Hello to my dear friends at the Spirit of Vatican II Faith Community. It has been some time since we have talked, which makes me sad, but I think it is better for Fr. Plarvik and others if I am not around the buildings for now. My thoughts and prayers are with you always and good memories of the time that I spent with you. As I saw that Fr. Plarvik was having some difficulties rendering my homily into text, I thought I would save the trouble and post my notes from the homily. These will be accurate to what I preached but will not contain many of the interruptions from the people in rainbow sashes or those people wanting to show solidarity with the aboriginals of Australia's RedFern parish. The homily follows:
Hello my dear friends of Spirit of Vatican II Faith Community. It has been some time since I have seen many of you and to see you now brings back many memories of my time here. I must thank you for requesting that I be here to give this homily, it is flattering to think that you appreciate the word that I share with you but more it is humbling to think that you appreciate the Word who endows all of us with our charisms.
In the first reading, we hear the great lament of vanity. This warning should be dear to us. How much of what we do is constructed upon a foundation of vanity? Even good things can be things of vanity. One can compose mighty symphonies or create great works of art, but if vanity is the root of the action, then "in vain" will be the accomplishment. God asks us to turn all of our works towards him. This does not mean that the subject of all our actions must be religious, but that we must find religion in all that we do. When we value beauty, it must not be for posession or lust, but it must be that we see God in beauty, that we see God in truth. In the middle ages, the philosophers argued greatly over the Dionysian negative theology that saw an impossibility in knowing God except in His reflection in all things. Though this theology is incomplete, as explained by the great Scholastics, it still has truth to speak to us - the mysticism of the East has a message for us.
And we are given a sort of map in the second reading, where St. Paul tells us that we must "put to death" those things which are obstacles to truth, and those things which only reinforce our vanity - namely immorality, impurity, passion, greed, evil desire, and untruth. But let me ask you this: have you even the courage to name these things? Here in this faith community, we mix the vanity of our own self-righteousness with timidity. We do this in the name of acceptance, or diversity. But can we even claim that such actions are in the best interests of those among us who sin by vanity, by impurity, immorality, passion, greed, or untruth? Is it not a worse crime to leave a sinner uncorrect than to offend a sinner by naming his sin? If you saw a man about to eat poison, would you not stop him? Despite his earnest desire to consume what is only harmful to him?
Yes, these are hard words here in this building. But remember also the Gospel for today - where Christ implores us to store up treasures in heaven, and not on earth. Yes, reprimanding our fellows will make us unloved - we will be called rigid moralistic bigots. We will be told we are not tolerant, or that we think we have a monopoly on the truth. As Christ warned the apostles, if they do such things to Him, how much more will they do to us? I in turn implore you, people of the Spirit of Vatican II: turn aside from the vanity that makes you accept every evil so that you will be liked and adored. Turn instead to the self-denial that accepts calumny here on earth, but stores up treasures in heaven.