Each month, Living with Christ gives you everything you need to prepare for Mass, to participate in Mass, and to reflect on the experience.

Weekly Prayer

Sunday, September 28, 2014

He said in reply, “Yes, sir,” but did not go.

I’m sure Jesus wasn’t
thinking specifically of me
when he first told this story.
But as I reflect on it now,
I can see myself in it so clearly.
And I find myself wondering
if that son who said yes
but did not go even really
heard his father’s request.
Perhaps he just said yes
out of habit,
as he was used to doing.

I wonder about this, Father,
because every time I come to Mass,
I say “amen”--so be it, yes, I agree,
let it me done to me as you say;
the liturgical equivalent
of an emphatic “yes, sir”--
about a dozen times.

Even with the still-new
language of the prayers,
I know my part,
I know my cues,
I know my line.
How frighteningly easily
and automatically that word
amen rolls from my mouth.
In fact, just counting
the Sunday Masses of my life,
I’ve probably said amen
some thirty-five thousand times.

But I am so easily
distracted, Father.
How many times at Mass
is my mind elsewhere?
How many times do
all the words
just float around me
and I respond out of habit?
How many times
have I really listened
to what I am praying for?
How many times
have I really considered
what I am saying amen to
and what my amen is pledging
me to be and to do?

Please, Father,
let today be different.
Today at Mass,
you will invite me
over and over to go
work in your vineyard.
And I will say amen
to all sorts of prayers--
each one inviting me
more deeply into
Jesus’ paschal life,
each prayer part
of the liturgy’s great,
life-changing invitation
to surrender myself--
to say yes to you--
so that the Spirit
may gather me up
into the body of your Son
and make me part
of his dying and rising,
so that I might more deeply
live his life of sacrificial love
in my own.

Father, please, wake me up!
Let me never say my amen casually
or without thinking about it.
Let me know what it means
to say amen to being
your Son’s disciple,
and may my amens
lead me always
to my work
in your vineyard.

  Fr. Richard Lamoureux, AA Photo
Fr. Richard Lamoureux, AA
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