November 9, 2016
Brothers and sisters: You are God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:9)
On rare occasions, we need to celebrate all-school Mass in our auxiliary gym, as the main gym is set up for an upcoming school event. This means that the students need to sit on the floor, as there are no permanent bleachers in that gym.
On one such occasion, I could sense that the kids were not overly excited about this development. I offered a brief reflection before Mass.
I shared with them that Mrs. Wagner and I had attended Mass at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral a number of times. I described how beautiful the Cathedral was and gave some details about some of the ornate architecture. I then described how beautiful my own parish of St. Pius X was. I speculated that the churches they all attended were likely quite beautiful as well.
Then I told them about celebrating Mass in a chicken coop in El Salvador, with the congregation sitting on the dirt floor.
I also shared my experience of attending Mass in a ready-to-fall-down chapel in earthquake ravaged Haiti. One entire wall of the chapel was completely destroyed by the earthquake. Parts of the remaining three walls were missing and half of the roof was gone. Wooden planks laying on cinder blocks served as the pews. The Haitian people truly celebrated Mass – they praised God and sang at the top of their voices, with huge smiles on their faces. It was one of the most powerful Masses I have ever attended.
My words did not make the gym floor any more comfortable, but I think the students got my point. Church is not a building. We are the Church; or as St. Paul tells us, we “are God’s building.”