I maintain that it takes a priest at least a couple of years before people are used to hearing him preach and the priest can tell a story that's worth hearing. Even though you can stay too long in a parish, I know most of my brother priests stay too short in order to be able to present a whole picture of their "key themes", if you will. In particular, the younger priests who are associate pastors for just two years are just starting to really fill out the ideas they first presented and the people are just starting to get used to them and then they move. But, that's okay because the associate pastor should just remain in the background anyway. We are learning, making mistakes, and learning through it all. And that's okay.
So recently I've had some great conversations with people about the substance of my homilies. I can tell people are starting to get used to me by their faces and reactions to what I say. I can tell when I'm not being all that effective and I can tell when I nailed it. And it feels like I'm getting a lot of nodding heads and good comments letting me know I'm being heard.
And then someone left a prayer on our prayer board saying, "Please Father Dennis, stop talking about abortion." Which is both a good thing and a very very bad thing. They are hearing what I'm saying but they believe that I should not preach about the greatest American tragedy that is taking place every day in our cities. Can you imagine how quickly we would be out of Iraq if 3000 to 5000 American soldiers were killed each day? But that is routine in this country for abortions, as I've pointed out in this blog before. And someone thinks that I should not talk about it? And thinks that they can get me to do that by writing something anonymously on our prayer board?
I guess most priests know that you can't please all people with our homilies and I have no qualms about upsetting people who believe the homily should either be about making people feel good about themselves or, worse, challenging everyone else but themselves. But I don't know if that is true at all about the writer of this "prayer". I am, nonetheless, sure that I will continue to preach about abortion until this illegal act is seen for what it is: murder.