In 2011, the total number of people at Mass in Australia on a typical weekend was about about 12.5 per cent, or one-eighth, of the total number of Catholics.
This parish will participate in another church census later this month or in early November. But let’s assume the number has dropped a little bit more, so that about 10 per cent of Catholics attend Sunday Mass.
That makes everyone sitting in this church like the Samaritan in today’s Gospel. “Eucharistia” is the Greek word for thanksgiving. You and I are literally here to approach Jesus and thank him.
Our Lord is entitled to ask, “The other nine, where are they?” But that’s his prerogative, not ours. The Church has never changed its teaching on the Sunday obligation, but through no fault of their own, many Catholics don’t know that. So I won’t condemn those who aren’t here. But I do want to thank, on our Lord’s behalf, you who are here.
The Lord loves you so much. He is interested in every detail of your life. He longs for communion with you — where he dwells in you, and you dwell in him. And you’ve responded with generosity. It would be easier to stay home on a Sunday morning. Linger over a leisurely breakfast. Or sleep in. But here you are at Mass. You’ve made God’s day.
Our attendance at Mass doesn’t make us righteous. None of us have earned our way into Heaven. You and I are like the Samaritan. We are not entitled citizens. We’re foreigners. But in his mercy, our Lord may look at us and say, “Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.”
A good aspiration for us to keep — a helpful phrase which we can repeat throughout the day — is: “I am a sinner, madly in love with God.”