Immediately I launched into a state of high dudgeon. From the weak! St. Paul said, "I BOAST of my weakness, for it is when I am weak that I am strong" [2 Cor. 12:9-10]. From the weak! From the weak!...I looked above the alter to Christ, nailed to his cross. We ARE the weak. We ARE the poor, depending solely on God's love. We're not milquetoasts or doormats; rather, we're in contact with reality, and reality is a harsh and dreadful and awe-inspiring thing that very few have the courage to face...
The Pharisees were strong, I fumed. Christ knew better than anybody that nothing is worse than the "religious" person who claims strength, wields strength, imposes his or her unworked-through rage by intimidation, domination, "intellect" that is devoid of heart and thus no intellect at all.
I thought of that passage in the Gospels where Christ says, "For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother," etc. [Mt. 10:35-36]. Does the passage not refer, I mused, to the fact that in the end, it comes down to this fundamental question: Do we stand with the weak, which is to say with ourselves, each other, and the Church, or do we separate ourselves from them? Is it every man for himself or are we all in this together?
Such were my thoughts, all during Mass. They built on themselves, they erected an impregnable fortress, they crowded out all possibility of actually participating, in any meaningful way, in the Sacrament. How sad for the little daughter to have a bully for a father! I thought.
And at the Sign of Peace, this guy who I'd pegged as a fascist turned around and gave me the most beatific, loving smile.