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!