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Catholic Weddings

One priest's homily for this week

I'm going to admit that lately the overall tone of this place has me not wanting to visit, but I thought this homily (written by my H's friend) was too good not to share, especially given everyone's arguments as of late:


I.  The disciples, the woman, Jesus
The disciples are such a piece of work.  They return and, “are surprised to find Jesus talking to a woman.”   Not only is Jesus talking to a woman, he is talking to a woman who has been married five times.  Not only has she been married five times, but she is a Samaritain to boot.  She is outcast, unclean, degenerate, not the sort of woman you would expect an upright religious leader like Jesus to be chatting with at a well.  The disciples are surprised.  They are surprised because they just don’t get it.  Jesus has told them over and over again that he has come for the lost sheep, that the healthy don’t need a doctor and that the Scribes and Pharisees will be forgiven little because they have loved little.  The poor disciples just do not get it. But I wonder if we, today, get it either?  Like the disciples, are we, too, not seduced by glittering appearances, delighted with the trappings of power and seeking the places of honor at table?  Do we get it, get what Jesus was trying to tell us?  
II.  The scandal of a lack of charity
The Church sometimes decides not to bury people because they were notorious sinners.  What’s that all about?  Since when did charity become a scandal, even toward the sinner?  Even if the charity is not toward the deceased but only toward the surviving family members?  In my view, the greater scandal and the greater sin is not charity but the lack of charity and for any reason whatsoever.  There is a Dominican Brother I used to work with who said that too many priests see themselves as stock boys for the devil in hell, Indeed.  It is not our job to send people to hell.  It is our job to help people get to heaven.  Notice Jesus in the Gospel today: there are a hundred reasons why he could have rejected the Samaritain woman.  Jesus, plainly and simply, without condemning her, tells her the truth and the truth sets her free, not demanding and condemning and criticizing, just the truth  The woman says that “Jesus told her everything she had ever done.”  He did not yell, scream, condemn or castigate. He only told her the truth – gently, lovingly, simply – and that truth healed her and made her whole.
III.  We are religious because we are not perfect
The disciples are surprised to find Jesus talking with this fallen, scandalous woman. Why?  Because the disciples do not get it.  They think that to be religious, you must be perfect.  Idiotic!  We are not religious because we are perfect.  We are religious because we are not perfect.  Of course Jesus is talking to this sort of woman because she needs him and she is ready to hear him.
IV.  Two nuns, one student
In the second grade, I had a teacher who was one of the meanest woman God ever created.  I will not mention her name, even though she is dead because I am still praying that God springs her from Purgatory. She taught penmanship.  Those you who have seen my handwriting know that I, of all people, am truly grateful for the invention of the word processor.  When I was in second grade, Sister saw me holding my pencil incorrectly and said, and I quote (I remember with pristine clarity all these many years later), “what’s the matter with you, that is the ugliest chicken scratch I have ever seen in my life.”  To this day, I do not hold a pen or a pencil correctly.  In the third grade, I met Sister Ruth, who was one of the dearest people I have ever known.   I really loved Sister and, truth be told, had something of a school boy’s crush on her.  I wanted to impress her, so, in writing class, I did everything I could to hide to hide my manual deformity from her.  She saw anyway.  She asked me to stay after class and said that I was a smart little boy and that she would help me to make sure that I could write decently and she did..  My second grade teacher yelled at me and called me stupid, I did not change one bit, I got worse.  My third grade teacher told me I was smart and I would have learned to write with my feet for her. What does it teach us?  It is simple, almost too simple:  Jesus does not condemn and criticize the woman at the well because condemnation and criticism do not work.  Jesus loves the woman at the well.  Because love works.  Jesus does not condemn the woman or even lecture her; Jesus respects her and loves her.  We are supposed to change the world.  But we are not supposed to do it by power and violence; we are supposed to do it by love and sacrifice – just as Jesus Christ did.

