Monday, November 24, 2003

How To Hear a Great Homily Every Time You're at Mass

I wrote about this in The How-To Book of the Mass, giving a concrete way to do it. A friend who has put it into practice told me about a week ago that it had worked for him at every Mass that he had attended until last Sunday when the priest spent the entire time lambasting various bishops and political decisions made by Bush and the Congress. This Sunday he said the pastor apologized for the remarks fo the visiting priest (recently ordained) for as he said, "not preaching a homily but giving his opinion." Therein lies the problem when priests confuse their role, essentially writing opinion columns and delivering them orally rather than preaching the Gospel.

All of this is on my mind since I'm preaching a mission next week. Any time you have the opportunity to speak to people it is a blessed moment and one that you don't want to squander on your ego. I ask your prayers for this mission and as I make final changes to the talks that I'm giving, please pray for the Lord's guidance.

Speaking of homilies and trying to hear a great one, yesterday was the Feast of Christ the King and the homily I heard told me that I don't like having kings in my life (a blanket statement made by the homilist who once stated to me in private that the biggest problem in the Church today is people don't like the hierarchy, which may or may not be true, sometimes I think it is more a case of we want to like the hierarchy very much and want them to act like a hierarchy taking bold stands against the culture of death, against those who dilute the faith). I for one, think my problem is more a choice of who is "king" of my life, who is "lord" of my life? Is it pleasure? Is it myself or another person?

I think the answer is different for all of us. I have known people who never are themselves, but constantly seek to please whoever they deem to be the "king" or "lord" of the moment. We all can be tempted when faced with the choice between the man with the crown of thorns or our personal "king" to say with the crowd, "We have no king but....(fill in the blank)."

So, sometimes even when you think you've heard a real bad homily, if in the end it has caused you to reflect on the Gospel more--then God has worked his miracle through the homilist and in fact you've heard a great homily once again!