We were having a hard time paying attention to the priest at Sunday morning Mass. What with two kids under four, under the pews of the two rows where they were ensconced.
Our son occupies himself in various ways during the sixty minutes at Sunday Mass. Sometimes he takes to gazing out of the large church windows after standing precariously on the church benches which line the walls for latecomers. The last time he fell off with a loud thud. He doesn't gaze out of the windows any more.
These days he has taken to playing with my car keys during Mass. Earlier he used to yank off my wedding ring and amuse himself with it. Until recently he believed he was hired by the church authorities to keep the place clean, ferreting out both our spotless handkerchiefs to dust and wipe the benches. Somehow he finds playing with my C1 mobile phone passé. Bangles and bracelets are other things he tries to take off – but why only during Sunday Mass?!
Last Sunday he was playing by himself putting the hymn books in (dis)order. In the pew in front of him was another kid – mischief written all over his face. Six ladies occupied the pew. I happened to notice that the kid used to erupt into laughter frequently. So I decided to watch closely.
The tyke had a small yellow racer car with him – the kind which if you draw it backward and release it, it shoots forward. He was standing on the vinyl kneeler to the right extreme of the pew and releasing the yellow car on the top portion of the pew. As he did so, he followed its progress all the way down across the breadth of the pew to the left extreme with delight! All the six sturdy ladies, two in sarees, two in dresses and two in skirts seemed to be complicit in this act. If the yellow car got stuck anywhere they innocuously set it free and helped it on its way. I guess Jesus would have done the same.
At the close of Mass the whole church emptied. In the shuffling our son noticed a beautiful brown rosary on the floor in our pew. Since the elderly lady in question was nowhere to be seen, I left the rosary in the pew, confident she would retrieve it, as this was her usual seat. We made our way to the cemetery and I noticed the elderly lady. When I asked if the rosary was hers she nodded in horror. ‘We’ll get it for you,’ I said. In a trice my son bounded across to the church, clasped the rosary in his little hands and gave it to the elderly lady. As we left the lady repeatedly saying ‘Thank you,’ the words of Jesus rang in my ear, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’ (Lk 18:16; NCB)
Published in Gomantak Times, Weekender St. Inez, Goa on Sunday, 8 February 2015; Pix source dhgate.com