Re: One priest's homily for this week

  • katetwkatetw member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thanks, Mica. I've been really turned off by the board lately (I know I don't post much, but I read quite often), and this was pretty great to read.
  • catarntinacatarntina member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Our priest's homily was about this too, "We are religious because we are not perfect"

     He talked about the symbolism behind the numbers.  He talked about how the woman had been married 5 times, her current husband was not really a husband at all.  So in order to achieve perfection, she needed to commit herself to a 7th husband -- Christ.  7 is often considered the number of perfection, so it was fitting.
    ---------
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  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_one-priests-homily-forthis-week?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:d16dba35-b3b5-42b2-bd46-991e3142c4e8Post:c8ff4b6e-3f71-49e2-a23e-8e7834c37809">Re: One priest's homily for this week</a>:
    [QUOTE]Our priest's homily was about this too, "We are religious because we are not perfect "  He talked about the symbolism behind the numbers.  He talked about how the woman had been married 5 times, her current husband was not really a husband at all.  So in order to achieve perfection, she needed to commit herself to a 7th husband -- Christ.  7 is often considered the number of perfection, so it was fitting.
    Posted by catarntina[/QUOTE]


    Just gave an intro to TOB today, and Christopher West talks about this in the video
  • doctabroccolidoctabroccoli member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I was thinking about this board during the gospel and homilies of both masses I was at today (had to fill in on piano).  So I heard the same basic homily from both of our priests, and it just seemed really fitting with our recent discussions.  My personal view on Catholicism is much more in line with this week's gospel - Jesus loves, respects, and welcomes everyone, regardless of background.
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  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_one-priests-homily-forthis-week?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:d16dba35-b3b5-42b2-bd46-991e3142c4e8Post:2ebcfd55-1126-45fb-afab-da94471612ab">Re: One priest's homily for this week</a>:
    [QUOTE]I was thinking about this board during the gospel and homilies of both masses I was at today (had to fill in on piano).  So I heard the same basic homily from both of our priests, and it just seemed really fitting with our recent discussions.  My personal view on Catholicism is much more in line with this week's gospel - Jesus loves, respects, and welcomes everyone, regardless of background.
    Posted by doctabroccoli[/QUOTE]

    And then tells them to go and sin no more.
  • Jasmine&RajahJasmine&Rajah member
    Knottie Warrior 100 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_one-priests-homily-forthis-week?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:d16dba35-b3b5-42b2-bd46-991e3142c4e8Post:2ebcfd55-1126-45fb-afab-da94471612ab">Re: One priest's homily for this week</a>:
    [QUOTE]My personal view on Catholicism is much more in line with this week's gospel - Jesus loves, respects, and welcomes everyone, regardless of background.
    Posted by doctabroccoli[/QUOTE]

    Of course He does!  :-)  And thank God for it!  No one here would debate the love of Christ for all mankind.

    But it's important to remember that He also says that if we love Him, we will obey His commandments, and take up our crosses - our sufferings - and follow Him.  He gave us His Church, and we are free to follow Him, or to walk away. 
  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I don't remember where I heard this analogy...somewhere in youth ministry training...

    Imagine your kid/neice/nephew/whatever  in a sandbox...they fall over and somehow manage to get sand in every ear, fingernail, nose, mouth, etc. Do you love them like that? of course...but do you just let them stay that way? of course not...you clean them up and patch up their wounds.
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_one-priests-homily-forthis-week?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:d16dba35-b3b5-42b2-bd46-991e3142c4e8Post:a6e5d76f-9275-4719-985a-63ad656f1179">Re: One priest's homily for this week</a>:
    [QUOTE]I don't remember where I heard this analogy...somewhere in youth ministry training... Imagine your kid/neice/nephew/whatever  in a sandbox...they fall over and somehow manage to get sand in every ear, fingernail, nose, mouth, etc. Do you love them like that? of course...but do you just let them stay that way? of course not...you clean them up and patch up their wounds.
    Posted by agapecarrie[/QUOTE]

