Friday, August 31, 2007

Hardness of head and heart

The Curt Jester's article, Hardness of heart got me to thinking about a sermon we heard a few weeks back. We were camping and at a different parish which also had a visiting priest.

The Gospel was about Jesus telling his disciples that he had come to bring division and how households will be set against themselves. So the good priest starts his homily by telling about his large family and how his father thought he had left the Church when he joined the Jesuits. (har har.) As in any good homily, the priest is supposed to break open the Word. But in this case, he proceeded to break it into crumbs and stomp on them.

As Jeff suggests, the Church is the one portrayed as cruel or hard when it is precisely the hardness of our hearts that makes divorce an option. We fail to live the Gospels and then have to find someone to blame for our failings. The priest told about how his sister filed for divorce and after she shared the news, her father wouldn't talk to her for many years. So he was trying to lead us to the conclusion that he was cruel and hard hearted because he believed the teachings of the Church. No mention was made of how the selfishness of the sister and husband were perhaps hurting the father. How the pain might have been too great to even talk with her. No, he was just a big bad authoritarian father who sided with the cruel Church.

I considered approaching him after Mass and just mentioning the phrase, "because of the hardness of your heart." I didn't but it always burns me when the homily is wasted by cutting down the teachings of the Church, especially on a day where I was hoping for some real insight into the readings.


Neil McKenty said...

So after his daughter told her father that she planned to get a divorce, the father refused to speak to him for many years. Jesus taught us to forgive 70 times a day. I wonder what He would have thought of the father.

KaleJ said...

Probably the same thing he would have said to the daughter. Go and sin no more.

The point being, the critics never look at the selfishness of the person obtaining the divorce. How much hurt they can cause to their kids and family. "Well it just didn't work out" isn't going to matter to the kids whose lives are ripped in two.