Praise the Lord my soul
James 2:1-5 Has not God chosen the poor of te world to inherit the kingdom?
Mark 7: 31-37 He makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak
A small boy’s body washes up on a beach in Turkey and the world begins to feel a new kind of sadness and bewilderment as the biggest movement of displaced people since World War 2 begins to replace local political gossip on our news headlines. In our own small neck of the woods, we have bunkered down, allowed ourselves to be blinded by a veil of secrecy and washed our hands of any responsibility as the rest of the world stumbles to who knows what next crisis.
In the light of unfolding events across the Middle East, in which we have been and continue to be participants, and in the light of the ensuing flood of migrants seeking refuge across Europe, let’s listen to the words of St James once again and unfold them a little: Jesus opens the ears and loosened the tongue of the deaf and dumb man. What a mighty symbol this healing story presents to us. No matter how deaf we are, how afraid to speak out in the name of love, if we allow a simple touch from the hand of Jesus to unlock our hearts, what new headlines our world would wake up to tomorrow morning!
In the words of our first reading: “The eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed, then the lame shall leap like a deer and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy.”
Pope Francis is repeatedly calling on the leaders of western countries to find ways of responding to the tide of human misery flooding across Europe. There are voices being raised locally, such as Liberal back-bencher Craig Laundy and the Leader of Tasmania’s Labor Party. No action is yet in sight in response to their pleas.
In the Church too we need to keep an eye on our border protection policies. Pope Francis recently spoke to a group of priests, expressing his concern about younger priests who are denying people baptism for their children because they don’t seem to be fit and acceptable. He reminded them that the Church’s doors are open and welcoming and are not to be seen in any way as toll-gates!
For us, we buy a very cheap freedom indeed while we settle for our own local preoccupations and ignore the cries of the ones the Lord calls us to hear.
The broken bread of the Eucharist, the broken Body of Christ that we share here this day, requires a newly thoughtful “Amen” from each of us.
ISLANDS OF SHADOW Kevin Bates sm
1. Islands of shadow on the edge of our knowing,
Birthing a question whose answers we hide,
Islands of shadow in our blind spot you linger,
Will our eyes ever open to the truth we’ve denied?
2. As a nation of migrants we are nervous around you,
What do we call you when don’t know your name?
You hold our deep secret and we hide from the learning
That aches to be shared – in the dark we remain.
When will the light be released?
Will your shadow be lifted?
Will you ever taste peace?
How will we gentle your pain
While the wire and the ocean your boundaries remain?
(Coda: Or is it our blindness that’s really to blame?)
3. The labels we give you, well they save us from facing
The depth of your stories by razor wire bound.
On the islands of shadow your crying is silenced
As we seek to keep safe our own holy ground.
4. Many voices are raised, many people are marching,
The hunger for justice still binds us to you.
Oh islands of shadow be free from your burden.
We ache for the day when this hope will be true.
4 April 2014
For our Marist Social Justice and integrity of Creation Group.