While I was home this weekend, I went to church with my parents in San Clemente. The gospel happened to be the parable of the prodigal son. Although I have heard this story many times (they read the same stories every three years), it has always been difficult for me to grasp. In fact, three years ago when I last heard the story, I wrote about how I was finally starting to understand the moral of the story.
Anyway, as the priest was giving his homily this week, I was absolutely riveted. Although I have started to come to terms with the prodigal son story, he brought up new things that helped me understand the story more. He even linked the story to the recent church abuses that have been plaguing the Catholic church. In addition to helping us understand the story, I think bringing up the scandals was a bold move that everyone in the parish appreciated. The controversies have been the biggest elephant in the room (or church), and it was so refreshing to hear a priest confront the issue head-on.
Hearing a good homily is like watching a good movie. Your attention is fully on every word that is said, and afterwards, everyone just looks at the person next to them with the look that says, "wow, that was good." Finally, when you leave the theater/church, you just keep thinking about it and want to talk to other people about it.
I know that it will probably be hard to find another priest that was this good, but I have realized I should look a little. The church that I currently go to has one priest that I really like. However, there is a priest I don't like, the church and environment is dark and somber looking inside, and the demographic is much older than me. With the children's choir on summer vacation, the church has really seemed especially old school and unlively. I think the main reason why I have continued to attend mass there is because I enjoy the solitary walk there and back; it was a way for me to clear my head at the beginning of each week. Not the worst reason to keep going to church, but not the best either.