Distractions.

Evening tinted the small chapel’s stained-glass windows. Since I’d arrived late to Mass, I wedged myself awkwardly next to a mother and her two children. From the back, a little child’s voice hollered out then quieted. That was the only time I heard him. Perhaps his mother carried him out? Mass unfolded. I listened to the first reading. Then came the psalm response: “You are a priest forever, according to the line of Melchizedek…”

My eyes wandered to Fr. Glenn who sat quietly in his chair. He looked less tired than usual, his head bent over, hands folded, deeply contemplating. What did he think about his priesthood? Was it a gift, a burden, a cross, a joy? Perhaps all of those things combined? His life was the life of Christ and indeed, it lasted forever.

The kid beside me started fidgeting, playing with his hands. I sincerely worried he would get them stuck as he shoved them in the openings between the chairs. But they were tiny hands and he effortlessly got them out. Father spoke in his usual calm voice and we stood. My little buddy began playing with his kneeler and stood on top of it. I imagined that he wanted to see Father better. Time for the most sacred consecration came. We knelt down. Watching the boy duck behind his chair, I felt a sudden urge that he should look at the Eucharist. I ever so lightly tapped the boy’s shoulder and pointed to Father lifting up the host. Amazingly, the boy calmed. He stared forward and for a few, brief seconds, his eyes encountered Jesus.
Then it occurred that I was the one being distracted. Being in youth ministry was not about merely watching kids or filling up a spare Wednesday night. I didn’t go to exercise my knowledge of the faith. No, I come for moments like this, getting young hearts inclined to God.

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