Homily – October 29, 2017

The words and advice in our first reading were written over 3000 years ago. These words still challenges our hard hearts and they have the same force and validity today as then, especially those about how we should treat strangers who come to our land, how we care for the poor in our land and how we deal justly with one another.

It is no secret that the political atmosphere south of the border has become very toxic; it is divisive setting one group of people against another. White supremacy is tolerated if not encouraged and police brutality toward Black citizens appears to be tolerated. Mexicans and Latin Americans who sought sanctuary in the country are classed as dangers to national security. Moslems have their loyalty to the country questioned. Our neighbour to the south is a divided country like never before.

But toxic fumes do not respect borders and some of the toxicity to the south has settled in Canada too. We’ve witnessed the killing of Moslem men at prayer. A town refused to sell land to a Mosque to use as a burial ground. In different parts of the country Mosques and Synagogues have been vandalized and Jewish homes have been defaced with Nazi symbols. Recently the Quebec government passed Bill 62 banning Moslem women from covering their faces. It is estimated that less than 100 Moslem women wear the nigab. One journalist described this bill as ‘a ludicrous claptrap of Islamophobia.’

All these actions, these mind sets are in stark contrast to what today’s scriptures call us. We all have our prejudices, our likes and dislikes and we’re uncomfortable with the different, the unknown. But these are demons we must fight. They are un-God like, they are un-Christian. We are all immigrants to Canada. As individuals and as a Christian community we try to drive the demon of division and prejudice from our lives, from our community.

Christ puts before each of us every day of our lives this challenge, this commandment: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and you shall love your neighbour as yourself’.

The point of today’s scripture is to make us watchful in the way we treat any one of God’s sons and daughters. We are to look at each person who crosses our path, each one, rich or poor, friend or stranger, obnoxious or likeable, as a person under the protection of God who is Father to us all. By God’s help may we make sure that we do not cause any person to cry to God by what we say or do to him or her. May we join with God is losing all patience with those who would pollute of lives and relationships with the stench of bigotry and hatred.