Wednesday, October 7, 2009

THE KISS

Thank you to all for the many kind comments to my previous post, Emmaus Walk.  I hope to find time (and interior calm) to expand on those reflections further this weekend, since there is much more to say. Right now I'm a bit exhausted from dealing with 14 rambunctious, but utterly charming teenagers in a long play practice.

However, on the way home I stopped off at the tiny church next door, St. Aldaberts. This is the first time I've joined this intimate, warm community for services, beginning with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 6:30, followed by Mass at 7 ( a rarity for me). During the opening section of the mass, a young man in his mid twenties came and sat down in a pew a few rows ahead of me. Right at the beginning of the reading of the epistle, another young man of about the same age, joined the first and kissed him quickly on the mouth, then sat beside him. I thought, hmmmm, is this a Czech custom? The two then proceeded to chatter very amiably all throughout the service, pausing for a moment only during the consecration. They were so filled with joy in each other's company that their enthusiasm and affection spread a warm glow over the rest of us. Clearly no one seemed to mind or care, including the rather sleepy 'friar' on the altar who gazed at the pair for a few moments. When we came to receive communion, I was given a clue. Everyone in the line ahead of me took communion in the hand, an extreme rarity in the Czech Republic, and that's when I realized this was a 'liberal' parish, liberal indeed if two gay men felt confident enough to kiss in public in church. So, thank you Jesus (as my mother used to say with a wink). There are signs of hope, however few and far between.
(At the time I wrote this, I didn't realize it was the feast day of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, openly gay saints.)  




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