By: Luke Borrajo

Twice a year Devout Catholics find themselves wondering who is parked in “my spot” and who is that sitting in “my seat”. This selfish thought creeps in and causes many to be led into anger during these most beautiful times in the Church’s seasons. The times are Christmas and Easter, and it is the time when the ‘Creasters’ come to Mass. (Do not read that sentence in a despairing fashion or with a negative connotation.) As a means of description, Devout Catholics refer to those who go to Mass on a weekly basis (every week). Those known as Creasters are the people who come for Christmas and Easter, hence, Creaster.

Within the Mystical Body of Christ there is a division of those who are devout, going to Mass every Sunday and receiving the Sacraments in a state of grace after having gone to Confession. Then there are the ‘Creasters’ who attend Mass twice a year, possibly not going to confession and receiving the Sacrament in Mortal Sin (if this pertains to you, go to confession). This should never be seen in a negative light. Why? That is because they are participating in the highest form of prayer, the Mass. This message can be best understood through the interpretation of a parable from Matthew.

Within Matthew 20:1-16, the passage also known as, The Workers in the Vineyard exhibits the same feelings that Catholics have during Christmas and Easter. The passage reads…

“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So, they went off. [And] he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So, when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? [Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

In this passage there are multiple messages that should be highlighted. Namely, God’s grace, symbolized in the landowners pay is abounding and people are selfish no matter how much they possess. Whomever reads this Scripture can place themselves somewhere in the passage. Whether it be in the workers who worked the whole day, maybe the Cradle Catholics, or those who worked from noon on, representative maybe of those who have reverted or converted late in life or those who worked at five, the ‘Creaters’, no matter where someone is on the list they are Catholics nonetheless. The reading highlights the ire of the workers that worked the whole day, and how often do the Devout Catholics find themselves to be in this same predicament? Often, in the opinion of the Devout Catholic, they think they are somehow entitled to more grace or more love from God, maybe even both. Though like the Landowner, God allows those allotted to praise Him equal wages. ‘Creasters’, come to Mass twice and both times they receive the same graces that those who go to Mass every Sunday do. What they lack is the relation with the ‘Landowner’. Going to Mass every Sunday gives the Devout Catholic a much better relationship with God himself. Thus, the Devout Catholics should not be envious of the ‘Creasters’ or selfish or even angry because of their presence, rather they should pray for and be saddened by the relationship they lack with God.

Now, this is not the opinion of all devout Catholics toward those known as the ‘Creaters’, rather some find joy and seeing the vast array of people at Mass. Some people find comfort seeing many Catholics, after observing all the darkness of the evil one. This view, joined with the joy of Christ’s Birth or Christ’s Resurrection, depending on the season, Catholics should find great happiness in, as it provides Christ the highest honor possible.

Revisiting the parable, the workers who from the beginning, toiled and earned the same wage as those who came later are payed the same and the laborer’s become selfish. Why? Perhaps they are persuaded by Capitalist ideals? Or maybe they lived in a competitive economy driven by humanistic philosophy? No. It is because the laborers thought they deserved more, even though they only agreed to work for the assigned ‘daily wage’, as the Gospel reads. The money is the landowners, so, why should the laborer’s care anyway? The landowner can be as charitable as he wants because it belongs to him. In the story, the landowner, who is representative of God is as chartable as God is charity itself. Since God can be nothing else, but charitable, in His justice. Likewise, the landowner exhibits his abounding charity.

Too fast are Devout Catholics to compare and to believe that they should have received more than their allotted portion. How selfish.

