Hmmm...at what point does the priest flick water in the altar boy's face?
USCCB Guidelines for Altar Servers states that "servers must be mature enough to understand their responsibilities and to carry them out well and with appropriate reverence." Being mature, responsible, appropriate and reverent are requirements in order to be an altar server, but what about priests and deacons? Shouldn't they also be mature, responsible, appropriate and reverent? Apparently not. They continue to not understand what the Mass is or why they are priests and deacons. Where is their priestly dignity? They flirt, play, joke and laugh with altar servers during Mass for Catholics to watch. And so polite too, patting an altar girl on her shoulder. Watching their antics during the holiest part of the Mass one comes to the conclusion that their subliminal message is: Look how much fun it is up here for altar servers! FUN because priests are so friendly on the altar during Mass. So funny and cute! Of course altar servers are much more mature, responsible, appropriate and reverent than a priest who, for instance, thinks it's hilarious to flick water in their face during the Washing of the Hands - the moment in the Mass when Christ is declared innocent by Pilate. Or talk and joke with altar servers during the Washing of Hands, then, instead of reverently folding the towel and placing it over the server's arm, the priest wads it up and tosses it at the server while laughing. What is the priest saying? What football team are you rooting for today?Here!Catch! ....? Mostly, the servers look puzzled and confused as to why their pastor would act in such a manner just prior to the Consecration. After all, they're not serving at the altar for jokes and laughs. They're serving at the altar of God, for God Himself.
No, of course not. Why would I?
Recently, after the cleaning of the Chalice - when in the Mass Christ's Body is anointed in the sepulcher - I saw a visiting priest begin to hand the Chalice and veil to the altar server as is the norm, then when the server almost had grasped it, the priest, like Lucy removing the football from Charlie Brown, snatched the Chalice away. Subliminal message: Hahahaha. Isn't that so funny? I'm too cute for my clerics. He said something to the altar server...who didn't fall for the trick. The young man - who is very reverent - never cracked a smile (because he is more mature than the priest three times his age). He kept standing there with his hands out until the silly funny priest finally gave up the Chalice.
Or how about this: A few Sundays ago on the altar during the Offertory section of unveiling the Chalice - or somewhere around there - one of the altar girls crossed in front of the deacon. She turned around to the left going back to her appointed spot at the same moment the deacon turned to his right doing whatever he was supposed to be doing at that moment and was directly in front of him.
So smiling, he politely, as one would do on the street, hesitated and patted the altar girl on the shoulder as if he were so polite that he let her go first as one would do to a woman in opening a door for her. Rubrics alert!The altar is no place to be politely touching other people!
You go first. No, after you. No, really, you go.
I suppose, at the time during the Mass when Jesus is stripped of his garments being readied to be crucified, we are to politely pat each other on the shoulder if they are in front of us letting them...what? Get a better view from the crowd on Calvary of Jesus being crucified? We smile and are polite because, after all, Jesus meant for this to be an eternal carefree picnic on a sunny day? While he is bleeding out and dying we are to flick water in other people's face? Of course not.
Contrary to what priests and deacons exude up there on the altar fooling around all the time, Holy Mass is a SACRIFICE. Contrary to what they were apparently taught in the seminary, Mass is a SACRIFICE. Contrary to their leftist theology, Mass is a SACRIFICE, therefore neither the time nor the place to be patting each other on the back or flicking water in their face while playing football with a wadded up towel and laughing. (The Tossing of The Towel brings to mind the soldiers' tossing of the dice for Jesus' robe.)
Someone once wondered why the children of Fatima were not smiling in that most famous photo of them. They were all three looking very serious just after they had seen the Blessed Mother. Shouldn't they be smiling, because after all, they had just seen Mary? The answer to that is No. Why would they be smiling?! They had just seen Hell! God sent His Blessed Mother to earth with a very serious message for mankind. And she showed the children Hell and the souls that go there. God is serious business. Life is serious business. Messages from Heaven are serious business.
Mass is serious business. Serious business because Christ's death on the Cross is the means of our salvation. We can smile and be JOYFUL that Christ conquered Satan. That he resurrected. That he is the Savior of our souls. That he left us a Church and the Sacraments to help us attain Heaven. But he eternally does this during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which means that the Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection of Christ all happen before our eyes during Mass when time and eternity intermingle. Mass is serious business.No playing around on the altar. It isn't funny or cute. It's insipid silliness which has no place whatsoever in Christ's Holy Mass.