Yesterday I drove half an hour to attend Mass in a bigger parish.
Slipping into a pew right behind two rows of older women,
I watched as they jostled and teased each other, obviously comfortable
in one another's presence.
Just before Mass began a young mother, carrying a tiny baby,
came in with her husband and toddler.
She sat in front of me a few rows up.
Her face was framed in between the shoulders of these elderly women
and I watched as she bent down to smile at her baby.
Such a look of tenderness and love radiated from her.
A few minutes later, I saw a young girl,
on the cusp of puberty, lean against her father's shoulder and
rest her head.
It's not often I go to Mass in a bigger parish. In our own tiny church we gather around the altar to receive the Eucharist. Every time I am in a bigger parish I look at the line of people waiting to receive the Eucharist and think to myself we are such a motley crew. Every one with a story. Every one with a need. Every one moving towards a moment of grace.
Yesterday as I stepped into the aisle, the young couple with their tiny baby were in view. Behind me a little boy must have been watching them, too. I heard him ask his grandma, "Is the priest going to bless the baby?"
Before I got to the front of the line I heard the tiny white haird woman who was assisting the priest with communion, hold up the Body of Christ and say with quite the emphasis, "The body of Christ!" She said it in such a way that she was simultaneously saying, "Do you believe it?" and "It's really Him." She said this over and over again as she held up Jesus for each one, each time with the same devotion and zeal.
There's that Christmas song that asks "Do you hear what I hear", "Do you see what I see? For several years now I've been praying for the ears to hear, the eyes to see and a heart to respond to God. For a brief moment in time yesterday that prayer was answered.