In the kitchens of my sisters’ homes a guest will notice a large calendar hanging on a prominent space on the wall. Except, it’s not just a calendar. In their homes it is referred to as THE calendar. According to them, the calendar is what keeps their homes from falling into complete and utter chaos. Upon close examination, one quickly recognizes that these calendars are works of art, especially during months in which school is in session. Appointments are written in various colors using abbreviations that the NSA would need a logarithm to decode. They are, in fact, meticulous schedules of school pick-ups/drop offs, sports practices, dance lessons, doctor appointments, games, birthdays, dinner parties, work schedules, parent-teacher meetings, youth group, etc. If it’s not on the calendar, it might as well not exist – so don’t plan on going. I’ve noticed that on especially busy weekends there is included among all the activities Sunday Mass. And sometimes Mass appears more than once during a weekend because not everyone’s schedule will allow them to attend together. So, they simply have to split up in order to make sure everyone gets to Mass at some point on Saturday evening or Sunday.
Years ago, before Sunday became “Saturday: the sequel,” it wouldn’t have been necessary to try to fit Mass into the Sunday schedule among a million other activities. Sundays were much quieter, involving church in the morning, and a relaxing afternoon with family or friends, usually over a big meal. For my parents and grandparents, putting Mass in the calendar would have been like putting “brush your teeth” or “eat lunch” in the calendar. It wasn’t necessary, because you couldn’t imagine not doing it.
The world is very different now. Between work shifts and sports, Sunday is no longer a day of leisure. Unfortunately, it’s the way things are. And the calendar dictates the rhythm of life, even on Sundays. With the school year officially kicking off this week and the resumption of the extreme busyness of contemporary life, it might require greater intentionality to make sure getting to Mass is part of our weekend. Getting one’s family to Mass every weekend is not easy, but it’s the most important thing that we do each week. Like all important appointments, we should have that hour with the Lord written in the calendar – and confession every month as well! Nothing is more important for us than encountering Jesus in the Eucharist at Mass. It is a foretaste of eternal life that we want for ourselves and for those we love. So, get it on the calendar!