Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

God's Mighty Deeds

Yesterday, a good friend of mine was ordained to the Holy Order of Deacon, with a view toward ordaining him, if it please God, as a priest of Jesus Christ in the year to come. Dave Wells, the ordained man I have in mind, is generally a great guy. He is laid back as they come, yet not a slacker. He is intelligent, but does not think of himself as intelligent. At least, he doesn't come across as someone who thinks he's smarter than everyone else. He's athletic and cocky, but mostly in a playful way. I've gotten to know him reasonably well over the last 4 or 5 years.

And today, on Corpus Christi, A.D. 2009, he preached for the first time. It's twelve hours now and I am still reflecting on his words, which never happens to me. Normally, it's all in one ear and out the other. His homily shocked me because it was not like I had expected. I am not sure I expected one thing or another, but this homily was not it. His theme might be summarized as God's Mighty, Saving Deeds. He rightly focused heavily on the factual reality of God's real, miraculous acts in real history - from the Red Sea to Calvary to our modern, individual lives. His interpretation of the scripture readings for the day (Ex 24:3-8; Ps 116; Heb 9:11-15; Mk 14:12-16, 22-26) was simple but powerful. His theological development was solid, and substantial without the density normally connected with solid meat, and without the fluffiness that often springs from trying to be simple. His words were eloquent without being pretentious in the least. Most importantly with regards to his rhetorical style, he was concise. He laid out the basic message of the Gospel more clearly and directly than I have heard in a long time from the pulpit.

And his passion! I kept thinking, "Where is this man from?!" and "Is this the same man that had beers and pizza with me last week at my kitchen table?" and "He golfs too much to sound like this!" It was his first public preaching, to be sure, but his very few slight stumbles were covered over by his passion. No fire and brimstone from Dave Wells - just the burning passion borne of solid conviction about an important message and, I believe, deep prayer.

I've "heard" the Gospel a hundred times; this morning it woke me up again.

I wish more people could have heard the Rev. Mr. Wells' homily this morning at St. Pius X parish in Bowie, Maryland. You can read it by clicking here and I highly encourage you to take three or four minutes to do so. Hearing him preach made it easier for me to be hopeful for the Church. It was good to be reminded that God still does mighty, saving deeds. Real miracles. Like getting Dave Wells ordained a deacon. (Ha ha! Just kidding, Dave.)

1 comment:

Sherry said...

Great post, Ryan!! And many thanks for sharing his homily. It was very inspiring and I also find myself reflecting much after reading it.