HOMILY FOR MARCH 20, 2022: THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
GOD HEARS THE CRY OF THE POOR: GOD’S PREFERENCE FOR COMPASSION
Discussion (The Opening and Closing Prayer are on the second page of this document)
I Have Heard the Cries of the Poor
- The artist, Kelly Latimore’s painting of Mary holding Jesus, who is depicted with the likeness of George Floyd.
- Wouldn’t Mary, our Mama, have desired to lift up George Floyd into her loving arms as he cried out for his mother so he could breathe easily?
- Joyce Calvu’s daughter, Alana cried, “Why couldn’t they all love me?” Her mother said, “she cut the word defiled into her upper arm.”
- Doesn’t Jesus have a special love for Alana, and for all the members of our LGBTQ+ community who are seen as a problem to cure rather than human beings wanting to be loved like the rest of us?
- Moises asks Fr. Greg Boyle, “Can I be your son?” And when Fr. Greg says yes, Moises’ cry is, “The one thing. The one thing. “THAT is the one thing I only ever wanted to hear from my own father.”
- Isn’t the heart of the Lord broken wide open to see such suffering among his sons and daughters, especially his young black sons?
Jesus’ Special Love for Those Who Suffer
- The Lord has a big, wide open heart for anyone who others may tend to push to the side or to exclude from the table or to judge with certainty as being less than or defective or disordered or even damned.
- The Lord always chooses compassion and his ministry is one of table fellowship. Jesus always leads with mercy.
- Mercy is rechem in Hebrew, which means being held in the Lord’s womb. It is an image of tenderness, loving kindness, and an overwhelming desire to protect the preciousness of every person.
- Mercy and justice must find a way to work together. It is too easy to embrace an ideology and to make all kinds of conclusions while ignoring the life experiences of real people.
- Jesus asks us to accompany people and listen to their stories to discover God’s love and goodness in their lives. Let God be the judge.
- Like the gardener with the fig tree, the Lord is patient and never gives up on any of us!
Questions for Reflection (feel free to ask whatever questions seem to generate conversation)
- What in the homily moved you or challenged you?
- Why do we turn people into issues, problems to be solved? Why is it hard for us to be merciful and not to judge?
- Why is it hard to see Jesus in what St. Teresa of Calcutta called his, “most distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor?” Especially the poor who we see as less deserving?
Love Compels Action
- This week how can you live out this call to accompany those who are pushed to the side or excluded from the table or judged to be less than or defective or disordered?
- How can we do that as a family at St. Mary Parish?
Thank you for this opportunity to break open your Word and reflect on how I can share your message of love and mercy to everyone I meet, especially those who are vulnerable or marginalized in this world.
Send your Holy Spirit to open my mind and heart, to be curious, and listen to understand. Most of all, help me to keep my eyes on you, Jesus. You, who are the center of my life.
I ask this in your Name,
Closing Prayer: the tears for solidarity (from Catholic Social Relief Services)
God of compassion
Pope Francis challenges us to learn how to cry,
To brave that pain, and so enter into solidarity with your people.
For those who face hunger,
For those who face war,
For those who face exploitation,
For those who face displacement,
I stand in solidarity.
For those who face unjust discrimination,
For those who face indifference,
For those who face a lack of opportunity,
For those who face a lack of health care,
I stand in solidarity.
But in truth, I stand a little reluctantly.
And I stand a little far off;
Detached and apart from the great human drama,
Lingering in the orchestra, even as you call me to center stage.
Lord, help me to look again at what has been done to your people.
To their lives and to their dignity,
So that slowly, and then more strongly, I will allow myself to cry.
For it is only in those tears that we truly become one.
My trepidations fall away
And I step forward and stand anew.
Teach me to cry.