Saturday, January 05, 2008

If you don't know Him now...(Sunday homily)

I never use anyone else’s sermons;
I always prepare my own homilies.

But I found a quote,
from the novelist, Flannery O’Connor.
I thought I’d share it with you for this Feast Day.

In her novel, “The Violent Bear it Away,”
Flannery O’Connor describes a 12-year old girl,
Preaching in a ramshackle, store-front church.

Here’s part of what she said;
I invite you to listen and reflect on these words:

“God told the world he was going to send it a king
and the world waited.

“The world thought,
a golden fleece will do for His bed.
Silver and gold and peacock tails,
a thousand suns in a peacock's tail
will do for His sash.
His mother will ride on a four-horned white beast
and use the sunset for a cape.
She'll trail it behind her over the ground
and let the world pull it to pieces,
a new one every evening.

“Jesus came on cold straw,
Jesus was warmed by the breath of an ox.

“‘Who is this?’ the world said.
‘Who is this blue-cold child and this woman,
plain as the winter?

“‘Is this the Word of God, this blue-cold child?
Is this His will, this plain winter-woman?’

“The world said, ‘Love cuts like the cold wind
and the will of God is plain as the winter.
Where is the summer will of God?
Where are the green seasons of God’s will?’

“They had to flee into Egypt….

“You and know what the world hoped then.
The world hoped old Herod would slay the right child
[and] wouldn’t waste those [other] children….

“He didn’t get the right one….

“Jesus grew up and raised the dead…
and the world shouted, ‘Leave the dead die!
What do we want with the dead alive?’

“[T]hey nailed Him to a cross
and run a spear through His side
and then they said,
‘Now we can have some peace,
Now we can ease our minds.’

“And they hadn’t but only said it
when they wanted him to come again.
Their eyes were opened
and they saw the glory they had killed.

“‘Listen world,’” O’Connor’s young evangelist cried out.
“Jesus is coming again!
Will you know the Lord Jesus then?

“If you don’t know Him now, you won’t know Him then.”

Who is that blue-cold child?
Who is that woman, plain as the winter?

If you don’t know him now, you won’t know him then.


Anonymous said...

Father Fox,

Is there a difference between a sermon and a homily?


Fr Martin Fox said...


If there is, it is a technical one, but not -- in my judgment -- a meaningful one.

Supposedly, a homily must, by definition, be Scripture-driven, while a sermon may be, or may be topic-driven.

Kit said...

Hi Father --

Just wanted to say hi and thanks! I do enjoy your blog and your in the most far-flung part of the Diocese of Rochester (NY) we have exactly two priests, each over 65, in our three "clusters" who seem to be true originalists. Otherwise, we are treated to female homilists -- oops -- pastoral associates who give "reflections" while the less motivated priests sit and watch.

I occasionally drive 90 minutes to the opposite end of the DOR to hear my adopted brother-priest from Nigeria preach (wonderful!) but he has been warned by Bishop Clark's office that he is "too conservative" and if he loses parishioners, he will lose his place as a pastor. (He is here "on loan" from Nigeria because of the shortage here. Can you imagine, with such a boss?)

Anyway...thanks for living your vocation, and God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Flannery O'Conner is one of my extreme favorite southern writers!
You did great with this!