From the fall of man and woman we, as God’s daughters and sons, have been confronted with the reality that, we do not know how to love and care for each other as we should. The injustices of: racism, poverty, the breakdown of family life, fear, the inability to understand each other have been profoundly apparent to us all. The sin of racism in our cities and our nation must be dealt with, but never with violence.
Archbishop Carlson said in a message titled "A Call for Peace in Our Community". "There are small but vocal groups currently threatening violence. I urge anyone who feels the desire to violently lash out to first pause and consider the potential consequences of their actions," Archbishop Carlson said. "Will violence make the situation right? Will it right the wrongs? Or will it only make things worse? The unrelenting desire for revenge is a poison that seeps into our souls and can become contagious carrying with it a commitment to violence."
It was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, "Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. ... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
We in America were founded as a nation under God. And today, we have too often become lawless, and we’re running away from God; and we’re letting the government and other institutions replace the Creator by the created, and that’s the problem. As long as we continue to forget God as a nation and evildoers take advantage of the ensuing chaos, it is hard to see how we can move closer to Dr. King’s vision of a color-blind society.
In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount he presents us with the Beatitudes (Mt 5: 1-11) 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.' Christ calls us to promote peace, not provoke violence. Our Lord himself suffered the most terrible of injustices, because although incapable of doing wrong, he was nevertheless condemned to suffer and die on the cross. And when one of his disciples responded by lashing out in violence he said, 'Put away your sword!'"
Remember what Jesus said to his disciples in the Gospel of Luke when they asked if they should call down fire from heaven to consume a town that didn't welcome him? He rebuked them. Jesus is also not ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away! What Jesus is doing is pleading with us to listen to each other, respect each other and help each other."
By departing from "God's blueprint," Archbishop Carlson has reminded us that, "the fruit of our thoughts and actions will not be peace but its opposite -- force and violence!"
The Archbishop noted that these issues are as deep as the hold of sin on the human heart and as broad as the solidarity of the entire human race. That means we will not be able to fix things quickly. But we have to move forward. And it is not just Ferguson or the greater St. Louis metropolitan community, but the entire country and the whole church that needs to look at these issues."
He asked, "Is it not a sad reality that we integrated professional baseball and schools a long time ago, but we have not integrated everyone's heart?"
We can’t control how others will act but we here at St. Gabriel can loudly proclaim that peace begins with each one of us! So I invite you to reflect on what is in your hearts, do you practice peace in your homes, in our schools, in our communities, in our country, in our world? Do our words and actions towards each other mirror Christ’s peace, or do we still follow the old adage of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth? Let all of us continue to pray for peace and justice, to remember victims of violence and our First responders and continue to seek God’s guidance in all that we do.
Msgr. John Shamleffer
Stewardship Reflection ~ October 22, 2017 | Twenty-Nineth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” MATTHEW 22:21
Everything we are and everything we have belongs to God. We aren’t “owners” of anything, we are merely “stewards” of the gifts God has given each of us. All God is asking is that we give back a portion of what He gave us. This is the essence of Stewardship. God should be our first priority in everything. All else comes second.
We are St. Gabriel!