For those who like to read my homilies, I will have some notes below. I regret I did not have time for as much preparation as I like for my homilies.
This weekend, one parish celebrated a special day: the anniversary of the dedication of the church. I suspect few parishes celebrate this, and yet, the anniversary of a parish's dedication is a solemnity for that parish; "solemnity" meaning it's one of the highest ranking celebrations of the year, outranked only by certain other days.
Liturgical law allows for some solemnities to be transferred to a nearby Sunday, for the benefit of the faithful, as long as there is no higher-ranking feast. Thus I do for the anniversaries of each parish's dedication: St. Mary was last dedicated in June, 1979; St. Boniface, in October. So, we celebrated this special day at all Masses at St. Mary.
But that means different readings, and so I had two homilies.
At St. Boniface, I spoke a little about Father's Day, and I talked about the important role a father can play, especially his spiritual leadership. I said (or at least I meant to say) that the most important task a father has is to introduce his children to Jesus Christ, and I talked about how my father did that and how that surely played a role in my becoming a priest. I cannot say just how I did it, but I connected that to Jesus being in the boat, and he is the source of calm and power.
I should explain my homily was supposed to be a little shorter, because at the end of Mass, we had a representative of Radio Maria giving a short word about his apostolate.
At St. Mary, we used a reading from Isaiah, about the foreigners coming to worship the Lord, and a passage from Hebrews contrasting the fearful experience at Sinai to what those to whom the letter was addressed experience: the heavenly Jerusalem, with angels in festal gathering, and a new covenant in blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel. The Gospel was the passage from John, in which Our Lord cleansed the temple.
I mainly worked from the Hebrews passage, explaining the background, and talking about how we are the ones who are not terrified by such manifestations as at Sinai, and yet we do approach something far more awesome--of course, the Sacrifice of the Mass. Only in the Mass is that passage fulfilled: only in the Mass does Heaven come down to earth.
This feast celebrates the establishment of a house of God for this to happen, here in Piqua. I mentioned D-day, and the beachhead those brave men formed on the beaches of Normandy. Why? Because of a terrible darkness that had to be driven back; they formed a beachhead. We are the beachhead of heaven in our world that otherwise would be in darkness; this church (i.e., each Catholic church) is such a beachhead.
I also talked about the importance of our church being--in Isaiah's words--a "house of prayer for all people." Our empty seats are our mission--draw them in! Our sharing in the Eucharist makes us bearers of the same light to further penetrate the world around us with Christ.
In case you wonder why a priest doesn't have plenty of time to prepare his homily(ies) more fully, here's what else I was up to this weekend. Saturday morning we had a crew of volunteers working on groundskeeping; I joined with them. I had a wedding at 1:30 pm, so when not shoveling mulch, I was opening up the school for the bride and her ladies, then making sure the lights were on in church, and the a/c was running. Then the wedding; then a break before confessions, then Mass.
After Saturday Mass, I had a baptism. I really enjoy baptisms! I try to involve the older children, by having them help me set up, and hold things for me such as the book and a towel. After the baptism, I was talking to the older brother, 14; I asked his name, and he said "John"; "Father John, doesn't that have a nice sound to it? He grinned and said it did; I said, "hey, look how great this is--I get to make saints! How cool is that?"(referring to my baptism homily, where I explain why we sing a Litany of the Saints--in baptism, this child becomes a saint; the "trick" is to stay a saint through life, and arrive in heaven, which is why the parents and godparents have such a great responsibility). Then I joined two classmates for dinner in Urbana.
This morning I had the 7 am Mass, then 9 am Mass back at St. Mary. Now I'm taking a break; I will go down to Troy this afternoon to take part in a priest's 50th Anniversary Mass, then the seminarians are taking the vicar and me out to dinner for Father's Day! Isn't that nice of them to do?