By Andrew Fernandes, Archdiocesan Catechetical Office
When last did you ask the question: ‘Why me Lord?’. Did you get an answer?
There are times when events in life force us to reassess our faith environment as we struggle to understand why bad things happen, especially to those who believe in the God.
It can be said that the Covid-19 pandemic was one such event, but in this case, it did not matter whether you were good or bad, the whole world was impacted by it. To be more specific though, there are times in life when our faith is challenged by little everyday occurrences – no water, price of food, family issues, gas pain, shameless employees, heartless employers, an annoying neighbour, meddlesome parishioners to name a few.
So, like good Catholics, we go to Mass placing these as petitions before the Cross with the hope that, with divine intervention, they will disappear when we resurface. Well sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t.
When we sit in the pews, we bask in the homilist’s exposition of the gospel of the day, which would at times provoke the inner being or give light to the path we ought to take in life’s daily journey.
The gospel is supposed to guide our thoughts, influence our actions, and prompt us to become missionary “bearers” of the Good News – a response to our petitions. But is this always the case? Subscribing to being “hearers” of the Word can seem more palatable at times for some, than being bearers of it.
What is your Liturgy experience? When you sit in the pews, what do you see and hear (Acts 4:20)?
The Liturgy (Mass) is our catechesis in action. It is where we celebrate Christ as a Church community; a summary of what we believe; a demonstration of our call to holiness.
We validate who we are as Christians every time we gather to worship and pray. All that we experience during this time of devotion, is aimed at bringing us in closer communion with each other as the whole Body of Christ, and in a deeper relationship with the Holy Trinity – God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is what we are supposed to experience, right?
It is not unusual to attend a Mass and leave feeling more lost than when you came, especially when your faith was shaken, or you were at a spiritual crossroad. More than likely, it would require a radical response in order to have gotten out of that rut.
James 2:14–16 tells us, however, that “faith without work is dead”. In other words, this is an open invitation for us to become “doers” of the Word. Maybe you have been doing a lot, yet things still keep going wrong. But have you been growing? We can be doing many things but not learn and grow from them. Does your Liturgy experience encourage you to “grow” in the Word?
Let’s explore this a bit. Ask yourself – have I been growing from the pew experience? Do I embrace the message of the Good News and apply it in my own life?
Growing beyond the pews is not an easy task for many of us. It is a journey, one that ultimately requires conversion of the heart and not just conviction. If conversion is to take place, then hearts need to be healed. Healing can happen only if we are willing to acknowledge the presence of hurt.
How do we deal with our hurt – by confronting the root cause. At the end of this process, you can begin to reshape your journey now that faith has once again become relevant to your life.
There are those who hear the Word, bear the Word, and truly live the Word. They are catechising in an authentic way. Others have accepted the role of the ‘pewist’ – learning and living in the pew but struggling to grow beyond it. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the pews were physically empty – have we grown? The Archdiocesan Catechetical Office invites you to take on the missionary challenge – to grow beyond the pews. Only when you become missionary disciples will you discover the answer to the question – ‘Why me, Lord?’.
Visit the ACO @ catecheticsrc.org