Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Friday, The Veneration of the Cross and The Real Presence

As we were getting out of the car yesterday to go into our parish I jokingly said to Sadie (who was acting a little small): "What wrong? Do you want me to wear you in the Moby Wrap?" She immediately grabbed the wrap and handed it to me saying "Want be in" or something along those lines. While we might have looked a little odd (her shoes were hitting my shins) it was easier than holding her the entire and since she is still two I do still hold her for most of the Masses we attend.

We began to encounter difficulties at the hour mark. Sadie managed to stay quiet for the first 75 minutes (not bad). Maggie started fussing at the back. Not in a very loud way, just making baby sounds from time to time as Paul walked and jiggled her at the very back of the Church by the door.

However, apparently that offended the sensibilities of many of the people that decide to come to church a couple times a year (Easter and Christmas) and the people turning completely around to glare at the baby (deep breath... I'm trying to be charitable and not thing the "few times a year thing" but it's really hard not to think that sometimes when people turn to glare at your baby... particularly when the baby isn't being loud... when she is loud we do take her out...).

One of the things that does strike me as odd about our new parish is how unfriendly people are during the daytime masses on Feast Days. On Ash Wednesday we went to the "Children's Mass" and when either of our children made even a tiny sound we would be glared at. We usually go to the Saturday Vigil and people are very friendly there. It's just the daytime Masses that are very strange...

So after an hour and fifteen minutes, when the veneration of the cross had just begun and we realized it was very unlikely we would be getting near the cross in the following half hour (people were spending a good amount of time before the cross because there was a relic, and with around three hundred people inside it was going to take quite a while) we decided to call it a day...

One thing that made me a little sad was to see how differently people treated the relic when compared with Jesus Christ who we are so blessed to have present in the Eucharist! As Paul observed, a little wistfully: "If only people received communion with the same reverence with which they approached the cross." And truthfully, I don't think I have ever seen anyone approach to receive communion as reverently or tearfully or joyfully as most of us were when approaching that tiny slice of cross.

Good Friday is an important day. It's an emotional day. Four years ago, on the Good Friday the day before I was confirmed I broke down in tears at the foot of the cross. Yet as important as it is for us to remember the sacrifice on the cross we must also remember the greatness of what God has given us in the Eucharist.

It's hard to hold in our minds the reality of Christ in the Eucharist. And yet we must try... For He is present every time we approach Him in Mass. He is present in the tabernacle. If only we could remember it three hundred and sixty five days a year... How different we might be!


  1. Just let them be pissy. They can get over themselves. I find that older people think they own the church and expect certain things because they don't remember when they had kids. I don't mind kids I mind parents who allow their children to play during mass. I understand that no one can control young children but by the time they reach school age they should be able to sit quietly and look at a church book if they can't pay attention to the mass. On Holy Thursday I was about to kill an Asian parent who was playing with their child during the entire mass, including the consecration.

  2. Remember Jesus said to "Bring the little children to me". He dearly loves your little ones and they should be just as welcome as anyone. Happy Easter!!

    Kim Chrisman

  3. I am not Catholic (even though I was baptized as such) but I have a lot of respect for the Catholic Church and its members. I really do think it's beautiful and I agree with many of the teachings.
    I haven't attended church since I was 13 (I'm 19 now) but the thing I miss the most about it is receiving communion. It was always the highlight of my week. Definitely a deeply spiritual experience for me every time I went (this the experience of a 12 year old! LOL!).
    I hope one day I can find a church I like well enough to attend regularly and can start communion again.


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