“Put on your mask!”

by Fr. Blake

The following is a brief “homilette” preached at the Low Mass on Halloween in the Lady Chapel at S. Stephen’s Church.  31 October, 2014.  This was preached extemporaneously, and the following is a rough transcript from what I can remember.

Halloween is a holiday when, among other things, we have a good time putting on masks. (I have a Frankenstein mask somewhere that’s decades old but still gets satisfying looks when I put it on).  But we hear in pop psychology that masks are not all that helpful – “Take off your masks,” they say, and “Be the real you.”  This is good advice, as far as it goes.  But from the Church’s perspective, the unsettling thing about masks is not that they obscure the truth, rather that they enable it to come out in a way that it might not otherwise.  There’s nothing untruthful about Halloween and our delight in the silly or even the macabre.  In a lot of ways we are in fact the costumes we wear: son, daughter, student, priest.  These are very deep identities, in addition to being roles we play.  It can all get very confusing, as all of us know.  Which costume am I wearing today?  How do I know if there’s anything really there, underneath all the layers?  In Christ, the answer is Yes, there is a costume that goes far deeper than any others we’re accustomed to wearing.  At our baptism, we are clothed with Christ himself, the visible image of the invisible God, in whose image we are made and whose own character is the truest thing about each of us.  Our whole lives long we strive to grow into that costume, till at last it becomes our wedding garment, for the great wedding supper of the Lamb in heaven.  May this face, whose brow is scarred by thorns, be always the one that we see in the mirror, and always the one that others witness upon us.  May we find in it our truest selves and our strongest love.  Amen.