Thursday, September 08, 2011

All Things Work For Good

September 8, 2011

Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

He shall take his place as shepherd by the strength of the LORD, by the majestic name of the LORD, his God; And they shall dwell securely, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth: he shall be peace. Micah 5:3-4a

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:18-21


God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen. Reinhold Niebuhr


According to the alternate first reading today, Paul wrote to the Romans that "We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."

However, in our Gospel, it appeared that Mary and Joseph were about to find themselves in a dicey situation -- they did not see a way out for good. She was pregnant and was not yet married to Joseph. So they decided to break off the engagement. But this was not some minor scandal brewing in Nazareth. After all, Mary and Joseph -- in the separate angelic visions and visitations -- were about to find out that they were being called to fulfill God's will. They were being asked to be an example for the ages and fulfill the words of the prophet.

Thus, they said yes and all things worked for good for those who love God. That does not mean that society made life easy for this new family. They had it rough. They had to deal with the tax collectors. They had to deal with the hassles of long-distance travel. They were refugees in Egypt for some years. And in the mortal end, Mary had to witness the execution of her son by the belligerent Roman rulers.

God did not promise a rose garden. But he promised ultimate glory with him after this life. Rather than follow the path that local laws and customs would have required, Joseph and Mary trusted in the Lord. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; 6In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)


Sometimes, we also are called to do things which are not based on intelligence and laws but on our respect for the will of God.

Troy Davis is once again facing imminent execution in the state of Georgia despite doubts about his guilt for the crime he was convicted of years ago.

A Georgia judge has signed a death warrant in the case of Troy Davis, authorizing the state to execute him in the week of September 21-28. Doubts persist about Troy Davis’ guilt in the crime for which he was sentenced to death two decades ago.

Troy Davis was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia in 1989. No physical evidence directly links him to the murder – no murder weapon was ever found. The case against Troy Davis primarily rested on witness testimony. Since his trial, seven of nine key witnesses have recanted or changed their testimony, some alleging police coercion.

In 2007 Troy Davis was less than 24 hours from execution when the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles issued a stay. The Board said that it would not allow an execution to go ahead “unless and until its members are convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the accused”. Since then Troy Davis has faced two more execution dates, both in 2008, which were stayed by the courts.

The state has the option to spare his life and not to inflict the ultimate sentence because of the doubts that persist in the case. Catholic teaching calls for such sentences to be commuted to life in prison when doubts like this persist.

Amnesty International is asking people to write to the Board of Pardons and Paroles and:

· Acknowledge the seriousness of the crime for which Troy Davis was sentenced to death;

· Note that doubts persist in the case even after the federal evidentiary hearing in 2010;

· Point out that the Board acts as a failsafe against irreversible error, and recall its statement in 2007 that it would not allow any execution to proceed where there was any doubt about the guilt of the prisoner;

· Point to the substantial evidence of the fallibility of the capital justice system;

· Call on the Board to grant clemency and to commute the death sentence of Troy Davis.


State Board of Pardons and Paroles
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE

Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-4909, USA and