Sunday, June 17, 2018
Today, in Mercy, our Sunday readings are filled with the hope of new life, spoken out of the abyss of suffering.
Both Ezekiel’s and Paul’s communities were suffering under exile or persecution. In both cases, a powerful state has dehumanized and enslaved them – rendering them as “other”, unworthy of fraternal compassion.
These suffering communities hunger for the encouragement of their prophets, Ezekiel and Paul.
They long for Ezekiel’s majestic cedar, born from a single, hopeful branch – a life-giving tree where all can dwell in fullness and joy. It is a precursor of heaven, where they will be free and restored to honor.
They draw hope from Paul’s example of courage, believing with him that there is a new day coming where they will be known as precious and worthy in God’s sight.
What might these readings suggest to us, as we celebrate Father’s Day today?
As we contemplate the gift of fatherhood from the perspective of our own experience, let us be mindful of fathers and families experiencing exile and persecution similar to Ezekiel’s and Paul’s communities.
The Bible tells us stories of our ancestors in faith, but it is also a living Word – speaking to our current experiences. Just this week, we have heard some in power positions use the Bible to justify the infliction of pain and hardship on other human beings. God must weep at such sinful arrogance!
Let us, instead, be inspired by these Scriptures to open our hearts in mercy. Let us pray for suffering migrant communities throughout the world, forced from their homes by war, crime, and greed. Let us pray for children torn from their families by blind, inhumane policies.
Today, let us pray especially for these refugee fathers as their hopes are crushed and their families broken. And, where we can, let us do more than pray. Let us act for justice and mercy. Let us, at the very least, not rally behind a power that subverts the preciousness of human life and family.
Music: One Day When We All Get To Heaven written by Eliza Hewitt (1851-1920).