Dec 17, 2009

You Are Going To Die...Perhaps in the Pulpit...

...if this guy keeps this up.

This video really sickened me because of the arrogance of the preacher. I like the fact that he at least pointed the finger at himself time and again, but I think this called for a gentler hand. Sitting in front of you is a family that has lost a loved one and you choose to concentrate on their sinfulness and berate them for not attending mass?

Listen for yourself...

Now my general opinion of this particular homily notwithstanding...the homily at a funeral I believe can serve the purpose of evangelization that I believe the preacher intended here. I wish I knew what the Gospel and the other readings were but here is a homily that I hope when I am ordained to the diaconate someday, I might get to deliver. Tell me what you think...

Funerals have a way of making us all think about our own mortality, don't they? On Ash Wednesday we Catholics mark our heads with Ashes not to merely show others that we are Catholic but to remind ourselves--literally to impress on our brains--that we indeed have limited time to spend here on earth.

And we are reminded of that fact each and every time that someone whom we love dies.

We all talk about legacies, about what we will leave behind on this earth long after we are gone. And the hard truth is that most of us will be forgotten. I mean how many of us have any first-hand knowledge of our great-great grandparents or could even tell us a bit of their history? The traces we all leave behind us, fade with the decades that pass.

For now, I am the legacy that my father leaves behind. I've worked for my church most of my adult life and my father, an Irish immigrant and a simple school custodian with an 8th grade education gave his very life for his family. My mother would often yell at us that he would work a lot of overtime so that we might be able to do all the things that they dreamed for attend college. Those dreams became a reality for my father, lived out in my own doing and being and in my sister's years of teaching the poorest and the most destitute children.

Yes, these things were more than enough for my father. They weren't haughty goals, nor did they provide riches for him in terms of monetary wealth. What they provided for him were opportunities for love. Over 60 years of love for him to love my mother--especially through years of illness. Over 50 years (sorry, Kathy) of loving my sister throughout her life and over 40 years of love for me.

And it is more than enough of a life for all of us.

My father also made sure that the church and God was a part of that love because my father knew what it meant to be loved by God. Often we are too busy to even notice the love that God offers us even though our holidays betray the very rhythms of God's love for us. We see this at Christmas when we remember that God loves us enough to share in our humanity. God becomes one of us and experiences the full range of human emotion and experience. And later God cares enough to even experience our death. And because of that great sacrifice of sharing our life and our death, God shows us that love is what always defeats death. For when Jesus dies everything ends and begins anew. God's sacrifice defeats death...this self-gift gains us a life eternal with God.

But it's all too easy for any one of us not to appreciate all that God has done for us, isn't it? I know I barely appreciated all that my father had done for me. And his gifts were very visibly tangible...I clearly have been gifted by him with education, love, and a very precious gift of his time--especially in caring for my mother for those many years.

So how much more have I forgotten about God's gift of life? How much have we all forgotten about what has been offered for us and to us? Doesn't this gift that God gives to us seem simply awesome?! Why aren't we all shouting for joy at this and shouldn't this make each one of us burst at the seems for the simply chance to say thanks to God each Sunday at the very least?

We indeed have limited time. And my father knew this. My father knew of his own limitations. And yet, my father spent most of his time loving and some of his time being mindful of the times that he too forgot to love. We call those times sinful and my father would be the first person here to admit that he was a sinful person at times. But he also would be amongst the first ones to rejoice in the fact that our God, the God of second chances offers us all the opportunity to try again--to get it right--to love more deeply and to appreciate what God has done for all of us.

We celebrate my father's life, a life of love, a life of sacrifice and a life that we will miss today. But I am here today to tell you that while my father will one day be forgotten on this earth, our God will never forget a single one of us. The door is always open for God to welcome us home. We trust that God has mercy on all of our own hidden sins and on my father's. Today let us pray that we have the trust that God indeed loves us, offers us His very life and that God's life for us is more than enough to fulfill us while we are here and will continue to be all the love we will ever need.

A h/t to the good deacon on the bench.


god googler said...

Via Facebook...from Ann LaBeck

"Homilies like this are why people leave the Church. And the "Catholics Come Home" program will fail miserably if this is what people end up 'coming home' to. The fear-based approach to getting people to Church in the 50's worked then. It won't work now, and people who think that this is what we need to go back to.....well, they will be the only ones there!"

god googler said...

Via Facebook...From Mary Sperry

"About 15 years ago, I went to a funeral of a young musician who worked in my parish. He had been killed in a car accident, so it was quite unexpected. The parish organized the funeral and the church was packed. He worked as a studio musician and lots of colleagues, mostly non-religious, attended. The week after the funeral, the pastor got a letter from a couple who had come, inquiring about becoming Catholic. Their reasoning: any faith that gives people such hope in the face of death was worth exploring. If all our funerals could do the same."

god googler said...

Via Facebook:

From Joe Howard:

"this guy is ridiculous! how many non-church-goers are really going to start going to church because of his harsh words at a funeral? i think he is more likely to keep people away, and have them saying that this is why they stopped going to church. and saying that the commandment keep holy the sabbath means go to mass is completely out of context. of course we can argue for a connection, but he makes it sound like God gave Moses the Ten Commandments because of people sleeping in on Sunday. "

Anonymous said...

We are drawn only to Love. Your thoughts about your parents echo my thoughts of my parents. Though I had a difficult relationship with my parents, they gave me the great gify of faith. It is an extraordinary gift.

Today's reading from Psalm 89 seems appropriate:

we use up our years in a single breath.
Seventy years are what we have,
or eighty for the stronger ones;
and most of that is labour and sadness –
quickly they pass, and we are gone.

And so we must choose wisely how we spend our time, and hopefuly, in love.

Googling God

Googling God
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