Back in my younger days, I considered the importance of ignoring what’s up front during Mass.
Various ministers were thrust up front by current rules. It’s not their fault, I told myself.
Politeness does not require looking at them, however, I added.
So don’t look, I said. Instead, mind your own business, reading and meditating on the day’s Scripture.
There’s too much going on up front, such as traipsing to and fro with book held high over forehead as if to ward off falling plaster, I said, prior to reading Scripture of the day.
It’s not helpful. Merely distracting.
Then you look up and see priest looking at you.
He can’t help it. Reverentially downcast eyes have not been part of his training.
But you can help it by not looking.