One day this past summer my daughter called saying she had tickets to watch a taping of “Late Night” with Seth Meyers. The big guest of the evening would be Milo Vetimiglia, the star of “This is Us”.
We arrived at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, tickets in hand before 3:30, While the taping did not begin for 2 hours, we were told that if we didn’t arrive by this time our spots would be given to someone with “standby tickets.”
Being on time wasn’t the only rule. We had to be dressed appropriately (we might get on camera). We were also told (multiple times) that once we got inside the studio, we could not leave until the taping was over. If we did, we could not re-enter.
Finally, we were taken as groups on elevators and assigned numbers to enter the theater in a prescribed order. The rule was to file in and take the next seat at the direction of the NBC page standing at the end of the row. There would be no switching seats or sitting on the end and forcing people to climb over us.
At each stop we were entertained by professional comedians whose job it was to pump us up. We were repeatedly reminded that “the success of the show would be directly related to our energy.”
I can tell you that Alessandra and I followed all the rules and were rewarded by hearing Milo Ventimiglia talk about his new movie and his experience on This Is Us.
Consider how you would feel if the previous “rules” were requirements for coming to mass today.
Now take a few minutes to reread this article and see what you’d accept and what you would not if it was required for you to attend Mass. (Don’t worry, I’ll wait.)
Now I’m certainly not advocating adding rules for admission to or participation in mass. But out of curiosity, did you follow my instructions in the last paragraph? If not, why? If so, were you put off by these rules?
I’m sure you would agree that hearing Milo Ventimiglia pitch a movie that lasted about two weeks in theaters is nowhere near as important as meeting Christ in the Eucharist. So why would people (including myself) follow multiple rules to view a taping of a talk show yet bristle if asked to come outside our comfort zone at Mass?
I conclude with a quote from the church’s Constitution on Sacred Liturgy. (The emphasis is my own.)
The church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ faithful when present at this mystery of faith should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, for a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing with devotion and full collaboration.
Blessed to be in ministry with you at St. Mary’s,