Friday, August 22, 2014

Our Mourning Shall be Turned ...

Homily for National Day of Mourning

On this day, my dear brothers and sisters, the day the Church celebrates the Queenship of Mary, on this day when our Nation mourns the loss of so many lives in the downing of MH17, a tragedy following so close to another of recent memory, the missing MH370, we find ourselves once more at the foot of the Cross in all our brokenness and frailty.

The loss of so many innocent human lives, one tragedy trailing another, seem so incomprehensible, so horrific that our human minds and hearts, our frail human emotions fail to come to terms with the immensity of our pain. It is necessary for us, as a community, to come together in human solidarity and in Christian love and support so that, through our common prayer and reflection, we may, in some way, find answers to questions which burden us, to doubts which weaken us and to fears which threaten us. In the darkness of tragedy, in the seeming finality of death, in the continuing apprehension of the unknown of the future, we Christians stand together in the light of Christ, our Saviour. Mary's Queenship and presence in heaven with the saints provides us with a powerful testimony that our hope in the resurrection is not in vain. Death is not the end, but merely a transition to something far greater.

On this National Day of Mourning, It is particularly important to remember the second beatitude: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4). Reading this, we might immediately think it refers to God comforting us when we mourn a loved one’s death. Of course, as believers we do experience God’s consolation in times of loss, but this is just one way the promise of the second beatitude is fulfilled.

According, Pope Benedict XVI, “there are two kinds of mourning. The first is the kind that has lost hope, that has become mistrustful of love and of truth, and that therefore eats away and destroys man from within. But there is also the mourning occasioned by the shattering encounter with truth, which leads man to undergo conversion and to resist evil. This mourning heals, because it teaches man to hope and to love again.” This is the mourning we Christians are undertaking today, the mourning that brings healing and change, not one that traps us in hopeless grieving and which leads to despair.

As our prayers and thoughts reach out today to the many who are grieving the loss of their dear ones, let our mourning be turned into a source of comfort, consolation and healing for them. For the souls of those who have died, let our prayers be a sign of our solidarity with them within the communion of the saints. As we pray for all those who have lost their lives in the skies over Ukraine, and all those whose lives today are filled with anguish because of their loss, let us also pray with urgency and with faith, that the hard hearts of those responsible for this terrible event might somehow be touched by the wave of mourning and sorrow which has been unleashed
, a mourning that heals, brings conversion and teaches man to hope and to love again.

Today, with Mary, we are asked to gaze on Jesus, the Son of God who suffered and died for us on the cross. Though Jesus was a man of sorrows, He was able to endure suffering and pain because He knew that “out of the anguish of his soul” He would “see and be satisfied” (Isa. 53:11). We will never have to go through what Christ did, but we can look to God’s promise of comfort as a similar guarantee that we will one day see our mourning is not in vain, but as the Psalmist assures us, that our mourning will be turned into joy. Requiescat in Pace.

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