You guys, this morning I decided to go to daily Mass.
Which is weird, because I typically do not go to daily Mass.
In fact, I used to be one of those obnoxious non-Catholics who would make fun of Catholics for going to daily Mass. (I know. I’m sorry.) I used to be all, “Seriously? Going to church more than once a week isn’t going to help you earn your way into heaven…” I was a cynical, skeptical, Protestant jerk. Sorry, peeps.
Now, I get it. Now I love going to Mass, so when I get to go to a daily Mass, it’s like an extra perk. Yes, I have become one of those Catholics that I used to roll my eyes in exasperation at.
But sometimes… when you’re really lucky… you get to be part of a unusually entertaining daily Mass. And you’re all, “Score!”
But before I proceed with my story, let me just preface it by explaining that I have a really weird sense of humor. I find hopelessly awkward situations and human interactions ridiculously funny. So, while these may not seem funny to the outside observer, they’re hilarious in my head. Also… even though I find these situations funny, please do not misconstrue my weird humor with the idea that I am less than engaged or somber during Mass. Mass is a big deal. I don’t treat it lightly. But occasionally, we all need to laugh at ourselves, do we not? With that being said, here is just a snippet of the hilarity that ensued today at daily Mass.
- Not your regularly scheduled priest: Today, both our head pastor and our associate pastor were absent from Mass. So, we had a substitute priest. Substitute priests are always fun, because you never know what you’re going to get. It’s like opening that cereal box with a “mystery prize”. Will this priest be a fire and brimstone kind of speaker or a “Jesus Loves You!” enthusiast? Will he be super animated and funny during the homily or entirely unprepared to get up and speak? I’m not going to lie… I was a little excited to have a substitute priest. They always do things just a little differently… or they aren’t used to the way we do things… and so to watch both their awkwardness and the uncontrolled exasperation of the daily Mass goers is kind of hysterical.
- Go in Peace: Today’s priest was a non-native English speaker, so he was a bit harder to understand. This always frustrates the older Catholics, as they shift uncomfortably in their seats straining to understand the words that are coming out of his mouth. Today was particularly humorous because you just know some of the older folks were all, “Oh, for crying out loud… it’s the 4th of July. We can’t even get a priest who speaks English?” I almost burst out laughing during the benediction because he said something that seemed like he was looking for some kind of response from the congregation, but I couldn’t understand what it was. Looking at the faces of everyone around me, no one else could either. So, we stood there in awkward silence for a horrifyingly lengthy period of time until he simply moved forward with the, “Go in peace”. And when the final, “Thanks be to God” was uttered, the older members may have said it with a bit too much gusto.
- Mass Intention… Whatevers: During the Prayers of the Faithful, the father said the name for whom the Mass was being offered. Usually, the reason behind the Mass being offered is never mentioned, but today… he was all, “For so and so for whom this Mass is being offered for…um…” (Here you should insert another awkward silence that goes on for a horrifyingly prolonged period of time.) before he finished it up with a clumsy “Whatever.” I did not not make that up. He was all, “Whatever.” and tried to awkwardly finish up with the prayer. And even though I was solemnly praying during this time, the slightest smile could not help crawling across my face because… let’s be honest… that’s just funny.
- Don’t try this at home: Receiving the host on the tongue is a big thing at our church. So, receiving the host on the tongue is the only way I’ve ever done it. Because I’m a newer Catholic, the fathers at my church somehow know how to ever so gingerly place the wafer on my tongue so it’s balanced and not at risk of falling because… (and this could just be my own paranoid suspicions that I’m not “doing it right”)… my tongue placement and balance is not quite perfected to that of a life-long, cradle Catholic. BUT, today we had a very young deacon serving and so when I stuck out my tongue, he didn’t quite get it square on the tongue and suddenly, the wafer shifted and…. just before it was about to fall out of my mouth and flutter to the floor… I clamped down on it with my lips and pulled it into my mouth before uncomfortably stepping to the side to make the sign of the cross. It was simultaneously both the weirdest and most scary Eucharistic experience I’ve ever had… and I grew up receiving oyster crackers and grape juice for communion.
But despite all that… regardless of the stumbling and bumbles… it was good to be at daily Mass. We still got to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we were gathered together in unity to pray and worship, and we even snuck in a few patriotic songs for the holiday. It was good to be at Mass. Also? It was kind of funny. But maybe that’s just me.