Homily – September 30, 2018

Would that all God’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his spirit on them. It is good to remember that prophets were not those who foretold future events. Prophets were men and women who called the community to be faithful to the call and message of God, right here, right now.

No one has a corner of God’s love and grace. There are men and women in every Christian community who imagine they have such a corner and they often belittle the good works of others. The truth of the matter is that the Holy Spirit is within every child of God and it is good for each of us to be alert and respectful of the working of the Spirit even within people with whom we do not agree. I often drive by Peoples Church on Sunday and see the people streaming into it and the thought that comes to my mind is – here God is glorified and praised. Not as we glorify and praise here at St. Gabriel’s, but glorified and praised none the less.

Here is a Christian community that supports needy families in the community just as you good people.

I don’t know about you but I am so proud of Pope Francis, for all the pressures on him as he faces and copes with the scandals bishops and priests have brought upon our church, he is still a prophet, a man who challenges our fidelity to teaching of Jesus.

His talks to world leaders or to people gathered in St. Peter’s square has the same message; recognize and respect the human dignity of the person in front of us, whether that person is a CEO or a street person. Time and again he stood with the poor, the dispossessed and the oppressed men and women of the societies in which we live. No one was surprised when, as a prophet, he asked that people put aside political and business interests and admit to the ecological and environmental crises developing around us. As prophet Pope Francis called us to respect life in all its stages. He calls for an end to the death penalty and the worldwide sale of military arms. In all his speeches his main concern was for the poor, those who wait for crumbs to fall from the tables of the prosperous. Economically it is called ‘The trickledown theory.’

I think Pope Francis has done us proud. I think he echoes the words of Moses, ‘would that all God’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his spirit on them.’ Would that each one of us had the courage to be prophets and speak the truth to bigots and prejudicial men and women who belittle men and women of other faiths, cultures and life styles. Would that each of us were prophets and ask the men and women running for office in on coming elections, what is the track record of their party as regards justice for support affordable housing, employment for our young people, care for our veterans, support for welfare recipients, and so many other serious social concerns that are part and parcel of lives of Canadians.

In one of his talks Francis tells us ’we need to avoid a common temptation now a days; to discard whatever proves troublesome and face the issues that stare us in the face. Remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you have them do unto you.’

Several times Pope Francis asked people to pray for him and then he added, ‘if you do not believe in God and do not pray please send kind thoughts my way.’ He certainly needs our prayers and kind thoughts in these challenging times.

As we continue to celebrate this Mass may we all keep Pope Frances in our thoughts and prayers. We pray for ourselves that we have the boldness to be prophets – speakers of God’s truth when, in the different circumstances our own lives, we are challenged to be so.