I received the following note from a friend who attended a recent mass at St. Peter’s Church:
“At the 11:00 AM mass at Saint Peters Church yesterday (June 17, 2018), Father John Kirwin, retired priest, resident of Lincoln Avenue and former member of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee, said mass as a substitute for the pastor. Father Kirwin started his homily on the topic of Father’s Day and quickly progressed to the issue of children at the Mexican border being separated from their parents. As he developed his theme and mentioned the policies of the present administration, more and more people began leaving the church, apparently in protest of Father Kirwin. However, once he finished, the parishioners who remained (the majority of the congregation) gave him an enthusiastic applause for nearly a half minute. This was all very unusual for a Catholic service.”
Father Kirwin was kind enough to send me a copy of his notes for the service:
11TH Sun B ’18 (Mark 4:26-34)
‘O God. . .at whose bidding the seed will sprout and the shoot grow toward full stature. . . . . we wait for God’s kingdom NOW growing in our midst. . . ‘
Earlier this morning, across the street getting my nytimes, the young woman serving me wished me a Happy Father’s day, if I was a Father; and she said Yes I was, as I had my puppy waiting for the treat she always has for him.
I said no, I wasn’t Charley’s father, I was his master,
I HOPED I WAS CAPABLE OF MORE THAN BEING A DOG’S FATHER!
Nothing wrong with dog’s, but, we should keep things in perspective.
The past few days I’ve been thinking about fathers whose children have been separated from them and put in detention facilities, due to their undocumented status,
in this GREAT COUNTRY OF OURS.
Separating children from parents,
And basically imprisoning them?
How GREAT IS THAT?
I saw a FACEBOOK item inviting people to update their profile picture with a frame stating:
FAMILIES BELONG TOGHER
my screen showed a friend and his first born and only son, out fishing.
Another facebook item claimed that
DOCTORS were CONCERNED ABOUT irreparable harm to separated migrant children.
It spoke of the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics flying to Texas and visiting a Rio Grande valley shelter for migrant children, where she saw a young girl in tears.
“SHE COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE THAN 2 YEARS OLD, JUST CRYING AND POUNDING AND HAVING A HUGE, HUGE TEMPER TANTRUM.
The child was just screaming, and nobody could help her.
And we know why she was crying.
She didn’t have her mother or father who could soothe her and take care of her.”
Can’t we do better than that?
The number of migrant children in US Government custody is soaring, as a result of a policy decision by the current administration to separate children from their parents, who are being prosecuted for unlawful entry.
Hundreds of children being held in shelters are under age 13.
The current occupant of the white house and the top justice officer of the country, claim the administration is enforcing immigration law.
Are such laws just, and must we obey them?
The speed with which news spreads in our day, leaves us stunned and bewildered.
What can one do when faced with so much suffering?
What can we do to change this situation?
The call in the gospel is addressed to all.
It consists in sowing small seeds of a new humanity.
Jesus does not speak of big things.
WHAT SHALL WE SAY THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS LIKE,
OR WHAT PARABLE SHALL WE USE TO DESCRIBE IT?
Perhaps we need to learn to appreciate little things and small gestures.
We do not feel called to be heroes or martyrs every day, but we are called to put a little dignity into each corner of our world.
We can all sow little seeds of the kingdom of God, in a complex and sad world that has all but forgotten the joy of things small and beautiful,
like children separated from their fathers and mothers on this Father’s day 2018.
This is a link from the Catholic News Agency on Pope Francis’ recent pronouncements on the issue at a recent gathering of Mexican politicians and diplomats at the Holy See:
This is a link to a CBS story on the Catholic Conference of Bishops taking a position that the Trump policies are immoral:
These issues tend to be abstract for many of us. For a heart wrenching description of the way our country is dealing with the children here is a link to a story from the news site “Democracy Now.” A staff member of a not-for-profit organization that houses these children describes incidents of children who have been taken from their parents clinging to each other and crying as staff attempt to separate them. He resigned in protest.