May 10, 2015
When I was in formation, one of the things we had to do was write and give practice homilies. We would give them from a podium in a classroom; our fellow candidates for the diaconate acted as the congregation and then critiqued each practice homily afterwards.
One time, we were given a random Sunday — mine just happened to be June 16 — and I went to work on the homily, incorporating all three readings and the psalm… tying everything together and making what I thought was an excellent theological point. I spent hours on it, carefully considering each word. I must have practiced giving it a dozen times. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted to create a homily such that no one could possibly find even the slightest deficiency to critique.
The time finally came and I gave my practice homily. It went smoothly and I was relieved to have it done. When I was finished, the formation director invited the other candidates to begin the critique. There was a pause. Then the pause grew longer. I thought maybe I had accomplished my goal.
Then a hand went up. The person announced that they had noticed that Sunday, June 16, that year was Father’s Day, and they were disappointed I hadn’t mentioned it. It was February. I wasn’t thinking anything about Father’s Day, focused as I was on the liturgical text for the day. The formation director agreed that he had noticed it, too.
That was the only critique, and I promised myself right then and there to never make that mistake again.
Today is May 10. As I am sure everyone is aware, May is National Hamburger Month. That means we are one-third of the way through this very special month. There are many ways to celebrate National Hamburger Month. The most obvious is to take someone special out for a hamburger. You might even think about taking your mom out for a hamburger… after all, moms are pretty special, too. They really ought to have their own month. Or at least a day.
Just an idea.