In a weak moment, as a deacon, decades ago, in mulling over what to say at a funeral homily after a tragic head-on collision in the parish in which almost a dozen people were killed (an entire family in one car and all teenagers packed into another car that was drag racing yet another car over the crest of a hill), in mulling over what to say I stopped to peruse – ever so stupidly – a binder full of canned homilies for funerals. I couldn’t believe it when I read over a homily that was merely political backing for JFK, making him out to be a saint, and that’s why we’re at this funeral today. Barf. Never again.
I’m not great at preaching as you know, but I would rather preach in a super sloppy way from the heart than to read such trash. The above pictured advertisement came in the mail today, bringing back bad memories. It’s the same homilies subscription series from a lifetime ago. Barf. Never again.
Guardian Angel intervention: I despise these canned, vacuous homilies so much that I used to make even just the fact of their existence fodder for my rant-homilies on canned homilies, a very traditional thing to do as we find out by reading the homilies of the Fathers of the Church and they start complaining about the evils of stealing the homilies of others. If canned homilies come up in conversation among priests talking shop, I tell my JFK funeral homily story. I started in at lunch one day in the Chaplain’s House in Lourdes, France, about that JFK homily and hadn’t yet said my opinion of that canned homily when, low and behold, the priest who had written that homily turned out to be the priest right across the table from me. He was ecstatically happy that he met an American who had read his homily, he being Irish. I just so had to bite my tongue. My Guardian Angel saved me by having me not rant without knowing who it was in front of me. Yikes!
It just gives me the creeps: That picture above just gives me the creeps, thoroughly. It’s truly unbearable. Traumatic. Uggh. I would hate to be in a parish where the other priest was preaching canned homilies. It’s just so wrong. We priests have to know Jesus. We have to know about the fire of the Holy Spirit.