Some 20 plus years ago, I attended Sunday Mass in St. Anselm’s Church in a suburb of London, close to Heathrow Airport. As always in visits like this, I sat with the congregation to enjoy the Mass and the homily. What astounded me this Sunday morning was the topic of the priest’s homily: “Husbands stop battering your wives.”
Beforehand, I would have thought that this form of domestic violence would be a rare happening in the Christian community. Evidently, the wife battering had come to the priest’s attention so often that he considered it worthwhile to devout his whole homily to it.
For all sociologists, experts in the study of family living, anger stands as the number one enemy of family peace and happiness. Uncontrolled anger, through cutting words or violent actions, seeks to harm others in the family circle. Police dread answering the call of domestic violence because they generally are entering into a no-win situation where family members are throwing insults and blows at each other.
Anger is a terribly difficult emotion to handle. Even when anger is used in a proper way, the results can turn out poorly. All people would be better off if they rarely used anger to solve family situations. Have little or nothing to do with this very powerful emotion. Hearts suffer greatly from harsh expressions of correction and criticism.
In a household where a constantly angry person lives, the other people living there never know what to expect for the day ahead. Will the angry person be in a good mood or in a bad mood? What kind of violence will the angry person do in acts or words? Sinful anger poisons the air of the household.
All people are filled with more angry feelings than they realize. Things don’t go one’s way with a resultant desire to get back at others who caused this lack of success. In traffic situations, an honest person will admit to many angry impulses to get even with other drivers. To be a person of peace at home, one would do well to throw cold water on these hot flashes of violence. Cool Down! No one can love a hot head.
Fr. George Mc Kenna
Oftentimes I went to the Holy Land and Jerusalem by myself, not as a sight seer, but as a pilgrim seeking the Face of Christ. Jesus of Nazareth comes across as the most exciting Person ever to live. No one can study His Life and completely exhaust all there is to know about Him. No greater adventure can I follow than to make every effort to grow closer in friendship with Him.
I first visited the Holy Land in 1959 with three other priests. The flight time to Jerusalem comes to 14 hours, quite exhausting. My first and last trip, I thought to myself. But unknown to myself, the Holy Places had captured my heart. For the next 50 years, I would return on the average of every other year. My residence stood at the Second Station of the Way of the Cross.
Now and then, a few friends would join with me on the long journey. A good experience because we shared our thoughts each evening about the day’s happenings. What drew me back again and again? For one thing, on coming home to Chicago each time, my work as a priest took on a new joyful intensity. I wanted fervently to tell my people about the wisdom of seeking the Face of Christ, even in our Chicago environment.
I enjoyed offering Masses in the many Holy Places in the Old City of Jerusalem, some six blocks square. Some of my favorites: the tomb of Christ and Mount Calvary, both in the Holy Sepulcher Church, the most revered in Christendom; the Cenacle Chapel, some 50 yards away from the Last Supper site; the Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In the neighborhood of Jerusalem are many places mentioned in the Gospels, like the Franciscan Church at Emmaus which marks the meeting place of Jesus and the two downcast disciples on the first Easter morning. A favorite place of mine, because I have been downcast so many times in my life, is Bethany, where Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived with their open door policy to Jesus in hospitality. I prayed my heart would be the same.
In Ein Karem, a suburb of Jerusalem, where Mary and Elizabeth met in the Visitation, a beautiful church. In my pilgrimages, I would take a bus to Galilee, to Nazareth 85 miles to the north, to Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee. These sites tell of the ministry of Jesus. Alleluia! I am so grateful to God for giving me a love of the Holy Land.
Fr. George Mc Kenna