I until this year I had the early laborer’s perception. I believed that only the Devout Catholics were worthy of God’s grace. Now I realize that my perception was wrong. ‘Creasters’ should be celebrated and treated with respect. They deserve to feel welcomed and loved, as though they were the Prodigal Son. Never as Catholics can we take a vacation from charity. For 50 weeks out of the year our brothers and sisters in Christ are lost, but for two weeks out of the year they are found. Is it their fault? Yes, though the blame does not just belong to them, but also to those responsible for their Catechesis. ‘Creasters’ are worthy of blame because they know they should attend Mass, yet they only go twice a year. I would bet it is because they do not understand the Mystery of Faith, The Grace of the Sacraments, or the source and summit of our faith, the Eucharist. The blame also belongs to those responsible for teaching them poorly.

I hope this article will inspire an attitude of Joy as joy should be the focus of these most sacred seasons when our brothers and sisters in Christ return again. Also, I wish that those who have felt this contempt for ‘Creasters’, as I have, would observe its sinful affect and cleanse it from themselves in Confession. Likewise, to the ‘Creaster’, I hope they observe their faults and ignorance to God’s love for them. Seeing, the grace they receive from Him regardless, along with the opportunity to confess their sin’s. If you do not believe in Confession just know that it is a doctrine of the church which you cannot deny, because “We can’t claim to be part of the people of God but separate ourselves from the structures of authority in the Church…it is the bone and muscle of the Church”. Besides if you do not believe in its efficacy what do you have to lose by telling him? The Priest who will not ever remember or repeat your sins.

God Bless You!

  • James

    You say these people should be accepted like the prodigal son, but that would require that the Catholics-in-name-only then start to follow the precepts of the church and go to confession. Many people remain lifelong in a state of sin and never go to confession. I’m happy to welcome someone back, if they actually come back. The precepts are the bare minimum, otherwise I’d rather they not come to the church if they just like coming twice a year to celebrate Easter and Christmas.

  • Doug R.

    Bravo! I’ve never thought of it in this light before, especially in terms of the Prodigal son.

    I’ve had this discussion many times with my mother, who gets upset at Christmas when someone is sitting in the pew that she’s sat in every Sunday for the past 30 years (third from the front on the left-hand side of the Church as you’re facing the altar…). However, my conversation has always centered around hospitality…when we invite a special guest to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, we always seat them in the place of honor at the table. Why wouldn’t we do the same for our twice-a-year brethren? If we want them to start coming to Mass a third, or even a fourth time in a year, why wouldn’t we be gracious hosts and serve them first?

  • Mark P

    As I waited for Mass to start this past Easter I thought, wouldn’t it be great if the Church was like this every week? Then the judging started: “Really, you dress like that to come to Mass? Could you please be quiet, this isn’t your Easter brunch. Wow, I would never let my kids act like that.” I spent the rest of that Mass asking for forgiveness and praying that all these people would come back next week.

    • James

      It’s probably better if you just beg for God’s forgiveness for all the sacrilegious communions that happen at an even greater frequency on Easter and Christmas. Most of these people are lukewarm and have no intention of asking for God’s forgiveness or even attempting to follow his commands. Many see Christ as a self help guru who demands nothing of us. Just go through the list of dogmas, it doesn’t take long to hit something that people don’t agree with. It’s extremely rare to find someone who’s actually going to confession and believes all that the church teaches.

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Dear Brother James, I am not a fan of willful sacrilege any more than you are. I was repulsed by some Priests in the Phillipines giving Holy Communion to a large crowd who never attended Church and has strong Anti-Catholic ideas and lifestyles, all in the name of Demonic Inclusion. At the same time, those “Creasters” are not in the same category as the monstruous act in the Phillipines and others around the world. They don’t have that willfulness and intentional defiance to God (one of the requirements for it to be true sin), and we have a holy duty to them as well as to those far out in sacrilege to call them to God in every way. I know because, at one time in my life, I was one of those “Creasters”. Remember Jesus advice about the wheat and the tares, some of those messy tares could be a Saint waiting to come forth in God’s Grace, without which Grace we are less than those tares.

      • James

        You have to go to confession before receiving the Eucharist, simple as that. People who go 2x per year need to show up and confess mortal sins and tell the priest they’ve been skipping Sunday mass.

