Allow me to whisk away any pretense of being The Uber-Domestic Church Momma by admitting I did not prepare my kids for Palm Sunday this year. No crafts, no stories, no talking about the upcoming Gospel narrative. I was sleep-deprived and having hormone-induced, over-tired melt-downs, so I didn't even plug them into the Holy Heroes' Lenten Adventure.
At 6 pm we took them to the Extraordinary Form. Mass was beautiful (incense! chant! procession!), and of course, the longest Gospel reading of the year was all. in. Latin. (and did I mention that I hadn't prepped them?)
They were so good, my children. We were proud of them: no whining or melt-downs. Just wiggles, sneeling and slumping that I let pass (because honestly, I have always been a poor excuse for a traddy).
Father B. is over 80. Since he’d already (heroically) processed the Basilica, and prayed the entire EF Mass without needing help in getting up and down, I was not going to fault him for skipping his usual “re-read the Gospel in English during the homily” EF habit, because, hello, that would’ve added another half hour onto Mass.
When the time for his homily rolled around, Fr. B. was unapologetic with his select few words. To paraphrase: On Palm Sunday, the mobs outside of Jerusalem shouted a welcome to Christ, waved branches, sang "Hosanna!" and brought Him into the city with great joy. Just five days later, these very same people would yell, “”Crucify Him!” We must all remember that when we call Christ “Lord,” we are proclaiming to live for Him. Are we prepared to follow through with that? Or are we welcoming to Jesus only as long as it suits us, only as it is easy, safe or feeling good to do so? Do we really accept Him as our Lord, or are we too ready to Crucify Him?
That two minute homily convicted me. I may be a cradle Catholic, with all the trappings of a “solid,” “practicing,” “orthodox,” fill-in-the-blank-with-your-own label, homeschooling mother, but my conversion to Christ is an on-going event that has rarely been entirely “comfortable.”
When I call Him Lord, have I totally laid down my life to Him? Have I taken His advice to the rich young man, and given up my possessions to follow Him? Or am I still holding onto something else, just in case this Christian life gets too intense, too out-of-hand; beyond my control, my comfort or my worldly comprehension?
My quips about longing for the mud last week weren’t mere jest. My moments of saying, “Yes, Lord,” and stepping closer to Him have always been a counterpoint to the tug of my own longing for something easier, more socially acceptable, more fun. There remains that temptation to move towards whatever wins the approbation of others.
Anything ongoing can be interrupted. Any work-in-process can be abandoned and left incomplete at any point in time. True enough we all are called to sainthood, but truer still is the fact that I am no saint yet.
It is never God who walks away; it is always the sinner, who is more attached to her sin and her self than she is to her Lord.