We meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at St. Gertrude's Ministry Center
(6214 N. Glenwood), beginning at 8:00 p.m. Folks are welcome to join us at anytime.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Commissioning Service Homily

Commissioning Service
Reflection by Tim Cabe, SJ
Gonzaga House, 26 April 2009

THE GOSPEL (Luke 4:16-21)

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord." Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."

THE REFLECTION

I want to make a few comments to those of you who are traveling to our nation’s capital.

First, let me say thank you. What you are doing is extremely important in this moment of moral crisis for our nation. It is critically important that we stand with all the people in our country and around the world who condemn the actions being done in our name: actions which violate international law; actions that violate our Christian ethics and our countries ideals; actions that violate the basic human dignity of our brothers and sisters who have been subjected to detention, extradition and torture. We have gathered here tonight to ask you to go in our name, and in the name of the church that we love, to join in one united voice to say we will not tolerate this inhumanity any longer.

It is providential that you make this journey during this great season of Easter. It is this moment in the liturgical year that gives us hope in the ultimate triumph of the One we follow, triumph over torture and death. It is our Lord, and he is alive and actively working with us His companions in mission. It is the Lord, the one with all power and authority in heaven and on earth who really missions you all this night, to go out and tell our nation’s leaders: “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the good news.”

I am so very proud of you and what you are doing. To me you are the very best of what our church has to offer. You are the church. You embody the vision and values, the ethics of love, the very foundation of what our church is called to proclaim. Make no mistake, you are of one mind and heart with the church’s teaching. In 1994 the Vatican Pontifical Council, Office of Justice and Peace made this clear statement:

In carrying out investigations, the regulation against the use of torture, even in the case of serious crimes, must be strictly observed: “Christ's disciple refuses every recourse to such methods, which nothing could justify and in which the dignity of man is as much debased in his torturer as in the torturer's victim”. International juridical instruments concerning human rights correctly indicate a prohibition against torture as a principle which cannot be contravened under any circumstances. Likewise ruled out is “the use of detention for the sole purpose of trying to obtain significant information for the trial”. Moreover, it must be ensured that “trials are conducted swiftly: their excessive length is becoming intolerable for citizens and results in a real injustice”.

Not everyone will appreciate what you are doing as much as I do. Your family and friends may be very vocal in opposition to your witness. Many of our fellow citizens believe that what you are demanding is the way of weakness and threatens our national security. But recall, too, that those listening to Jesus in tonight’s gospel were filled with fury, Luke tells us, and nearly threw him headlong off a cliff. They were outraged at the audacity of his words. So don’t let that get in the way. Be audacious like Jesus. Be audacious enough to hear and believe that Isaiah’s words are spoken to you: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon you, because God has anointed you.” Be bold enough to bring glad tidings to the poor. Be presumptuous enough to proclaim liberty to captives. Be confident enough to recover the of sight to the blind who think violence is the way to peace. Be daring enough to demand that the oppressed go free, and brash enough to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord."

Thank you. Thank you for hoping in and creating a better world governed by God’s justice and God’s law. Thank you for being willing to speak truth to power. Continue to allow God’s word and God’s will to guide your every step. And now go in our name, proclaim a new social order based in love.

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