Sunday, October 09, 2005

It rained most of the day today. Now it's turning to snow. Combine that with the fact that it starts to get dark at a quarter to seven, and you'll see why I'm not going anywhere to make phone calls. So don't freak out when you don't hear from me tonight. I'm not dead.

Yesterday was beautiful, maybe 70 degrees. I washed and waxed my car--which may seem like a waste of time today--and then I put on my shirt and tie to go to Mass.

I've gotten a few looks and questions on Saturdays when people see me all dressed up. Once when I explained to someone that I was going to or coming from Mass, they asked, "Why do you dress up?" I smiled and repeated my usual response: "I like to look good for the Lord."

This Sunday's Gospel, at one level, touched on this topic. It was the parable of the wedding garment, which refers to the state of the heart and acceptance into the feast of Heaven. But can also be read as a guide our participation in the earthly feast of worship.

What would happen if as a groomsman, I showed up to Joe and Sonya's wedding in November wearing a t-shirt and jeans? Why didn't I just wear a polo shirt and khakis for Grandma Naser's funeral?

Isn't the Mass at least as important as these other celebrations? We go to worship God, receive Him through Scripture and Sacrament, and carry out Him to the rest of the world. Because of this, I can't just walk into church in shorts; I show my love by going out of my way to dress up.

Don't tell me that some people can't afford nicer clothes than shorts and t-shirts; this is the wealthiest country in the world. Even Walmart has affordable dress clothes. And this is not about polarizing people who don't dress up--I wear a tie first for God, not to humiliate anyone else in the pews.

Oh, but the youth won't want to dress up. Teens who have never had to dress up of anything won't start now. I never dressed up for a Mass as a teenager as I do now. But I was never taught what the Mass was as a teenager. But it's not just teenagers who don't dress up; it's adults, too. Maybe what we need is a little catechesis, and the rest will fall into place.

I don't have to wear a shirt and tie to go to Sunday Mass, but I do. Hopefully that outward sign of my devotion inspires others to do the same.