Expressions from our Youngest

Expressions from our Youngest
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Going to Mass: More Important than Your Birthday

Helping Children Appreciate the Mass

Does your family celebrate any special events/traditions together?  Our family celebrates birthdays and special holidays together.  Our family has made it a tradition to remember and celebrate these special events together.  Parents teach their children to understand which events in their lives are the most important.  For example, most parents consider their child's birthday a momentous occasion.  It gives me a happy feeling inside when my family and friends tribute me on my birthday.  They are showing me that they care about me when they have a special card or celebration for me on my birthday.  Human beings tribute each other on their birthdays or when something arises in their lives as being an important step in their growth as a virtuous person.  A child's birthday can signify that one has become a closer step to living a life as a responsible adult.  Responsibility and virtue are qualities that Jesus Christ displayed while he was on earth.  God loves people who try to be kind to others and lead a good life.  If people tribute each other for birthdays, how much more should we pay tribute to God, our Creator, for giving us this life we have on earth.  After all, we wouldn't be alive to celebrate birthdays if it wasn't for God's loving wisdom in creating us!  If birthdays are important to us, honoring and paying tribute to God at Mass should be much more important than having a birthday.

God gave us a set of laws to obey called the Ten Commandments.  The third commandment is to remember to keep holy the Sabbath day or remember to honor God at Mass on Sundays for the Catholic.  This commandment helps us to be responsible towards God and others which helps us to live virtuously if we want to be happy.  God sends us graces to help us live virtuously when we keep and follow His commandments.  Shouldn't paying tribute to God at Mass be just as natural and common as sending a birthday wish to a loved one or special friend?  Too many do not even attend Church on Sundays.  Why does it appear God is sometimes forgotten about in our world when people do not try to keep this important commandment?  The Mass is one of the most beautiful gifts God has given to us.  Going to Church is one of the most important traditions we can regularly practice if we want to be true to God and our discipleship.  God has told us this in the bible.  If we obey God's laws, go to Church, read the bible, and practice authentic discipleship; we will come to see more and more beauty at Mass and our world around us by putting God first in our lives.

The Birthday of Jesus

Do you ever wonder how Mary and Joseph celebrated the birthday of their son, Jesus, when he was a young boy?  Do you think they had any idea that one day people all over the world would honor Jesus on his birthday at Christmas?  Maybe or maybe not.  They did know one thing for sure.  Mary and Joseph knew that Jesus was the Son of God and promised Savior.

God chose Mary and Joseph because he trusted them with His only son and he was pleased with them as they honored and payed tribute to God by participating in the traditions of the chosen people (including the Ten Commandments) and reading scripture.  No one else really knew that Jesus was God's Chosen One like Mary and Joseph did while he was a young boy, unless it was revealed to them by God.  I can think of a few people, such as, the three wise men, the shepherds, Elizabeth, and Simeon at Christs' presentation who were knowledgeable that Christ was the Son of God because God revealed it to them.

Most other people had to wait until Christ grew up and began his public ministry to believe He was the Son of God and learn the value of discipleship.  We are so stubborn that many people did not believe until Christ died and rose from the dead.  Christ knew He would have to suffer to pull people to Him.  We, as human beings, did not understand this fully and He had to teach us and show us by example so that we may all be able to believe.  His entire life shows us how much God loves us.  We should do everything we can to learn about Jesus so that we can live the way of the Cross and never forget the lessons he taught us.  Going to Mass is one of the best ways to live out true discipleship.

We remember special events in Jesus' life when we go to Mass to receive the Eucharist and hear God's Word.  Remembering these events at the Mass and in our daily routines will enhance and improve our Faith in Jesus as our one true Savior.  We should remember to go to Mass just like we remember our birthdays.  Would you forget your birthday?  God would never forget the day you were born and that He gave you life. Therefore, we should remember to keep God's special day holy.  We should not ever feel like we're missing something when we to to Church.  There is nothing more kind and important we can do for Christ, ourselves, and even our world.  We should never feel that we are wasting our  time in talking and learning about Christ (as some want us to believe).

