KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID
The title of my homily for this 18th Monday in Ordinary Time is, “The Mass: Kiss - Keep It Simple Stupid.”
Both readings for today hit home on one of the most basic things human beings do. We eat.
In the first reading, we have one of the most basic things people do about food. They complain. I don’t like cucumbers leeks, onions and garlic. I’d eat the melons. [Cf. Numbers 11: 4b-15.]
In the gospel, we have one of the most basic things people do. They hang around places and people who provide food. [Cf. Matthew 14: 13-21.]
Just listen to people. The food is too hot, too cold, too old, too not enough, too unappetizing. Complain. Complain. Complain.
Just watch teenagers. When food appears, they appear. Watch dogs, they want food.
This reality about food tells me how smart Jesus was. The Mass is a meal - and he told us to do his Last Supper in memory of him.
Just read the gospels and notice how many times Jesus is at meals. Just notice how he feeds the hungry folks. Notice how we wanted to eat with his disciples. Obviously, food - feeding people - was important to him.
So the Mass was a meal for starters - but when folks were eating too much and drinking too much at the community means, they moved the “meal” part to another place and/or after the Mass part. So they simplified the ceremony.
At meals we eat, we drink, we talk.
At the Mass we eat, we drink, we talk.
Once the Church numbers grew - once the crowds get larger, then the Mass changes and becomes our liturgy.
In this homily I want to stress the bare bones underside of the Mass. It’s a meal.
And at meals, we have those three ingredients - besides people: bread, wine, and words.
Jesus knew people. We need to eat. We need to share our life - and our life stories together.
I was at a family gathering yesterday. We ate. We talked. We gathered together.
We know when we are in sync with each other - in communion with each other - it’s then we can eat with each other.
We know when we can’t stomach each other. We know the folks we spot and walk away from. Women are better at knowing this than men. Who makes the lists of who sits with whom at weddings and family gatherings?
We know where there is so and so 5 feet away and we wait till they sit down and we move away as far as possible. We know whom we would like to sit next to and whom to avoid.
So when we start to complain why so and so started to break away from the Mass, they did it slowly. So too the family.
So this is basic, basic stuff - I was taught the KISS principle in public speaking. KISS: Keep it simple stupid.