You will discharge your labor well if you perform with gaiety,
quietly, courageously, constantly.
Bishop Joseph Fenwick (1846)
Communion, Juicy Fruit Flavor At Mass last Sunday I had a thought provoking experience. Two rows in front and sitting alone slightly to the right was a neatly dressed young man. I estimate he was in his late twenties. What attracted my attention was that he was obviously chewing gum.
He seemed attentive during the service while he constantly chewed in a slightly rotary movement. At the time for Communion, I followed him up the aisle and watched as he received the Sacred Host. He chewed going and returning to his seat. At the end of Mass when we walked out of the church, he was ahead of me, still enjoying his gum.
Wild thoughts raced through my mind. What action took place inside the young man’s mouth when he received the Host? Had he stashed the chewing gum in the corner of his cheek so that he could quickly swallow the Host before he resumed chewing? Or, God forbid, did he crush the Host into the gum?
I have since wondered what action I should have taken. Had he insulted my wife sitting beside me, there would have been a scene. Instead, his action implied lack of respect for the Son of God, and I was silent. My excuse for inaction was to put the blame on others.
The fellow was probably born fifteen years after Vatican II Conference. Since then, the Church has successfully undervalued the Eucharist and Communion Sacraments in favor of a busy Mass which eliminated Mystery, silence and meditation. As do too many Catholics, the gum-chewer probably considers the Host to be merely a spiritual vitamin pill, freely dispensed during the service as a doctor might give a sample placebo to his patients.
When I converted to Catholicism over fifty years ago, I was attracted by the spiritual reality of God having become man and the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the very Body and Blood of the risen Christ. But the young man, whose behavior upset me, probably has scant knowledge of the dogmas of Incarnation and Communion. Who should have prevented his ignorance?
My only consolation is the fact that this young man was at Mass.
(And what are your thoughts?)
The winner of the gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics is Adrienne, who logged in at 7:05 PM on August 13..
One beautiful Sunday morning, a priest who wanted to play golf, asked his associate to cover for him at early Mass. Observing this from on high, this annoyed St. Peter, who asked God, “Are you going to let him get away with it?” God told him to be patient.
On the 4th hole, the priest, playing alone, hit the most fabulous shot of his life — 420 feet straight towards the green. When he walked to the ball, the priest realized he had made a hole-in-one. This puzzled St. Peter who asked God, “What kind of punishment do you call that?”
God smiled and said, “Who’s he going to tell?”
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