am the pastor of a Catholic parish. It is easy and unchallenging to
offer a homily every Sunday that is never challenging, but tells people
that "You are wonderful just the way you are." A former seminary
professor of mine, Cardinal John Foley, told us, "The role of the priest
in his homily is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."
There are times when I give a challenging homily
that makes people stand up and walk out of church. I'm never
comfortable with that, because I seldom have the opportunity to look
that person in the eye and converse about the issues. So each week I
choose whether God asks me to challenge His people or comfort His
people. Am I the coward if I never challenge from the pulpit, or is the
coward the one who walks away silenly without challenging me?