Message: The Eucharist shows the depths of God's Mercy. And we learn mercy from the example from those beautiful, valiant Sisters.
I will give this homily in English, but begin with a summary in Spanish:
Dare la homilia en ingles pero empiezo con un resumen en espanol: La Eucaristia es Sacramento de Misericordia - Cuerpo entregado y Sangre derramada. Vemos esto en las Hermanas en Yemen que derramaron su sangre. Son martires de la misericordia que sacaron fuerza de la Eucaristia y dieron ejemplo de misericordia en accion: lavarse los pies unos a los otros.
Tonight Jesus establishes the Eucharist - Sacrament of Mercy: "This is my Body given up for you," says Jesus. "This is my blood poured out...for the forgiveness of sins." To underscore God's mercy, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples.
When Pope Francis declared 2016 the Year of Mercy, he explained that more than anything else our world needs mercy. We produce an abundance of food yet children go hungry - not for a food shortage, but a shortage of mercy. Lack of mercy holds us back.
Earlier this month we saw a horrendous lack of mercy. I mentioned it on Palm Sunday - the gunmen who entered an elderly care home in Yemen and cruelly murdered 16 people including four beautiful Sisters: Anselm, Reginette, Judith and Marguerite. At our Good Friday service I will read from an eyewitness account of their brutal deaths.
Tonight I want to ask this question: Where do Mother Teresa Sisters find strength to care for people others want to discard? to answer that question we need to look at their daily schedule:
They rise early for morning meditation followed by Mass. Then they spend the day caring for people with severely disabilities - physical, emotional and mental. I saw that care when I visited one of their homes in Peru. The people literally need someone to wash their feet and their bodies. The Sisters treat each person as they would Jesus. They conclude their day with an hour before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Their devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is evidenced in the kidnapping of their chaplain - Father Tom. He was in the chapel when the gunmen attacked. Rather than fleeing he took care to protect the Blessed Sacrament by consuming the Consecrated Hosts. Reports indicate that Fr. Tom may under torture and that his captors may crucify him on Good Friday.
Fr. Tom, Sisters Anselm, Reginette, Judith & Marguerite knew the danger they faced. They were not the first Missionary Sisters of Charity who gave their lives in Yemen. Previously three Sisters - two from India, Sisters Lilia & Anneta, and one from the Philippines, Sr. Michelle - were murdered as they left morning Mass. So not four but seven Sisters were martyred in Yemen. They represent thousands of Christians being persecuted and put to death for their faith.
Why is this happening? We will see more in depth tomorrow when we commemorate the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Pope Francis has a powerful insight that will make us examine our consciences. That's for tomorrow. For tonight it's enough to recognize them as martyrs of mercy. They embody mercy to the most abandoned and they were killed by men who lacked the basics of mercy. Perhaps men who blaspheme by committing acts of cruelty in the name of God. Men did the same to Jesus.
The response to blasphemy of course is not to deny God but to seek the true and living God. And as we are doing in our parish - to lift up Jesus in the Eucharist and on the cross. The Eucharist shows the depths of God's Mercy. And we learn mercy from the example from those beautiful, valiant Sisters who put Jesus words into action, "If I therefore, your master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet." Amen.
Homilies for Triduum 2016:
From Archives (Holy Thursday Homilies):
Homilias en Castellano Para Jueves Santo:
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
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