Monday, April 21, 2014

A Church of Mercy

In a celebration with a congregation a short homily may follow the reading to explain its meaning, as circumstances suggest. [General Instructions for the Liturgy of the Hours, 47]

We celebrate Morning Prayer six days a week with the Augustinian community that staffs our parish, but as Morning Prayer follows daily Mass, the circumstances do not conduce to a homily.  On Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, there are, of course, no morning Masses so we more often than not have a short homily. This year I was privileged to "take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners" and break open the Word at Morning Prayer on Good Friday and Holy Thursday.

On Good Friday I reflected on the connections between the stories of the Trappist monks of Tibhirine in Algeria and of Frans van der Lugt, the Jesuit priest who was killed in Syria recently and Psalm 51, the Miserere.

I closed by inviting us to shift our focus in the Passion later that day, to look upon Christ’s walk to Calvary and his death on the cross, not as some divine transaction that bought us out of our sins, but as a psalm of mercy, a way of proceeding from death to life.  To see Christ singing mercy, literally and figuratively, all that way, even unto the cross, forgiving the unforgivable.  To take a page from Augustine (and from the previous night's homily), May we see who we are, may we become what we see. 

For more on mercy as a way of being:

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