I had been struggling with a meditation on my place in the Church for an entire day. I had been trying to wrap my brain around it and make some sense where I fit in the grand scheme of things and what that all was supposed to mean to me and my journey through this imperfect world and I kept coming up empty. I went to bed resigned to the notion that I wasn't going to be able to get the pieces of this particular puzzle to fit together in any coherent way.
I woke up this morning and it was as if somehow I was on the verge of something, but it was just outside of my grasp. I just couldn't focus my eyes quite enough to see it clearly. That was the feeling I had when I went to morning Mass.
I sat in the church and read through the daily Office of Reading and morning prayer for Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent. No inspiration there. Then Fr. Bill came out and started Mass. It was in the simple three sentence homily that he offered after the Gospel that suddenly all those pieces of the puzzle that had been swirling around just out of focus miraculously fell into place in an instant. What I had been agonizing over for an entire day, he had been able to crystallize in just four simple sentences. It was so pure and simple it brought tears to my eyes.
The rest of mass I felt alive with the Spirit. I wanted to sing each response with a new zeal, so that the whole world would know that I had achieved a new level of understanding. The Eucharist even tasted sweeter, well maybe that was just my imagination.
I couldn't wait for Fr. Bill to come out of the sacristy after Mass, because I wanted him to know how much his homily had meant to me.
Here is the funny part. When I told him exactly what I have just told you he said that he was glad because as he was walking away from the ambo after his homily he felt: Well that makes absolutely no sense at all.
I want to encourage all of you if you are positively affected by a homily, please, please take the time to tell the priest (or deacon as the case may be) that you were meant to hear what he had to say. Priests are often discouraged in their ministry, and when they have moments like Fr. Bill had during this mass had I not taken the time to tell him that his words meant so much to me he might have gone through the rest of his day thinking that he was doing a horrible job.
I am still savoring that feeling of wholeness that I got from those three or four sentences, and now I have an ever better look at the "big picture" thanks to Fr. Bill's words that to him made no sense. I am so blessed to have him as my pastor and I fully intend to remember to tell him every time his words are encouraging or challenging in my journey of faith.