We know Jesus did come and live and die for us.  He grew up like every child does and the Church provides us with many holy traditions to remember how Christ was revealed to us.  The Church provides us with His true identity.  The truth about Christ will bring us happiness.  Keeping God's commandments, like going to Church, helps us realize that life is the most valuable gift from God.  Celebrating the gift of life is honored in the Church Christ gave us.  What can be more important or blessed than the very life we have now?  All life is indeed holy and a blessing from God and we should encourage each other to rejoice about life.  Similar to the way families rejoice in each others birthdays.  Rejoicing about life should be just as natural as wishing someone happy birthday.  We shouldn't wonder about whether or not we should attend the Mass instituted by Christ for believers.  We don't wonder about wishing someone happy birthday...and this isn't even a law.  We should know how important Mass is for us.

A Tradition for Life

Therefore, celebrating any of the traditional events with the Church should be more common than celebrating a birthday wish with a loved one.  After all, it is the third commandment.  Every week we should come to the Lord with praise.  Too often our society pushes God aside when He should be the very center of our lives.  We can use the tradition of a birthday celebration to help us to understand that we should thank God for giving us this gift of life.  A birthday is remembering the day we were born and took our first breath of air.

Jesus may have been too poor for an expensive birthday party, but He was rich in spirit.  He is the finest example to us in leading a good and virtuous life.  We do have a reason to celebrate our life in Christ.  This is one of the reasons we celebrate at the holy sacrifice of the Mass every week.  Each time we go to Mass, we acknowledge how valuable life is in this world.  Life is extremely valuable and God wants us to praise Him for giving us our life.  In fact, anything we encounter in life that is good we can acknowledge before God and men and thank God for it.  What could be more important than the love God has for us.  Let's return that love to Him by going to Mass.  We make Jesus feel special when we go to Mass, just as you feel special on your birthday when others have kind greetings for you.

Traditions can include activities people perform during a birthday celebration or at the Mass.  It is good when families get together to acknowledge an individual on their birthday as a tradition.  It is a noble act when we get together to acknowledge Jesus at the Mass as a tradition (and law).  Today, many birthday traditions can include eating cake, opening presents, and playing games.  Traditions at Mass include bringing up gifts of bread and wine, reading the bible, and going to communion.  There is no law that says we have to perform traditional birthday activities.  Although, it sure gives someone a happy feeling when friends and family spend time to participate in these activities.  Nevertheless, there is a law that says we should attend Church on the Sabbath.  It is God's law.  People show the individual or Jesus how special they are whether at a birthday or at Church.  Friends and family enjoy each others company at a birthday and want to make the individual happy on their special day.  People who go to Church regularly want to make Jesus happy by remembering the day of His Passion.  Remember, a birthday can be acknowledged or conducted in many different ways.  A Mass is a sacred event that must be conducted under the authority of the Pope who Christ set up to lead our Church. Oftentimes, adults do not always have a birthday party but send birthday cards to each other or make a special phone call if they can't be together.  These are also very special ways to acknowledge an individual's birthday.  We can not call Jesus on the phone, but we can pray to Him...which is even easier.  Nevertheless, Jesus is always honored at the Mass the same way.  The only parts of the Mass that may change from week to week are the readings, homily, and songs.  It usually follows the same basic format for worship.  The Mass is a holy gift from the Lord that is far more important than anyone's birthday party.

Remember, the Church permits us to perform a noble attempt at salvation, not just a profitable one.  We should try to use all the resources God has provided us to enable us to be with Jesus in heaven one day.  If someone is noble, the person acts in a way that is idealistic and considerate.  It means the best way possible.  We should participate in the life of the Church.  A noble attempt at salvation does not only save us but enables us to share in more the the divine graces so graciously poured out to us from God.  These graces make us more beautiful in the eyes of God.  Therefore, He will pull us closer to Him.  Just as a father hugs a child when he or she does something good.  Wouldn't it be nice to be hugged by God?  Heaven must feel like a birthday every day!

Increasing Value

Friends and family who choose to participate in an individual's birthday celebration or give them a kind card send a message that says, "LET'S INCREASE THE VALUE OR WORTH OF OUR RELATIONSHIP."  A relationship is the connection existing between two or more people.  The most important relationships we have are with God and our family.  We also have a relationship with our friends.  Increasing the value of our relationships happen when people spend quality time together or do kind acts for one another.  Obeying our parents is another way to increase the relationship with our parents.  It is also one of God's laws as the fourth commandment.  When we spend time being kind to a person, whether with our parents, or at a birthday party, or at Church, we can build up and improve our relationship with them and God.

