Reflection for Sunday – February 23, 2020
Readings: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18; 1 Corinthians 3: 16-23; Matthew 5: 38-48
Click here to download a PDF of this homily.
Preacher: Sr. Janet Korn
The recent impeachment hearings made a travesty of the Constitution, of our supposed balance of power and of our quest for truth. These past weeks have been laden with accusations, snide remarks, judgments, truths and falsehoods, lies and name-calling. Some legislators and lawyers sold their souls for power and possibly for money. The impeachment trial was both a sham and a charade, and an embarrassment for some, and for others it was an attempt to find the truth. We heard and saw men and women who diligently searched for real facts; who went out of their way to make sure that what was said and done was accurate and honest. On the other hand, there were those who appeared not to search for truth. They chose to minimize the reality of what our President had done.
Now is a critical moment for humanity. Many countries in our world are in turmoil. Under-paid citizens are piling into city streets calling for just wages, while other people are simply discontented with their governments and seek ways to be heard.
Here in the United States the gap between the rich and the poor is growing daily. Homelessness is increasing, health care is out of reach for many, and there is a call for more soup kitchens. We read of gun violence in our cities, and in our schools. Children are taught more than reading, writing and arithmetic. Now they must practice what to do and where to go in the case of a shooting in their building or the threat of a bomb.
Men, women and children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are forced to “Remain in Mexico.” More than 59,000 asylum-seekers have made it to the U.S. border only to be sent back to Mexico. If an asylum seeker does get to speak to a U.S. official there is a good chance they could be returned to Mexico while their claims are processed. There is ongoing devastation of Trump’s “remain-in-Mexico” policy. Rather than uphold the internationally recognized right to seek asylum, the administration has sought to deter black, brown and indigenous migration by banishing migrants to Mexican states currently under U.S.travel advisories. Some are seeking employment because their wait may be from six months to two years before they have a hearing.
Globally we are challenged with the warming of our planet along with all the destruction and harm that is part of this new reality. Forest fires, flooding, ice melt, tornadoes, new weather patterns, animal and plant loss are only the beginning. On February 3, 2020 Antarctica reached 65 degrees! This reality is magnified, and made worse, by those who don’t believe that global warming is real and by those who recognize the reality but do nothing to abate it.
Today we run right into three scripture readings that call us to live and love beyond our comfort zones. These readings are definitely a challenge! They call us to love! Pope Francis says, “Being a Christian isn’t just following the commandments, but means being in Christ, thinking like Him, acting like Him, loving like Him; it means letting Him take possession of our lives and change them, transform them, free them from the darkness of evil and sin.
Today’s scripture readings invite us to love people we don’t like; people who are mean; people who love and think only about themselves. The readings propose that we should turn the other cheek; offer your coat after your shirt has been stolen and walking an extra mile to help another carry a heavy load. These readings call us out of ourselves; to settle our differences; to move beyond our comfort zones, to pray for those who persecute us. These are demanding words, most especially, if we can really do what they suggest. We must pray and how we pray and what we pray for is very important. Let us trust that a loving God, who cares about each and every one of us, will bring about a transformation in hearts that are focused solely on themselves.