The last item I’d like to mention in dealing with the notion of full and active participation at the Eucharistic celebration is the fact that not everyone can do something “special” at Mass. I learned back when I was a young altar server that Mass seemed more interesting when I had something to do, but let’s face it, it’s practically impossible to give each and every person in the church a unique function or role to play.
The Church’s official answer to this is that “active listening,” “shared spoken word and song,” and “uniting our hearts in prayer together” are important projects for everyone at Mass, even if you don’t have something unique to do. A basic idea underpinning our worship is that no one is a mere spectator: everyone is important.
This isn’t a new idea. St. Paul spoke of it to the early Roman Church: “Just as each of us has various parts in one body, and the parts do not all have the same function: in the same way, all of us, though there are so many of us, make up one body in Christ, and as different parts we are all joined to one another” (Rom 12:4-5).
So don’t feel left out if you’re not motivated to be in the choir, or an usher, or a reader. Perhaps one day your gifts and talents will be utilized in such ways. But in the meantime, you should still know how valuable you are as part of our worshiping community. We would be an “injured body” of Christ without you!