This morning I was listening to the “Fathers Know Best” show on EWTN radio featuring Catholic priest, Larry Richards. Larry is quite a high-strung and animated speaker and always makes for entertaining, although certainly not Scripturally-sound, listening.
Today, Larry was getting QUITE lathered-up while recounting for his radio audience how, as a new pastor, he commanded his parishioners to never leave mass before the final blessing.
Catholics are obligated to attend mass every Sunday. Not to do so constitutes a “mortal” sin, which will allegedly doom a Catholic to eternal damnation if not confessed to a priest, although 76% of Catholics routinely miss Sunday mass, anyway.
The remaining 24% of Catholics still take their Sunday obligation seriously but many try to minimize the pain as much as possible – showing up late and/or leaving early. Some corner-cutting Catholics want to know exactly how much of the mass they have to be physically in the pew to get credit.* While there is no official statement on required minimum attendance – the church obviously wants its members to be in the pews from start to finish – some lenient priests suggest that if you’re present for the gospel readings and the consecration of the bread wafer and wine you get full credit.
“Father” Larry will have ABSOLUTELY NONE of that. In his first homily he told his parishioners they MUST be present from start to finish of mass unless they become deathly sick. The following Sunday, when some hapless parishioners had the audacity to start heading for the doors well before the final blessing, Larry lambasted them by yelling, “Go ahead and leave and NEVER COME BACK!” Justifying his outrage, Larry said no one would think of leaving early if they were invited to dinner with the Queen of England so no one should leave early from the banquet of the God of the Universe!
Oh, I am soooooooooooo grateful to my Lord for His patience and mercy and for delivering me from the chains of religious legalism and ritual. No one can earn their way into Heaven by trying to follow a religious to-do list. We are all unrighteous sinners and are totally incapable of making ourselves right before a Holy God. But God loved us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for all of our sins. I have no righteousness of my own. My Savior, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God without one single blemish, has covered me with His perfect righteousness.
Accept Jesus as your Savior now. Time may be short.
Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” – Romans 4:7-8
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
*Note: You won’t want to be anywhere near a Catholic church parking lot near the end of mass on Sunday. About 5 minutes before the prison break…er…I mean, before mass ends, the parking lot transforms into the Daytona 500. At least that’s how it was in the “old days” when Catholic parishes were thriving.