It was a very hot summer’s day. The sun was bright and not a cloud in the sky.
Father Ignatius was in the Sacristy preparing for Sunday Mass. He asked one of the Altar servers to open all the windows in church to cool it down a little and he resolved to keep his sermon particularly short to spare his congregation, the very young and the elderly especially, from staying indoors for too long.
The previous Sunday a teenager had fainted during Mass because of the heat, and the considerate priest did not want a repeat performance this Sunday.
Father Ignatius had also devised his own make-shift idea to cool down the church a little by inventing his “Ignatius Air-Conditioning” system, as he called it.
The previous night he had asked Mrs Davenport, the housekeeper, to place four large bottles of water in the freezer. By the morning, they were frozen solid and as hard as rocks.
The ingenious priest then brought two electric fans on pedestals and stood them on either side of the Altar facing the congregation.
In front of each fan, a few inches away, he placed two bottles of solid ice and switched the fans on. The warm air whizzing past the bottles cooled down a few degrees by the time it reached the congregation.
He was well pleased with his invention that he left the Sacristy for a moment to check it was working all right, when he heard a commotion at the back of the church, in the area they called the welcoming lounge.
“That’s not very welcoming …” he thought as he walked to the back of the church to investigate.
There were two young ladies there wearing very low cut T shirts and equally minute shorts. One of the ushers, an elderly gentleman who always wore a three piece suit and tie to come to church, no matter the weather, had taken it upon himself to object to the girls attire and refused to let them enter the church.
“But it’s very hot …” pleaded one of them, “what’s wrong with what we’re wearing?”
“You’re not coming in like that …” replied the overheated usher getting redder in the face by the minute.
They all stopped talking as the priest approached them.
“Welcome ladies …” said Father Ignatius with a smile, “it’s good to see you here … you’re new here aren’t you?”
“It’s always nice to see new people coming to church … now what’s the problem?” he asked looking at the usher and the girls in turn.
“He doesn’t want to let us in dressed like this …” said one of the young girls.
“Hmmm…” said Father Ignatius, “if you were to meet Jesus in person, would you dress like this?”
“No … perhaps not …” they mumbled in unison.
“What makes you think He is not in church today?” continued the priest gently.
“Maybe we’ll come again next week …” said one of the girls as they left.