My homily this Sunday will be about hoping for heaven, no matter what.
The perfect counter-example is Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
I wish I could find a way to put Macbeth in my homily, but I have not the skill…
Macbeth kills Duncan and becomes king, as the witches predicted.
Nonetheless, Macbeth is overcome with fear that his friend Banquo’s heirs will be kings in the future.
Act III, Scene 1:
To be thus is nothing;
But to be safely thus…
Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,
And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
Thence to be wrench’d with an unlineal hand,
No son of mine succeeding. If ‘t be so,
For Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind;
For them the gracious Duncan have I murder’d;
Put rancours in the vessel of my peace
Only for them; and mine eternal jewel
Given to the common enemy of man,
To make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!
Macbeth concludes that he has vainly ‘put rancours in the vessel of my peace’ and given his ‘eternal jewel’ to the ‘common enemy of man.’
In other words: “Since I already sold my soul to the devil, I might as well kill Banquo, too.”