Over at Commonweal, “Fr. Nonomen” has an interesting piece on the “Zombie Mass”—i.e. the noontime “last chance” Mass at his parish where people sit scattered as far apart as they can manage, no one sings, and people seem to stumble through the liturgy on faulty autopilot.
We probably all know Masses that we might describe in this way. It’s the one that those who go to the “livelier” Masses tend to look down their noses at, presuming that those who are there are simply trying to avoid real engagement while fulfilling their obligation. Fr. Nonomen points out that such judgments are unwarranted, that we don’t really know what spiritual place the attendees as the Zombie Mass are at, and we cannot presume that every spiritual place is served by a high level of outward engagement. Have we not all had those days when slouching in the back pew is the best we could manage? When we didn’t want anyone to offer us the peace of Christ or ask how we were? When we just wanted to show up to tip our hat to God and then be on our way? Or maybe we were genuinely pressed for time, or had to work earlier on Sunday morning, or had some other perfectly good reason not to go to the “high-engagement” liturgy.
It’s a testimony to Fr. Nonomen’s pastoral sensitivity that he is able to rethink things and see through entrenched prejudices.