Today was my first attempt at delivering a homily. The Tuesday Eucharist is usually low-key with just a handful of people attending, but my supervisor thought I was ready to start off with the larger crowd that comes for All Souls' Day.
I have to say that I think it went well. I didn't give a real sermon but instead encouraged the congregation present to really grieve and feel their pain; God was with them in it. I started off talking about the image from Isaiah about the banquet: it's such a fine scene and a great way to think about our life with God after the resurrection. We don't live at that time, though. We still experience pain and suffering. While our hope is in the resurrection and this divine banquet, we will grieve over our loved ones and know a lot of pain.
Our hope does not diminish our feelings or negate them but instead calls us to lift them up to the one who came to us, who lived and died with us and now sits at the right hand of the Father: Christ. We don't lose our pain but must instead live our pain. It doesn't make us un-Christian to mourn or to experience pain. We're human, after all. God, though, wants to be with us in our pain.
My parting sentence:
"And when the banquet is ready, we can appear with our tear-stained cheeks, knowing God will wipe them away. Then we can rejoice with God."
I'm still not sure whether it was good, bad or mediocre, but it was my first attempt at a homily. I can only hope that the right words landed in the ears which needed to hear them. In the words of a priest I know, "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer."