Homily For One
THE YOUNG PAROCHIAL VICAR, Father Timothy O’Brian, charged into the rectory kitchen of St. Andrew’s and stamped the morning snow off his feet. The wind had slammed the door shut behind him, occasioning an unpriestly crack about the building committee years ago that decided priests could well do without a covered passageway. It was only thirty yards from the church where he had just said the seven-thirty.

He hung up his coat as his superior, Father Louis Reilly, St. Andrew’s pastor, chuckled, “There’s fresh, hot coffee, Tim, and oatmeal on the stove.”

“Just what I wanted,” the younger priest said making a face.

“Goes with the weather,” Father Louis said with a grin.

  Father Tim dutifully dished out some of the thick gruel his boss had prepared. The two priests sat facing each other listening to the wind outside. It was seven-fifty and the worst storm of the winter was full upon them, so fierce even their faithful housekeeper, Martha, did not show up.

“Anybody there this morning?” Father Louis asked.

 “Just that young woman,” Father Tim said. “You know, the looker who's been coming the last few weeks. The one who sits in the back and never receives. I hear she’s got a doozy of a last name. Polish, I’m told. ”

“Ah, yes,” Father Louis said, “She's been coming to the nine o'clock. I have no idea who she is.”

“Well, storm or no storm, she got up for the seven-thirty this morning,” Father Tim said, slapping beads of melting snow from his pant leg. “She followed me into the sacristy with a smart question.”

“Well, at least she listens,” Fr. Louis said, adding coffee to their mugs.

 “Yeah, well today,” his young assistant said, “it was the words in the Antiphon: In love he created us, in justice he condemned us, in mercy he restored us to life. She stuck her face in the sacristy after Mass and wanted to know if God is so loving and merciful, why did He have to condemn us? She just stood there until I gave her an answer. I sure wouldn't want to be married to this one.”

“So what did you tell her?” Father Louis said smiling.

“I told her she'd asked a good question,” Father Tim said.

The older priest finished off his coffee. “I suppose that's one way to handle it,” he said.

Father Louis got up and put his mug in the sink. He listened to a gust of wind slam against the kitchen window.

“By the way,” he asked as he turned to go. “Did you give a homily?”

“Never for one,” Father Tim said with a laugh. “Against my religion.”

“You might have a point,” the pastor said, heading for his office.