The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My House shall be a house of prayer!

Recently I came across a post on a social network site that read something like: "you can't get to Heaven by going to Church." The words not quoted exactly, but they were along those lines. I decided not to comment because I knew my response was going to be long and it may have ended up in a debate. Similarly, so many people use the line that "they do not go to Church because there are too many hypocrites there," but I tend to look at it a bit differently because we are all striving for holiness so I say come on in because there's plenty of room for more.

For the past several years my family and I have started a tradition of celebrating New Year's Eve Mass at a neighboring Parish. This year was like any other; we arrive to Church at 10pm so we could get a seat, began singing carols at 10:30pm, then Mass began at 11pm.

As Church began to fill (rather quickly by 10:45pm), spaces were becoming very limited. Two rows in front of me and my family were being occupied by a group who sat with a space or two between each of them. In the empty spaces were their personal effects (sweaters, coats, keys), giving the illusion that they were holding them for others. As parishioners poured in and the usher tried his best to find available seats I couldn't help notice the "seat holders" (as I will call them) smiling and snickering as members stood at the back in the hope of eventually finding a seat.

At this point my mind ran across the story of the cleansing of the temple, where Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers. I was prompted by my wife not to make a scene, but I knew I just could not sit by and allow this to continue. I contained myself as much as I could, but as Mass began and members were still standing at the back of the Church I had to step in and ask the "seat holders" if they could please allow the people standing at the back of Church to take a seat? That did not play out very well because I was ignored and given "the look," but eventually they had to allow the seats to be occupied.

It's sad when we forget that we're in the house of God. Our attention and mind should be affixed on pleasing Him with all of our thoughts, and actions. Do we see the Church as just another institution with no true value or meaning? Where has the love for our brothers and sisters gone? Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers and reminded them of where they were. Sometimes we need a small reminder as well of where we are and why we are there.

Do you talk and giggle in Church, before or during Mass? Do you make fun of people as they walk in and proceed to take a seat. Yes, many of us have all fallen short one time or another, but if we stop for a moment and remember that we are in God's house, then we may walk out a better person than when we first walked in.

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