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Friday 17 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Hildegard of Bingen

Homily on Father Jacques Hamel at ‘Mass in Time of Persecution’

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/28/16

This liturgy was celebrated yesterday in Sydney, Australia by Archbishop Anthony Fisher, O.P.

The video of the homily is at the bottom.

From the published text:

Love, and faith, and hope will not be cowed by such barbarism. This very morning, a woman in St-Etienne-du-Rouvray rode by the church on her bicycle and shouted out, “We will not be afraid!”This very morning, Mohammed Karabila, President of the Regional Council of Muslims and a friend of Fr Jacques, joined the Catholic community in prayers for his soul. This very morning, the French National Council of Muslims condemned this “terrible and horrifying act” and stated their solidarity with all Catholics in France.The Representative Council of Jewish Institutions called the attack an “odious murder”. Such solidarity gives us hope for the future. But in calling the murder ‘odious’, our brothers and sisters in monotheism identify another aspect of this evil incident: that Fr Jacques Hamel died in odium fidei, that is, in hatred of the Faith. This is a term Catholics use to describe the characteristic death of a martyr, as one who dies for his or her faith, and because of that faith. Though we welcome the solidarity of those of other faiths, and while we recognise that this is very much an attack on France and on civilisation more generally, we cannot ignore the fact that it was also a targeted attack on our Christian faith. The two terrorists meant to go into a Catholic church; they meant to kill a priest of Jesus Christ; they meant to take nuns and faithful laity as hostages; they were not just looking for any old building with any old people inside. The terrorists underlined the meaning of their act by engaging in a ritual sacrifice of the priest before the altar and a mock homily. So their act was not just murder but also sacrilege, desecration, blasphemy; their motive, not just revenge for the policies of the secular French government but hatred for the Church and its priests and religious even when they are demonstrably friends of Muslims. St Stephen died with Christ’s own words on his lips, forgiving his persecutors and commending his soul to our merciful Father; the Curé of St Stephen’s likely died in a similar way. All the martyrs are in a sense icons of the passion of Christ. Paradoxically, then, out of an act of hatred comes a demonstration of great love: in dying in odium fidei Fr Hamel has borne witness to the love of God, who suffered evil rather than perpetrate it, who loved us so much He gave His only Son (Jn 3:16). So today we stand with Fr Jacques and with all those who have given the witness of their lives and deaths, not for a hateful ideology but for faith and hope and love. Together we mourn the senselessness of this violence, we pray for the repose of the souls of all victims of terrorist acts this month past around the world, we intercede for safety and peace in our world. And we do all this, not with heads bowed in fear, but with eyes raised in hope to heaven, towards the promise of eternal life.

Read it all. 

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