Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sheep vs. Beached Whales

This post links to RAnn's Sunday Snippets


I read something recently about lackluster homilies, which touched on one of my favorite topics, the two major Catholic subgroups:

A. Priests.
B. Their critics.

I'd say in general we have a D laity and a B+ clergy. So when I hear griping about how Faddah ain't doin' thus and so, my first reaction is well, what are you doing? Are you knocking yourself out for Jesus' church? If you are, great. I reckon you've earned the right to criticize the priest for whatever he ain't doing, such as delivering vibrant homilies. But after the crit's done, then what? And although I do hear excellent homilies, they comprise maybe 15% of my faith formation. As an adult Catholic, that's my responsibility. It ain't Faddah's job. A sheep ain't a beached whale.

Now here's what I think about bad homilies, in case nobody imagined I had an opinion! Dull homilists aren't likely to improve unless Jesus knocks 'em slap off their horses. But I wouldn't count on it. What I count on instead is individuals within the Catholic laity responding to the Holy Spirit's prodding; and then renovating the Church from the bottom up. Like democracies, the laity tends to get the priests it deserves. So it's up to the laity to act like grownups and take charge of themselves. Father's job is to treat his adult children like adults, not to be a spiritual spoon-feeder and butt-wiper. And if the laity goes from an F for effort to say, a C+, and raises up a generation of faithful, knowledgeable, orthodox, energized Catholics, then they'll also raise up priests who can smack a homerun from the pulpit most Sundays.

Ram photo by Alexandre Prévot. Whale via Treehugger & Globo.


Susan in SC said...

Well said, or written in this case!!

RAnn said...

It's funny, the priest I heard last night is one of the most popular priests I know. His parish loves him and he loves (and knows) them. He is active in the community and exudes a real love of God and others in all he does. As a preacher he is mediocre at best, though, I suspect knowing that is not his strength (or, maybe because he has things he'd rather do than prepare a homily, I don't know which) he doesn't preach long. Yesterday he said a few words before the first reading and again before the gospel, kind of to direct our attention, and then during the homily basically said that the new mass translation was almost two years old, that it has made him pay a lot more attention to what he was saying up there, and that he had pretty much used EP II for the last 2 years and was going to use EPI tonite and talk about it a bit while praying it.

I guess what I'm saying is that I think homilies are like a lot of other things, when you love the priest, you can overlook a weakness; when you don't like him, it is one more thing to complain about.

Kathleen Basi said...

Woo-hoo! Love your analogy. I admit I hadn't thought of it in those terms.

Christian LeBlanc said...

"...when you love the priest, you can overlook a weakness; when you don't like him, it is one more thing to complain about." Well-said.