To the Parishioners of St. Philip Neri Parish, sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints –

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Our World is “at WAR” – between nations and cultures, families, personal values and ideals … even with Mother Earth,

and unfortunately, within our very selves.

How can we live in Peace and Justice and Hope – within ourselves, and with others? Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa offers us an option, a choice –

a “viable WAY”, an “on-going TRUTH”, a “hope-filled LIFE”.

He begins his reflection by addressing all of us: “Dear children of God, before we can become God’s partners, we must know what God wants of us.” He describes God’s deepest desires as a loving Father would address his children.

God says, “I have a dream. Please help me to realize this dream. It is a dream of a world whose ugliness and squalor and poverty, its greed and harsh competitiveness, its alienation and disharmony are changed into their glorious counterparts – where there will be more laughter, joy, and peace, where there will be justice and goodness and compassion, love and caring and sharing. I have a dream that swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, that my children will know that they are members of one family, the human family, God’s family … MY family!

In God’s family there are no outsiders … all are “insiders” – black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight, Jew and Arab, Palestinian and Israeli, Serb and Albanian, Hutu and Tutsi, Muslim and Christian, Buddhist and Hindu, Pakistani and Indian … all belong!”

Archbishop Tutu reminds us that God’s dream for an inclusive community is embodied in Jesus. He goes on to say: “We can look at the life of Jesus to see what God asks of us. Jesus came into a deeply divided and polarized society. There was the division between the hated foreign oppressors (the Romans) and the citizens of the vassal state. Within Judaism, there were different religious groupings – the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots. There was the divide between the Jew, the Gentiles, and the Samaritan … and then, men were segregated from the women. There were free persons and there were slaves, there were the rich and the poor. Then the miracle: all these “broken, alienated people” were invited to belong in one fellowship, one communion! Women and men, rich and poor, slave and free, Jew and Gentile were not just regarded as equals … No! the invitation is to regard one another as brothers and sisters, members of one family, God’s family. Therefore, when we say “AMEN” to the Body of Christ, we commit ourselves to make the dream of God a reality in my / our life.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful, and enkindle in us the fire of your love … and You will renew the face of the earth. Then, and only then, will God’s dream become a reality! WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD by allowing the mercy and love of God to change our hearts.

Praise be Jesus Christ … and Mary Immaculate

St. Philip Neri … pray for us

St. Eugene de Mazenod … pray for us

St. Kateri Tekakwitha … pray for us

Fr. Mike Dechant OMI