Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Armchair Liturgist 10: Love Theme
In some homily critique circles, the love theme's not popular these days. Overdone in the past generation or two, they say, so now everybody knows God loves you. Today we need to hear that God detests our sins. A simplistic presentation, but you get the idea. Our pastor concluded his homily last night with a pitch for "God always loves you," and every time I hear such a thing, I ponder the possible disappointment in the crowd at hearing that message. It wasn't a central theme of the homily yesterday, but it was an important conclusion to the train of thought Fr. John was developing. Is it a matter of perspective? Is a "love theme" okay if put to occasional use? What do you think, a twenty percent solution? Ten or five? Maybe fifty or more? Our pastor spoke with me once about it. He shared with me that his experience as a young priest in the confessional led him to think that most penitents have overburdened themselves with a sense of shame and guilt. Sin present, yes, but often an unwillingness or inability to let go of it once God did. So what do you think, people? God loves us: do we hear it too much, not enough, or just the right amount? Given the supposed short lines on Saturday, are penitents that good of an indicator? And if you were in the armchair preparing the homily, what would you do?

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