Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday homily

I have no notes from yesterday's homily, just a mental outline, which I'll try to share with you here:

1. The first reading from Sirach tells us "God is a God of justice" and will answer prayers for justice "without delay." Yet look around: does it seem that justice is being accomplished "without delay"? What's missing?

2. God has, it seems, put a great deal of responsibility on us to accomplish justice. Yes, he will eventually intervene and bring total justice--but we call that the end of the world, and that means the end of our chance; in the meantime, we have a mission to seek justice.

3. We also have rights that St. Paul, in his time, would never have dreamed of. We get to choose our elected officials--the emperor, in Paul's time, was not subject to recall; and if Paul had written a letter to the "Roman Daily Call," saying the emperor had to go, that'd have been the end of Paul.

4. If we don't know how to work for justice, if we start looking for opportunities, we will find them. The examples I will mention won't exhaust the list...

5. This mission from God to seek justice is why we Catholics will never be silent about justice for the unborn (and at one or two Masses, I described the work of the Elizabeth New Life Center in Sidney, helping women who face pressure to get abortions--and asked, what about justice for women so they aren't pressured); this is why we must advocate for the poor and for those in the margins.

6. I cited and described the situation of illegal immigrants in this country, working in the shadows. No, we're not happy about the violation of immigration law; but in the meantime, migrant workers are vulnerable, because if someone cheats them, what do they do? We have to put heat on the politicians to fix this mess.

7. I described the principle of the common good; that when we look at how we vote, we don't just look out for our individual interests, but what's good for all of us. Gave the example of base closings: Wright Patterson grew because of it, and it was supposed to be good for the taxpayer; other states were unhappy, but we benefited. What if the President announced that moving Wright Patterson's operations elsewhere would be good for the taxpayer? We hope it never happens; but the decision has to be about what's good for everyone, not just about our own benefit.

8. I talked about solidarity with those outside our country; citing the example of Haiti and the cholera threat--all due to the failure of those in power there to address the damage from the earthquake adequately. Who will advocate for those poor people in Haiti? We can--by contacting our government and insisting our government keep the heat on the government in Haiti.

9. We know God seeks justice speedily; when we stand before him at our judgment, he will ask how we did. What will we say?


Anonymous said...

Father, The Gospel was a great one of repentence, one man thinking he was on the good and didn't look back; the other a tax collector acknowledges that he is a sinner. It seems that this could have been good opportunity to promote the benefit of going to confession and the need to repent, with direct example right there in the reading.

Lately, I have been greatly saddened by the perishners of your church, they do not dispaline their children, nor do they teach them respect of the Mass or the building. Talking and yelling while running up and down isles after Mass or during in some cases, the gum chewing is out of control mainely with adults that should know better. Either the education in the past is very poor or they have forgotten the sacredness of Mass, and how lucky they are to have to opportunity to be able attend weekly.

Perhaps a homily on the rules to be Catholic could help many find their way back, or at least help them to decide what they are.

Revelations 3:16 states, Because you are luke-warm, neither hot or cold, I shall spit you out of my mouth.

But at least they are attending Mass you might say, but are they really present in Mass?

A few weeks ago I shushed a family that was talking behind me, I am sure they don't like me for it, but I was reminding them what they should have known, since then they have been much better. We all can use a reminder once in awhile of what is appropiate and what is not.

No need to post this response if it is an inappropriate place to put it.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Well, I appreciate the comments, they invite several responses...

1. As far as what I chose to preach about: all I can say is, I try to reflect on the readings as best I can, and hope the Holy Spirit is nudging me this way or that. Sometimes, I look for a question raised by the readings, or something that might need further explanation, with the hope that it will be more edifying to those at Mass. If I see a puzzle in the readings, perhaps others will have seen it as well?

2. Repentance is certainly a good theme, too. All I can say is that my thoughts didn't tend that way.

3. I share your many of your concerns, but I'm not convinced that a homily from me is going to fix it. I've had many discussions about this, with other priests and with many parishioners from various points of view, and I am far from convinced about the wisdom of that approach.

The thing is, those who would applaud such a homily aren't the ones who need to hear it; so the measure of success needs to be how it changes things. My guess is that if I try getting it done through homilies, I'm going to have to hit it over and over; and that goes for all the priests. That becomes a major project.

I can tell you I've thought about it a lot; but I haven't found a way to tackle it that I'm satisfied with.

Joy Cade said...

Thank you so much for the "Sunday Homily" post. Am extremely grateful for these as am having a lot of morning sickness at the moment and have had to miss several masses. Don't know when you find the time to write but so glad you do!

Joy Cade said...

Dear Anonymous,

I am wondering where your joy in the Mass is.

I always found before becoming Catholic (and still feel now)that the ever present voices of babies and children were the sweetest accompaniment to the sounds of Mass. Children are not heard in many other churches I have been to as they are put in a separate room. In those churches I feel that half of us are missing or that there is somewhere else I need to be (with my child). It would be a very sad day for me to have to experience Mass without the children.

I also first fell in love with the Catholic Church as a child while observing in Mass the joy, devotion, faith, and love in the faces of the adults around me. I would have missed this had I been not allowed in the Mass. I want my son to see my love of the mass in my eyes too.

I am probably one of the parents you speak of whose little one is running down the isle after church and frankly, I am not that upset about it. If a 4 year old has managed to remain mostly quiet and mostly seated for a full hour and I have managed to catch most of the message while keeping him so then I think we've done alright. If we relax for a moment to catch our breath afther Mass it does not mean that I have forgotten the sacredness. It just means we need to catch our breath.

