Homily – September 26, 2021

Well we’ve had our election. Nothing has changed.You may have heard me preach just before the election oh you might consider voting for; the person or the party that is committed to issue such as feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, welcoming the immigrant, supporting a living wage.. These are what have called ‘gospel values.

Now that the election is over and we’re dealing with corvid 19 the next challenge for our politicians is how to support all the people who lost their jobs as restaurants and bars closed down because of the virus. We remember businesses that closed, never to re- open, because of the virus. The virus exposed the reality of the poor wages of the men and women who care the elderly in the ‘for profit’ residences and the poor wages of first responders and nurses and caregivers. The virus brought to the light of day many examples of exploitation and injustices.

The complaint of James, who echoes’ the complaint of the prophets of ancient Israel condemns those who hold back ‘The wages of the labourers who mowed your fields which you have held back cry out and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.

Now that the election is over we can demand that our politicians right the social wrongs and injustices that covid 19 exposed. Their actions will speak louder than their campaign promises.

There are no easy answers, no quick solutions to our social situations but that doesn’t excuse politicians from trying to find them,

Back in 1967 Pope Paul wrote these words in his letter to the world; ‘it is not simply a question of eliminating hunger and reducing poverty. It is not enough to combat destitution, urgent and necessary as this is. The point at issue is the establishment of a human society in which everyone, regardless of race, religion, or nationality, can live a truly human life free from the bondage imposed by men and the forces of nature not sufficiently mastered, a society in which freedom is not an empty word, and where Lazarus the poor man can sit at the same table as the rich man.

As we continue to celebrate our Mass we pray the men and women we’ve elected to represent us that they work for that day when justice flows like a river and poor Lazarus can sit at the same table as the rich man. God knows they’ve got a lot of work to do.

Also, Sept.30th is theNational Day of Peace and Reconciliation, it is a Federal Holiday. If you are a new Canadian you’ve joined a family with a checkered past. In our relations with the First Nations of this land we’ve taken land and resources that were not ours. We signed treaties, nation to nation, treaties that were never honored. We wrote the Indian Act in which the white man decided where First Nation people were to live, who they could marry and the rights they’d lose if they wanted to live off their reserve. We established the residential schools. Children were forcefully removed from their homes and made to live at these schools. They were punished for speaking their own language or practising their own religion. The recent discovery of unmarked grave at these schools came as a shock to many people. That’s why tomorrow is such an important day. We, as Canadians, whether born here or immigrants, have much to regret for the injustices imposed on the first peoples of Canada. Like it or not we are the inheritors of past blunders and injustices. As we prepare to start a new session of Parliament we might keep an eye on how the new government is faithful to its efforts at peace and reconciliation with the first peoples of this land.