A Child is Born to Us

Sadly, it’s truly not news, just another invasion of peace and tranquility defying any means to ignore it:

The children of Aleppo being executed since they could not flee the order to leave or the terror of bombardment. They were not collateral damage. They were the targets.

Continue reading “A Child is Born to Us”

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Don’t They Get It?

Recently our world rocks us yet again with many instances of violence and death that are projected onto our consciousness by way of print and electronic media. Unrelenting in detail, we find it almost impossible to experience any peace at all even as we try to end our day with sleep.

As has been demonstrated for millennia, even those entrusted with “spreading God’s word” have on occasion not been able to avoid doing so without some form of violence. It has remained such that as we try to convince others that God loves us, we sometimes do so in a loud, forceful and intolerant manner.  All in the name of “doing God’s will.”

Joined HandsThere have been, however, many other voices who have tried over time to ask that each of us embrace the silence required for hearing God speak. We are asked to ignore as much as possible even block out the strident sounds of violence and death; we are asked to embrace the solitude that, while precious in terms of time taken, is so essential to the very peace of our souls. Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and contemplative, once said, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”

Jesus has asked us to do this over and over yet we cannot truly hear it if we do not rid ourselves of the temptation to seek revenge, inflict any form of harm, or in any way diminish those who we find to be in disagreement with our own deeply held beliefs.amazing-grace-1145086

The Spiritual Works of Mercy include Admonishing the Sinner and Instructing the Ignorant. We can accomplish neither if we allow our hearts to be filled with hate, disdain, rejection or outright dismissal of their right to seek God with all their hearts. “They” will understand what we are trying to do when we live a life of mercy rather than preaching a message of death.

In the Jubilee Year of Mercy may we be thankful for all the catechists in our parish of Holy Family who work tirelessly to share God’s word.  They do so constantly reminding us of God’s loved and peace. We are grateful for their willingness to help us hear about one another’s faith journey with respect and kindness. They help us “get it.”

The Luxury of Hate

By Tom White

On Sunday, June 12, 2016 Fr. Phil Egan, Pastor of Holy Family Parish in Kansas City, Missouri,  spoke at the 11:00 am parish liturgy profoundly, pointedly and passionately about the tragic results of categorizing anyone for any reason particularly when we judge them to be “different.” He reminded us that Jesus calls us to respect one another as the good of God’s creative love, not to destroy it.

Yet another chronicle of mass death was being played out in the media for all to see beginning in the early hours of Sunday. Once again we are faced with the spectre of deaths-to-be explained, motivations to be parsed, and choices seemingly made out of sheer desperation.

Dark and Hooded

Mental health professionals encourage us to “talk with our children” in helping them deal with  death. Yet we struggle to determine exactly what words to use, which terms are descriptive enough yet not too graphic and find the reassurances that “all will be OK.” The problem is, however, WE are not sure all will be OK.

We consult our internal thesaurus for the alternative words which may be less violent, less descriptive, less painful but in the end, we know the word to use: HATE. We must call it for what it is.

 Jesus calls us to love in the face of hate but want us to think that to be a softness in the Christian message. When we perceive evil we cannot meet it with platitudes we may be told, we must be strong , we must exact a price in Jesus’ name we are encouraged. We even depict St. Michael the Archangel with a sword! We are taught to hate evil! When we choose to arm the angels we move forcefully into the dangerous world of judging, even judging the different.

Loving one another is neither weak nor easy. Recognizing the worth of another as a gift of God is not a platitude. Respecting our neighbor as a person of worth is a very serious commitment.

Love of neighbor requires a fundamental change in attitude. Perhaps we need to consider that to hate is in reality the easy way, the soft way, the weak way. Hate is a luxury we cannot afford … ever. The high price of hate is being paid for yet again. We must purge hate from our own hearts or it will inhabit our very being, even cost us our life.

Joined HandsThat talk with our children? Ourselves? Perhaps we speak together about such things as peace in the family, among playmates, at school, between moms and dads, or neighbors. Perhaps we talk among ourselves how we can better channel our anger when we encounter that feeling. Perhaps we speak more pointedly of what Scripture asks of us: Love  God and our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps we re-read Genesis and repeat to ourselves, out loud and with conviction the words: “God saw all that was made and said it is very good.” Perhaps we take to heart what Fr. Phil so sadly but lovingly shared with us: Who am I to judge?