Yesterday, I went to 5:15 Mass at St. Mary's basilica in Halifax. The Mass' special intention was for a woman who died in the Philippines, her sister is a parishioner of St. Mary's. So that woman, her husband, daughter and daughter's boyfriend came and sat in front of me.
This was not a funeral Mass. It was the regular daily Mass but the priest said, at the beginning, that it would be a memorial for this woman who died suddenly, while awaiting a liver transplant. Her sister and family could not return to the Philippines for her funeral, so this was their funeral Mass in Canada.
At one point during the homily, I noticed that the young daughter (about 20 years old) was sitting with her eyes open but cast down and she never moved from that position. Whenever we stood up, she took her purse off her lap and put it on the pew behind her. But whenever we sat down, she picked the purse up, put it on her lap and resumed the eyes down, very still but at attention, pose. And then I realised what she was doing. She was on her phone and it was hidden in her bag!
My first reaction was to get really mad. After all, this Mass was for her aunt who had just died, and she couldn't even stop texting or whatever she was doing for half an hour? Then I realised that getting angry was not a response that would do any good; my second response was to think that, at Communion time, if she left her purse on the seat, I would move the phone and hide it under the purse. Imagine her distress when her phone was not where she had left it?
But I knew that would backfire on me so I decided that wasn't the best course of action. I did nothing and just let it go. But I couldn't help thinking about that young woman for quite a long time afterwards. And what struck me was that people simply do not want to live in the present moment, when they are addicted to connecting to the internet. This is the newest form of escapism. What better way to remove yourself from the present reality than just to get on your phone and tune everything else out?
This is what we see everywhere now. People walking down the sidewalk and they don't even notice someone coming towards them, they are texting. Even in restaurants, you see two people at a table and one or both of them are texting someone else. The thought crossed my mind, imagine two people in bed together, just after sexual intimacy and one picks up the phone to text or check messages.
It boggles the mind.
So unplug before you become a complete idiot.