Reflection during the Prayers for the People

12/29 Holy Family Sunday – Vigil Mass

Jesus comforting the childrenDear God, please be with those parents whose children have been taken from them and put in our modern day version of a concentration camp. I am a parent myself and if they had taken my children I would want to kill them. I pray for forgiveness.

Dear God, be with those children I pray. If I was one of those children when I grew up I would want to kill us. My mother was taken by cancer when I was a child and I learned to hate during that experience. Dear God, forgive us because if I were one of those children I would never forgive us.

Lord, I remember your Son saying on the cross, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they are doing.” Will you forgive us for dehumanizing people until in desperation they want to become terrorists? Can I forgive myself?

I am afraid our politicians and part of our media are scapegoating immigrants and stoking our fear of them in the same way Hitler scapegoated the Jews. Have we learned nothing during the suffering of my lifetime? Forgive us for our lack of learning from the lessons in our history.

Behind me on my right are the confessionals. These are the Sacred Space where we go through the sacrament of Reconciliation so we may again become closer to You. I understand this journey as taking full responsibility for our actions, trying to make Amens for them as they say in A.A., and promising to try our best not to repeat them. Thus we are forgiven and reconciled with You and ourselves. Dare I walk one of these Sacred Spaces and confess my blindness that has let my society become like this, to forget our humanity, to forget the love of humanity, the humanity that you made sacred by joining and dying for? Do I dare to walk into that Sacred Space and ask the priest why I and he, as part of the body of Christ, are not crying out? Why, as God’s hands, eyes, and ears in this world, we are not moving mountains out of compassion? Why have we swapped our faith in your teaching for fear? Dear Lord, I don’t know how to walk into that Sacred Space and seek reconciliation. I don’t know how to seek forgiveness.

Must I start asking for forgiveness for my years of indifference? Must I try to make Amens for my dehumanizing indifference to the suffering of these desperate people? Must I promise to never be a part of the body of indifference in my country? Or the body of the fear that feeds on indifference? I cannot stop being haunted by the thoughts that as a parent if someone took my children I would want to kill them. I cannot stop thinking that if I were a child and someone took me away from my parents I would live for the day when I grew big enough to hurt them as badly as I could. As part of a society doing this how can I be reconciled with You, with myself, with my own conscience?

Pray for me, oh Holy Mother of God. Pray for my country to awaken and find its heart.


photo by James Shepard

Categories: Articles by Drs. Bud and Massimilla Harris

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