Sunday, February 28, 2010

Accused of Being a Christian

My parish where I attend Mass is a rather large one, particularly for an overwhelmingly Mormon state. To my knowledge, other than the Cathedral of the Madeline in downtown Salt Lake, my parish is THE largest in the state of Utah. With that being said, we have been blessed with additional clergy to help "tend the flock" of the local parishioners here.

Leading all of them is Monsignor Moore. Monsignor is a very kind and caring man who is extremely pastoral in his relationships with his parishioners. He came here many decades ago from Ireland, and let me tell you that there is something that just seems right in the world when your Mass is given by a priest having a little of the Irish brogue to his tongue.

Monsignor's homilies are often very good at tying together the scriptural readings of the Mass and making the point that the Church is trying to convey each Sunday. His homilies typically are good at keeping one's attention and connecting with the parish. They accomplish their intended task wonderfully.

Until late last summer, we also had a fellow Irishman, Father Jim, who would celebrate the Mass on the weekends too. Unfortunately, Father Jim's priestly order of St. Francis de Sales moved its priests from the confines of Utah's borders. Even more unfortunate is the fact that they had the audacity to take Father Jim with them. He is missed greatly by everyone in the parish accordingly.

Father Jim's homilies were always very personal, and often times emotional affairs. Father Jim was exceptional at connecting with the parishioners in this way, and his homilies were something that I never ever noticed anyone paying any less than complete attention.

Lastly, we have Deacon Paul. Deacon Paul is a very good man and is extremely busy in helping with the youth group and all manners of workings within the parish. Deacon Paul also will occasionally deliver the homily. Deacon Paul's homilies are typically a little more formal. They tend to be a little more dry and esoteric, not unlike a college lecture. This tends to place some people into a lull with their attention. That is truly sad, because often times there is some great points and thought-provoking questions asked by Deacon Paul in his homilies.

And all of this preceding writing was to introduce the thought that has been exercising my mind and conscience of late.

You see, Deacon Paul gave the homily a month or so back, and at the end of this well-done homily he asked the question. It is one I have pondered off and on ever since then. This is particularly so during this season of Lent as I have vowed to try and be a better servant of Christ and to do what His will is and not that of my own selfish interests. I wonder how often I measure up in answering that question positively and how many more times I fall short of it.

The question that Deacon Paul asked that Sunday was, "If I were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?"

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