Monday, December 29, 2014

Feast of the Holy Family: Preaching To This Mother's Heart

On the Feast of the Holy Family, our perfectly imperfect family found ourselves at the church where Greg and I were married 21 autumns ago - the  Sacred Heart Cathedral in downtown Raleigh, NC.

We did not plan to be there on that day in particular. Nor did the celebrant, Father Justin Kerber, C.P. write his homily with me in mind.

But in the mysterious ways of the Holy Spirit, I found myself in the church where I had married, with my husband and two teenaged sons, hearing the same New Testament reading we chose for our wedding, followed by  a homily that felt as if it were written for often impatient, occasionally harsh-and-judgmental -to-those-I-love-the-most me.

This parish holds a special place in our hearts: it's was a priest there who brought us fully back to the Church. The priest has disappeared back into the Mystery, but the utter sweetness of the place was evident from the moment we stepped into the church Sunday just before noon.

Father Kerber's homily spoke directly to this mother's heart. In preaching on one of Paul's letters, he asked us (and I paraphrase here) :

If God forgives us, why can't we forgive each other? 
If God is patient with His children, why can't we be patient with ours? 
Why do we not trust that God will speak to our children in His time? Why do we try to rush our children to accept the values in which they have been raised. 
God waited for us, didn't He?

In case you missed it, here is the start of Sunday's reading:  

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another, 
if one has a grievance against another; 
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love, 
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, 
the peace into which you were also called in one body.

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