27 August 2012

Audio for 21stSunOT w/comments

Here's the audio file for my homily from the 21st Sunday OT, "Are you prepared for radical transfiguration?"

A couple of parishioners said things like, "Too intellectual for this parish, Father."

Others said things like, "Enjoyed it.  Didn't understand some of it."

A couple encouraged me to preach this way more often.

One faithful soul chastised me for "apologizing" for quoting difficult material from BXVI, "Don't ever apologize, Father, for making us grow!"  Yes, ma'am, said I.

No one dumped on it, but they probably wouldn't say anything too negative to me personally.  Too bad.

As a Dominican, I refuse to coddle Catholics when I preach. . .meaning, no New Age Oprah Pablum; no social-justicey cliches; no "Jesus Loves You" greeting card verse; no Boil It All Down junk.  
I want to challenge w/o alienating; dare without being needlessly aggressive.  Catholics are always smarter and tougher than priests think they are.  Give it to them, Fathers.  They can take it.

What say you?

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  1. francesco6:40 AM

    Don't mind about. Homily sounds quite good. Unfortunatelely, the average Catholic faithful seems unable to make an effort of understanding an homily that goes beyond the usual stuff you told of. The same happens in Rome. Prayers assured for hurricane

  2. I'm not going to listen to it again, since I have to teach in an hour, but here are my thoughts from Saturday's hearing:
    1. Intellectually it appealed to me, I had to really listen, process and connect everything together (this is good! it was organized, but I still had to "use my brain" - in other words, as Sr. de Lourdes was fond of saying - "no spoon-feeding")
    2. Spiritually very challenging (for me): yes, it made my cry - couldn't help it; the past two weeks have found me doubting/questioning, dealing with difficult temptations, and your passionate questions hit me deep, startled me, and I honestly wasn't too sure I could answer "yes"; but this has been a struggle for me personally for a while - what does complete Trust really look like? what would it look like to completely abandon myself to God's will? (this was where I went from your words) This is the first time that I can say a homily may have been too challenging for me, but only because of the raging battle going on in me right now - and I know all too well the other side of the coin.
    3. You hit on every one of the points in the Irish rant I sent you on what I want in a homily. A+!!

    Don't stop - we do need to hear this (though probably not every day!). Truth, even when painful, is needed - and we cannot grow without challenge, pain, struggle. Of course, on one level, you must meet your congregation at a mutually agreeable place and build from there, but DO NOT bow to the lowest common denominator. Zeal for souls should always be in the back of your mind as you do your work - and I felt much zeal in this homily.

  3. Cathy D.11:22 AM

    I like your homily. I am in a parish in St. Louis, Missouri. We have a new associate pastor at our parish who is giving solid homilies. He pulls together the readings and the teachings of the Church. I couldn't be happier. Both of you keep up the good work!

    I know you don't like to see that hurricane coming your way, but I couldn't be happier. We really need the rain up north!

  4. I don't think people can relate to this type of homily. I think you have to personalize it. Tell a story. Give an example.
    Beware of people who always come up and flatter you. I've noticed that a certain group of Italian/Americans, always cozy up to one of our parish priests, who also is of Italian descent. They speak in Italian together. They're always flattering him.
    But behind his back, they make fun of him.
    He is kind of a "wind-bag."

    1. Faith, I'm not a flatterer myself, so there's no chance of me being compromised by flattery. Frankly, Catholic preaching in the last 50 yrs or so has set the bar pretty low for those of us just arriving on the scene. All we really have to do to preach a decent homily is address the readings, apply them to our people, and not teach any overt heresies. . .we're golden!

    2. Father, I think some of us have slightly higher expectations than that!

      But, Faith, the problem I have found with "stories" or "examples" is that they often come off as "all about me" (the priest), or all about the story, and not always about "how do I grow in my faith and my relationship with God". We had a visiting priest this weekend: engaging, charming, charismatic, funny. He used stories and examples, decent homily (meaning it had something I could take home with me) but something didn't sit right with me - upon reflection I realized that he talked about himself almost the entire time. Sure, this can work, and obviously did since I heard lots of compliments, but it seemed shallow and a tad pretentious to me. I'd rather go deep, deeper than I probably would on my own.

      He, he : "I'm not a flatterer myself"...understatement of the year award? Sure we're not related, Fr. Philip? Any Brashers or McCombs (my Mississippi connections) in your family lineage??

  5. Great homily - thanks for sharing it on-line. The analogy of Incarnation as a chain-reaction transformation of reality is an intriguing idea. I just wish I didn't feel so much like a block of lead.

    1. HA! I like your riff on the metaphor. BXVI is simply a genius. His 2007 exhoration was the first time "nuclear fission" was used in a papal document. He was also the first to mention Nietzsche.

  6. fr. Dismas, OP10:06 PM

    There's a joke among priests about [insert random group here]. How do they tell a priest to "go to Hades?"

    Answer: "Yes, Father! Of course, Father!" It's good to take generic praise with gratefulness and a pinch of salt!

    Someone once said that the greatest compliment a preacher could get is not, "I loved your homily, Father, best ever!" but "I will change, Father." I've yet to hear the 2nd, but still a young priest!

    1. Having been a college teacher for so many yrs. and an adolescent psych ward team leader, I'm just immune to manipulation of any kind. Or, maybe I'm being manipulated to believe that I can't be manipulated. . .hmmmm...

  7. Scott W.2:31 PM

    "Too intellectual for this parish, Father."

    Your next homily: "Brothers and sisters. Last week I received a comment that my homily was 'too intellectual for this parish' [put on cap with propeller on top] so today let me start with a duuuu'hhrrr [sound like Patrick Star and let your tongue hang out.]