We're back in merry ol' England and back to our regular church in our new home town. We went to the usual 9 a.m. Mass, especially because we had signed up to bring snacks for the tea and snacks after Mass. We bought some cookies and gingerbread men the night before (since we had just flown in from Germany). We supplemented that with some butter crackers we brought from Germany. They went over well.
The normal routine was resumed. We arrived 5 or 10 minutes early, Jacob went potty beforehand (and we dropped off the snacks), we headed back to church for the start of Mass.
The new translation is still tripping people up (including us), especially the "and also with you" to "and with your spirit" change. Father teased us about that a few more times than I thought appropriate, but I suppose something has to whip us into shape. A new children's choir began today. They will be helping us celebrate Mass fortnightly. Children's liturgy was held across the street as usual. Lucy went with Mommy to hear stories about the glory of creation and color some pictures; Jacob stayed with me in the church.
Jacob spent most of Mass looking through the back index of the hymn book and muttering to himself. Some words were definitely religious if not actual prayers. He helped give money to the church during the offertory (Lucy returned a few minutes too late). He shook a few hands though not many. Father blessed him when we received communion.
After Mass, we lit candles on the other side of church, in front of the statue of St. Joseph holding the baby Jesus. When I asked Lucy who she wanted to pray for, she said, "God and baby Jesus." I assume she was inspired by the statue. Jacob prayed for Mommy.
At the tea and snacks, we had some refreshments but didn't socialize much. Maybe next week.
Father's sermon was quite interesting. Today's gospel relates the parable of the two sons, the first of whom told his father he wouldn't work in the vineyard, but later repented and did work. The other son promised to work but never did. Jesus then draws the parallel to the Pharisees, who saw the fruits of John the Baptist's work, i.e. prostitutes and tax collectors converting, but did not accept or investigate what the Baptist said. Father said for the people of the time, and up to quite recently, a son refusing his father's request to his face is quite shocking. But even such a sin is not unforgivable or without the possibility of repentance. We need to remember that no one alive is in a hopelessly evil state. On the other hand, the son who seems to have paid only lip service to his father may not be as evil as he seems. Laziness or forgetfulness or distraction played a part in his failure. Father told us how his grandmother used to tell him, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." When he was older and told this to a wise priest friend, the wise priest said, "That sounds just like the sort of road that leads to Heaven." Good intentions are not bad; we need to follow through, to pray for perseverance. Or to pick ourselves back up and keeping going down the right road.