Jesus taught us to be kind to one another.  Remember, Jesus said, "What you did to the least of my brothers you did for me."  It is wise to be kind and virtuous in our relationships.  The way we treat someone on his or her birthday, or any day for that matter, is far more important than eating cake or getting presents.  Friendship and family relationships are the more important gifts we receive than the ones we open.  God also gives us gifts when we go to Mass to honor Him and keep His commandments.  If we want to receive the gift of God's grace, we must keep His commandments and honor Him.

Once we reach a certain age, we should realize that the days of having a birthday just because we want to receive gifts is over.  Now that we are older, we begin to know the real treasure lies in the time spent towards building up the relationship with a friend.  Just as going to Mass and praying regularly builds up our relationship with God.  Birthday traditions have been celebrated for years and years and to this day remain to be a special event in an individual's life.  Well, so too have the traditions existed in the Church, and we build up our relationship with God when we choose to follow his commandments.

Keeping the commandments exist in the Church Christ founded for a reason.  While there is no law that says we need to participate in birthday traditions (yet we choose to out of the goodness of our hearts), there is a law stating that we should participate in keeping the commandments.  It is God's law.  The third commandment, written by God and given to Moses on Mount Sinai, is to keep holy the Sabbath.  Going to weekly Mass is a way to honor and thank God for all that we have in life.  The Church, through the saving power of Jesus, permits us to more fully receive and respond to God's very love here on earth.  Why we even remember the last supper at every Mass.  The last supper is truly the most important meal that ever took place on earth.  This was the meal Christ had with his disciples just before he was put to death on the Cross.  Every time we kneel before God and receive Jesus in holy communion, we tell him that we believe in Him, are thankful for Him, and want to follow Him.  Jesus listens when we pray.  It must make Him feel very special when we come to Him.  Even more special than friends and family can make you feel on your birthday because it is a personal choice which fosters our growth in discipleship.

Participation is a Wise Choice

People who chose to participate in the life of the Church can send a message to God that says, "LET'S INCREASE THE VALUE OR WORTH OF OUR RELATIONSHIP."  Does this sound familiar?  It should.  Similar to when one devotes time to an individual on their birthday.  It is even more important to spend time with God because, through prayer and worship, God will provide us what we need and comfort us in times of trouble.  Remember, we must love God with all our heart, soul, and minds as the first three commandments tell us.  Our friends can't provide us with what God can provide us with here on earth.  Time with God is a sacred event.  We should try to devote time with God every day.  Praying to God can also enhance or improve our ability to live for, work for, and build up God's law of Love.  We actually become members of God's loving family when we keep His commandments.  We do not become members of a friends family by celebrating their birthday.  How much more important is it to honor God?  We should always remember to honor God at Church and be eager to go to eager as we are to go to a friends birthday celebration.

We enhance our relationships with others and with God by choosing to participate in meaningful traditions and spending time together.  Devoting time to God in prayer or at Mass strengthens our relationship with Christ.  God doesn't ask for too much time.  Spending an hour at Mass and holy days, saying our prayers daily, participating in the sacraments, and helping our neighbors are important.  Honoring and acting upon the holy traditions and biblical truths gives us the wisdom and intelligence to do what is right and good.  The bible is read at every Mass.  Everyone should try to read the bible as often as possible.  The bible not only shows us how God loves and protects us but also helps us to understand why certain things happen in our world that we might not otherwise understand.

The message of Christ is to love God and one another.  Too often, people attend Mass in search of belonging to a community rather than sharing in the teachings, sufferings, and glory of Christ.  We can actually offer ourselves to Christ at Mass.  Community is important...but that is not what it is all about.  Some people may be in search of something like a big birthday party.  The Mass is more than a birthday party.  It is more than a big social event.  Why do some children place a birthday party as being more important than attending Mass?  We must really learn to love and understand Jesus and appreciate the Mass.  We can do this through prayer, reading the Bible, and understanding our Catechism to strengthen our faith in Christ.  Remember, the Church should be a priority in our lives.  It is the best place to spend time with and honor our Creator.

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