Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Bored with Mass? There’s a metaphor for that!

by Tim Herrmann


Sometimes I grow bored with attending daily Mass.

I wondered why that is. I thought I should make myself be more enthusiastic about Mass. But shouldn't I be enthusiastic that Jesus Christ is truly present in the community gathered and in the bread and wine that is blessed, broken and shared? Yes, of course … but still, I'm human, and the way I figure these things out for myself is through metaphors.

What is something I really enjoy I thought to myself? Answer: Binge-watching TV episodes on Netflix or Hulu Plus.

There it is. My metaphor!

Attending daily Mass is like binge-watching something on Netflix or Hulu. If you aren't familiar with this "binge-watching" thing, basically it's sitting down for multiple hours on end and watching multiple episodes in a row of a TV show on Netflix or Hulu.

So, why is attending daily Mass, particularly at Saint Meinrad Archabbey, like binge-watching something from Netflix or Hulu?

Answer: Typically the characters, much like in a TV show, are consistent at daily Mass: the monks and guests concelebrate and participate in the Mass. Hymns and chants are part of the Mass, similar to a theme song in a TV show.

The storyline changes at Mass with different Old and New Testament readings, Psalms and Gospel readings - again, along the same lines of a TV episode progressing along with new stories and events.

There are even Parts I, II and III in TV shows, which make viewers excitedly watch the next episode, and the same goes for scripture readings at Mass, where hearers return to Mass the next day or the next weekend to find out Parts II and III.

Oh, and what about the credits at the end of each episode? Well, we celebrate Mass to give credit to Christ who was crucified for our eternal, heavenly reward. We celebrate Mass to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives and to share our Christ-inspired love with others.

That's where attending daily Mass and binge-watching Netflix or Hulu differ. I don't leave binge-watching Netflix or Hulu with anything other than earthly entertainment.

Conclusion: As much as I enjoy binge-watching Netflix or Hulu, I had a reality check this week about my priorities. It's Christ's love that is sufficient for us, and it's OK to dabble in Netflix and Hulu, but ultimately we should be satisfied in receiving so much more in the way of grace, peace, communal prayer, reflection, song and chant through binge-Massing. It's the spiritual "entertainment" (read: reward!) that we should be after.

Consider joining the monastic community for daily Mass on Monday-Saturday at 7:30 a.m. and on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. to catch the next episode of the Eucharistic Feast! See the prayer schedule here:

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Echoes from the Bell Tower is a blog devoted to observations on Christian faith, spirituality and everyday events, by authors with a connection to the Benedictine values found at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and its Seminary and School of Theology. Contributors include students, permanent deacons, Benedictine oblates and Saint Meinrad monks. Their stories, thoughts and ideas highlight the mission and vision that ring out from the bell towers on this Hill in southern Indiana.