Homily from the Mass for Unity and Peace
A renewed welcome to all here at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for Sunday Mass.
Mayor de Blasio, you are always welcome here. I admire you for joining a number of congregations this Sunday morning as our nation finds itself afraid, worried, frustrated and fatigued over senseless violence against God’s children.
Every Sunday we bring our praise and thanks, our needs and our petitions, our sorrow for sin, and, yes, our anxieties and concern to God our Father through and with His Son Jesus, on the cross.
This Sunday morning, our fears and worries for the country we so love, the country whose birthday we celebrated just last Monday, seem to dominate.
From Minnesota, to Louisiana, to Texas, this “one nation under God” examines its soul and asks God for healing, peace, and reconciliation. Sadness and heaviness are especially present in our African-American and law enforcement communities, and this Sabbath we pray with and for them.
Everyone seems to be talking about these somber episodes of violence, and the wax in our ears can build up as we get fatigued listening to a whole array of experts.
This Sunday morning, you came here to listen to the only Expert who really counts. When something is broken, we usually consult the manufacturer, the builder, the one who made it, to find out what’s wrong and how we can fix it.
God is our creator; when His creatures are broken, we best listen to His instructions for repair! Jesus, His Son, is our Savior. When we admit we need saving, we best listen to Him!
God’s Word does not let us down this Sunday morning. The people of Israel were, like us, worried, wayward, weary. Moses speaks to them: “If only you would listen to the voice of the Lord, your God, and keep His commandments . . . these commandments,” Moses continues, “are hardly way out there . . . They are near to you, in your hearts! Return to the Lord your God with all your heart.”
What are these lessons from the Lord? We know them deep down! We were raised in families and in faiths that taught them and modeled them. We have grown up in a country and a city which was founded upon them and cherishes the freedom to live them.
What are they? Lessons burned in our hearts that may need shock paddles!
“Thou shalt not kill!”
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor!”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God”
God made us in His own image and likeness; He loves us, treats us with dignity and respect, and asks us to do the same.
Human life is sacred, never to be treated callously or carelessly, always to be revered and protected!
God is our Father, we are His children, we are all one family; with special tenderness for the weak, sick, vulnerable, and poor . . .
“Do unto others as you would have them do to you!”
“Love one another!”
Sound familiar? These truths come not from Fox or CNN, not from Dolan, not even from Moses . . . but from God; they echo in our heart; they resonate in a country and a city founded upon them; they are lived out daily by citizens and neighbors; they are validated in the breach. . .
Every Mass is a renewal of Good Friday, the eternal sacrifice of Jesus on the cross; and it takes place on Sunday, the day of His resurrection from the dead.
Do we seek solutions from discredited peddlers of anger, division, and more violence? Or, do we go to the Creator and consult the Users’ Manual to fix what seems broken.
I’ll go with Moses! “Return to the Lord, your God, with all your soul!”