This past Sunday, I woke up late but everyone else was ready so we hustled to make it to mass on time. My oldest wryly remarked, “We’re not even going to try?” as I directed everyone to the cry room. They could sit in the pews but I wanted everyone there, everyone together and I knew sitting in the pews would mean eventual separation of powers to qualm the restless spirits of the two toddlers who had eyed the bake sale as we walked into the church.
There were the obligatory first few minutes of child tetris while I figured out which combinations would result in the least number of fights. Hearing the readings, my six year old asked, “Am I a sheep?” “Yes,” I nodded. “And Dad and I are your shepherds.” Meanwhile, my husband was imitating a border collie, rounding up two wandering lambs.
And yet, as I looked at my sons and daughters and listened to the songs and the readings, I could feel that this was close to heaven, this blessed chaos. Even with the two trips to the bathroom, the three kids shuffling their small chairs, the passing of the baby between the teenagers as a means of distraction, this was the mass. At the sign of peace, there was the usual mad scramble to shake the 54 combinations necessary to make sure all 11 got to each other, plus those around and I knew, this was why we are all always asked to all come, so that all of us would be present, so that none of us would be lost, so that all of us would receive and understand that we are to bring the Eucharist to everyone. No one of us could reach everyone, but each of us could reach some and each of us was called to be the Eucharist to everyone. Each of us are to be fed and to go feed the 5000 with what we receive in every mass. Each of us is to wash each others feet, to cast our nets in open waters not knowing what will happen and to imitate Christ in all things. We will fail, but each of us is a shepherd to another, and a sheep ourselves needing to be brought home.
Copyright 2010 Sherry Antonetti