Jesus himself loved little children and did not want the Pharisees to keep them away from him. He welcomed them and I would imagine that they were noisy and fidgety in those days just as they are now.

I am writing this response because I cannot believe that you actually shushed a family at Mass. I hope that you did not frighten them away from Mass. I think that discouraging any soul from attending mass is an offense infinately worse than any of your aforementioned offenses.

You seem to appreciate quotes so I will borrow yours:
"we can all use a reminder once in awhile of what is appropriate and what is not".

I am telling you now with all my heart that I find your behavior to be highly inappropriate and also potentially harmful to good people who should be encouraged and congratulated for getting themselves along with their wonderful noisy children to Mass.

Let us get on with the business of saving our souls instead of nitpicking eachother.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Joy for your post. I couldn't agree more. I am, in fact, a member of one Fr. Martin's parishes. It appears that the first post was from someone who is not a member of either parish family. And he/she did not identify which church they attend. I have celebrated Mass at both churches for many years.

I think it is wonderful to see small children in church. And if they get a bit noisy or restless I don't mind. I consider it joyful noise unto the Lord. And if they run around after Mass I think the Lord is pleased that they are there and comfortable enough in His house to be happy. Small children are not meant to be quiet and attentive and devout. They are curious and like to ask questions and be on the move. I know they are there but they don't distract me from what I am there for.

Another quote - Let the children come to Me, for of such is made the kingdom of heaven.

I have thought about the gum chewing for a while and have decided that it is a cultural thing and has nothing to do with revrerance or the lack thereof. I notice people chew gum everywhere. And it doesn't appear to me that they are doing it to be irreverant. And I don't know what is in their minds and hearts while they are in church and chewing, so I leave it to the Lord to sort out. And so it doesn't bother me to see someone chewing in church.

Finally, I might suggest that if this person is unhappy or distrated by things that go on in our churches he/she might try looking for another place to worship. For me, St. Mary and St. Boniface are wonderful places to worship, give thanks, and praise God.


Anonymous said...

I really need to keep hearing our need for involvement.

I have a bad tendency to get shy, scared, and quiet at the thought of going where big crowds of people and protesters are. And yet I eagerly read about these people standing up for theirs and others rights. My heart swells with pride when I hear of people defending their beliefs.

How awful it would be then to hear of injustices being committed and noone showing up to protest. I must move on from this fear and be willing to face the crowds for even if I am not feeling courageous myself and can't find my voice I can at least support with my presence and helping hand. I must remember that to say nothing is to agree, accept, condone something. I think there is some useful quote to that effect?

Joy Cade said...

Dear Mike,

Sorry to have gotten your comment mixed up with someone elses.

My husband (computer guy) had to explain it to me (along with everything else technological and computerish). I'm only good at talking a lot (way too much usually) and not so good with how these sites actually work. I think I just published my last comment as Anonymous also. I hit the enter key too quickly.

I would love to learn some manners and wish I had learned more growing up. I am quite sure that my family and other newer generations are devolving in terms of polite behavior.

My grandparents had manners and any classiness I learned was from them. Unfortunately we moved many states away and there went that.

I think it must greatly dismay the older generations this lack of respect and courtesy our culture exhibits now.

When I was in the Navy it was pretty sad how we seemed to go about our business in other countries being oftentimes offensive and equally oblivious to it. We were not appreciated or respected for this lack of manners.

I am trying to teach my son to be polite and absolutely to respect his elders but I am working with my own flawed and lacking knowledge base.

I think it would be fabulous if someone who had manners would be willing to offer classes to teach curious (adults, parents, teenagers, children...)good etiquette for being polite and courteous in basic social situations. There is such a variety of classes being offered anymore but I haven't seen any on manners which are rather important for social beings.I would be happy to give my time and money to learn if someone would be willing to teach.

I need help with different cultures also. Everytime we go out to eat sushi (which unfortunately isn't very often) I bow lightly to the sushi chef and am quite sure my bow means something awful like "your home smells of dishwater". Perhaps I ought not to even try to engage in their complex bowing system. I've no clue.

I would love if they offered manner classes in school. I would definately sign my son up for them. Perhaps he could enlighten his parents upon returning home.) Well thanks for listening. I'm sure I've talked your ear off...

Anonymous said...

Wow, I do like children and do feel they should attend Mass and not be put in a seperate place instead of attending, however, while they are in Church they should act appropriately. I wasn't saying anything against children, as it isn't there fault their parents aren't teaching them as they should.

Mike, I do not belive that the rules of going to communion have changed or are culturaly different. You are to fast at least an hour before going to communion. Gum in your mouth is not fasting.

Joy, I am sorry you feel that it is appropriate to reward your children the opportunity to run wild inside after sitting for an hour. It is God house 24 hours a day not just the hours that mass is going on. Jesus is still present. The doors are a few steps away and they can run around outside of the church. Do you let your children run insdie your house? Other peoples? Other places? Why would you let them run in God's house?

Joy Cade said...

Dear Anonymous (not Mike),

It is not useful to have a conversation with someone who wants to be heard but who cannot be bothered to listen.

You are so eager to critisize, condemn, and judge others that your message would be appreciated only by an audience of sadomasochists.

Have you heard of the expressions "you can catch more flies with honey..." or perhaps "tread softly"...I would guess that you have but as your modus operandi does not involve listening, you missed the point then and will again now.

You are obsessed with placing blame and pointing fingers. This bad bahavior while hiding your identity is cowardly. It doesn't impress me and there is nothing about it which I would wish to emulate.

Therefore listening and writing to you is a waste of my time. You choose not to hear others so you are unteachable. I neither respect nor value your comments. You do not inspire me to engage you. Our conversation is over.


Joy Cade