We’re arriving late as a result of several last minute wardrobe changes to mother’s clothes—including the replacement of the pearl necklace for the seashell crucifix befitting the end of the Easter season. So our seating options are limited. We must choose between the elderly Johnsons who are biding their time here on the way to purgatory or the emergency department (whichever comes sooner), and the barely legal parents of three, the Millers who live off their parent’s social security checks and natural family planning. One of the children begins to cry. Nevermind, that’s mother again.
I wish I could enter a room like this priest. At the front of his posse, a slave child bears a wooden cross followed by two other children who seem useless and tired, probably dragged here with the promise of a church basement doughnut at the end of mass. Behind them are two community elders holding books filled with secrets and judgements and bringing up the rear is the star performer, man of the hour, Julliard trained priest. The organ bellows as the doors open before him. I made a mental note to buy myself a crew with minions after the show. I’d like such a perfectly-timed musical entrance when I ask my boss for a raise.
I wondered if my indoor sunglasses and the giant jug of orange juice betrayed my hangover.
Fuck. I forgot this was a children’s mass. Tone deaf fourth-grade Sally just picked a wedgie to kick off her grand entrance and then promptly shoved her skirt down into her underwear upon her solo’s completion. Marcus was on the verge of his closeted adolescent phase, but the gelled hair and sweater vest betrayed his future calling. I said a prayer for his soon-to-be-auditioned, completely-unaware fag hag high school girlfriend.
Of course the first reading was Sodom and Gomorrah. Is this story not adding up for anyone else? Gay, sinful heathen townsfolk raping a bunch of angels? That story doesn’t check out. If the townsfolk were really gay, they would’ve welcomed those fairy angels in with a chilled wine and a cheese platter. Some Molly perhaps. In all likelihood, they were homophobic, bicurious professional athletes.
Were the rainsticks during the Responsorial Psalm really necessary? No wonder this music director hasn’t made it to Broadway. It simply didn’t fit with the creative vision for the mass or the poor audio system.
Another classic from Peter: wives be obedient to their husbands. At what point do we get rid of this reading from the Bible? Seriously, Peter, where do you get off? More importantly, with language like that, who is getting you off? Probably those bros at Gomorrah, let’s be real.
Sister Beatrice gave me a look midway through the gospel as if to say: I know how many guys you kissed last night. But we all know Beatrice has some lady lovin’ on the side.
Finally some action. In the midst of Father Mulligan’s homily, one of the elderly crew passed out due to the heat and Lord knows this parish is too cheap for air conditioning. The church should really have a back-up casket for these occasions. Skip the middle man. Take them to the funeral right now.
After the ambulance was called and the woman and her husband (to whom she must be completely obedient) were taken away, Fr. Mulligan asked us to vote on whether he should continue with his homily. The majority voted yes out of obligation. I voted no. It didn’t seem to have much narrative arc.
Fr. Mulligan asked some of the children about their fears. A nerd said the zombie apocalypse. A little girl said tarantulas but she usually has her father kill them so it’s not a big deal. If I had a child up there, their fears would be emotional intimacy. Hereditary.
“Let none of us suffer in silence,” Fr. Mulligan said. Mother leaned into my ear and said, “Never worry about me. I will never suffer in silence. I’m starving. Can you go outside and call us a brunch reservation?” Table for two awaits us at 10:00 am.
One of the ancients reading the prayers of the faithful botched every single name of the dead this week. Way to kill them a second time, Carl.
Collection time. Let’s get the money! Weren’t tax collectors the bad ones back in the day? Why would anyone sign up then? Or do they get a percentage? When our collector stops by our pew, mother pulls some money out of her bra and puts a $20 in the basket, but immediately asks for cash back so she can pay for parking.
After a brief interlude for money and child belting, act two has begun. We have transitioned from liturgy of the word to liturgy of the eucharist. As in most award-winning musicals, this is where the magic happens. In this parish though, we could truly benefit from a Sister Act-style re-invention/re-imagination. Act two was a lot more physically demanding for the audience though—sit, kneel, stand, bow, sit stand, kneel, walk. I was using this as a replacement for physical therapy this week.
Timmy, the altar server, brought Fr. Mulligan the wrong book. Mulligan gave him a look as if to say, that sin will not be forgiven.
Mulligan has opted not for the traditional spoken word route and instead chosen the monotone Latin verbiage singalong time to consecrate the hosts. Aside from this blatant violation of our ear drums, I grow concerned we may be late for our brunch reservation. Mulligan may like more time on his knees, but do we need to?
With some final prayers, Mulligan conjures God to be present in our bread and wine. What if one of these days God doesn’t show? After all he didn’t get the grand entrance Mulligan did at the beginning. That sort of mis-prioritization would grate on me over the years. Mulligan gets a mini-fuckin parade and all God gets is some mistimed belling ringing to keep everyone awake so we don’t all pull a Gesthemene 2.0. God’s friends couldn’t even stay up for his death—how could he not have trust issues?
And seriously, Timmy, if you are gonna ring the bells two minutes late, don’t at all. Get it together, slave child.
The passing of the peace has become so impersonal. Nobody wants to shake hands. It’s really a microcosm of our generation’s aversion to human contact and interpersonal connection. Generic waves are proffered east, west, north, south. All directions covered.
All the eucharistic ministers were fucking up hardcore on the altar. Who choreographed this? Certainly not Fosse.
Some of the real ancients get to stay seated instead of walk up. These fucks were too lazy to even get the BODY OF CHRIST. Buddies: you’re so close to the grave. Don’t you want to put int he extra efforts?…But if it’s not that much trouble, I’d take a delivery order as well. I was still sore from the mandated audience participation stretching.
Those who had committed mortal sins were forced to sit and abstain from receiving the eucharist. Each seated individual I tried to guess their mortal sin—adultery, second-term abortion, gluttony? I didn’t have to guess with the Opus Dei crew. I’d seen Da Vinci code. We all knew it was domestic abuse that ended with some sort of natural family planning sexual makeup sex.
I knew the wine was now Jesus’ blood, but transubstantion did not take away the smell of booze and it was way too soon for that.
The priest said closing prayers but the crowd was on its way out like a stadium concert crowd that wanted to skip the encores to beat the traffic. Poor guy.
My pity was revoked. Mulligan launched into full on announcements about the youth group, which could’ve been titled: social suicide for half asexual females, half homosexual males, and entirely acne.
As the priest exits—again with a glorious fanfare—I realize the green garments don’t match his eyes. Poor fashion design.
Mother removes the golden cross and orders a mimosa bucket.