Today’s the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles. It was I who preached the homily as a new transitional deacon in the seminary in Rome that I attended. It was a Monday evening Mass, 1985, and it was customary for all the people of the nationality of that national seminary who were in Rome, whether lay or clerical or religious, to show up for this Mass every week. The pressure was on. There were many important visitors from that country there.
The visitors loved my homily, saying it was the best they ever heard, congratulating me for going after such a difficult topic with such soft-spoken, good natured humor and obvious good faith. What I had tried to do is be ever so novel in not presenting any novelty, just the fascinating brilliance of the faith as it is.
But that was not the opinion of the powers that be at the seminary. They didn’t like it one bit. Their reaction could well be written in historical novel form and published as part of the national history for the national archives of that county. The homily was very much like a nuclear explosion that hasn’t yet finished its course, now 32 years on and going into it’s 33rd year of far reaching repercussions. It won’t be over until I’m finally installed as pastor of the parish. As it is, I got the letter of appointment, but I haven’t yet been installed. Getting to this point has a direct line of causation all the way back to that 6:30 PM Mass. Mind you, I don’t regret anything whatsoever. God is good.
That homily was not recorded. I wish it was. It was written out, and I had to use that time and again as a kind of proof of what I had actually said. I don’t know where it is. Basically it was this:
- There will be a unity in which we can rejoice with great joy if we are obedient to the faith and morals provided by Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church, obedience (ob+audire) being an intense and eager listening filled with love and enthusiasm to the will of the greatest love of one’s life, Jesus Christ and His Bride the Church. After all, it was the feast of the Apostles.
- There will be a disunity such that the Church and society will fall apart in cynicism and bitterness and failed individuality if we are disobedient, each of us doing our own thing, not being able to care less about Jesus who is ever ancient, ever new.
Ever since then all I’ve heard from all and sundry is that we cannot possibly know what the Church teaches, much less Scripture and Tradition, but we have to depend solely on theologians to tell us what we are supposed to think. Um… no.
That homily was given in the chapel all the way down the “cortile” in the picture above. In that same picture, just on the immediate left, is the “salone” in which the plotting of some manipulation of the conclave of 2005 took place. At least that’s what I gather. I had been invited. The full story of the vote of the conclave was later told to me. What a fright. But God gave us Pope Benedict, not who the plotters wanted, to say the least. I digress.
Lots of drama. Sure. Life is super interesting and one can see Jesus at work ever so clearly with all the irony, all the truth, all the love, when we try even in the smallest way to be faithful to Him. He loves us, and uses this. I absolutely love being His priest.