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Yes!! Most certainly!! Absolutely!! The thing is, how are WE going to guide them to reach that point? How did the pre-Vat II Saints did it? Was it always by forcefully emphasizing their sins, guilt and culpability, like the enemies of the Church claim, that we are the Great Church of Guilt and Self-Righteousness? Is that the tunnel vision emphasis Jesus Himself focused on, or was that the emphasis of John The Baptist? What this means is there’s a place for both approaches in the Church (and everything holy in between) and One-Size-Fits-All, Be-Perfect-Now-Or-Go-To-Hell is not Catholic. The Via Media is.

        The Pharisees were super ultra rigid, Cookie Cutter, You-Fail-You’re-Out, One-Size-Fits-All and Jesus rebuked them harshly. God created individuals and He is God enough not to be disturbed by the consequences of that: “A bruised reed He will not break and a smoldering wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow weak or discouraged until He has established justice on the earth”, (Isaiah 42:3). Neither should we be discouraged, as even the greatest Saints were always “humble and meek” like Jesus, both when rebuking hard those in deep darkness and sin, and also when walking side by side with them and when sitting down to eat with them (Mark 2:13-17).

      • James

        God is ultra rigid: infinite justice and infinite mercy. The Pharisees were called out for being hypocrites, not for being rigid. They refused to allow for forgiveness and their beliefs did not match their actions. They were going through the motions without the interior conversion.

        Notice that Christ always forgives, but he demands you amend you life. You can’t simply get mercy without turning from sin. If you reject God, you’re rejecting his mercy. Sin is a rejection of his mercy.

        Confession is that mercy. You can be the worst sinner your entire life, and then spend a few minutes in confession and all your sins are forgiven and forgotten. However, you have to make that step of accepting the mercy and forgiveness that’s handed out to you.

        Many of the Easter/Christmas people continue to reject mercy. They just like showing up because it’s fun and feels like a good holiday thing to do with the family, they don’t care about God’s mercy.

      • Phil Alcoceli

        A lot of today’s people are swimming upstream against a huge tsunami tide of vicious anti-Catholic propaganda, lies and deception and some of them still show up for Christmas and Easter. Deeply flawed as it looks, it’s also a miracle (like almost every character in the Bible) . How is it that you absolutely know (a divine attribute) that they “… don’t care about God’s Mercy”? There’s no modern society rewards at all for “Creasters”, only ridicule and mockery. Stiil, they show up, again and again, guilty as charged.

        You say: “The Pharisees were called out for being hypocrites, not for being rigid. They refused to allow for forgiveness”, but that’s a total contradiction in terms. You need rigidity, inflexible hardness of heart and mind to not allow any room for forgiveness and also for not to show sinners (all of us, you and me) that God wants their salvation not their condemnation: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”.

        WE condemn ourselves, especially when not extending a word of salvation and redemption to those, like US, that don’t deserve any at all (it’s all Undeserved Grace): “If I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ but you do not speak out to DISSUADE him from his way, then that wicked man will die in his iniquity, yet I will hold YOU accountable for his blood. But if you warn the wicked man to turn from his way, and he does not turn from it, he will die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life”, Ezekiel 33:9 (emphasis mine). If all we do is express words of rigid condemnation (no Christian “dissuade” involved), we condemn ourselves.

      • James

        Are you saying sin doesn’t matter? This is the stance that protestants take with “once saved always saved”, so you can go on sinning, but that doesn’t matter because God will save you regardless if you go on living in mortal sin and die in a state of mortal sin.

        The Catholic church teaches that when you commit a mortal sin, you’re cut off from God. This isn’t coming from me, this is Christ’s church telling you that mortal sin condemns you to hell unless you go to confession or make a perfect act of contrition. I don’t make this stuff up. Call me a Pharisee all you want, but I’ll just keep pointing you to what the church teaches.

