A few years ago at Mass, I was sitting near a woman who had a small boy on her lap. He looked to be almost three years old. It was an ordinary Sunday mass and the child seemed like an ordinary child. At the time of the consecration, the faithful were quiet, the bell was rung, the priest held up the sacrament and everything was as expected. Then the child, who had, up to now, been quiet, shouted out:
He dragged the hello out into one long yodel. Helloooooooooooo. Everybody in the church turned.
Like many children, he knew an audience when he had one, so he lauded out the louder:
It was a moment of delight. The priest looked shocked, blank, as if Jesus had turned up, in the actual flesh and bone. Shut the child up, you could hear in the fear. Theologically, of course, the child was deliciously correct. The woman holding the small boy looked mildly embarrassed but mostly thrilled.
I cannot remember anything else from the mass apart from the warm welcome of a small child who took the story seriously; the small child whose words of welcome were the surprise of praise among the predictable.
I’m guessing he’d been told to say hello to Jesus around the time the bell tolls. He hadn’t yet learnt the difference between inner voice and outer voice. But who among us learn this? So he greeted: loudly, warmly with a welcome as wide and magnificent as the world.
It can be a shock to take Jesus seriously.
By Padrig O Tuama
From: Daily Prayer with the Corrymella Community
How often do you say, “Hello Jesus!” in your day, at least to yourself?