Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Instinct to love and protect

I was watching Bones last weekend and found Angela's character amusing. For those of you who don't follow this fabulous show, she is pregnant with her first child. She also went around proclaiming all the things her child would not be doing - like bmx biking - because they were too dangerous. Her husband told her it was the pregnancy hormones talking.

There have not been many times I have felt like that. True, I may have gotten upset once or twice over trivial things. I also might have proclaimed a few off limits activities while my children are young, but most of those topics were brought up by me before the pregnancy as well so it can't be blamed.

On the other hand, this Sunday at church I definitely felt the motherly instincts/pregnancy hormones kick in towards the end. Or maybe it was just genuine concern at first and hormones that kept me upset about it for hours after. It was an awkward situation to say the least.

Halfway through Mass, a couple of homeless people wander in. For a while, they stayed toward the back. They would have outbursts occasionally but I don't think they were intentionally trying to disrupt the service. I heard them during the sign of peace loudly saying it to other people. I guess it is okay if they stay in the back. Then, during the consecration (the climax of the mass), they start walking down the aisle. One elderly gentleman decided that was enough and escorted them out of the church. Apparently this couple didn't just wander in by complete accident because they came right back in. I didn't notice this until I realized the same guy was forcing them outside again. I was outraged and a bit upset at myself for not saying anything.

All I could think of was that is not a loving way to treat some people that obviously need some help. Okay, they may have been a bit distracting and a bit smelly, but didn't they have a right to be in the house of God? I was reminded of the Bible passage that warns us not to sit important people in the front and poor people in the back. This was worse, the poor people were kicked out to the street.

As my husband and I went out for a roast dinner I looked around to see if I could give those mistreated people the snack I always keep in my purse - they were nowhere to be seen. I talked with him during our meal and said that was unfair and what should we have done? I've decided, if that happens next week, I will go and ask the man why people are being thrown out. What have they done to offend God so much that they are not allowed inside? In my opinion they had done nothing wrong. Yes, they were distracting, but I don't think they were trying to be. Just like young children don't try to disrupt the Mass - they just have a knack for doing so.

I said a prayer for the couple and for our church to show love to everyone, but I didn't find the courage to stand up to the one forcing them out. I wish I had. What would you do?


  1. This is tricky. I get that people would be concerned about unknown visitors walking straight down the center aisle during the consecration. But at the same time, we shouldn't be kicking people out of church for no reason.

    Maybe you should talk to the gentleman who escorted them out? Perhaps he's had some previous history with them and can provide context. Or perhaps, you can offer a gentler option - how he (or you!) can share with the visitors quickly and quietly what the Mass is about, and the importance of being quiet and respectful...

    Also, I also saw that Bones episode, and even though I'm not yet pregnant, I agree with Angela. I pray to God I have calm, not-crazy GIRLS. Not sure I would know what to do with boys... or survive tree-climbing (and more!) antics.

  2. I'm sure you would do just fine with boys. Will and I talked about that topic last night - like how old they need to be to watch movies like Star Wars and James Bond. Much older for the latter because of the womanizing quality! The activities don't bother me as much.

    I agree with your idea, and think I mentioned it. I did want to ask why they were being kicked out and not just overtake the situation. It still upset me though

  3. This is such a loaded topic for me personally. I am grateful I found your well-articulated insights on tolerance. Everyday I attempt (and often fail) to embrace love and tolerance, as an example to my family and community but more importantly as a responsibility to God. Thanks!