My dear brothers and sisters,
First of all, an apology.
I'm sorry that I did not download this sermon from the internet, based on the words written by another person whose name I don't know, or can't acknowledge.
I'm sorry that I am not reading from prepared notes, but straight from the heart.
I'm sorry that I have to say I'm sorry for being a Catholic priest in these days and times when being a Catholic priest is synonymous, for some, to being a pedophile.
I'm sorry that some of us have forgotten how to speak to you and look you in the eye and say: "I believe in Christ and his message, which is, to do unto others what you would want them to do unto you. Do you?"
I'm sorry for being so arrogant to assume that just because I finished eight years in school and have a Masters of this and a Ph.D in that, that I am already a person with untouchable sacredness and divinity. Heck, I just memorized a lot of stuff and wrote the right words. Anyone can do that.
I'm sorry for having been too obsessed with making money and forgetting that the Christ who forms the core of my religion had nothing.
I'm sorry that I stand here before you, on the pulpit, and all I can tell you are the usual bromides and doctrinal platitudes that have no meaning in your everyday lives.
I'm sorry for assuming that I am entitled to your love and respect just because I am wearing these robes and going through the motions of a ritual set by a committee in the Vatican.
I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
But let me make it up to you.
Let me tell you that we are all travelers. Some say we are traveling to heaven, but let me just say that, together, we are going somewhere. Somebody has designated me the leader of our band here, but to tell you the truth, I am as in the dark as everyone else. But I try. To lead, that is, in words and example.
I am the least of you. I may stand here in all my honorific glory, but I am nothing. I should be nothing. I should be the vessel through which the light of God shines through. If that light doesn't shine through perfectly, if at all, it's because, like you, I'm struggling.
Like you, I am a human being.
Like you, I don't have all the answers.
Like you, I get sick.
Like you, I get happy.
Like you, I get discouraged.
Like you, I feel encouraged.
Like you, I am bombarded by the reality of this world of technology, fast living, pornographic advertisements, 24-hour TV and much else that you've come to expect from this century we live in.
And like you, I will grow old and I will die.
So what is the relevance of the religion I represent to all of you who struggle in these recession-filled times?
Because Jesus Christ was not part of a religion. He was a vagabond, a hobo, a drifter, a rootless individual whose message remained the same till the established religion of that time crucified him.
"Love one another," he said.
That is all.
Follow that rule, and you, all of us, will be free and at peace.
If you love one another, then probably all the religions will fail, because there will no longer be platforms from which NOT to love one another.
Yes, including mine.
But here I am, and here we are, enclosed by this space of stone and liturgy and sacred smoke. All this must mean something, to you and to me.
And if, at the present moment, you believe that the religion I represent has failed you, once more, I apologize. But you may want to give us another chance.
Perhaps we will become better, in time, in going back to the original message of the central figure of our faith.
Love one another.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.
You might just like it.