The Homily I Needed After the Charlottesville Tragedy
I drifted off. Again.
Instead of receiving some kind of enlightening revelation, I panned to the alluring flicker of candles off to the side of the altar. Another disappointing homily, another lost opportunity to empathize, mourn and rise against hate.
This isn't the first time, I've endured a silent frustration with the Catholic Church especially during times of political discourse within our country. But while Catholic leaders publicly abhor Saturday's hate crime, I question the bravery and responsibility of the everyday priest.
When all I heard was the basic "be a good Christian" pep talk riddled with generic examples and explanations this past Sunday, I stopped listening. I just didn't care. Once a week, a priest has the most remarkable opportunity to connect people to Christ, to represent the values of the Church, and to remind and challenge us of our vocation to protect the dignity of human life outside these hallowed halls. And I'm not talking about just abortion, I'm including Black Lives, the immigrants, the women, the LGBTQ, and even, yes, even, the white supremacists. What I so desperately needed to hear from Sunday's homily was a recognition of the murder of Heather Heyer at an anti-racist protest, the denunciation of racism as a sin, and how we as Catholics are called to act.
This was the homily I needed to hear.
As we continue forward, Fathers should look to Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, a young Catholic who fervently opposed Fascism in Itay during the 1920s. His love for the Catholic Church fueled his political and social activism. Despite his wealthy status and familial connections, he protested alongside the Church at demonstrations against the government.
Fathers, I'm not asking you to spend every waking hour protesting, I am asking you to bring the conversation of racism, bigotry, and hate crimes to the table face-to-face. I can't live in this Catholic fluffy God-is-so-good-and-I-am-so-blessed-let's-Insta-this-yay bubble, not anymore.
I need a priest who isn't lazy or indifferent or afraid to confront uncomfortable topics. I need a priest (guided by God) who devotes his mind, heart, and spirit in the preparation of the homily. After the Eucharist, the homily is the most influential and vital resource the Church has in educating, inspiring, and uniting the Body.
I am not a perfect Catholic, and maybe all of my Catholic friends won't relate to this pent up exasperation, but if I continue on mute, I'd only be adding on to the problem. And that I refuse.