By FR. ALLAN S. FENIX
Economy class planeseats, which have fewer elbow and leg rooms and where a majority of passengers prefer to travel, are much cheaper, in price, than the business ones. Because of this, servicewise, the latter have more than the former. This goes the same way in the ballgames and theaters where so-called ” ringside ” and front row seats are more expensive than the bleachers. The principle operative in this matter is that the farther the seat is, from the field or stage, the cheaper it is.
In Church, where pew spaces has no price, seldom do I see parishioners taking advantage of the seats up in front near the altar. Usually, parishioners tend to leave the front row pews empty and just content themselves to converge at the back rows. Some even manage to punish their feet by just standing all throughout the celebration though empty and spacious pews are available right in front.
One time, after the recessional procession, I stood by the back of the Church and talked with some parishioners about this. They told me that they feel so unworthy to stroll up in front of the Church, before everyone in the community, and be seated on those empty leftover pews. More so, by being seated there, it is as if they are at the center of everything. They feel , as though, being closely scrutinize in whatever they are doing, wearing or with whom they are with. So, they better prefer to be unseen and anonymous seated or just standing by at the back rows. And when the mass is over, they can easily slip out of the Church and go and do wherever and whatever they want to.
The mass is a once a week celebration. It is a great feast that we anticipate and prepare ourselves to be into. Yes, we might feel so conscious in the presence of so many parishioners. Some of whom we know and some unfamiliar. They have eyes. Let them look. Mouths. Let them speak. Ears. Let them listen. But, what is most important for you? We did not go to Church for them. We went to church to give praise and thanks to God.
We are the children of God . We are rich. We were saved for a great price. Let us not cheapen ourselves. Sin is the cheapening of ourselves. For we cut off and move far back in our relationship with our God.
On the Lord’s day, when we are in Church, not only physically but, also, spiritually, let us be near Him, who is the One true God by being always in the state of grace and receive him in Holy Communion.