My sister informed me that
her 7 year old son came into the kitchen. He
looked shocked as he said, “Mom, there’s a
problem!” What is it, honey?” my sister
He looked so sad as he said, “I’m hungry,
but there isn’t any spaghetti on the table!”
A brief, but firm discussion took place
Dear Father Joe: What are the rules about
eating before Communion?
Good question here…I get this one a
lot. First, straight up: the rules.
Before the practice of daily Mass, people
were encouraged to fast 24 hours before
Mass. Pope Pius XII changed the rules to
encourage daily Mass participation. Now, the
rules are no food or drink (outside of
water) for one hour before Mass.
There are, obviously, some exceptions: the
most dramatic being in danger of imminent
death, were you are allowed to receive
Communion even if you haven’t fasted for an
hour - let’s pray that one doesn’t happen.
Second, the sick and/or elderly are not
required to fast, particularly if their
doctor says they shouldn’t. The church
defines the elderly as over 65; my mother
defines it as much, much older than that.
Dear Father Joe: What is the
appropriate dress for Mass?
I think, as a culture, we are losing our way
on this one and hopefully, this article will
give us pause to think about it.
The Mass is to be a sacred celebration, and
there are two words to consider here. The
focus of this discussion, I think, needs to
be on the word “sacred.” The word “sacred”
tied to the word “holy. When we enter this
sacred celebration, we want to be sure that
our manner of dress is reflective of that.
In my mind, our dress at the liturgy sends
three messages: one to ourselves, one to the
congregation and one to God.
By dressing ourselves up, we are reminding
ourselves of the importance of what we are
doing. We are, in a sense, sending a message
to our bodies and minds that something
unique and special is about to happen. We
also send a message to our brothers and
sisters around us that we see this
celebration as more than just another event;
when the body of Christ gathers, we take it
seriously (but in the most joyful way; how
is that for irony?)
We also send a message to God by our dress.
I understand that God accepts us as we are,
but we must remember that God also
challenges us to be even more. God deserves
our best, not our leftovers. Overly
suggestive or sloppy clothes are, in my
mind, sending a message that we should not
want to send.
Now, I know there is a crowd out there - and
it is not a small one - who will challenge
me on this, and I want to be clear about
something: I would rather have you at Mass
in Jeans and a T-shirt than not at Mass,
absolutely. My question is this: Why does it
come down to that? What is so abhorrent
about dressing up? Most people reading this
wouldn’t go to the opera or to the prom
dressed in jeans in a T-Shirt, so why can’t
we give that to our God?
Let’s all pause and remember that the Mass
is God’s gift to us and our full, active,
conscious participation is our gift to God.
Our dress is a big part of this, so let’s
make sure that the way we dress reflects the
honor and dignity that the liturgy requires.
Enjoy another day in God’s presence!
- Father Joseph Krupp