Fr Eric Nielsen, pastor of St Paul’s University Catholic Center gave an instant classic homily this (Saturday) morning at Holy Redeemer Church. This is my paraphrase–not a transcription. I am learning that blogging goes most happily if you ask permission before publishing, when appropriate, so I asked his permission by email and he agreed, saying “you did a very good job” and one edit was made by his request. His homily was better.
Old people are generally better with their problems than young people, because old people know their problems will go away eventually in time. They know from long experience. Young people don’t have that perspective, they are often in a crisis and can’t see if they will ever get to the other side of it. But old people just say, argh, these problems, let’s just sit on the porch a while.
I’ve heard it said that fat mothers are better than skinny mothers, because when you come to her with a problem, a skinny mother tries to talk with you about it, and talking about it never solves anything, you just get more distressed from thinking about it. A fat mother says, come on and have something to eat. And you have something to eat and laugh a bit and you feel better.
My mother was a skinny mother, but she would give me some food when I came to the kitchen with my problems. She was [is!] a great mother. There were seven of us kids. We were very poor and so she baked bread herself and canned all her own vegetables and fruits, she was always in the kitchen working, taking care of what we needed. Whenever I needed her I knew to find her in the kitchen and I could go talk about my problems and she would say “here Eric, have some of this”–whatever it was she was cooking. Food is a great thing! So often children can simply be comforted by giving them something to eat.
A lot of the problems young people have now are because their mother isn’t in the kitchen anymore when they go looking for her. We need that. It used to be there were no microwaves so there was always so much to do in the kitchen and you always knew where to find your mother. Now everything is so changed and most of the mothers are out working a job. You don’t always know where your mother is anymore. The kids come to the kitchen with their problems and Mom’s not there. It’s probably much better for women, but what are all the rest of us supposed to do, that need mothering?
The Blessed Virgin Mary is a good mother like good mothers always used to be, always there for her children in the kitchen and able to be found when we have problems. She is our mother and the best mother and she’ll help us stay close to Jesus. Turn to Mary, she’ll give you something to comfort you and give you confidence that it will be okay, and you’ll feel much better.
When I’m an old priest, after I retire and I’m not so busy, I want to just be there in the kitchen for people. Well, I’ll be in the church. People would know where to find me waiting there for them to come with their problems, needing somebody to comfort them.