Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wish I Could Stay

Not too long ago I was at a Sunday Mass in New York City. And pretty much the whole Mass, I just wanted to walk out. It wasn't any one thing that triggered it. I could make excuses, this or that, but that wasn't it, not really. I just had this restless feeling.

Sometimes the desire to leave after communion is as simple as that. We can explain it any number of ways, but bottom line, we got itchy feet.

It's a great thing to realize. If you can step back and ask, what's up with this? What's my rush?, and you see, I'm just restless -- then you have some freedom to resist it. You can say, yep, them feet of mine, they itchy. But I'm going to try and stick it out. Maybe I stand at the back of church, feet at the blocks like a sprinter waiting for the gun, but at least I'm trying.

So much of the Christian call can be boiled down to that -- a willingness to strive. Not that you always succeed, but that you try.

Except, of course, when there are exceptions. And there are. Like my friend Don Dunbar, who wrote yesterday saying he'd like to stay but his kids can barely make it through the homily as is. Stand those kids up and get them walking, ain't no way they gonna sit down again.

My sister and brother-in-law have it the same way -- they have three kids, all under the age of six. My 6-year-old nephew Jack is nicknamed "Action Jack"; his sister Ally is called "Tornado Ally." These children are great, lovable, awesome. And they are not going to make it through the final prayers. Sorry.

Do you really want this kid sticking around? Really?

It makes me wonder whether we should be offering something different for families at the end of Mass. Like, maybe we should have a minister of some kind at the back of church who leads an informal blessing that sends people forth. Something fun, simple and interactive. The point would be the same, just using a means more appropriate to that audience.

Tomorrow I'll talk some more about that last grace of the liturgy, the reason we stick around -- being sent.


Jen Pontow said...

This would be great to for us! We would love if the church did this!!

Jim McDermott, SJ said...

Parents -- let's come up with some ideas!