Monday, June 29, 2015

Fr. Charlie Irvin

Every once in a while I will attend Sunday Mass and the sermon will be exactly what I need to hear at that precise moment in time.  This past Sunday was one of those times.

We had Father Charlie Irvin, a retired priest stand in for our regular, parish priest.  This guy is sharp.  He has a website and puts his sermons on the net.  Last Sunday's is posted HERE.

He got my attention with his intro:

I’m going to begin this homily with a warning. The things I am about to share with you are depressing.

The war against terrorism and ISIL is long and will continue for quite some time. If you are at all familiar with history you recognize that we are in a clash of civilizations that extends back some fourteen hundred years in time. The toll for fighting against Islamic terrorists will likely result in many more dead and maimed American soldiers over the years ahead, whether in Iraq or elsewhere.
Globalization is also taking its toll on us in the form of loss of jobs and in the shifting of our American economy away from being industrial based and into other economic bases.
Immigration problems will continue to confront us into the distant future. There are no quick fix solutions to these problems.

New strains of disease will face us as our globalized populations continue to intermingle at an ever-increasing rate.

What we know of as the traditional family and our traditional understanding of marriage will continue to be challenged as alternative life-styles and relationships gain momentum by force of law.

Given this list of things, a list that is by no means complete, is it any wonder that many of us are depressed?
Fr Charlie was right.  His intro depressed some of the parishioners so much that they left the sanctuary.  They just could not listen to his sermon.

Jumping deeper into his sermon he quoted from Sunday's readings

The Book of Wisdom reminds us that: God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being;.... justice is undying. For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.

Both of these healings (Mark 5:21-43) are not just physical healings, at a much deeper level they are spiritual healings. Overcoming fear and approaching God in faith leads not only to being cured but also to being saved. Notice Jesus’ final words to the woman were “Daughter, your faith has saved you.”
We, too, need to be saved. Doubt, disappointment, disillusionment, depression, defeat, despair, and spiritual death bedevil us. They are the “ anti-sacraments” of the devil, his weapons to attack us. To overcome them we need to draw close to Jesus, let him touch us, and there, because of our faith, find our cure and our salvation. God and God alone is the One who can save us. Human experience gives ample testimony that we cannot.
The major media is overloaded with bad news. Nevertheless you and I know of really good people doing wonderful things that go unreported. It was once said that it is better to light one candle than the curse the darkness.

So, I ask you, my readers, to kick my butt when I become too negative.  I will try to remember to emphasize the positive and to keep my sense of humor.  We are all in this together.  "Justice is undying and God formed man to be imperishable."


  1. Replies
    1. It was. He was advocating a muscular Christianity. Yup, it is not going to be easy. But anybody can sound and act like a Christian on a sunny day.

      It is time to roll up our sleeves, and with God's help, start setting things right. More often on a small stage, but the small acts add up.