    <div>This is true.  However, the question is, are you going to be like Father Valle's 2nd or 3rd grade teacher?  </div><div>
    </div><div>Something that has happened to me since becoming the moderator of etiquette is the realization that if I/we scare off people from the board, they will leave with feelings of hate and continue to make etiquette mistakes.  We can be super-legalistic about things here on CW and drive away curious brides, or we can try to help them see how wonderful the religion is and allow them to learn more about Catholicism and hopefully start embracing the practices more and more.</div><div>
    </div><div>Going through the preparation for marriage brought me closer and closer to Catholicism, and part of what brought me to that was the debates on this board.  However, lately things are so negative, that I'm happier just reading on my own and talking about issues with my friends.  I think that's a shame.  This board has so much possibility, and here we are warring with each other rather than reaching out to people.</div>
  • edited December 2011
    Thanks, Mica.  Like others (it seems), today's gospel and homily really hit close to home and made me think about this board.

    I think you are right-on point in making this board more positive.  I would love to participate more on this board than I do, but it is very negative, and I find it to be judgemental often (yes, I know the standard argument about only Jesus can judge souls, etc..., but that doesn't change the fact that having other posters judge innocent questions and slight differences in faith hurtful and negative, and make this board a much less powerful resource than it could be).
  • edited December 2011
    If there was a like button, I would like your post Mica!

    I too was thinking about this during the homily, and I think some good points have been made, but not in the most effective way, over the past few days.  People come here seeking advice, not condemnation.   Catholic, protestant, non-religious, devout, lapsed, traditional, conservative, liberal, people from all different walks of life and all backgrounds may happen upon this board seeking answers to questions regarding their upcoming marriage and weddings.  Cradle Catholics, new Catholics, anti-Catholics, etc.   Not everyone is coming from the same place or has had the same experiences or knows the same Catholic lingo.  

    One aspect of Catholicism that I learned to love over the years is that there is room for all sorts of people.  The homily of the Mass we went to today focused on the "coming here isn't about what you get out of it" theme.   The priest said something about different types of churches and different music and different types of priests, etc, and reminded us that even though there are different songs/people/music/styles/etc, it's all the same Church.  

    Just look at the different types of orders of priests there are and you can see how wide that range is. Jesuits, Paulists, Franciscans, Holy Cross, etc., all have their strengths (and weaknesses, too),  but all are Catholic, but they share their gifts in slightly different ways.   Same with religious women. The Poor Clares are contemplatives who live their lives in constant prayer.  Is that the way all religious women should live?   I would have missed out on some great teachers if all religious were cut from the same cloth, so to speak.   


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  • Jasmine&RajahJasmine&Rajah member
    Knottie Warrior 100 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_one-priests-homily-forthis-week?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:d16dba35-b3b5-42b2-bd46-991e3142c4e8Post:cc273fea-8270-425b-be78-a38139864fdd">Re: One priest's homily for this week</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: One priest's homily for this week : We can be super-legalistic about things here on CW and drive away curious brides, or we can try to help them see how wonderful the religion is and allow them to learn more about Catholicism and hopefully start embracing the practices more and more.
    Posted by mica178[/QUOTE]

    But Mica, surely you don't think it's legalistic to explain and point out - lovingly - what the teachings are, and what they are not.  SO many people have misconceptions about Catholicism simply because practicing Catholics don't clarify what the Church really says.
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    Of course I think that church teachings should be explained and clarified, but I have a problem with the general tone of this board lately.  Until the last day, I found many of the posters to be very critical unloving in their manners, and the in-fighting was repellent. 

    I think docta mentioned the social justice promotion of the church on another thread.  What other group sends as many ministers of the faith to prisons and death rows as the Catholic church to bring God's love to the very worse sinners on this earth?  What extraordinary examples of the Church's overwhelming sense of charity and compassion. 
  • ootmother2ootmother2 member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    So that's what the priest was saying last night!  Excellent :)

    I went to the 7:30 PM mass and I enjoyed the reading but the priest had such a heavy accent, I couldn't make out a word he was saying :(

    And I was only 3 rows from the front.
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