Search This Blog

Friday, December 11, 2015

Uncle Billy, Goodfellas and God's Sense of Humor...

Uncle Billy, Mr. Potter has the money!
Yes, I'll admit it.  I can be a little absent minded.

I've been known to forget my kids at school, or to pick them up at my parents' house on my way home from work then having to backtrack to get them after driving all the way home.  I have forgotten my reading glasses on days I'm scheduled to read at Mass. And, of course, my wife's all-time favorite; I forget to pay the bills on time.  You can say I'm the It's A Wonderful Life's Uncle Billy of the Espinosa clan.  Although, I think our firstborn has inherited my prowess, or lack thereof!

Every Friday, for the past couple of years, I am the scheduled lector at morning Mass at my parish.  I can honestly say, for the most part, I have been very reliable, even on Holidays.  However, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I completely forgot I had to read!  I woke up and went to the computer and realized I wasn't where I was supposed to be about twenty minutes after I was supposed to be there!

That following Sunday, my son was serving as an altar boy at the evening Mass. We got there early, so that he would have plenty of time to get ready and, as I sat there praying, about five minutes before the liturgy was to begin, one of the Eucharistic Ministers comes up to where my family was sitting and says, "Father needs you to be the lector."

Say what?  I looked at my wife with a face of horror.  You know, the kind of look a father might get when his college-aged daughter tells him she has a boyfriend she wants him to meet, which, I can honestly say, I'm not looking forward to!

Despite being a lector every week, I have a phobia about reading in public. My mind and lips are not always synchronized when I get nervous.  Maybe, it's a childhood trauma from grammar school that I have suppressed deep in my psyche.

In fact, in order to read, especially at Sunday masses, I prepare extensively.  I read the readings several times.  I do tongue-loosening exercises, which humors my kids, since I drive to church with a pen across my mouth and over my tongue, as I repeat in a loud voice, "Red leather, yellow leather." And, as importantly, except on Friday mornings when I'm usually scrambling, I try to get to church early to pray.  And, pray I do!  I ask for the intercession of the Blessed Mother, St. Thomas More, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine of Hippo, St. John Paul II, Sts. Peter and Paul, St. John the Apostle, St. John Vianney, Venerable Fulton Sheen and I can go on for a while, so that I'm able to read the words as they are written, and do so with poise, passion and love and without stumbling, or stuttering please!  I'm telling you, it takes a lot of mental, physical and spiritual preparation!

Ain't no angels...
So, there I was, in a dress shirt and slacks, mind you.  I wasn't even wearing a coat and tie!  I had to rush into the sacristy to skim over the readings (I had to do both readings because no other lector showed up), the prayer of the faithful and the announcements before the start of Mass and had five minutes to do it! Funny, funny Mr. God.

I got through it, to the best of my abilities, later noticing I had two huge circles under each armpit, but then, as if that wasn't enough to fill the halls of heaven with cheer, laughter and high fives (like the characters of Goodfellas telling war stories sans the alcohol and foul language!), on the following Thursday, He did it again!

I had our parish's men's group meeting that night.  However, it was raining and I left work late so I decided to blow it off. The next day, of course, I was scheduled to read.  Well, if I didn't want to get wet the night before, that morning, it was like a monsoon; cats, dogs and possibly a couple Shetland ponies.  It was terrible. The Big Guy is a riot!  I wonder if having Robin Williams around has anything to do with it.

In any case, my wife says I forget because I'm not paying attention.  The problem is that even when I'm paying attention, I sometimes forget!  Yes, yes; Uncle Billy.  I should start tying ribbons around my fingers but, in his case, he forgot what the ribbons were for.  It really sucks to get old...                    

No comments: