Our sweet little 8-year-old boy celebrated his First Holy Communion this past weekend and it was a beautiful and touching experience for our entire family!

There were lovely hymns sung by the children’s choir, a rousing homily from our parish priest on the necessity of the Eucharist in our lives, and two narrowly avoided fistfights in the pews around us!

Truly a beautiful day!

It was a Mass that we all knew would be absolutely packed. So, you know the drill: one poor family member is sent in ahead of time, armed with nine coats, three umbrellas, and a slew of hand bags, tasked with the very important mission of saving an entire pew by any means necessary!

At a First Communion Mass packed with 50 kids accompanied by families, friends, and well wishers, this mission becomes downright perilous. As the Mass time inches closer, more people try and sit down, only to be told the pew is saved for someone who doesn’t look like they’re actually going to make it.

This is the exact scenario that led to two heated exchanges in the pews around us over the weekend.

One of the verbal altercations went this way:

 “Sorry, this pew is saved.”

 “Hey man, it’s already close to the start of Mass. We’re sitting down.”

 “I said, this pew is saved.”

 “And I said, it’s already close to the start of Mass. We’re sitting down.”

“Hey come on buddy, we’re in a Church.”

 “Exactly!”

Thanks be to God, cooler heads managed to prevail, but it got me thinking about our call to Christian charity and true love for our brothers and sisters.

When we consider how we’re going to answer the call of Christ to “love one another just as I have loved you,” we usually dream up some big idea like a mission trip to a far away land where we’ll build a water filtration center and save an entire community.

But what if we focused on smaller things, on the people in our immediate sphere of influence, and tried to live out Christ’s call with them first and foremost?

St. Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Do ordinary things with extraordinary love,” and even more pointedly, “Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do.”

She knew a thing or two about answering Christ’s call to love. She accomplished big things. And yet she recognized that true Christian charity starts in the small and mundane moments of our everyday lives.

If we can’t show love and charity to the person saving the pew for their family, even though they’re running late and we can’t possibly be expected to stand for an entire Mass, how are we ever going to show love and charity to the sick, the elderly, the homeless, or the prisoner?

There’s a simple and yet very special opportunity waiting for us in the person sitting next to us at Mass. If we can start with loving them in the small moments of every day life, big things will surely follow.


Tommy Tighe is a Catholic husband and father of four boys. You can find out more about him at CatholicHipster.com.