…..from your Pastors’ Desk…

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Junior. To some of us reading this, these names bring back memories of personal experiences during the turbulent times of the sixties and seventies; the start of the Civil Rights Movement, the Catholic Worker Houses and the beginning of the changes that are still in process today to make this country one of equality for all people.
Note: Still in Process. To those that weren’t born yet these names might as well be Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman. Great historical figures all. We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. Many, like Jesus Himself, shedding their blood for the good of others, for the good of all. Let them and their work be not forgotten. Let us also not delegate Jesus as merely as great historical figure.
Tomorrow, January 21st, the United States of American celebrates the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., (1929 – 1968). He led millions of people in a non-violent movement to bring an end to the segregation of races in the United States. Martin was not alone in his non-violence stance. Throughout history men and woman have stood against the hateful ‘subjectification’ of people due to race, creed or place of origin. Many have died for this cause. Many more will.
We all are tragically made aware of how violent our world has become, indeed our own nation. The horrific, vicious shootings and bombings of recent memory will resonate for years to come and sadly, yet hopefully, serve as a reminder that the work begun by such men as Martin Luther King Jr., is never done.
His words eloquently express his passion and faith: “You ought to believe something in life, believe that thing so fervently that you will stand up with it till the end of your days…” He was assassinated on April 4, 1986.
Tomorrow’s [Jan 21] first reading; Hebrews 5closeHebrews 5 5:1 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”;
as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Warning Against Apostasy 11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (ESV)
closeHebrews 5closeHebrews 5 5:1 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”;
as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Warning Against Apostasy 11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (ESV)
5:1 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”;
as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Warning Against Apostasy 11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (ESV)
: 1-10, is intended to refer to Jesus and his true humanity. But some of the phrases could well be descriptive of a person of faith like Martin Luther King, Jr., a “prophet” in his own time. Many of you remember the struggles of our nation in the mid-sixties. Here are some words from Hebrews that – for me – resonate about the life of “prophets” in our midst in our day.
Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representatives before God…
• He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness…
• No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God…
• In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence…
• He learned obedience from what he suffered…

We pray in thanksgiving for the life and witness of Martin Luther King, Jr. His was indeed a prophetic voice. Was he perfect? No. Did he have flaws? As do we all. As did all the saints and martyrs. Which is why we humbly ask the God of Justice to help us reflect on ways in which we can live our lives – as Jesus did and Martin Luther King Jr. did and as did so many throughout time who stood up for others – so that we may become enthused with a thirst for justice for all women and men…..in all cultures and in all nations.
Let us resolve today to make 2019 a more ‘just’ year in our own parish and community because of our own words and deeds.
We ask the God of Mercy to help us so that we may live justly and compassionately in our families, our places of work, our places of recreation, our places of worship, and in all our actions.
We fervently ask this, Lord, in the name of your Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the guiding witness and light for Martin Luther King, Jr., and his followers.
Tomorrow is a National Holiday. Use the day wisely. Join those who pray for peace and an end to all violence.
Mass is at 9am; Holy Spirit Church.

Father Ron

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