I talked in my homily this morning how the real punishment that people get with excuses is being left behind. The gospel reading talked about Jesus recruiting his disciples and how several came up with excuses and couldn't go. Their punishment was being left out of the mission of Jesus and, ultimately, the Kingdom of God. But, the first part talked about how the disciples entered a Samaritan village that didn't accept Jesus so James and John, true to being sons of thunder, tried to ask God to destroy the city. But Jesus rebuked them. So, if you don't follow Jesus because you feel like you want the security of a home or want to bury the dead or want to say goodbye to family, the real way that you will suffer is by being away from God instead of something violent.
I remembered with fondness when Pope John Paul II apologized for injustices done by certain members of the church and said that we are supposed to be the persecuted not the persecutors. And then I used this to talk about Sts. Peter and Paul since this week is the patron of my little country parish where I was preaching. My point for them was that we should follow Jesus with our whole hearts just like the disciples Peter and Paul did.
I should have used incense, however since it was their patronal feast day. I regret not doing so. I feel like we only use incense at funerals and that makes it seem like something somber. But, in truth, it's a symbol of celebration and of our prayers rising to God. I'll have to think of that for the feasts of St. Patrick, St. James, St. Boniface, and St. Wenceslaus when I get in my cluster of parishes in just two short weeks. It's hard for me to believe my ride in Ames is coming to an end.