April 7, 2013

I sat through one of the most depressing and disheartening homilies yesterday at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, some old buck well-intentioned (I guess) but well beyond his ability to connect spiritually and emotionally with his parish on one of the most poignant and theologically deep Gospels any priest is ever going to have the privilege of speaking about. It’s from John 20:19-29:

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

“If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

Hmmm. Lots of stuff going on there, wouldn’t you agree? So what does this priest choose as his subject matter for his homily? No less than the moral lessons found in the Broadway play “The Elephant Man” (from 1977, no less, how’s that for contemporary!). There’s a ten year-old girl and her mom sitting next to me and two teenage girls with their parents sitting in front of me, and I’m wondering what on God’s green earth they’re going to get out of this snoozer of a homily. It was really pissing me off to the point where it took all the strength I could muster not to stand up and cause a scene. I mean, if this is the best the Catholic Church can do the first Mass after Easter then count me out!

There’s so much going one here that applies not just to a bunch of legendary characters two thousand years ago but to each and every one of us today. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, rich or poor, or single, married, divorced, gay, straight, or anything. Think about Jesus’ words in the context of his presenting himself to his followers:

Peace be with you.

This to a group of followers Jesus had walked, talked, taught, and shared every part of his life with since he had chosen them to follow Him and his calling. Talk about your highs and lows and ups and downs! In the past week they had all been received triumphantly into Jerusalem along with their image of a King who would set Israel right before God, then watched as it all went completely wrong before their eyes – Peter disowning Him, Judas betraying Him, the rest of them scattering at the condemnation, suffering, and death of their Master. And now here’s Jesus appearing before their astonished and unbelieving eyes, saying four simple, yet timeless words:

Peace be with you.

If you think about it, Jesus’ words are God’s words to a world that disowns, betrays, and scatters before Him every minute of every day, every day of every week, every week of every year, every year of every century, every century of every millennium. Human nature doesn’t change, the only thing that doesn’t is God’s love for us and His desire for us never to feel beyond His love for us. Amidst all the turmoil, trouble, disillusionment, violence, and stress of the world around us, Jesus’ words are a source of comfort and strength no one or no thing can come close to.

Peace be with you.

You don’t think these words can apply to people young and old? But no, as this priest droned on about the freakin’ Elephant Man play I couldn’t help but wonder what the young people beside and in front of me must have been thinking. Or anyone else in the congregation, for that matter. The Church is supposed to be all about sharing the revelation of Jesus Christ risen from the dead and how that (at least in this day and age) incomprehensible act of resurrection applies to each and every one of us. And having some old, well-intentioned but totally out of touch priest droning on about a Broadway play of twenty-five years after the fact just doesn’t cut it for me. I mean, w
Where’s the passion? Where’s the joy? Where’s the love and commitment to the Gospel?

Call me picky or just as out of touch as this priest was, but if you’re going to preach the Gospel do it with passion and a message that’s contemporary to your audience. I mean, you can’t tell me that there aren’t people – young people especially – that aren’t experiencing in their own lives some sense of betrayal, disillusionment, and loss, and looking for some message that transcends the usual bullshit they can find on TV any given night. This Gospel and this Church must have a message and a way of communicating that message if it wants to be relevant in this world.

To see such an opportunity wasted pisses me off to almost the point of despair.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 00:49 | Comments Off on Peace Be With You?
No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Search The Site

Recent Items


September 2021
April 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006



4 Goodboys Only

Site Info