Mondays are often the day of the week that I expound to you about the wonderful words I heard yesterday in the Mass readings, and pretend that I have any right to try and explain them to you. I would love to do that today except I can’t because for the most part, I wasn’t listening.
Oh, I read along with the Old Testament reading from Zechariah, and nodded thoughtfully at St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians in which he told us all people who believe in Christ are the same, be they Jew or Gentile, male or female, man or woman, all of which was a great relief to me. I even took note of St. Luke’s Gospel in which Jesus asked his friends, who do they say I am, and then told them to keep their mouths shut when they said they think he is the chosen Christ, because no one would understand anyway.
But the reason I wasn’t listening was because somewhere around the time of the Gospel reading, I noticed that the three young teenaged boys who were the servers for the Mass all looked exactly alike. Brothers, little doubt, triplets, almost certainly. Triplet teenaged boys. Can you imagine?
And then, because I’m me, I began trying to figure out which of the people in the congregation were their parents. Father Larry is trying to save my soul by preaching a brilliant homily, and I’m secretly gooning around trying to figure out just who are the parents of these three remarkable young men.
Sometime towards the end of the Mass I said to myself, by Jove, I think I’ve got it! (I know I am watching too many PBS Masterpiece Mysteries when I start saying things like by Jove, even if it’s to myself.) It was the couple sitting next to me, who, by the way,had three children sitting with them. How did I come to that conclusion? First, parents of the children serving Mass always sit in the front of the church so that they can have a full view of their child/server. We were sitting in the second pew from the front. Second, the three children sitting between the man and woman looked exactly like the three boys on the altar except younger.
Eureka! I could be a great detective, like Sherlock Holmes or Inspector Gadget.
But of course I couldn’t be absolutely sure, and that made me concentrate on the Mass even less. Because I began thinking that I wanted to ask the woman who was sitting right beside me if she was the mother of the three boys and if they were, in fact, triplets. Questions all of which were none of my business. Which is exactly what I was fearful she would say to me.
I am the Queen of Striking Up Conversations With Total Strangers. And quite frankly, much of the time, it doesn’t go well. There is, of course, the time when we were on the cruise ship on the way to Europe and I said to the woman standing behind me in the buffet line, “Have you ever seen so much food in your life?” She answered, “I can’t see the food at all because I’m blind.” I’m not making this up.
And there was the time more recently when I was observing Kaiya and Mylee playing on the playground of McDonalds. I noticed that despite the fact that none of the kids had ever seen each other before, they were all playing together as if they were long-time friends. The grandfather – or at least who I assume was the grandfather – of one of the children was sitting next to me. I said to him in a friendly way, “Wouldn’t our life be better if our children ran the world?”
“Not hardly,” he answered back, quite grouchily, and resumed eating his Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
So despite the fact that I was absolutely DYING to ask the woman if she was the mother of the three boys, I had to remind myself of several things. First of all, I was only PRESUMING they were brothers, much less triplets; I had no verification of that fact. Second of all, since I had not been paying attention to the family next to me until I became so interested in learning these boys’ parentage, I had no proof that she was even with the man and the three children sitting next to her. I could just imagine me asking the question only to have her break into tears and say that she is unable to have children and it’s destroyed her life.
I refrained from asking the question, but haven’t been able to get the boys out of my mind.
By the way, in my defense, I did hear the part of the gospel in which Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” It made me wonder why we humans are always asking why bad things happen to good people. The answer is simple: we must take up the crosses we face every single day of our life. It’s what Jesus asks us to do.
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