      • Phil Alcoceli

        Now you are going off the deep end. Where did I ever say sin doesn’t matter? Where did I say Repentance and Catholic Confession aren’t absolutely necessary? You are putting words in my mouth and that’s exactly what Protestants do to defame, slander and demonize True Catholics. YOU are behaving like a tunnel vision, radical Protestant. What I say is that SIN IS NOT ALL THAT MATTERS or even the absolute, greatest thing to focus on. If sin were all that matters, there would be no need at all for the Catholic Church. Jesus was not totally obsessed with sin and neither am I, or any of the pre-Vat II Saints.

        Your statement: “The Catholic church teaches that when you commit a mortal sin, you’re cut off from God” is also a truth manipulated out of shape Protestant style. Does that truth give us an entitlement of absolute moral superiority? Not at all. The Magisterium of 2,000 years teaches the OPPOSITE (humility) and even to be willing to die for those who, like you and me, deserve nothing from God apart from Grace. Did God turn permanently away from Adam and Eve after they betrayed their Creator? Did God turn permanently away from the Apostles who ran away at Gethsemane? Did God turn permanently away from Peter when he betrayed the very Son of God that he spent 3 years with?

        The faults of “Creasters” are immensely smaller compared to Peter’s, as they haven’t had many who have showed them the face of God. Have you? I did that when I worked with jail immates and continue now with all I meet. God calls them with His Mercy but, apparently, you are much higher than Him. God seeks the sinner with love, the rules then follow LATER to assure that conversion is real and true and growing every day, not the other way around. You don’t convert to rules to worship them (that would be idolatry, phariseism and heresy) but to God: “Then he said to them, “The Sabbath law was made for man, not man for the Sabbath law.” (Mark 2:27). I’m not calling you a Pharisee (again putting words in my mouth), you did that all by yourself.

  • Claudio Fernando Maciel

    Great article! If we keep in mind that none of us deserve anything, Creasters or Regulars, we’ll understand that we all depend upon God’s grace. And that’s what’s it’s all about!

  • PlanetJuggler

    I can only hope, for the sake of the ‘Chreasters’ (a.k.a., “the Lily and poinsettia crowd”), that God is as merciful and generous as He is with us regular attendees, and that we all end up in heaven.
    Unfortunately, lacking that relationship with God, that seems unlikely. It is then incumbent upon us “early workers” to reach out to the 5pm hires and tell them all about the landowner in the limited time we have to work with.
    Practice your elevator pitch and use it next Christmas or Easter. Souls depend upon it!

  • Phil Alcoceli

    Great article!! Regardless of what the personal sins (small, big or huge), faults and defects of the “Creasters” are, we seriously outdo all of that when we don’t have a welcoming, open-hearted, merciful, loving attitude toward them, warts, smells and all. To completely understand this, we need to listen to the great author and psychologist Erich Fromm who reveals to us that the emotionally-mentally ill remind us of who we really are behind the masks and how much we need God, that we are insane without Him. Likewise, the “Creasters” remind us of how shallow and inconsistent our faith is, how much we take it for granted, and how little we allow God to take full control of every single area of our lives.

    Most “devout” Catholics would react angrily to something like this, saying things like “you are trying to put us into another guilt trip, like the enemies of the Church”, “we do what we can and we are exhausted”, “the world is rotten and we are not God to fix it”, “if we responded well to God, why can’t the Creasters” do the same?”, etc. It’s all cop-outs.

    A Catholic by definition does what a receiver in NFL football does, always trying to go deeper, farther, not just in theological knowledge but much more in fully living the Gospel, come rain, snow, high water or hell. The “Creasters” are us and God uses them to wake us up. No guilt trips here, Humility is POWER and COURAGE!! Check this article in the Aleteia website, even though it says: “millenials” it can apply perfectly just as well to give “Creasters” (and EVERYONE else ) a much more attractive, truly Catholic welcoming attitude: “Catholic parish dos and don’ts from millennials” by Tom Hoopes (April 29, 2019). Praise be to God!!