Christmas, Easter and Ash Wednesday tend to be when Catholics who don't go to church regularly seem to come out of hibernation, which means there are people who show up whom you've never seen before. This past Christmas, I was ushering at Midnight Mass when in walked two men I'd never seen in my life. One had a bald head wearing cargo shorts and a tie-dye shirt. The other had shoulder-length hair pulled back into a messy ponytail, jeans and a sweatshirt. They were scruffy, rough around the edges. Their demeanor and the looks on their faces reminded me of the guys who were into punk rock when I was in high school. I was a bit suspicious of them so I watched them carefully throughout the Mass.
The bald tie-dye shirt guy didn't participate much. He was mostly sitting. He did stand when everyone stood, but he didn't kneel. The one that took me by surprise was his companion. He was one of the most reverent people I'd ever seen, a look of peace on his face. And when he received Communion, he received it with such grace and a high level of respect. I regretted my preconceived judgement of him. For his friend, I had to respect that he didn't really seem like he cared to be there, but he did go and accompany his friend. I always smile and greet everyone who walks in when I usher, but I wished I said something a bit more welcoming rather than eye them the whole time.
But that's just it, isn't it? As