This Lent I heard a homily that seemed to epitomize the concept of casuitry, which is the use of clever but unsound reasoning (especially in relation to moral issues.) However, to be fair to the Ignatian principle of the Presupposition, listen for yourself how readings during the Second Sunday of Lent were explained.
The presiding priest's homily only casually brushed by scripturally sound exegesis about the Binding of Isaac and the Transfiguration. Instead the theme was "Her Name Was Sarah", which as a four part vignette which covered disparate stories from nearly 5,000 years of salvific history, which were tenously connected by lamb and protagonists said to be named Sarah.
Honestly, I had never heard a take on Genesis 22 which featured Abraham's wife Sarah being ready to make a lamb supper for the boys after they returned from their field trip to Mount Moriah. However, I suspect that emphasis was important to set up for the remaining stories.
What caused me to prick up my ears was when the homilist insisted that Simon-Peter's wife Sarah was expecting to make fish when her husband returned but instead made she made lamb after his "friend" Jesus came from Mount Tabor for supper.
The personal reference to his immigrant Irish Grandmother Sarah making the best lamb led into the crux of the reflection. The homilist alluded to Sarah, an El Salvador illegal alien who was deported from the United States could not afford to make lamb for her forcibly transferred catering business in San Salvador.
My phelgmatic friend sitting next to me seemed quite puzzled at the train of thought and did not feel like he was spiritualy fed, but his modus operandi is to not sweat little things and let it go.
Following my Jesuit education, I contacted the homilist to ask from where in Holy Tradition he discerned that St. Peter's wife was named Sarah. After all, we know that he was married, because Luke's gospel reports that healing Peter's mother in law in Capernium was his first miracle. Shortly thereafter, Simon left his established trade to follow Jesus, so it seems fishy to characterize the Messiah just as Simon's "friend" Jesus.
But no where to my knowledge is that wife ever positively identified. The cleric in question sidestepped the query but acknowledged my feelings and expressed a willingness to talk about it. It was a factual inquiry, not one that required glad handing or a summit. Obviously there was no good straight answer.
At this parish, I am accustomed to thoughtful homilies which exuded exegesis with contemporary hooks. I was disappointed that the mercy that God displayed to Abraham's obedience and the mystery of Jesus appearing between Moses (the law giver) and Elijah (the Prophet) were glossed over to extrapolate an extraneous argument against immigration enforcement. It is certainly a part of the prophetic duty of a priest to challenge the faithful in proclaiming the Gospel. But when you make stuff up at the pulpet to proffer your secular politics, such casuistry sticks in one's craw.
Living in the Distict of Calamity, there are lots of choices on where to go to Mass. This parish is blessed with three priests on staff, several in residence and is closely located next to a Jesuit University, so even at the same Church there are often plenty of choices. This differs from the plight of rural parishes, like in Southwest Virginia, in which several parishes share one priest.
Granted many clerics have problems doing the black and saying the red according to the rubric. Still, it hardly seems onerous to ask the ordained who have the privilege of proclaiming the Gospel from the pulpit to preach on actual scripture rather than making up bible stories to foster an specious point on prudential politics.