reaction. We know when the music works for us because our toe taps, and we are tempted, dare I say it, to sing and pray along. We know when we walk into a church, look up into the mosaic covered dome and utter “Oh my God” (not at all in vain) in reaction the undeniable beauty before our eyes.
We want to know something has happened when we go to Church. We want to be able to observe or even measure the value we received. If Church is going to be worth our time, we want to know that it worked. Not only do we want Church to be actually good for us, we want to be aware, to know, that it was good.
Thus, we put more importance on good music, entertaining preaching (did I laugh?), and coffee because when those things are good, we know we got something out of Mass. When those things aren’t good we often walk out of Mass and don’t know that we were affected. We may even think nothing has happened.
Something always happens.
Bad coffee still has caffeine in it. (I refuse to acknowledge the existence of decaf.)
At every Mass, whether we know it or not, we receive the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. We hear the very word of God through the proclamation of Scripture. We profess our faith, joining our worship with all the Angels and Saints. God is a mystery and our most profound encounter with God, the Mass, is a little mysterious too.
We don’t always know the work God has done in our hearts when we attend Mass. It is hard to measure the conversion that takes place in us because we went to Church. Sometimes we are deaf to the effects of Mass because the noise of our life is just too great. The temptation is to believe that we are aware of ALL of the work God does in us when we go to Church. If we aren’t aware of very much being done, we don’t believe God has really done very much.
If God’s work in our life constitutes only what we are aware of, we are in trouble.
We can be fooled into believing Church isn’t working because the coffee isn’t tasty, the preacher isn’t funny, or the music isn’t polished. So what are we supposed to do as Churchgoers about a Mass “we don’t get anything out of?” How can we look past the wretched coffee to the good news of the Gospel? If we are in a position of leadership at our Church, should reflecting on good coffee change how we go about celebrating Mass? Is it bad for Church to have good coffee?
Read Part 1 of “Good coffee won’t save your soul.” by clicking here.
Or Part 3 of “Good coffee won’t save your soul.” by clicking here.