The other day someone complimented me for being ‘timely and relevant’ on my entries because I shared this post just days after the data was released. Today I found an article from a year ago that I want to share … hopefully you find it just as timely and relevant.
The article that caught my attention was entitled “Catholics cite God, not homilies, as reason for attending Church.” It got me thinking about my own reasons for attending not just Sunday Mass but daily Mass. Is it the homilies? Nope, sure isn’t. That’s not saying anything out the priests at my parish in particular, you know I’ve got some love about some things they do! We’ve got a great preacher and a not-so-great preacher (I won’t call them out them here!).
So why am I there? Jesus in the Eucharist … I think it’s that simple. Sometimes I don’t know how Church is helping me, but I do realize a difference in my day, my life, and my disposition when I skip daily Mass for whatever reason. I need Jesus in my life.
So back to the article! They shared two questions. The first was basically “Why do you stay home from church?”
The Number One reason why people said they stay home is that they “practice their faith in other ways.” It’s not that they’re unwelcome, they don’t have the time, or even those ‘terrible homilies’ everyone’s always complaining about. For Catholics, 47% said it’s “I practice my faith in other ways.”
They also shared data regarding “Very important reasons why I go to Church.”
The top three answers, all at more than 60%: to become closer to God, to make me a better person, and for comfort in times of trouble. Homilies? Pretty far down on the list at 36%!
The real question is this: Why are homilies so low on the list? Are they just not that compelling? Are they good, but not as good as the other things on the list? Are they forgettable? Are they irrelevant to daily life?
I don’t know the answer to this. It could be all of those reasons or none of them. My purpose here isn’t to take a deep dive into what the homily should contain. My purpose is to show that the homily isn’t the “be all, end all” reason why people are coming or not coming to Mass for Catholics or Protestants for that matter. When it’s good, it’s the whipped cream on top of the sundae … when it’s bad, it’s that side of broccoli we know we should eat because ‘green things are good for you.’
Takes the pressure off a bit, doesn’t it? Give them Jesus, then they’ll eat broccoli and whipped cream, depending on the week!