This past weekend St. Sebastian had a visiting priest, Fr. Mark Haydu LC, who is the International Director of the Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museums at the Vatican. (He is also an Akron boy who done good.) He just came out with a new book, Reflections on Vatican Art: Angels, and came to St. Sebastian as part of a book tour. He also celebrated 9:00AM Mass, which I concelebrated with him.
I like to think that I am open to how other priests celebrate Mass when they come here. "Just do what you do and we'll try to adjust" is something I say a lot but I am dubious as to how much I actually mean it.
Here is a prime example: We are almost at the end of Mass. Everybody is seated and we await Father to pray the collect after communion. Some priests jump right into it. I like to wait a little to give people time to pray and am always happy when other priests do the same.
Then full pastor mode kicks in and I start thinking logistics of people sticking around to meet Father and the cars coming in for the next Mass . . .
So much for being open and flexible. Anyhoo . . . at the end of the homily he talked about being in Rome. "What's going on in Rome with the Pope?" he reported people constantly asking him. He told us that, unlike our previous two pontiffs, the primary audience for the pope is not the people sitting in the pews, but those who SHOULD be in the pews but are not. The pope is not speaking to us.
He likened it to the story of the prodigal son. The Father lavishes attention on the son who was off doing whatever it was he was doing and tried to make him feel comfortable, loved, and secure being home again. MEANWHILE the son that was home, comfortable, and secure is grousing, "HEY! HELLO! Remember ME, the SON that is RIGHT HERE and WANTS YOUR CONTINUED ATTENTION? What about ME! I, after all, DESERVE IT much more than this son of YOURS who was off gallivanting around."
"Essentially," said Fr. Haydu, "we are that faithful son who is upset that our father is paying too much attention to the wayward son and we are feeling ouchy."
I am willing to buy that. It makes sense. But . . . hey . . .