Saturday, November 24, 2012

From the Menacing Sword Deliver Me

From the Menacing Sword Deliver Me

November 23, 2012
Memorial of Saint Andrew Düng-Lac, priest and martyr, and his companions, martyrs

If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and devours their enemies.  In this way, anyone wanting to harm them is sure to be slain.  They have the power to close up the sky so that no rain can fall during the time of their prophesying.  They also have power to turn water into blood and to afflict the earth with any plague as often as they wish…But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them.  When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them.  Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, "Come up here."  So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on.  Revelation 11:5-6, 11-12

O God, a new song I will sing to you; on a ten-stringed lyre I will play for you.  You give victory to kings; you delivered David your servant.  From the menacing sword deliver me.  Psalm 144:9-10

"They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.  That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called 'Lord' the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."  Luke 20:36-38


"Oh God grant that a cry will arise from the SIXTY WHITE CROSSES IN CAMDEN planted near city hall by caring people, representing the colossal onslaught of 2012.  It is a cry calling this nation to take note of and take action against this national tragedy.  Sunday the Masses in Sacred Heart parish will call out (cry out) the names of the sixty murdered American citizens since January 1."
From "The Cry of the White Crosses" by Rev. Michael Doyle, November 2012


It would be pure hubris if I hinted that I had a clue about what these readings say, what they mean, and why they matter.  Contemplating the end of time with a mere mortal brain is impossible.  In my heart, I know that everything is possible with faith, but connecting these readings together and then weaving them into an insight for our age is beyond me.
That is why the Holy Spirit let Fr. Michael Doyle take over today's reflection.  Sometimes all the internet search engines, hyperlinked footnotes, and explanations from the New American Bible don't go as far as an eloquent passage from Fr. Michael Doyle to take the Good News from the seminary to the sanctuary and from the sanctuary to the streets.
Doyle is a priest at an oasis of love called Sacred Heart Parish in Camden, NJ.  His flock is surrounded by a desert of death all around.  The drug trade brings with it bullets and knives and literally cut-throat competition for the minds, bodies and wallets of Camden's young and old, best and brightest.
While the nation has been focused on areas of New Jersey hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, parts of New Jersey -- including Camden -- were spared that wrath.  However, they have faced the revelation of a wave of violence not brought on by Mother Nature.  Fr. Doyle explains:
Camden's deadly storm this year is the raging torrent of violence that has killed many people.  The flood of blood is on the city streets.  As I write, the number of murders since January 1, 2012 is sixty.  And there are five weeks until December 31.  God help us all.  There were thirteen murders in Camden this July.  In fact, our murder rate is the worst in the United States and is eight times worse than the worst in Europe.  But no serious outcry arises.  No mention from the suits and pretty faces that read the news to the nation.  The dead in Camden are buried beneath a landfill of indifference.  Yet we are all guilty in our silent acceptance of deadly concentrated locations for our low-income people and their children.


On this day when the church remembers the sacrifice of Saint Andrew Düng-Lac, priest and martyr, and his companion martyrs, let us also remember the martyrs in Camden, killed in the crossfire of the illegal drug and gun trade.  May the sixty deaths (so far) of 2012 not be in vain. They are the ones who will rise with the rest of us.  But until then, from the menacing guns on the streets, deliver peace.
Fr. Doyle's letter continues to inspire our action.  At the same time they cope with the killing fields, Fr. Doyle is in the midst of preparing 1,000 Christmas baskets that will help to create happy homes in Camden for at least one day of the year.   Whether you can spare $5, $50 or $500, please consider sending whatever you can in order to bring some peace to the mean streets of Camden, New Jersey for at least one day this year.  Fr. Doyle says it best:
But no matter what, we will set out to create the happy circle of a family dinner in more than a thousand homes on Christmas Day.  You will help us.  You, God bless, always help us.  I have always thought of Sacred Heart in Camden as a circle of caring people…a wide circle.  You are in that circle and the poor people who come for a Christmas basket are in that circle.  God is in that circle because we are all in it together trying to feed the minds of our endangered children in the classroom and the bodies of our people at Christmas.
Even as we struggle with the readings and the call of the Good News, there can be no question, that Camden needs our help.  The servant of God Michael Doyle and his humble parish provide one more channel of action -- to pursue the loving peace for which we and they strive. 

Rev.  Michael Doyle
Sacred Heart Church
1739 Ferry Avenue
Camden, NJ 08104

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