“No,” she said aloud during mass as I was giving the homily, “no, we will never have peace.” I didn’t hear her, but I repeated what I said, “If we find peace in our neighborhood, if all the shooting and violence stops in our neighborhood, then the entire City of Chicago will have peace.” And the woman repeated again aloud so people could hear, “No it won’t.”
I can’t help but feel her response is similar to those of the apostles in the days after Jesus’s death and resurrection. It could not have been easy to believe anything with the violence of the cross. From what we read in scriptures there was a lot of tension for the early Christians. Some did not have so much hope and questioned the resurrection of Jesus. A couple of weeks ago we heard Thomas in the gospel of John: “Unless I see the mark of the nails… I will not believe.” And last week in Luke’s gospel we heard Jesus ask: “Why are you troubled and why do questions arise in our hearts?”
I plan to visit with the woman above, to listen to her story. I think this is the work of the gospel and the work of our parish community. In our listening, we break bread and we encourage one another in the work of the Kingdom. The work is to bring peace and justice to our neighborhood. It might take 50 or 80 or 100 years or forever, but it is the work. In accomplishing the work we will find peace. That is what Jesus taught us.
As we have heard these past Sundays, we listen to stories of the apostles and of our people, of our community. We hear how they give. They believe in the work and they help support the community and our parish with their time, their talent and their treasure. We too share, as much as we know how, everything in common – our stories, our vision and our mission.
Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your giving of time, for your discovering of your talents and sharing with others. Thank you for your contribution. Your stewardship will help our neighborhood one day find peace, … and when we find peace, the entire City of Chicago will be at peace. Do you believe?
Fr. Bruce Wellems, CMF