To Come Around

Fr. Cullen’s Homily From Sunday Morning Mass April 28, 2019

“As we live in this age where a lot of people write everything down on all kinds of instruments, paper, tablets, machines, this that and the other, we’re very locked into what was said.  ‘Where was that written down? What paper is that in? What section? And there’s a time for that, but there’s also a time for oral tradition and just because it’s not written down does not mean it’s not true or doesn’t carry authority.  I can remember when I was young, some of you kids here are pretty young, you start to go out and your parents say, ‘I want you home by ten o’clock.’ Well you look at your watch or your phone and it’s about a quarter to eleven and you say, ‘Oh my God.’  So, you get home and your parents say, ‘It’s after eleven. I told you to be here at ten.’ And you say to your parents, ‘Now where is that written down?’ Written down or not, it carries the same authority and so it is in The Church. A lot of things are written down, but a lot of them are not, but they have the same authority and that’s why The Church and The Bible go hand in hand.  Much like those of us who maybe have written a journal in our lifetime, you write everything down in there and then after awhile you put it in order. ‘Well I thought of this later, but this should come first chronologically and so on.’ And then you get the journal and diary put together and maybe somebody picks it up and reads it. The reason it has authority is because you wrote it.  The reason the Bible has authority, the Church, the Apostles wrote it after God breathed on them the Holy Spirit and just like you didn’t put everything about your life in your diary, so not everything about Christ is in that book. That’s why we need both of them to go together. Some people just pick up the book and run with it. That would be like me picking up your diary and run with it and say, ‘I have everything in that book that I need to know about that person.’  Well, I don’t. I don’t.

So that’s one thing, the second thing, Thomas today.  Today we honor in the Church the feast of the first fallen away Catholic.  Thomas was a fallen away Catholic. We’ve got a lot of them in the Church and our families.  I was one in college, fallen away Catholic where we drift away and we think we can handle it on our own or sometimes it’s because of the scandal or the clergy or the lay people in the Church.  We say, ‘I’m not going to buy into all of that.’ Well whenever we think about it it’s always important to come around and back there is the tabernacle and burning up to the left hand side is the red tabernacle candle.  That has been there for 2,000 years. In the early days, they didn’t have churches, but the tabernacle was in somebody’s home, a prominent person where they would host and house the Blessed Sacrament and so that’s been going on and our dear Lord breathed on the Apostles his authority, his spirit and said he would be with them until the end of time.  So it crossed my mind when I finally came back to the Church in college is ‘Why am I out of the Church and Christ is in the Church?’ I could not explain that. Why? Because of you and me. He loves us. He promises that he would be with us until the end of time and that’s why when you go to Church, the Sacraments, everything you can sense his presence and his love for you and me and what leads up to that and follows away from it is that word that he used in the Gospel story today, ‘My peace I give to you.’  A lot of people in the world have problems. I visit jails, hospitals, nursing homes, people’s homes. I come out and people ask, ‘How ya doin’ Father?’ ‘Fine, I’m doing fine.’ You get some people, they’re unemployed, they’re blind and a lot of times I go there and they’ll say, ‘Father, would you say a prayer for me? Would you remember me in your next Mass or in your Rosary?’ And I think, ‘My God, if there’s someone that should give up, it should be them and they don’t. So that’s why we have all of this and why we read the scriptures today and the week after Easter we celebrate the resurrection because someday they’re going to bury us, put our ashes our body in some kind of container.  People will stand around and cry and do this, that and the other, but then when that’s over, just wait for that voice to come through from our Dear Lord, ‘Harry, Salley, Fred, Mary, get out of that grave and come home to be with me forever.’ That’s worth stayin’ if for no other reason. May our dear Lord bless you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!”