’A terrible week to be Catholic’: Homily for August 19, 2018, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Deacon's Bench | 8/19/2018 | Staff
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Thursday, I found myself in Maryland for a family funeral.

One of the first people I saw was one of my nephews, Frank, a young husband and father in his early 30s with four sons under the age of 7. Frank’s wedding was the first one I took part in as a deacon 11 years ago, just days after I was ordained. My wife and I are godparents to one of his sons. After chatting for a few moments, he asked me about my job and life here at the parish and how things were going. We fell silent for a moment and then he looked at me and out of the blue quietly said what was on both of our minds:

Week - Catholic

“It’s a terrible week to be Catholic.”

Everyone here this morning knows exactly what he meant. We’ve all felt it. We’ve watched the news. Seen the headlines. Read the report. Some of us have spent sleepless nights staring at the bedroom ceiling, asking again and again, “Why? How?” We’ve whispered prayers. Shed tears.

Hearts - Grief—but - Anger - Bitterness - Sense

Our hearts are heavy with grief—but there is more than just that. There’s anger. Bitterness. A sense of betrayal. A feeling of helplessness.

It was a terrible week to be Catholic.

Others - Sign - Faith - People - Men

Reading about this, praying about it, I found myself thinking not of where we are, but we we were. Where we have been. I found myself thinking of others who have gone before us—as we pray, “marked with the sign of faith.” Some we know. Most we don’t. Most are anonymous people, unknown men and women whose names are known only to God.

I was thinking of the first Christians, who quietly prayed and sang hymns and held onto each other’s hands as they stepped into the sand of the coliseum and faced certain, immediate,...
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