Homily – AGM 30 April 2016
It has been a week of horrific violence in Dublin, Syria and in many parts of the world. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin spoke out strongly on Wednesday saying “everyone has a responsibility. Those who cultivate violence thrive on silence. We have to unite to undermine them and their business and not close our eyes to what we know. “
What is happening on the streets of Dublin makes a mockery of the Year of Mercy. In our culture today, the practice of mercy is receding and is replaced by an attitude of violence,vindictiveness and revenge.
The majority of people seem to be indifferent about the senseless killings until they happen close to home.
Pope Francis reminds us that indifference is one of the major challenges to peace. Nothing rubs salt into our wounds more than the feeling that nobody cares what is happening to us. And that is the feeling of many in our country.
When man thinks only of himself, of his own interests and places himself in the centre, when he permits himself to be captivated by the idols of dominion, power and greed, then all relationships are broken and everything is ruined. The door opens to violence, indifference, and conflict.
We can become overwhelmed by the violence in certain parts of our country and in the Middle East, particularly Iraq. But when we listen to our scripture reading from Habakkuk the prophet, we find we are not alone. He complained to God about the violence in his time. He was concerned about helpless victims. He said, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?”
We can question and argue with God about every injustice, every tragedy and senseless act of evil, but to ask "why" is futile. What we really need to ask is "What." What can I do to make things better in my community? Where in the world can I work to correct the injustices that exist?
Habakkuk and the prophets were the ones who held society’s elite accountable and spoke up against abuse and violence.
I wonder where the prophets are today. Where is the still, small voice of God who is willing to speak against the despicable people involved in the ‘rackets of death?’ Like Archbishop Martin, we must speak out, “we have to show them that together we are stronger that they are and that we can bring them down.”
Habakkuk argued with God as did all the prophets. His argument did not grow from hostility but from a passionate search for the ways of God.
Our Christian Faith should inspire us to redouble our efforts to search for an end to violence. Our solidarity with one another, especially with those in the greatest need is an expression of who we are as the people of a merciful God.
Pope Francis reminds us that the very credibility of the Church is seen in the way in which she shows merciful and compassionate love.
In the midst of the chaos we must not lose hope. We must trust in a God who gives us the strength to overcome evil.
Our First Reading ends with these words; “God, the Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights.”
In the midst of all the violence are we still able to say, “God is my strength?” Can we continue to be people who are faithful in spite of all the chaos in the world?
Let us pray that the men of violence will leave behind the self-interest that hardens their heart and makes them insensitive towards others.
Let us pray during our Mass for peace.