Sunday, October 7, 2012
"Philip" Weighs In!
In my homily below, I mention "Philip," a young man from the parish who is struggling with belonging to the Church. He read the homily--which I wrote with his permission--and sent me a long and thoughtful response that shows he continues to reflect seriously on the spiritual life.
Somewhat to my surprise, he did not take issue with what I said about faith. Here's part of what he wrote:
"As youth, I think we are sometimes plagued by our influences to see faith as a place of don'ts, and one of the reasons I loved the faith as much as I did was because I saw it as a place of do's. Do ask questions. Do seek guidance. Do see the people around you. Do thank those who give. Do be the one to give. Do something good and never let anyone know."
And he added, "I agree, faith is morality and marriage, faith is do's and don'ts, faith is everything."
Philip reminded me that in our final conversation he'd said that one of the reasons he stopped coming to Mass was that "the gifts offered to me by faith I can find in the people I surround myself with." He still finds this to be true, but told me I should assure the youth in the parish that "if it works one way, it certainly can work in the other."
I respect his sincerity, and am very grateful for his openness and honesty with me, and I can't help but hear the words Jesus spoke to the rich young man: "You are not far from the kingdom of God."
But you can be sure that during the Year of Faith I'll be praying that Philip--and many like him--discover that he can be nearer still by returning to the faith of the Church. I might even ask him to subject his inquiring mind and heart to a Catholics Come Home video or two!