Gumdrop Catechesis and Marshmallow Sermons

Jelly_Beans candy EasterI really can’t remember the last time that a homily made me squirm in my seat and cast a downward glance at being convicted of my sinfulness. I can’t call to mind ever leaving mass with a zeal and fiery passion to go make a difference that was so hot I wanted to jump in the Baptismal font just to cool off.

I don’t mean to be facetious.

Let me state first off that it is my deepest desire to go to heaven.

However, I am human, a sinner, and in desperate need of unabridged, pure, uncensored truth. As such I long to be inspired, motivated, incriminated, and called to redemption. I need the gentle, and sometimes not so gentle, guidance of the shepherd’s staff to direct and keep me on the narrow path. I hunger for Scripture to be opened up and made relevant, as well as doctrine and dogma to enlighten my mind and direct my footsteps. Father Barron says that “too often the dogmas and doctrines of the Church are presented in such an abstract and disembodied way that their transformative power is largely overlooked.”

I have sat in talks and been preached at in pews, as the speaker danced and side stepped around any word or phrase that has the potential to offend me in some unintended way. I once heard a Deacon preach on Ephesians 5:22, literally apologizing his way through the entire sermon, leaving the whole congregation totally befuddled and perplexed.

Why are so many fearful to save our souls, but doing back flips not to offend our puny egos?

I want to learn, to grow, to be provoked to change my habitual tendency to sin. I want the leadership in our Church to be the shepherds God appointed them to be and to do whatever it takes to bring their congregations to heaven. Teach us, arouse our curiosity about all things God, wake us out of our long slumber and lethargy.

Why are so many Catholics leaving the Church? I dare say it has more to do with being lulled into a coma instead of rallied for battle – a spiritual battle with eternal consequences. Shame on us all if anyone ever leaves the Church for it is in her loving arms that we find Christ Crucified, Christ Risen and Christ Present in every Tabernacle and at every Mass.

But how do we know this when we only hear marshmallow sermons and get gumdrop catechesis?

Is what we hear worth dying for? The early Christian martyrs were willing to be fed to lions, skinned alive, and tortured to death for the truth that we today are so afraid of speaking because someone might look at us sideways.

What will it take to turn things around? How long will God be patient with us as we cycle back into widespread apathy and prevalent disobedience fueled by subjective relativistic banter? What can each of us do as laity to lift up, encourage, and rekindle fire in the hearts of believers? How can we speak to our priests and catechetical leaders and call them to be catalysts striving to set humanity on fire with the winds of the Word and the Magisterium as the fuel which ignites the flames?

I don’t want to hear any more personal theologies, inclusive language, and whack ideologies. I really don’t care what your opinion is, either. Give me the truth, give me the facts, and get out of the way and let God pierce me to the marrow.

Personally I am at wits end.

I have been blessed on occasion to hear some of the great voices of our time and I lapped up the truth like a thirsty man at a spring. I can’t get enough. I want more. I want to dive in head first and swim in the waters of knowledge drinking up every last droplet. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know anything at all and yet, I crave all the more to taste the Infinite God.

We are fat and our teeth are rotten.

Stop feeding us junk, and reintroduce us to a good old fashioned fire and brimstone keep us out of hell sermon that has the power to transform us into a people willing to go the distance; even if it means being the main course in the lion’s den.

Barbara Lishko works full time as a Lay Catholic Marriage Minister. She and her husband Mark, an ordained Deacon, have been married for 35 years and are blessed with five young adult children, whose lives grow and expand through marriage and grandchildren.

Through the inspiration of her family, work in the Catholic Church and wacky life experiences her dream of writing was born. She is the recipient of the Diocese of Phoenix St Terese of Lisieux award. Barbara can be reached at blishko_58@yahoo.com

Filed under: »