May 31, 2015 – A View from the Rectory Window

It is commencement season. I have been to several. Perhaps this is why I hear in this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus’ commencement speech in the great commission, as he sends His followers to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel and establish His kingdom saying;

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

We discover our identity in todays world, through this commissioning of these first followers. And the moment we become more pre-occupied with ourselves and our own agenda, and less aware of the injured and the hurting, this identity is lost.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis reminds us, “The times talk to us of so much poverty in the world and this is a scandal. Poverty in the world is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons. Poverty today is a cry.” The question becomes how do we respond to this cry?

I am reminded of the words in a letter written by Dr. Martin Luther King from a Birmingham jail in 1963, “We will have to repent in this generation not only for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

Jesus demands that we not allow ourselves to close our eyes or deafen our ears to the cries of pain all around us, nor must we allow ourselves to become like Pontius Pilate and wash our hands of our own responsibility.

The Gospel today, and in essence all the commencement speeches we hear, will remind us that the Spirit of the Lord is upon us, and He has anointed us to preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom to the captives, bring recovery of sight to the blind, free the oppressed and declare a year of favor for the Lord.

Yes, sometimes the cry of the poor can seem overwhelming and so I close with the words of a simple woman who was of little stature but great significance – Mother Teresa:

“People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Love them anyway. When you do good, they will accuse you of egoism and ulterior motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you will make false friends and real enemies. Be successful anyway. The good that you do will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Sincerity and openness make you vulnerable. Be sincere and open anyway. What you build up over years of work can be destroyed. Build anyway. Your help is really needed, but people may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world your best, and it will knock your teeth out. Give the world your best anyway.”

Father Pete