Starving in a land of plenty

My husband normally serves at the masses in our parish and now, because of the shutdowns, makes his appearance in the YouTube stream of two masses each weekend. This past weekend, he began his vacation time off and sat down with me to “attend” the mass.

At the beginning of this time of isolation and shut downs, he had compared attending a televised mass to watching pornography, but now that he actually had the experience of attending a live-streamed mass, he has changed his mind. He now agrees with me that it is more like watching a chef prepare a scrumptious feast on a TV show and you are a starving person that is forced to watch instead of being present at the actual meal. You are only left salivating, undernourished and longing to participate in the banquet being prepared before you. It would almost seem better if you hadn’t watched the mass at all sometimes since it leaves you so unsatisfied and grieved.

The reason my husband thought it was like pornography at first was because a person is watching the most intimate relationship possible between two humans but it is done in an acted out way with no participation or fulfillment in person on your part; you are just an observer. In the mass the most intimate interaction between God and a human takes place with complete participation and fulfillment on both parts when one receives the Eucharist with the proper disposition.

He changed his mind, however, after watching the live-stream mass, because he saw that, in pornography the watcher does not have an obligation to be a participant but even so, gets satisfaction from watching. In contrast, with remote “participation” in mass, the faithful Catholic viewer who was joyfully under obligation to participate in weekly mass comes expecting some sort of participation, but there is really no consummation or satisfaction whatsoever. However much we are reassured that spiritual communion is adequate, we are still observers who long for actual, physical communion with our Lord and He with us. As Jenny Uebbing wrote in her post this week, An Incarnate Jesus Necessitates an Incarnate Worship:

Jesus doesn’t make telehealth visits. He spits in the mud and touches ears and pulls hands into bloodied wounds and He rests on our tongues and in our bellies.

Mama Needs Coffee by Jenny Uebbing posted Aug. 3, 2020

True, complete, satisfying participation in the mass requires us to be physically present. We must take him onto our tongues, chew Him up and swallow Him as He told His followers:

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And this bread, which I will give for the life of the world, is My flesh.” 

John 6:51-52

Jesus humiliates Himself daily, allowing Himself to be confected into the Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine for the nourishment of His bride. How could we have left Him waiting on the altar all those times when we had every opportunity attend mass freely?

Now we are left starving in a land of plenty.

Published by diannespinoza

I am a middle school science teacher, mom of five boys and one girl, wife of one wonderful man since 1991. We live in Forest Grove, Oregon and I teach in Hillsboro at South Meadows Middle School. I am first of all a follower of Jesus, a lover of His Mama and striving to submit myself daily to the Father's Divine Will. Second of all I love my family and seek to serve my husband and children in the best ways possible. Finally, I am an enthusiastic integrator of blended classroom learning, with aspirations to teach my students how to read, write and speak competently about the Science concepts they are learning with an aim to their life-long flourishing.

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