Posted on Apr 10, 2021

11 April 2021

Shortly after I was ordained and came to my first assignment at St. Patrick’s Parish

I realized that one of the toughest things I did was to preach these Sunday homilies.

It was tough not because I didn’t like to speak publicly,

but because I –and I know this would be hard to imagine–

I had been fairly critical of priests’ preaching in my youth.

It was tough because I realized that I could never stand up here and say something,

I really didn’t believe.  I just can’t do that.

It was tough because I realized that I couldn’t say something here to everyone,

that I wasn’t willing to hear pointed at me.

Especially on big Feast days–Triduum–Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, Christmas,

I always have my homilies critiqued by friends and parishioners.

Several years ago, a parishioner to whom I’d sent my Easter homily emailed back:

“George–Not a bad homily if you don’t really believe in the resurrection.

You certainly sound more like Thomas wanting to poke around inside Jesus

rather than a Catholic priest who is supposed to proclaim an Easter faith.”

The truth is Easter is always harder for me to preach about than Good Friday, or even Christmas.

I get Good Friday, Easter is harder to swallow, just as it was for Thomas.

Karl Barth who was a great protestant theologian once wrote:

We are, “threatened by the resurrection” because we do not like to admit

that we are imprisoned in a world of sin and death and

are incapable of helping ourselves out of it.”

“The resurrection,” he wrote, raises resentment in us because it reminds us we are not

self-sufficient and “we will always need a miracle like the resurrection”

to rescue us from our most oppressive problems–evil and death.

Maybe Thomas’s problem with the resurrection,

Maybe mine, is that it reminds us that no matter how strong, how courageous, how sophisticated,

how intelligent we are we cannot beat death and evil.

The resurrection reminds us somewhere deep inside that we need God.

The Christian proclamation is that for however much this is difficult for us to take,

God does not hold our independent streak against us.

“Peace,” Jesus says over and over again to the disciples.

I have come to be with you, even in this.

Question of the week: What do you find most irritating about being human?

And, how does that “irritation” lead you away from God?