Brothers and sisters, we are gathered this morning to pray, to come into the presence of Godalmighty and merciful, to pray for our brothers and sisters who died inthetragic events of this week, in the USA. We are here with our own pains,withthe pains of the American people and American Churches, with whom we areina constant and fraternal relation in our quest of justice and peace inthisland. To all of you, Americans here sharing in this prayer, we presentoursincere condolences. With you, and with the people and the Church ofAmerica, we mourn the departed, we entrust them to the mercy of God. Inthesame time, we pray for the survivors, for the relatives and friends, andforthe leaders of America, may God give them faith, hope and strength to goonbuilding their land, with their faith in God and love for their brothersandsisters in America and in the world.In the first reading of today, from the book of Exodus, we read thefollowing versus: "I shall make a great nation out of you"(Exodus 32:10). For that, Moses had prayed and asked the intercession of theFathers: "Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob". The greatnessofthe nation, for the Jewish people as for all peoples of the earth, willdepend from the presence of those forefathers and their followers, theprophets and the saints, who had listened to the word of God, who hadmadeit known to the people, and who, through the spirit of God Almighty andmerciful, had prepared the peoples of the earth to become great nations.This is to say that the greatness of every nation will always rely upontheword of God, and from the capacity of the nation, leaders and people, tolisten to it and to be faithful to it. The nearer to God, to hisgreatness,the nearer to the true greatness in this world. Jesus had also said:"Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect". Allprogressand all greatness in this world can only be a sharing in the greatnessandthe perfection of God.The question comes naturally to the mind: There are so many interpretersofthe Word of God and they are often contradictory. Some find in the WordofGod love and mercy, and some find death and hatred. Jesus had said:"Be perfect as Your Father in heaven is perfect". So ourguideis God himself. Those interpreters who are conform in theirinterpretationwith the love and mercy of God, those we can trust and follow. Those whoaffirm attributes contrary to the very essence of God, as hatred anddeathand exclusion of other brothers and sisters, cannot be from God; theycannotwork neither for God nor for the children of God; they cannot build thekingdom of God neither in this world nor in the world to come. Those wholove, those for whom God is the source of their own love for others,theseare the interpreters of the word of God.
This brings back the role of religion in our present world. It happenedinhistory that religion has served to be a cause of wars. Today too,religionis manipulated and God is prayed to overcome the enemy. In our countryhere,religion on both sides is having a big role in the conflict and in thecycleof violence. Religion cannot be a cause of wars. God is not the God ofhatred and death. God is the God of all his children, whatever be theirfaith or nationality, and it is the role of all leaders to come out oftheirconformism to the political system of which they are a part, even toovercome a dominating vision in the crowds, to become the prophets forthebuilding of the future. It is a common responsibility of all religiousleaders to free themselves, not to remain obedient parts of thepoliticalsystem, in order to be the voice of God, not of men, the God of mercy,righteousness and love for all.World leaders, on their side, should make God more present in their ownlifeand plans. They should know that progress of humankind cannot be donewithout God, without an education which allows the new generations toknowGod, as God of mercy, of righteousness and love. The religious vacuum inthepresent society should be filled with a true religious education,startingfrom the leaders to all the strata of the people in order to know God,andto know that he is the father of all. God cannot be a source ofdiscrimination among his children. The present developed society shouldnotleave God out of its plans: seeing God the human progress will followmoreappropriate better ways, and God will not remain a weapon in the handsofthe poor to take revenge of the strong.There will be always and everywhere oppositions and differences amongreligions, and religious views or positions. The same among peoples andnations and persons. But no one should remain enemy: neither seeinghimselfas enemy, nor seeing the other as enemy, to kill and to hate. Religionshould educate all to see in the other a brother and sister to buildtogether this world of God, as true children of God.
For that we pray, this morning, brothers and sisters, may God help us tofind in our tragedies seeds of a new life, as was the Cross of our LordJesus Christ. The Cross led to the Resurrection because Jesus gave hislifeout of love for all, and because he forgave to those who were the causeofhis death. Therefore, through love and forgiveness, death became theseedsof a new life. Amen.