Unfortunately, it's something that we see almost every time we go to Mass. People get up to get the Host, (receive Jesus) and then, instead of returning to the pew, they walk along the wall of the Church, and out the door they go. I feel like yelling, "MASS HASN'T ENDED YET!" but that would be rude, ya know?
But isn't leaving after Communion rude as well? Even more rude! I mean, you stayed just to get the bread and wine, and then you leave? Seems a bit rude. "Sorry Jesus, but You're not important enough. I can't stay to give my thanks for just five more minutes. See ya next week!" That's the message we're giving Him...
I'm not saying that if you do this, you're going to Hell or you're a bad person. I don't know your circumstance, I don't know what's going on that you have to leave early. Sure maybe you just don't want to stay any longer, or maybe you have a real reason...
Also when you leave early, you're missing a crucial part of the mass - The Benediction, or the blessing. The priest says "May the Lord bless you, in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit." Then he says something that is highly important: "Go in peace" and perhaps something like, "glorifying the Lord by your life." WOW. The priest just told you to carry the love that you have inside of the Church to the outside world, and to give Glory to God not only on the days when you attend weekly Mass, but to give glory to Him every day and to live your life through Him. I think that's pretty important!
I've done it before. The last (and thankfully, only) time I can remember was when I was in Spain. It was already a stretch for me to attend Mas because it would just barely fit into our tour schedule. But I insisted, and I went (It was Easter. How could I miss it??). One of the chaperons came with me, and right after I began to kneel after receiving the precious Body and Blood, she made me leave because we were going to miss the bus. I felt so bad for leaving early, and I certainly didn't do it because I wanted to get the heck out of there. I could have stayed all day! :)
I saw this on the highly insightful, extremely valuable Catholic Answers Forum, and I thought it was a great point, and very clever -
"Please remember when you receive, that the Mass is not ended yet. Give thanks to God for His gift of the Eucharist. Let us not imitate Judas. He was the only one who left the Last Supper early and you know what happened to him don't you?"
Click HERE to see exactly the page where I got this from, and the rest of the forum on the same topic.
So what do you do when your friends leave early for Mass, and you don't? Does it bother you, or do you not care? If it bothers you, what can you say?
What my point is is this - think twice before bolting out of the Church after Communion. Why are you doing this, what message does this give God, and can you spare a few extra minutes to hear the benediction?
I hope this makes you think a little bit!
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