An easy to print version of the discussion guide is available: Click here to download the document.
The Reflection on Sunday Mass Mayhem is available: Click here to download the document.
Start your meeting with the Sign of the Cross
Gather with prayer, then someone read: Mark 12:41-44
(Jesus)sat down and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.
He called his disciples, and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance; but out of her poverty, she has put in everything she had, her whole living."
Read the script
For your reflection this month
Sunday Mass Blues September 2018
Bev McDonald MM
I'm wondering what it's like for you to take your children to Mass on Sundays. For some, it's a wonderful, peaceful experience. For many of us, however, it's chaotic, it's disruptive, it's confusing week after week, and we wonder why we do it.
Well I'm right there with you. I find Sundays quite taxing. We've tried going to Mass early, we've tried going to evening Mass, we've tried Mass books, we've tried whispered explanations, we've tried whispered threats, we've tried sitting in the front, sitting in the back, marching straight to the crying room … and maybe a few of those tricks have helped for a while, but the bottom line is that we're not getting out of that building without somebody - either making a mad dash for the altar, wandering around and not being able to find their right pew, perhaps screaming, making a very loud noise, opening a packet of food, or whatever else it might be that week. My embarrassment is off the scale at times.
But in spite of it all, every week, I and my loud, chaotic family are going to be there - wiggling around and distracting everyone, and subjecting ourselves to what feels like the judgment of people who might not understand, how hard it is to actually teach a toddler to sit quietly for 45 minutes. Or for that matter, even a slightly older child. It looks insane - still, we button up the wrinkled Sunday clothes anyway, and get our bodies under that roof, just like the Church asks us to.
I want you to know that if this is something of your story, that it's okay. In fact, it's better than okay. Christ actually had something pretty important to say about people like us. Scripture in Luke says:
When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, "I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered all she had."
Isn't that exactly what we're doing? We are giving it literally all we've got, in obeying the Church's request to make it to Sunday Mass. To the outside world, it can look like all we've done is the bare minimum. We've got there, but are we concentrating? Are we having a spiritual experience? Did we even hear a word of the Gospel, for heaven's sake? It doesn't look like much. We are the only ones who really know how much we are really giving. But actually, Jesus knows, too.
Just like the woman's two small coins into the collection box look like nothing in comparison with the rich man's gigantic bag of gold, our contribution looks so small a person might wonder why we even bother. Why even come to Mass, if you're just going to spend the whole time doing toddler damage control? But Jesus is there to remind us that he doesn't see what the rest of the world sees.
Pretty often, I leave Mass feeling like the whole thing was a bust. I didn't even manage to follow along, I can't remember the Gospel reading, let alone the homily, and I left so fast I forgot to genuflect. If that's how you feel too, don't forget — having little kids, or kids with special needs, or whatever situation you're in that makes it impossible to kneel quietly and listen reverently - is actually a unique kind of poverty. And we, in our poverty, really do give all we have, just by doing our best. Even if our best is simply showing up.
Last week when I was at Mass, there was this gorgeous little girl, who must be about six. She genuflected in front of the altar and then she wandered over to the statue of Mary and she knelt down and she made the sign of the cross, and she looked up at Mary and she prayed a little prayer and then she made the sign of the cross, and she toddled back to her mother and everyone in the church went -- oohhh! She really melted our hearts. I was sitting there, and I saw the mother, in the middle of the church, with toys all around her, a baby on her lap and a toddler at her feet. She felt so far removed from the angelic little girl wandering up and saying prayers to Our Lady, But her gift to Jesus was just as great. The children at her feet were just as profoundly loved.
Somehow, we need to stop comparing each other, we need to stop comparing our children, we need to stop expecting too much of ourselves and our of children when it comes to Mass and a relationship with God and we need to let them discover the joy of being loved. And as I've listened to people and shared with people, I've discovered only slowly that the people I think are looking at me and judging, are often looking at me with great compassion. They remember what it's like, they're only too willing to help - and us being there, with all of its chaos, provides a sense of community, a sense of family, a sense of church.
So don't stop. Please don't worry too much about how your family looks. My little fellow goes to Church most Sundays with bare feet because he hates wearing shoes, and even if it never gets easier, keep doing what you are doing, and know that even when the world doesn't, God sees how valuable your sacrifice is.
Charter No. 8
A Christian mother reaches out to support and encourage all mothers and is open to receive the same from others.
" I thank my God whenever I think of you … My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more …" Philippians 1:3-11
Share from these reflection starters:
Simply use the following questions as a starter to guide your sharing.
1. What stands out most for you from the Scripture or reflection?
2. How have you felt supported or judged about your children at Mass ? How did you react?
3. Share your own story of attending Mass with children.
4. What can we do to make Mass more family/child friendly and support those who bring children?
Pray for all your needs and intentions
And conclude with this Prayer.
Loving God, I marvel that you have entrusted
your little ones to me.
I bless you Lord for the many ordinary, honest men and women,
who have encouraged and served me and my family
and witnessed to your love.
Help me to remember that you never compare me
with others, but that your compassion overflows to me
according to my need. You see my heart
and understand my thoughts and desires.
Help me always to be generous with what little faith and energy I have
and to love those you have given me to love with hospitality,
simplicity and the quiet example of my trust in you. Amen.