I went over and stood in the back of the church (which I suppose is really the front of the church) by the doors. In fact, I stood dead center, using my girth to block access to the outside.
I stood, and waited.
Soon, there it was. Just after the moment the celebrant gave the final blessing, they began to come towards me, trying to leave Mass.
And I didn't budge.
In a rare moment of bravery, I said in my best passive-aggressive voice, "Oh no, you can't go yet. Father hasn't left yet."
Soon there was a logjam of humanity. People unable to escape, wondering what was wrong. Thinking, "Every other week we're in our car by now. What gives?"
As I stood my ground, I was trying to figure out why I was so "all of a sudden" brave?
Then it hit me. I didn't not recognize any of them, even though I've been here for 13 months. Week after week they come to Mass and leave early, so I never get the chance to shake their hands before they make for their cars.
Next week, I'll have the Saturday night Mass, and they'll leave early again.
But I did have this afternoon, and it felt great.