Red Mass Homily

Reverend Robert Grim, S.J., Red Mass Homily, 37 Gonz. L. Rev. 13 (2002).

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In a time of fear and anger, in a period of confusion and turmoil when anxiety about the future fills the heart and sadness and mourning fill the land, what better time to come together to seek the guidance of God’s spirit. The tragic events of the last week makes known to us our vulnerability and perhaps shakes our confidence. We find ourselves pondering how best to proceed as a nation and as individuals. Yet today we are called into the sure knowledge that the Lord’s word comes to us to strengthen our faith and to transform our hearts.

In times not unlike our own, Micah preaches to a people externally under siege and internally lost in spirit. The headlines might have read, “Assyria Conquers Samaria: Jerusalem Threatened.” His message is proclaimed not so much to console, but to call Israel to a conversion of heart.
The prophet stands up as an accuser. Princes and merchants rob the poor, especially women and children, and priests and prophets adapt their words to suit their audience. True worship is forgotten in the middle of the elaborate gesture.

Micah frames his message as a lawsuit. He brings Israel into a court where God serves both as accuser and judge. Having recounted his loving deeds of kindness and unending mercy towards Israel, the Lord challenges popular religious practices that the people have used as substitutes for a real relationship with God: the offering of a special annual gift; repeatedly offering multiple sacrifices, and the sacrifice of a first born child, as if the sacrifice of the innocent for some supposed higher purpose could ever be justified. . . . Read More

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