Preparation Time 2 Sunday Message
“Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me. What is truth?” responded Pilate.”
Today I want us to focus on the suffering and confusion that lies cause. We know what Obama’s lie has cost us: one million deportations, hundreds of thousands of families separated. But I want you to focus today on your own lies. Because we all lie. And these lies, and the lies we tell to cover up the lies, destroy marriages, destroy friendships, destroy churches and destroy movements.
We are called to live in the presence of God – because you can’t lie to God. We are called to be convicted of our lies, to forgive others who have lied to us and to reconcile. We are given the forgiveness of God when we repent and begin our lives again.
Today we celebrate the appearance of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. Mary was called to give birth to someone who would bring truth into the world, confront its lies and hypocrisy and bring justice and restore the faith of her people. She saw a sign, she obeyed and Jesus brought a truth into the world that has restored the faith of millions and millions of people for centuries.
Two years ago, we were given a sign: the saving of Francisca Leno from deportation. That sign led us to carry out the first Familias Unidas campaign, bringing the truth that the undocumented are mostly people with families, many with U.S. citizen children.
One year ago, we were given a sign, the saving of Alberto Segura from deportation. And that caused us to carry out the campaign to expose the truth that Obama did have the authority to stop the deportations and separation of families. For six months he denied that truth but in August he had to bend his knee to the truth the way the Bishop bent his knee to Juan Deigo when he saw theimage of theVirgin of Guadalupe on his coat.
Kyle’s example inspired us to trust the young people to lead the struggle and to bring out the truth that this next generation can meet the challenge of the struggle because God has given them a destiny!
You see, the truth of the Kingdom of God breaks into our world in what we call a “sign”, something extraordinary which calls us to act and which foretells the future. If we respond to that call, the call of the sign from God, then we have the blessing, the opportunity, to live in truth.
Pilot replied to Jesus, ”What is truth?” He no longer could recognize the truth because he was dominated by lies. We too live in a world dominated by lies. We live with the suffering of Obama’s lie, the lie that he would pass immigration reform in his first 100 days. But the truth of one million deportations came out, because the truth always comes out.
We live with the lie about the undocumented: that they are criminals or at best people who come here to “steal the American Dream.” But the truth will come out here too, the truth that people came to this country not for the American Dream but because of what the American nightmare did to the economies of their pueblos and their countries, the truth that theyformed families here and that the majority are hard working people trying to raise their children in the ways of the Lord.
Mary’s people faced this kind of web of lies: and she gave birth to someone who confronted the lies with truth. And Joseph overcame the hypocritical pressures of his time because he too received a sign from the angel Gabriel. He joined with the faithful Mary to provide a family to give birth to a future of hope for their people, a future based on the truth.
We have our sign this year: the people that have been saved from deportation by the “discretion defense.” The truth is that nearly 7 million people should not be deported because of the policy that Obama was finally forced to agree to.. That is a truth that the Obama administration does not want to admit – because they want to go on deporting 400,000 people a year for political reasons. We have a sign. We are called to obey because “We are servants of the Lord.”
We are called this year to force the Obama administration to face the truth, to live up to this new promise that he has made.
I am not worried that we won’t be able to do what we are called to do. It will be hard and it will take commitment and sacrifice. But I am sure that enough people will step up to meet the challenge. God always provides what we need for what he asks us to do.
That is not what worries me. For during the last year, while we have been in this struggle, I have seen some families fall apart. And I have seen young people get lost in the selfishness and greed and division and violence of this culture. And in all these cases, they lied to each other, they lied to themselves and they lived in a web of lies. We cannot bring the truth if we do not live in truth. We cannot force this nation to bow to the moral authority of family unity if we let lies destroy our families.
Jesus came not only to bring justice to the world, he came to restore the faith of a people, to offer forgiveness of sins and a new start, a new life. It is through this restored people that a witness to the truth of God’s justice and love would continue to be brought to the world after the crucifixion of Jesus.
I believe that if you are involved in the struggle to bring truth before the nation that your involvement will keep God before you, keep a standard of truth in your life. But I know that you have to look deeply at your own lives.You have to let God come into your lives. God has given us the gift of prayer, both solitary prayer and communal prayer. That gift allows you to be in the presence of God.
The appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe put Juan Diego in the presence of God and that brought him the courage to confront his conquerors. It also gave him the courage to live a faithful life, because through the appearance of the Virgin he lived in the presence of God.
You cannot lie to God if you live in his Presence. You can only lie if you turn your back on God. You have been given a destiny in this nation – to bring the truth of your own reality and your own blessing and your own oppression before the nation – and to plant a people that will transform this nation. That destiny is a blessing from God that you see everyday in your children, in the gift of our families. If you turn your back on your family, on the struggle of all the families, then you are turning your back on God – and you will find yourself dragged down into a pit of lies that will destroy you.
It is hard to live in truth. You have to learn how to be honest. But this is a struggle you can win that allows God’s blessings to fill you up! And it will make you powerful – because love grows in truth and love is the most powerful force on earth.
I feel the angel here with us again today. I can feel the wind made by the wings of Gabriel. Like Olivia, we are called to refuse to let our families be separated. Like Alberto, we will be certain of victory. Like Kyle, a new generation will stand up to fight, not just for themselves, but for their families and for their people. We have been called to a movement that is to be born this year, to the moratorium on deportations and separation of families. The moratorium is the movement, the movement is the moratorium, because the movement begins when we live the moratorium family by family, when we refuse to be separated from what God has joined together. From that simple witness of first dozens, then hundreds, then thousands, we will stop the deportations – and we will renew the unity of our families and our churches. We will move a President to keep his promise, and more important, to keep God’s Promise. I am certain.
I am certain that it is always darkest just before the dawn. There are six million children in this country fighting for the right to family, the right to be recognized as part of families, as part of God’s creation and God’s promise. Yet there are now hundreds of millions of young people across this world who are being denied this right, this gift, this duty, commanded by an Almighty God. Whether it be Africans in Italy, facing hatred, separated from their families in their villages, or be it Arabs, in Holland, facing a rising hate and racist fear, separated from their families at home – or be it Koreans, separated from their families in a country divided by a multi-national military border – and no matter where it is, the struggle for the reunification of families will be won by the witness of love and faith and obedience to God’s law and the willingness of those with legal papers to sacrifice their liberty for those without papers.
For just as the madness of the global economy has created the reality of a billion people forced to leave their homes to find work, denied the right to family, a reality unrecognized by governments, so the struggle for the right and obligation to family is the seed of a world-wide movement that will overcome the growing impoverishment of the majority and the self-destructive desperation of the powerful. It is the seed not only because of the faith of the families, but precisely because the failure of the families of the unbelievers will make them look from their emptiness with deep longing at the power of the witness of faith and faithfulness before them – and concede to it.
it will begin here – and now – because now we have exhausted the argument over laws in Congress and the argument about the authority of the President to use his discretion and are compelled to stand naked in the truth of our witness before the government of a nation paralyzed in its political ambitions, made captive to injustice by its fear of never regaining an unjust supremacy it has lost forever.
And it will begin here and in other humble places for that is the Way with the work of the Lord. It is when humble people stand with nothing but faith to defend us that we feel the winds of the Spirit lift us like Eagles. We have our sign. It has begun. Prepare yourselves. Let us first build an army in prayer, with Mary’s prayer: “Let it be with us as the angels have said.” Let us be the instruments to reveal the truth of the Kingdom, before which lies fall like the walls of Jericho!
Prepare yourself by putting lies out of your life. Have the courage to live by truth and in truth: as Mary did and as Joseph did.
Hail Mary full of Grace – the Lord is with you. Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. And blessed are you who believe, you true believers, certain of what the world says is impossible, for God has chosen you and God is with you. He is the God that parted the waters for his people. He is the God that elevated Joseph so that he could reunite his family in a foreign land. He is the God that sent the dark Virgin to Juan Diego that you might know that the story of Abraham and Moses and Jesus is YOUR story and that he is YOUR God!. He is the God that brought YOU across the Rio Grande and across the desert so that he could make you a people as many as the stars in the sky! And He did not bring you this far to leave you now. There is no God Greater than your God! No God, greater than your God!
Amen? Amen? Amen!!!!!!!