It's been a rainy, sleepy Sunday today. We didn't make it to the usual 8 a.m. Mass and were quite content to go to the 9:30 service. A whole different crowd awaited us in the children's chapel.
And I do mean "crowd." The total number of kids must have been nine or ten, though some drifted in and out with their parents. Motion was the only constant today. Kids were ricocheting off walls, doors, chairs, and other children. No harm was done but we parents were certainly keeping a close eye on things. Lucy met another girl who seemed a little bit older but was about the same size. They were pretty happy staring at each other and handing items back and forth. Jacob, as usual, found a book and read it out loud. Then he found The Step-By-Step Bible which kept him occupied for quite some time. He almost missed the collection. 9:30 is an official children's chapel Mass so the usher came with a basket. And we had to remind him about the sign of peace. He shook everybody's hand. There were no dinosaurs this week, alas.
The 9:30 Mass also has contemporary music, so Jacob wanted to hang around after Communion to watch the musicians and singers for the rest of the service. Then he asked to go to the playground and was eventually convinced that the playground, like his idea, was all wet. He was content to come home for a snack and playing in the basement, i.e. with the new PlayStation2 Rock Band drum kit. But that's a story for another blog.
The most interesting thing the priest said during the sermon (or at least, the most interesting thing I heard) was how people that you find annoying probably find you annoying too. I almost facetiously asked Jacob if he found me annoying but refrained. I'm sure I get on his nerves, especially when he says things like, "No Daddy, I want Mommy," or "Daddy, go in kitchen/upstairs/over there and let me play by myself" or "No diaper change, nnnoooooo!" Sometimes I comply with his wishes but not always. Diaper changes usually aren't negotiable. Jacob is only annoying to me at certain times, but those times definitely feel more significant than perhaps they really are. We're usually back to normal pretty soon.
The context for the priest's comment was the parable of the Prodigal Son, whose brother is upset that the father throws a big party for the return of a ne'r-do-well. Surely both brothers got on one another's nerves and maybe even made their father upset. Nevertheless, the father is a great example of unconditional love for both sons. It can be tough to see past the annoyance to the person, but that other person has the same struggle. Loving your enemies is tough when they seem so unlovable. Therein lies the true call to conversion, to seek to have a better heart, to ask the Lord to take away your stony heart for something far better. May we all answer that call when it comes to us.