If you're feeling the temptation to get all high and mighty this Sunday at Mass, one of my favorite bloggers on the National Catholic Register, Simcha Fisher, has an article for you: "The C&E Crowd: How to Deal." You have to read the entire thing. Really! Read it! Read it now! Not only is it hilarious, but it cuts to the hard truth of what anyone tempted to look down on the C&E crowd needs to hear. Are you ready for it? Here's the hard truth:
"...we need Easter because we're crappy people who get mad at other people even during Mass."Yikes. I. Am. A. Crappy. Person.
In typical Simcha fashion, she made me laugh my way through the article. Then, I came to that line, and I wanted to cry. What is wrong with us?! What kind of a crappy person gets mad at people even during Mass?
Me, that's who! I know I've grumbled to myself (and, after Mass, to whoever is in the car with me on our way out of the parking lot) about the irreverence and general lackadaisical attitude of the C&E crowd. How dare they take my well-deserved spot in a seat?! Where have they been every other Sunday?
Well...they've probably been avoiding me and every other Snooty McSnooterson parishoner that grumbles about the crowd. You know what's a terrifying thought? Regardless of why the C&E individual seated next to me is there, I need to consider: Might mine be the only hand they shake during the Sign of Peace? Will they remember my face as their reason for not returning to Mass?
You know what I should be thinking? I should be keeping my focus on the Mass. I should be asking God to forgive me for all of the times that I've messed up big-time and He could and should have looked at me with the same stink-eye I'm giving my neighbor for saying, "And also with you." Instead of asking myself, "Where's that family been the other 50 Sundays of the year?!" I should be asking myself, "Is it possible that I've been the one keeping them away?" It's really a shame if those of us that look like Judas to the C&E crowd are the reason they are staying away from Jesus. There's no need for them to leave Christ because of Judas! Nonetheless, it happens.
We will likely encounter all kinds of distractions that will do their best to keep our focus from where it should be. That's the time for us to do some serious prayer and contemplation on how we can keep the C&E crowd coming each week and what kind of a message our lives outside the walls of church send the world. Scary, huh?
If that's not powerful enough, just look at Him. On the cross. Look at what we did to Him, and He is God. Was He talking about the C&E crowd or me when he said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"? And even though I'm being a crappy person, He still died on that cross for me. Shape up, Snooty McSnooterson. God loves me in spite of myself, and He loves the C&E crowd, too.
The joke's on all of us Snooty McSnootersons and not the C&E crowd. Just like a mother disciplining her tween in front of her toddler, God will tell me, "You should know better." And I should--precisely because I'm not in the C&E crowd. I've been there the other 50 Sundays of the year, and I'm the one who still doesn't get it.