Over the past few months, Father Burke Masters has been joining Morning Air to talk about his ministry series, Be Formed. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Father Burke felt called to start this series as a way to keep Catholics connected to the Lord, even though we didn’t have regular access to everything that we normally would. Online, Father Burke offered formation, group conversations, and created a prayer partner system.
Within those formation topics, Father Burke covered different ways to become more conscious of the Catholic tendencies we exhibit often with very little thought. This week, Glen Lewerenz welcomed Father Burke back to talk about how we should go about preparing ourselves for mass. Very often, we get distracted during the Liturgy by a baby crying or thoughts of our afternoon plans. By preparing for the mass, we prime our mind and ears to hear what is going to be said and it helps us focus on the Lord.
Father Burke said that when he used to teach kids about mass preparation, he would ask how many of them read the Harry Potter Books before they went to see the movies. Even though the books were 500-700 pages, hands would shoot up. Then he would ask how many of them prepared for mass by reading the readings and gospel before mass, which only takes about 5 minutes. The hands would go down. With no intention of putting down the kids, the point is that we do the same thing. We make excuses for why we don’t prepare for mass by saying we don’t have time, but we spend hours watching Netflix, golfing, playing sports, even working or studying. We certainly have a few minutes to spare so we can better focus on Jesus.
Glen agreed, saying that we read reviews and watch trailers before we go to see a movie. Just as hosts of Relevant Radio do show prep before each broadcast, it’s very helpful to get a feel for what we will be hearing at Mass that day. Glen said since he is a Catholic convert, he has a natural affinity and familiarity with the Scriptures and he encouraged us to start small with the daily readings, just to see what it can do for us.
Father Burke said that as we approach the end of the year, many Catholics are considering resolutions or things they would like to do better. That resolution might be that you want to read the whole Bible or begin delving into the gospels. He recommends instead of just reading it cover to cover like a novel, that we follow the daily schedule of the Church. The Church has organized the readings and gospels by season and relevance, so by following along, the scriptures can really touch our lives in a meaningful way.
We should go to mass with the intention of speaking to Our Lord. He is not speaking to the entire congregation as a unit, but to each of us individually, specifically. Approach this conversation as if there is a letter in our mailbox. He has something to say, we just have to be open to receiving it. Matthew Kelly says that we should take note of things that stick out to us at mass, whether it’s one thought, one sentence, or even one word. It is up to us how much we get out of mass. God isn’t going to force feed us spiritual wellness.
Father Burke concluded the conversation by saying that the Bible is God’s love story for us and there is no better display of love than His death on the cross for our sins and transgressions. With that in mind, we should go to hear this great love story with open hearts and open minds, prepared to hear his message every time we go to mass. The next time you go to mass, try to arrive early and spend just five minutes with the readings and the gospel. No distractions, just the Word of God.
The Daily Readings can be found on the homepage of the USCCB.
Listen to the full conversation below:
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