Sunday, January 16, 2011

From What He Suffered

January 17, 2011
Memorial of Saint Anthony, abbott

Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, declared by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 5:8-10

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to him and objected, "Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. Mark 2:18-20

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
Excerpts from the “I Have a Dream” speech by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Complete text is located here:

We continue to confront the news out of Tucson – in the aftermath of the assassination of a Federal judge, the killing of five others, the attempted murder of a member of Congress, and the injury to others. A debate about new civility has also broken out in the nation.

Today, the nation pauses to mark the anniversary of the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was the “high priest” of the American civil rights movement. He was one of the principal organizers of the August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

In our Good News today, Jesus tries to calmly blunt the criticism from the Pharisees about his disciples not keeping the Sabbath fast. In that same manner, Dr. King tried to quell the emotional demand for violence in order to attain civil rights legislation. He led a non-violent movement molded in the spirit of the peace of Christ.

Dr. King was only a young, 34-year-old preacher when he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to deliver this powerful, historic message that rings through the ages and holds special meaning for us today as we contemplate recent events and consider the need for greater civility and respect for each other. Dr. King said that sweltering afternoon:

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

However much he wanted people to rely upon peaceful means to gain civil rights, before his 40th birthday, Dr. King was gunned down by an assassin’s bullet fired in hate just like those shots that rang out and shattered the peaceful events and lives on the morning of January 8, 2011 in the shopping center parking lot.

The national Martin Luther King Day of Service was started by former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, who co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. The federal legislation challenges Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of Dr. King. The federal legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 23, 1994.

Are you marking this day with any volunteer service? Instead of just sitting at home, start a new personal tradition by getting involved in some service or outreach program to magnify your “soul force.”