One of the coolest things about traveling is experiencing Liturgy in a Parish other than your own. While there is the tiny discomfort of having things done differently, there is great comfort in knowing that wherever you go Mass will essentially be the same.
of course, there may be a style of music not to your liking, or an odd local tradition based upon the configuration or history of the specific church community where you are gathered for worship, but when it comes right down to it, in all things that really matter, the Mass does not change.
There is comfort in knowing that the parts of the Mass flow in the same way, no matter where you are. It brings us a sense of belonging.
For the past two Sunday’s I have worshipped at my Sister and Brother in Love’s parish in Phoenix AZ. Each of the two Sunday’s I had the pleasure of a different presider; the parish Priest this Sunday, and a retired priest in residence, last Sunday. Both were really great in different ways.
Fr. Joe, the retired Priest is from Ireland. He has spent most of his Priesthood in the United States. His homily was for Trinity Sunday. He began by saying that any Homily on the Trinity that lasted longer than five minutes had the chance of lapsing into heresy, so he would be brief. He then proceeded to give the most eloquent lesson on Trinitarian Theology I have heard since my Class with Fr. Denis Robinson OSB at St. Meinrad. Simple, elegant and in less than five minutes he explained the relational quality of our triune God in a way that even the youngest children could at least begin to touch the mystery.
We are limited persons. God does not see our limits or defects, God only sees the creative force of the Trinity within us. You are loved exactly as you are at this moment. Prodigal love is recklessly extravagant. We need mercy, and God’s mercy is never exhausted. The Spiritual Life is about being invited to ask questions, and then being made comfortable enough to live into the answers (living in The Spirit as the answers are revealed.)
Oh God please help me to believe the truth about myself, not matter how beautiful that truth may be.
The next Sunday (Corpus Christi) Fr. Bob, the Pastor, a naturalized American Citizen who was born in Uganda Africa said a special blessing at the end of Mass for all those who gave their lives in service to our freedom in this country. He also announced a special Mass for Memorial Day (the next morning) to again pray for special blessings of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Someone at a previous Mass took exception to a Mass commemorating murderers (her words). Fr. Bob would not back down. We celebrate those who chose to stand in harm’s way so that we can enjoy the freedom to live in the greatest democracy in the world.
It never occurred to me that someone would object to a Mass for fallen heroes.
Next Sunday it will be Mass at a new Church in a new town.
If you are traveling, don’t forget to attend Mass. If you aren’t sure where the closes Catholic Church is, try Mass Times. They even have an app, for the constant traveler.