I want to share with you the shortest homily I’ve ever given in my life. It was only 34 words. I gave it in an elevator in Washington DC at a New Cannan Socity conference with 800 men.
I had my collar on as I got into the elevator. There was of course no eye contact, no conversation, don’t talk to me, don’t touch me, don’t look at me. Everyone was looking at the numbers above the door, which were not even moving yet.
As I got in the door started to close I said, “I have a question for you. When it comes to the end of your life do you know if you are going up or going down?” I really don’t know what came over me! Everyone laughed, the doors closed and guess what, the elevator went up… we all got our answer, it was a miracle we had a standing O for Jesus.
Of course, there was not where to sit down but it was just one of those moments.
I have to say it was not only the shortest church service I’ve ever been too, it was the shortest homily I’ve ever given, it was the least attended service I’ve ever been to, it was the smallest church I’ve ever been in, and sadly there was no time for an offertory collection.
But it was fun and it was uplifting… It was actually brilliant.
I got out on the second floor… turned and watched the door close…
They were all staring above the door again… there was yet again no eye contact…


  1. Peter Hawkins says:

    Excellent! Had Dante been on the elevator you might have gone down, not withstanding having to stop at all nine floors before heading back up!

  2. Christina Cochrane says:

    I really liked reading this short homily, Father Nigel. Thank you.
    We are in elevators a lot these days since Sam has been diagnosed with gastric esophageal cancer. One thing differs from your story and that is that most of the occupants have at least a word or two and smiles since they are all in the same situation. There is a sort of camaraderie in the anxiety this disease produces.
    I am quite certain that you do not remember me or Sam, but we were at your ordination and I rarely missed a service at Christ the King on Tuesdays. I nevertheless, am requesting prayers for my Sam. We know the power of prayer, don’t we? I remember so well the prayer that went up for you when you had H1N1. It worked!
    Thank you for your service to God, Father Nigel.
    Fondly, Chris Cochrane

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