Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Homily Memorial Mass 9 November 2009

Twenty years ago…November 9th, 1989 was a Thursday.
In Berlin, Germany, it was the happiest day in 50 years.

It had been a little over two years since a former Hollywood actor-turned-President
stood confidently in the center of the city
and defied the Soviet Empire with his now-famous demand:
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

It had been 6 years since the United States
established formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican.
President Reagan and another former actor, who became the first Polish Pope,
met for the first time in the Summer of 1982,
inaugurating both a diplomatic relationship and a deep friendship.

Providence brought together two men who shared not only a history in acting
but the ominous connection of assassination attempts
on both of their lives in the same Spring of 1981…
men whose combined faith, convictions and leadership
destroyed the evil empire of Soviet Communism
and made freedom a reality once again in Eastern Europe.

It had been 50 years since Adolf assumed power as chancellor of Germany.
From the Third Reich, through World War II,
into the Cold War and the Soviet Blockade,
for half a century totalitarianism enveloped Berlin in a tomb of misery.
But 20 years ago…November 9th, 1989…a new day dawned for Berlin…
for Germany…for Europe…indeed for the world!

Following widespread protests demanding freedom,
the Soviet leadership relaxed restrictions on travel.
Soon civilians’ hammers and chisels complimented bulldozers
in bringing down the cement and barbed-wire wall
that severed the city since 1961.

The first in the wall…the first hole chiseled…the first slab removed…
was a sign of freedom…a glimmer of hope like no other.

The first rays of freedom’s light to shine through that wall
fell on men and women who had never known anything but darkness.

Today our common humanity unites us all to the German people
as we recall the anniversary of that day when freedom came to Berlin.

As Christians, we mark another anniversary today as well…
that of the dedication of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome
by the Emperor Constantine.

As we honor the dedication of this great church…
the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and the mother church of Christendom…
we recall how the faith of the Church is built on the rock of St. Peter,
the bishop of Rome,
and how, from Rome, it extends to all the world.
Our church buildings carry tremendous significance, for their foundation rests not only on stone
but on the faith, history, and sometimes literally the sweat and labor,
of those who have gone before us.

We also recall that we who gather in faith as Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church,
are living stones…
built on the foundation of the Apostles and Saints
standing on the shoulders of our ancestors
with Jesus Christ himself as the capstone
and rising together into a spiritual edifice dedicated to the glory of God.

Our prayer tonight is for some of those living stones…
those men and women who are our ancestors in faith…and in our families…
who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith
and who have helped us build up our faith and form our lives.

We call our loved ones who have died to mind with gratitude to almighty God
for the countless blessings He has bestowed on us through them
and for the gift they have been to us in so many ways.

We beg Him for strength to bear the sadness and emptiness of
that still weigh heavily on many of us gathered here.

Finally, in this Memorial Mass, in this month of November,
when we celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day,
we perform a tremendous act of love in praying for our beloved .
We beg God to have mercy on them for their weakness
and to gather them into the eternal bliss of His Kingdom…
a holy place free of darkness and brokenness…
a kingdom of light, love and peace.

Our loved ones have died…but in Christ is not the end.
On the altar of the Cross, Christ won the victory over sin and …
and in His Resurrection restored new and abundant life to His faithful servants.

Death brings darkness…but Christ’s Cross brings hope!

In the years between WWII and the fall of the Berlin Wall,
before the East Germans even rebuilt their churches,
they constructed a necessary television tower in the city.
At the top of the tower was a silver dish.
Despite numerous efforts by the Soviets to cover that dish
with various chemicals and paints,
every time the sun shone upon its reflective surface,
the light brilliantly displayed the shape of a cross!
The Cross is a sign of hope – and it could not be blotted out!

Death brings sadness…
but the sadness of gives way to the bright promise of immortality…
and the empty tomb remains the sign of that new life!
Just as the first in the Berlin Wall were glimmers of radiant hope…
so the first inches of the open grave…as the stone rolled back…
obliterated the blackness of Good Friday night.
Christ is alive…and in Him we have life!

As we celebrated funeral Masses for your loved ones…
and as we celebrate this Memorial Mass tonight…
we again experience the radiant light of Christ.

Through this Mass we peer into Heaven
and are caught up in the eternal liturgy of the angels and saints.
The radiant light of Christ shines through this sacramental liturgy
falling upon each one of us,
who have known recently and poignantly the darkness of .
to bring us the freedom and hope that know no end.
We gather under the standard of the Cross…
We need not be troubled or afraid…
for Christ is alive and present in the Holy Eucharist…
and He draws us in tenderness to His loving Sacred Heart.
Our fervent prayer, eager petition and heartfelt thanksgiving in this Mass
are offered not with anxiety…but in confidence
for Christ has promised to fill us with His peace…
the peace that surpasses all understanding.

On the foundation of our faith and the wisdom of those we have loved and lost,
we go forward strengthened by Christ’s peace
to build up His Body the Church.
We join ourselves to over a billion living stones
and form together an edifice of spirit to the glory of God,
who has loved us and whose love sets us free!

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