“The Holy Family” & Life; A Sermon

Does the past win?

Does the past win?

(the church is cross shaped with a left, center and right row of pews with the altar in the middle.)

“The Holy Family feast day is as much about them as it is about our lives, in all its fullness.  Let’s use Scrooge’s three ghosts as our barometer.  This Left side is ‘Christmas present’ with all its wonder and woes; the Center (the largest) is ‘Christmas past’ because it’s the largest and longest as we age. The right side is ‘Christmas future’ because the Right side is always Republican because they are always ‘right’.  No!?

(Left)  We see our present situation based on Center’s past which holds and binds us either out of fear or a repeat performance.  The Left always looks to the Republicans ‘Right’ but are cautious at each turn by the Center’s past.

I meet someone for the first time on the Left and she is so happy to finally meet me.  (‘Just wait,’ I say to myself when she will seat herself in the soon-to-be Center aisle.)  ‘The sermon you gave last month was so inspiring,’ she says, (as though I could remember word for word what I said yesterday!)  ‘I’d love to have you for supper some night, let me know when you’re free?’  (I never call and she now sits in that unforgettable, and unforgivable Center aisle.)

Our family had a small gathering on Christmas Day (Left side) and most of the conversation spouted contemporary bullet points but inside me held all the Center aisles past stuff, like 1958 when she didn’t or 1964 when I thought that he or 1973 when I was left with that or 1984, 85, 86 and 87 when I forgot or 1994 when I was wrong or 2000 when I was right.  Where’s the satisfaction?

All this time we keep peering over toward the Right and the Republicans who hold that unknown key that opens that yet non-existed door.  I love the Right side because when a TV is invented that will fit into the pupil of my eye, I’ll be the first to stand in Best Buy’s early morning line, if Best Buy is still around then.

What am I missing in this strange Scrooge’s three ghosts Christmas?  Ah, it’s the altar behind me.  It is that place where the union of past, present and future meet.  It is the place where the present is celebrated, the past is honored but not adored and the future is assured (while hoping it’s not Republican!).

Pieces.  It is all pieces.  A little bit of that, a little bit of what ought be be forgotten and a hint of something we hope a lot for but know not.

The ‘Holy Family’ celebrated life, in all its fullness and with all its holes.  Thank God this church has three aisles and one altar to bring it all together.”

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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