Saturday, November 13, 2010

Restoring Justice a Reflection for Nov. 14th

33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time 2010

A Reflection based on readings from
Malachi 3:19-20A, Psalm 98, 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12, Luke 21:5-19
By Rev. Fr. Bob Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy

The readings for this Sunday seem to be preparing us for the coming season of Advent from the first readings admonition; “The day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. … But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.”; and the final Gospel reading where Christ is telling those around him at the Temple of Jerusalem the following; “ Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed. Those around him poised this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’ Take care not to be deceived,’ Christ said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.” ….. “You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.”

This week is International Restorative Justice Week which means that this is a week dedicated to restoring Equality and Justice to all the nations of the world by putting an end to torture, bigotry, hatred, and all the injustices that plague our societies today.

Recently we have seen and heard of so many young people who have either taken their lives because of being bullied or have suffered beatings and in a few cases death by people who felt that they were superior or that their beliefs were the correct one. Many of these young people were persons whom God created with an orientation toward those of the same sex or homosexuals.

Christ’s message of the Gospel tells us that if we have faith and put our trust in God we can overcome any injustices.

People who have been the victims of bullying or those who have had any violent act committed against them may well think that the end is near. Survivors and victims of crimes often have feelings of denial, fear, anger, vindictiveness. Often they do not understand why the crime happened to them, and are often unable to forgive. But we MUST forgive just as Christ did when he hung on the cross and proclaimed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do

It is true, many who commit the violent acts especially one of prejudice and hatred do so because they have been taught this by bigoted and people ignorant of God’s teachings.

All too often the victims of prejudice, hatred and violence are often overlooked and forgotten about but the trauma that they experienced lives forever in their mind and heart and gives them fear often deep enough for them to believe that their world has ended.

During this International Restorative Justice week and in fact every day of the year we are called by God to bring hope to hopeless victims. Giving people the knowledge of God’s infinite love and mercy and a spiritual well being can bring comfort and help to people in pain, As it says in our first reading from the prophet Malachi, “Those who have knowledge and faith (Fear) in God the sun of justice with its healing rays.” There is something each of us can do to advance this process of justice and equality for all as promised in the Declaration of Independence of the United States, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” In doing so, we can be carried through suffering to glory along with Jesus. And we will be living out the final words found in Psalm 97; “You that love the LORD, hate evil will be delivered out of the hand of the wicked.

This is a time not of endings or finality but of hope and a time to begin to turn away from accepting violence and hatred and turning to being a loving and caring child of God who extends the kind of love Christ exhibited toward all who came to him. This is a time to become open and affirming toward all God’s children regardless of their nationality, race, gender, marital status or sexual orientation. Every person on the face of this earth is a child of God and deserves to have dignity, equality and justice and the freedom to live without fear. Let us make this our goal for the coming season of Advent as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Our redeemer and Savior. Let us work hard to restore Justice to ALL God’s children all over the globe. AMEN