Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mass chat: Sometimes I don't understand the homilies ...

Nothing was said at Mass about the Coptic martyrs.

Sometimes I wonder if the homily is more a prepared, obligatory address, an assignment similar to writing a paper on a theme, based on the readings of course - yet cleverly inserting some relevant tie-in with an issue the listeners can identify with.   Studied, prepared, delivered according to the ordinary form within the allotted time frame.  Cut and paste.  Finished and ready to be delivered - no matter what.

Sample assignment:  Compare Christ in the desert/wilderness to ... saving the wilderness and tie it all together with this and that verse about rainbows?  

I'm just not sure ... and I was so lost.

All I could think about during the homily was 21 Christian men beheaded on a beach in Libya.  All I could think about was their families, their faith, their courage ... Their cry, "Jesus save me!"  Did the martyrs see Him as St. Steven did at the moment he gave up his spirit?  Did they suffer much?  Does it hurt to have your throat slit?  A lot?  At what point do you die?  I kept thinking and praying for them and with them and for their families.  What if it happened here?  What would I do?  How could I withstand such an assault?  Is my faith real?  Do I have such charity, such love to surrender my soul as these men did?  What must I do?  

 + + +

All I'm saying is, try to make your homilies real - try to talk about Jesus and the shedding of His blood and what is happening to Christians - NOW.  In the early Church the early fathers exhorted the Christians to martyrdom - they taught how to prepare for martyrdom.

I'm sorry, I don't mean to criticize or complain ...

I can't stop thinking of the martyrs.  There are Christians right now in real deserts, real wilderness: desert refugee camps, arid prisons, sexual enslavement, some lost at sea attempting to flee their homeland.

We are now living in an actual passion-tide of blood...

The Libyan beach.


  1. I remember being told that when is about to be martyred for Christ, the Lord gives you strength to endure it until the end. I believe that since He himself endured suffering and death for the sake of what awaited him.

    I like what you said when thinking about those holy martyrs too. I have to tell you Terry that while it is shocking and brutal and sad, I sense joy somewhere inside me when I think of them. I sense that their deaths are not in vain, that we have gained new friends in heaven to intercede for us all but especially for their brethren in those torn lands.

    And yes, I want to hear more about what it truly means to be followers of the Cross. What it means to lay down one's life for the sake of all. I hope many pastors will consider this in Lent and encourage us all onward with homilies that lead us to a more personal and radical conversion otherwise, well, we are milquetoast the many of us if ISIS hits these shores...just my opinion anyway.

  2. +JMJ+

    I recently started going to a Saturday Latin Mass, and Father mentioned the martyrs in his sermon yesterday. Since the chapel was hosting the pilgrim image of Our Lady of Fatima, he also talked about the visions given to the children at Fatima and practically yelled at us to pray the rosary in response to everything that is happening in the world. I know a few people who'd be offended by the tone of his delivery, but I also know that I prayed the rosary that day, after weeks of slacking off. So there.

  3. You could argue that referring to Orthodox Christians being martyred on the other side of the world is not very "real" or relevant to a bunch of middle-class whatevers in the pews. You generally want to encourage, not tell people how bad they should be feeling about how bad things are. Plus there's kids present. It's tough up there man

    1. I know that and get that - but when the terror is 'global' it's actually very real for middle-class whatevers in the pews - or it should be by now. As for the kids - there were kids present at Sandy Hook elementary.

      But I really know what you are saying and it is tough up there trying to please an audience and keep them in their comfort zone.

      The homily I heard was by the deacon and he takes a lot of time to prepare. Nothing wrong with that.

      Terror and martyrdom and persecution and division is the real world now - and the deaths of the Egyptians is relevant. I don't understand how any one could think differently. Just saying.

    2. Nah, not think differently. But the question as to whether it should be preached on or not is something different. If you say one thing you're not saying another. Telling people about martyrs may lead them to prayer and penance. Reflecting well on the readings may lead them to prayer and penance. It's shouldn't be either/or, but when you've got 5 minutes once a week, it's necessarily the case.

  4. Terry ! You said more than a thousand priestly homiles here ! ALL your questions are in the minds of real Catholics NOW. We ARE next here because of the Diabolical Disorientation that has brought islam here too. I fear the 100th anniversary of Fatima, because all hell will break loose. When will we understand clearly that allah is satan and mohamad is his/her false prophet ?

  5. At the Saturday Vigil Mass the 21 Coptic Martyrs were mentioned in the homily, given by a deacon, and were included in the prayers of the faithful.

    1. Beautiful! See - that's all we need to remember and be united. Last week they were mentioned in the prayer of the faithful - I should have mentioned that.

    2. Terry,

      Here in Los Angeles, the Coptic Church has a glorious Cathedral in the Wilshire District are or near Koreatown. I am thinking I will go and pay them a visit when I can.

      Anyway, I have the icon of the Holy Martyrs as my desktop background. I am reminded of this glorious hymn as I see those crowns being cast down upon them. May heaven and the beauty of the Lord be theirs for all eternity.

  6. Some choose silence because they do not want to give 'publicity' , in anyway , to this actions

  7. Our sermon today (no "homily" in the EF) was on the first two steps of St. Ignatius' spiritual exercises, as viewed through the writings of St. Augustine. This is for a congregation that is hungry for teaching, for learning how to grow spiritually through the teachings of the Church and the Fathers. I think that implicit in much of what they preach is the idea that we live in a culture hostile to such teaching, and that martyrdom is always the next step. It's good stuff.


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