Mass or Miss?
The nature of the way we spend our Sundays has changed dramatically from the days of shops, pubs and other businesses being shut tight for the Sabbath. Our habits have changed accordingly and it’s usual to see the cities as just another working day these days. I personally have mixed views about this. Having been a former shift worker for many years and required to work on a Sunday whether I wanted to or not it always felt ‘wrong’ to me, if not just for general religious beliefs but for the fact that was the way I was brought up as a youngster and equally as importantly for many early years in the workplace I worked Monday to Friday only. The weekend was for me. All mine.
These days I like my Sunday just as it is. It will contain a run at some point, maybe a bit of gardening if the weather is suitable, a country walk or just relaxing at home like millions of others do. Finally on a Sunday evening at 6pm my custom is to attend Mass at Saint Barnabas RC Cathedral in the city of Nottingham.
As is also customary I tend to leave precious spare time to arrive at Mass and am usually to be found rushing on my way there. It’s my most important rush of the week as I really don’t enjoy the feeling of walking in there late. It’s a little foible of mine and I always make a real effort to to get to the cathedral that important few minutes early to spend in a little reflection and ready myself for the service. I enjoy it more that way.
Saint Barnabas Cathedral
Yesterday evening saw my usual hasty drive into the city. Parking up speedily I walked briskly round to the main Derby Road entrance of Saint Barnabas. On the pavement in front of me were a young family, peering behind them at something that had taken their interest, one child pointing something out to his mother. Looking behind a man, perhaps in his thirties looked like he’d spent his whole Sunday in a completely different way. He was lying flat out on his back on the pavement perhaps a hundred yards back, apparently comatose and certainly helplessly drunk.
Speeding on, I made for the cathedral doorway only to look around again and see him half-staggering to his feet, waving at no one in particular, the cars on the busy main arterial road flashing past him at some speed.
Another drunk. All-day drinking. What an idiot getting in a state like that – these were some of my immediate thought, without being sniffy or pious about it as I certainly a enjoy a pint or two myself. I passed through the entrance and Mass began shortly afterwards. Sitting there I began to compose a dilemma in my mind that I’d not thought of in my rush to get there.
The man out on the street was there by his own doing – he drank himself into such a dangerous state – presumably by his own doing. Thinking on though he was in some danger and could easily have got himself seriously injured or even killed had he fallen into the road beside him. The long and short of it is I felt I should have done something to help him but in my haste to be where I wanted to be, doing my own personal thing, I did nothing. I began to wish I’d not entered the cathedral and instead hauled him away somewhere safe or at least tried to rather than walk into Mass. As stated previously, it would have been a case of doing one thing or another, I don’t go into Mass late, ever.
What would you have done? Mass or Miss?