Now Wasn't That A Great Sermon!
by Fr. Jack McArdle with Aneel Aranha
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22)
It was his first Sunday in the parish, and the congregation were on full alert to form their initial judgement of their new parish priest. His homily was excellent. This was a great relief to all. (His predecessor had been totally uninspiring). The following Sunday the crowds had increased significantly, probably because the good news had gone around during the week. To the surprise of those who were there the previous Sunday, the priest proceeded to give the exact same sermon. They excused this, in the belief that there were so many new-comers this morning, that it was no harm that they should hear what he had to say. Which was all very well, until the next Sunday, the next Sunday, and, indeed, the following Sunday. The very same sermon! This was carrying things a little bit too far!
Two or three of the parishioners decided to approach him as diplomatically as possible, to talk to him about how they felt about what was happening. They were extremely diplomatic. "That's a very good sermon, Father". "Oh, thank you very much. I'm glad you found it helpful". "We were just wondering, Father, if you realise that you have given the exact same sermon for the past five Sundays." "Oh, yes, I know that", replied the priest. "Well, Father, without wishing to be offensive, but we have to have an answer for those who sent us in here, do you have any other sermons?" "Oh, of course, I have plenty of other sermons". "Well, Father, you will be going on to one of the other sermons, won't you?" "Of course, I will", replied the priest. "When will that be, Father?" "I promise you that I will move on to the next sermon as soon as I see you doing something about the first one!"
Many of us complain when a preacher isn't particularly good, but the preacher isn't as important as what he preaches - and how we respond to it in our lives.
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