There's No Place Like Home
by Rev. Robert J. Hermley

Stories for Life Index
Home Page

The Wizard of Oz is a great classic, and it rightly deserves that honor.  It tells the story of Dorothy, who learns with much difficulty and after a long journey that there is no place like home - that happiness was in her own back yard all the time.

It also features a tin man searching for a heart, a straw man, who is looking for a brain, and a cowardly but beloved lion, who longs for the gift of courage.

They are all directed to the Wizard to ask for these gifts, and to get to him, they must follow the Yellow Brick Road.  Before granting them their wishes, the Wizard demands a test.  they must bring back the broom of the wicked Witch of the West.

After much difficulty and trouble, they do so and the wizard fulfills all of their wishes.  the strangest thing, however, is that in executing the Wizard's commands, they show that they already have a brain in conceiving their plans to bring the wicked Witch to an untimely end, and that they have the heart necessary for the task, and that they have the courage to do the job.  The whole task was difficult and the witch and her cohorts gave them a truly rough time, but they did accomplish their mission to bring back the witch's broom, and in doing so, the destroyed her power.  Then too, Dorothy learned that all along she possessed the ability to go home any time she wanted.

It all sounds like a wonderful child's story, and it is; but it also gives us a little food for thought.  Dorothy could be a symbol of someone who had left home - let's us say her father's house - or let us say the Church.  Have you ever met someone like that?  That person sometimes carries a grudge.  Usually, it is a cop-out for some serious personal defect in their faith.  However, that person wishes to leave home and go to some other religion where he might be able to do the things he wishes he could do - somewhere over the rainbow, there is a place that is easier. Dorothy was reprimanded by a neighbor, and her Aunt Em sent her to her room, where she wished she could leave home and go somewhere else where things were easier.  Then came the tornado, where she was injured and she began to live that fantasy.  She found herself in Oz, where, for a time, she thought it interesting and fun.  But soon she missed Kansas and especially her auntie Em.  She wanted to go home, but was told to follow the Yellow Brick Road.  Could that signify the Church's direction - the Ten Commandments?

Anyway, along he road, she met the straw man, who wanted a brain.  One needs a brain to find true faith.  She met the tin man, who wanted a heart.  True faith needs a heart; and she linked up with a lion, who was looking again for his courage.  Trying to find one's way home to the true faith needs courage, a heart and brain.  Following directions is a good way to start, and so they followed the Yellow Brick road, got their orders from the wizard, and carried out their assignment.

Now, it is very interesting to notice that the Wizard was not a fake.  He did somewhat throw about his power to awe, but that was only to frighten those who did not respect his authority.  He knew already that the lion had courage, but that he would have to see that for himself.  Bravery always requires a bit of self-esteem.  He knew that the tin man had heart and the straw man had a brain.  Wit his help, they could all work together to prove it. - And prove it, they did.  they withstood and destroyed the Wicked Witch's power - the Devil.  And Dorothy fund out that she could go home any time she wanted - so can the wanderer.  He can always go to Confession.  He can always come home.

So, the Wizard of Oz can make a good sermon.  It is the story of one who wants to roam away from Rome. It is the story of one who wishes to leave the true faith.  He is intrigued for a time, but then, begins to get homesick.  He longs to return to the faith of his fathers.  He decides to fight the power of Satan using his brain, his heart and his courage.  He follows the Yellow Brick Road to his fathers' house and is glad to return because everyone knows that there is no place like home.

I sincerely hope that everyone who reads these lines will, one day, have the opportunity to go to Rome and to walk up that main aisle of St. Peter's Basilica where Popes, Bishops, Saints, and sinners have walked, and approach the symbol of the chair of St. Peter and realize that here are our roots, here we are home, that this is the rock upon which Christ built; that this is he rock of Peter, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against the papacy.  May you have the privilege of seeing all this one day and feel the joy of being HOME.

There's no place like home.