At funerals, preach for the living, not the dead
This November, as we remember our beloved dead and our liturgy begins to contemplate the end times, the stark reality of war is even more pronounced. In times, like these, “sometimes, the best thing you can do,” says Bruce Botha, S.J., “is acknowledge someone else’s pain and say, ‘I can’t imagine how you’re feeling.’”
Father Botha, a priest of the Southern Africa province of the Jesuits, has been in parish ministry for the last 15 years. He serves as the pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church and chaplain for two universities in Johannesburg, South Africa. Previously, he worked at St. Martin de Porres, a Jesuit-run parish in Soweto, “a historic township,“ he says, which was “the epicenter of a lot of the anti-apartheid struggle.” The parish is a stone’s throw from the world-famous Vilakazi Street, which he reminds, has “the homes of two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in it: Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.”
On “Preach” this week, host Ricardo da Silva, S.J., engages Bruce on the challenges of preaching in fearful, uncertain times of COVID and war, and at intimate moments of personal grief, like funerals.
Read the full text of this week’s homily and Scripture readings.
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